Rae says Budget is Building a Strong Ontario  

[Queen’s Park]— Today, Ontario’s Minister of Finance, the Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy, introduced the provincial budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year.  

“This provincial budget continues to make major investments in health care, housing, mental health, and our agricultural communities,” said Matthew Rae, the Member of Provincial Parliament for Perth-Wellington. “This budget will help us build a strong Ontario.”  

“With our thoughtful, transparent approach we have a plan to balance the budget while delivering support to families, workers, and businesses across Ontario,” said Minister Bethlenfalvy. “We will continue with this approach that is building an Ontario the people of this province can be proud of, not only today but in the future. An Ontario that is strong.”  

Budget 2023 builds on the 2022 Budget commitment to invest $1 billion over three years connecting more people to care from the comfort of their own home and community.  

These investments are being accelerated to bring funding in 2023-24 up to $569 million. This funding will help stabilize the home and community care workforce, expanding home care services, and improving the quality of care.   

The budget also provides financial support to more seniors by proposing changes to expand the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) program, starting in July 2024, to make 100,000 additional seniors eligible for the program and adjust the benefit annually to inflation. This builds on the government’s work to temporarily double the GAINS payment for eligible seniors until December 2023.  

“We are supporting our senior citizens,” Rae said. “They have built this province, and it is only right that we provide the resources and care they need in their golden years.” 

The government’s plan will also see an expansion of the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant in spring 2023 for eligible postsecondary students who enroll in programs in Southwestern Ontario, including nursing, medical laboratory technologist/medical laboratory sciences programs, and work in underserved communities in the region where they studied after graduation. 

Additional healthcare investments include $200 million in 2023-24, to extend supports to address immediate health care staffing shortages, as well as to grow the workforce for years to come.  

“The province continues to support our rural healthcare system,” Rae said. “The extension and expansion of programs like the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant are integral to communities such as ours.” 

Mental health and addictions services will receive $425 million over three years, including a five per cent increase in the base funding of community-based mental health and addictions services providers funded by the Ministry of Health. 

Budget 2023 provides $25 million over three years to attract more skilled workers, including in-demand professionals in the skilled trades, to the province. This program is focused on nominating applicants for permanent residency who have the skills and experience to support Ontario’s ambitious Plan to Build. 

“I have heard from many businesses and organizations that they cannot find new employees,” Rae said. “With one of the lowest unemployment rates in Ontario, employers in Perth and Wellington Counties can benefit greatly from this investment.” 

The Province of Ontario is also calling on the federal government to defer the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) on all new large scale purpose-built rental housing projects to tackle the ongoing housing affordability crisis. This measure would help spur the construction of more rental housing units while helping to create jobs, encourage economic development, and support growth. 

An additional $202 million each year will be provided for the Homelessness Prevention Program and Indigenous Supportive Housing Program. Funding will help those experiencing or at risk of homelessness, struggling with mental health and substance use, those escaping intimate partner violence, and support the community organizations delivering supportive housing. 

“It is essential that we build a variety of housing in communities across Ontario,” said Rae. “This additional investment represents a 40 percent increase from the previous year.”  

Agriculture investments include $14.7 million over two years for a new collaborative Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program starting in 2024-25 with the University of Guelph and Lakehead University to address veterinarian shortages in rural and Northern Communities. 

The government’s plan will balance the budget with the province on track to post a surplus in 2024-25, three years earlier than estimated. 

Budget 2023: https://budget.ontario.ca/2023/index.html