Today, the Government of Ontario released their 2021 Ontario Budget – Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy.
The Budget saw the Province commit to three policy recommendations made by OREA, including expanding broadband internet investment, expanding the Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) tax credit, and enhancing the regional opportunities investment tax credit.
These recommendations were featured in our two latest research reports, including Rebuilding Ontario: A Framework for Recovery and Small Towns, Big Opportunities: Unlocking Growth in Ontario’s Rural and Northern Communities.
Expanding Broadband Internet Investment
The Budget includes a commitment to increasing broadband investment by $2.88 billion – bringing Ontario’s broadband investment total to $4 billion. The increased investment will bring connectivity to 700,000 households by 2025. With this ground-breaking investment, more Ontarians will be able to work remotely in rural and Northern areas, which will create jobs, spur economic growth, and reverse out-migration in communities across the province that have experienced economic decline for far too long.
Broadband internet quality is one of the top questions that REALTORS® get from clients in more rural communities. Increasing broadband access for Ontarians is the 21st century version of electrification and was one of OREA’s top recommendations in our research report, Small Towns, Big Opportunities: Unlocking Growth in Ontario’s Rural and Northern Communities.
Expanding the Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) Tax Credit
The Ontario Government will be making a $75 million enhancement to the CARE tax credit, which will increase the maximum amount eligible for families to reflect the temporarily higher costs of childcare due to COVID-19 social distancing measures.
The CARE tax credit will be increased by 20 per cent for 2021, which increases the support from $1,250 to $1,500 on average.
Enhancing the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit
The Budget proposes to temporarily double the Regional Opportunities Tax Credit from 10 per cent to 20 per cent, which is a refundable tax credit for eligible corporations that build, renovate, or purchase eligible commercial or industrial buildings in a qualifying regions of the province. This would double the available tax credit support for regional investment from a maximum of $45,000 to a maximum of $90,000 in a year. The enhancement to the tax credit will incentivize investments in communities that have experienced employment stagnation, lack of growth, and social decline.
OREA hopes to see the province expand on the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit by formally creating Opportunity Zones across the province to have preferential tax and regulatory treatment to help reverse the decline and build upon natural talents, entrepreneurship, and resources in rural and Northern Ontario.
Other Highlights of the 2020 Budget
The 2021 Budget is built around five key measures, including: Supporting Workers and Families, Supporting Jobs, Protecting Ontario’s Environment, Supporting Communities and Building a Modern Government. It sets out a total of $173 billion in funding over 2021-2022 to provide necessary health resources, deliver critical programs, support Ontario’s workforce, strengthen and protect our economy and return Ontario to a sustainable fiscal position.
The highlights of the 2021 Budget include:
Protecting the Health of Ontarians through COVID-19 and Beyond:
- Ontario is investing more than $1 billion to support the province-wide vaccination plan, creating more hospital beds and increase access to testing.
- New investment of $1.8 billion in 2021-2022 to treat COVID-19 patients and address the current surgical backlog in Ontario’s hospitals.
Supporting Workers and Families:
- Ontario is providing $980 million for the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit through a third-round of payments to parents since March 2020, with payments doubling for $400 per child and $500 for each child with special needs.
- Committing to create up to 30,000 new child care spaces, including up to 10,000 spaces in new schools.
- Continuing to support workers by investing $614.3 million to provide targeted employment and training supports to Ontarians.
- Continuing to support seniors aging in place with the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit, providing approximately $30 million in support for 27,000 seniors and live-in carers.
- Partnering with the federal government to provide $976 million through the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses program.
- Investing about $320 million in additional relief in 20201-21 through off-peak electricity pricing.
- Reducing Ontario’s small business Corporate Income Tax rate starting in 2020 and lowering high Business Education Tax rates for job creators.
- Establishing a task force, led by the Minister of Finance and the Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, that would ensure inclusive economic growth by seeking to address the unique economic barriers women face particularly after COVID-19.
Please do not hesitate to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 647-278-1290 if you have questions or require additional information. Thank you all for your continued leadership during this time.
Head of Government Relations
OREA Sent on behalf of Jason Lagerquist