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Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm still having a hard time figuring out the free drug coverage for those under 24 . according to the Andrew coyle article , its not even included in the budget and there unsure exactly how much it will even cost .

the big question is why would a government so massively in debt decide to pick up the tab on something already covered by most health plans and thru college health plans as well . I'm not sure of the exact %/numbers but I'm imagine a rather high % of those under 24 already have this coverage and so don't even need it

its like Wynne is turning into one of those older relatives who constantly offer to help you pay for things even though you don't need the money . the relative who just wants to feel needed and thinks there helping . even though you could of survived without the assistance .

young people in general don't need this program , most already have coverage thru parents plans and those in college who don't have plans are covered thru the colleges health plans . it would only be needed by the people who don't have health plans thru work or not in school . it makes no sense for an such an indebt government to pay for things they don't need to

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( trying to do some research on this plan , from what I can find , used fanshawe college as an example of a college plan . all students automatically get prescription drug coverage if they are a full time student and don't already have a parents plan to use . so many don't need the kind of coverage wynne is offering . )

Health Plan

Full-time registered post-secondary students are automatically covered under the FSU Health Plan for prescription drugs, dental benefits and accident benefits. The deadline for May 2017 intake students to opt-out of the FSU Health Plan, opt-in family members, or choose which type of coverage you wish to have is May 16th at 4 pm. You can do all of that at wespeakstudent.com/home/9-fanshawe-college

•Full academic year coverage (September 1st, 2016 to August 31st, 2017)
•Student card may be used as a pay-direct drug card (accepted at most pharmacies across Canada)
•Prescription Drug coverage
•Dental coverage
•Extended Health coverage - vision, physiotherapy, massage therapy, etc.
•Accident coverage
•Option to opt out if you have similar coverage
•Option to opt in your dependents


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can only comment based on my experience; (which is a bit of a ways back)
But prescription drug coverage was part of my tuition during my undergrad and grad school at two different Ontario Universities.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think RCOs observation about the expansion of the drug plan to youth were on target. looked at the material you presented, and have come to this conclusion ...

With the election coming they are going to juice the health sector. Another $3+billion a year for three years. My bet is that the drug plan is included in this $3+ billion. All of the separate items, including the hospital increases, will total $3+billion. It seems like more because they're all presented as if they're separate items.

They are spending to get through the next election smooth sailing. I wouldn't be surprised if the three year figures are pie-in-the-sky. If they win the election, they could cut back as the need appears. If they lose, they give the new government a nasty problem in cutting all these separate government departments.

Meanwhile, the government is hungry for new revenue. And they're going right after the working louts. There will be an immediate $2 a carton increase on cigarettes, going to $10 a carton over the next two years. The cost of a carton of cigarettes will be over $100! A married couple of smokers would be paying $600 a month to smoke a pack a day each.

I have no idea how much additional revenue that will bring in. But they are planning to get $2 billion from carbon taxes.

It's all because they can't keep up to that galloping debt. The elephant in the room? As interest rates rise, the cost of the provincial debt will skyrocket. As the terms become more onerous, the risk will increase, which fuels other pressures on the interest rates Ontario will have to pay. Those payments will start to squeeze healthcare, education and welfare off the budget. That's the fear, and if present trends continue, that day will arrive in the next few years.

Wynne must know she's the underdog in the next election. She's not stupid. I wonder, as an ex-civil servant herself, and a peculiar kind of idealist, if she isn't preparing hospitals, the schools, etc for a more austere future. I think they've done a pretty good job with medical care and that might be their saving grace. And, of course, there is always the whisker of a chance that she'll maintain some hold on power ... and then, who knows? I wonder if that's her outlook?

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( sun columnist Goldstein wonders how much the next budget will cost ? especially since its going to be released immediately before an election )

How much will Wynne's next budget cost Ontarians?

By Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun
First posted: Saturday, April 29, 2017 09:13 PM EDT | Updated: Saturday, April 29, 2017 09:18 PM EDT

You have to wonder how much of our money Premier Kathleen Wynne is willing to spend to win re-election next year.

By my calculations, the cost of Wynne’s Thursday budget speech to Ontario taxpayers was $9.3 billion, or $422.7 million per page of Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s 22-page effort.

Given that, who knows how much it will cost taxpayers next April, considering that will be Wynne’s “pre-election” budget, shortly before the June, 2018 vote?

Here are my cost calculations and the reasoning behind them, based on announcements in Wynne’s 2017-2018 budget speech:

* $190 million over three years “to help create 40,000 new work-related learning opportunities.”

* $1.8 billion, the estimated annual government revenue, paid for by Ontarians in the form of higher retail prices on most goods and services, from Wynne’s cap and trade carbon pricing scheme.

* $80 million “to create the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network.”

* $19 million “to help our greenhouse farming sector invest in innovative technologies.”

* $2.5 billion over three years for Wynne’s “Fair Hydro Plan”, in which she’s using taxpayers’ money to subsidize the electricity bills of hydro ratepayers, despite the fact taxpayers and ratepayers are the same people.

* $20 million for “respite care to people who volunteer to care for a loved one.”

* $200 million for more daycare.

* $1.6 billion this year (based on $16 billion over 10 years) for new schools.

* $200 million over three years for “First Nation, Metis and Inuit ... post secondary education and training.”

* $465 million annually for a pharmacare program to provide free prescription drugs to all Ontario children from birth to 24 years of age.

* $150 million over three years for a minimum income pilot project for 4,000 low-income households in Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Lindsay.

* $1.3 billion over three years “to reduce (medical) wait times.”

* $518 million “booster shot” for hospitals.

* $85 million over three years for home care.

* $200 million “to improve the energy efficiency of our schools.”

No doubt some of this spending is worthwhile and, to be fair, some of it overlaps.

For example, the $1.8 billion in annual revenue from cap and trade will presumably help pay for the $200 million spent to improve energy efficiency in schools.

Taxpayers will also receive partial returns from some programs, such as Wynne’s “Fair Hydro Plan”, which lowers electricity rates.

That said, all this assumes all the money to be spent on these programs will go where the Wynne government says it will go, in the amounts and during the time frames specified.

On that score, remember it was the Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty, in which Wynne was a senior cabinet minister, that told us the cost of cancelling two controversial gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga prior to the 2011 election, which the opposition parties dubbed “the Liberal seat saver program”, would be $230 million over 20 years.

That turned out to be up to $1.1 billion, according to the auditor general.

That’s not to mention all the other Liberal spending scandals — eHealth, Ornge, green energy, smart meters — where costs soared beyond estimates.

So hold on to your wallets.


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

National Post View: The Ontario Liberals plainly never learn from their mistakes. Will voters?

National Post View | April 28, 2017 4:26 PM ET
More from National Post View
Ontario Minister of Finance Charles Sousa outlines the 2017 budget during the media lock up ahead of the budget's official release in Toronto, Ont. on Thursday April 27, 2017.

As if any more proof was needed, the Ontario budget tabled this week has driven home, yet again, that the province’s Liberals, and their leader Kathleen Wynne, haven’t learned a thing. The only real question is whether the voters of Canada’s most-populous province have.

The budget is predictably heavy on the self-congratulation and back-patting that it seems all such announcements are now obligated to contain. The government is particularly proud of having “balanced the budget,” as it had previously promised, by the next fiscal year. This is clearly something the Liberals are banking on ahead of the 2018 election.

And it’s no wonder. The Ontario Liberals have spent money like the proverbial drunken sailor for a decade, ramping up the province’s debt to $312 billion (it was $132 billion when they took office in 2003). Then again, sailors eventually run out of money and report back to their post. Ontario just keeps borrowing, and interest payments are already $1 billion a month — the third-largest single expense. Balancing the budget is clearly how the Liberals are hoping to sell voters on their fitness to manage an economy as large as Ontario’s.

It’s not always irresponsible to borrow to build. But it’s a little rich for the Liberals to claim to have balanced the books while still adding tens of billions to the province’s debt tab.
Pity it’s all an illusion. The books aren’t balanced, they’re just reimagined. Short-term or even one-time cash payouts from asset sales are being counted as revenue. The province has also decided to only count debt accrued through operational shortfalls as real debt; money borrowed to build infrastructure apparently doesn’t count, even though it’ll still be added to Ontario’s bottom line and will result in mounting interest payments. It’s not always irresponsible to borrow to build. But it’s a little rich for the Liberals to claim to have balanced the books while still adding tens of billions to the province’s debt tab.

And then there’s the signature prescription drug plan. The Liberals have announced that, starting on Jan. 1 of next year, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan will cover the full cost of prescriptions for all Ontario residents under the age of 25. What the Liberals are clearly hoping will be seen as a sign of their progressive generosity — who’d dare object to helping sick kids get the medicines they need? — makes less sense the more you look at it. Making prescription drugs more accessible to those who simply cannot afford them is a valid public policy goal. An inability to properly treat existing medical conditions before they become an acute crisis eventually drives up health care costs, when patients who can’t afford to get better eventually worsen and require hospital care, perhaps over the long term. Prevention through treatment is cost-effective and humane.

But the program is overly broad. The most reliable surveys of Canadians indicate that only roughly 10 per cent of the population truly cannot afford needed drugs; many Canadians are at least partially covered through public service or corporate plans, or personally obtained supplemental insurance. And yet the children of these residents, the comfortable majority of Ontarians, will now receive their drugs courtesy of the Ontario taxpayer, with no semblance of means testing. It’s just that kind of mindless spending that helped get the Liberals into their fiscal mess in the first place, and it takes place against a background of hospital wards full to the bursting due to chronic funding shortfalls at hospitals and a woefully insufficient long-term care system. But, again, they never learn. The money goes to the splashiest new promise, not the longstanding urgent need.

We could go on. There’s their new Basic Income Pilot project proposal that, as economist Kevin Milligan revealed in these pages this week, will send most of its money to young adults who still live at home with their parents, without ending the other social supports that will make it possible to evaluate the pilot properly. There’s an expansion of child care spaces that funnel money into institutional facilities, which Canadians consistently rank last among their preferred child care options. There’s a tax credit for seniors who use transit, which, much like the pharmacare plan, contains no means testing element (and overall, data show Canada’s seniors are doing quite well). It all speaks to the recurring theme of this Liberal government: every lucky break on the revenue front should be immediately negated by more spending. Every tax coming in above budgeted expectations must immediately be committed to shoring up a riding or two. The entire prolonged return to balance shall be celebrated by digging more holes for the future.

All of this is disappointing. None of it is surprising. This is just how this government is programmed to operate, which explains why it’s about to do the same thing to Ontario’s housing rental market that it did to the hydro sector — destroy it through cleverly spun and possibly well-intentioned, yet predictably doomed interventions.

The Liberals just can’t help themselves, and they don’t even bother pretending otherwise anymore. The voters know all they need to. Whether they are any more capable of learning than the Liberals will be determined at the polls next year.

National Post


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Liberals would have been better served with a scored Earth approach to their short term surplus with tax cuts;

Be it the HST or Income Taxes;

Have the opposition parties run on a platform that requires them to "raise" taxes in order to balance the budget.

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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( the watchdog seems to have confirmed what we already suspected that this balanced budget is a one time political event and that budget deficits will return soon after and be much larger )

Watchdog sounds alarm on Ontario budget deficit

Ontario’s budget watchdog warns again that province will see more deficits in future despite balanced budget claims.

While Ontario's financial accountability officer Stephen LeClair acknowledges the Liberal government can balance the budget this fiscal year, thanks, in part, to strong tax revenue growth, he warns the next five years won’t be so easy.

By Rob FergusonQueen's Park Bureau

Wed., May 31, 2017

Ontario’s financial watchdog is ringing the alarm bell again about continued budget deficits despite repeat promises from Premier Kathleen Wynne that the books are balanced in time for next June’s election.

While Ontario’s financial accountability officer Stephen LeClair acknowledges the Liberal government can balance the budget this fiscal year, thanks, in part, to strong tax revenue growth, he warns the next five years won’t be so easy.

Deficits could hit $6.5 billion by 2022 and the province’s net debt soar $76 billion to more than $390 billion.

“Beyond 2017-18, the deficit is projected to deteriorate steadily due to rising expenses and moderate revenue growth,” LeClair wrote in his spring economic outlook, released Wednesday.

“On this basis, it’s unlikely the government will balance the budget without significant fiscal policy adjustments,” he added, hinting at the need for spending cuts or revenue increases.

Premier Kathleen Wynne told reporters at the YWCA that she is confident of balanced budgets for three years, but would not go beyond that.

“We have brought in a balanced budget, the first balanced budget in almost a decade. And we’re committed to balancing the budget through 2020.”

LeClair forecasts that strong economic growth of 2.4 per cent this calendar year will slow to 2 per cent in the subsequent four years.

That is in line with government forecasts, but he raised concerns that the policy direction of the Trump administration, which wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), is “uncertain” and “could hamper business investment and Ontario’s economic prospects.”

The housing market, which surged over the winter, before cooling somewhat in recent weeks, “continues to be the largest risk for the economy. A sharp correction in housing prices could reverberate beyond the housing market and lead to broader, economy-wide impacts,” LeClair added.

Progressive Conservatives said the financial accountability officer’s report is proof the government’s spring budget was “a shell game” as Wynne campaigns to keep her job.

“The Liberals are cooking the books before the next election,” said Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli, his party’s finance critic.

“To fix the mess they’ve created, after the election, the Liberals will go back to raising your taxes, cutting your healthcare, and we already know they’ll be hiking hydro bills.”

The financial accountability officer said the debt will balloon by $76 billion from the continued deficits, capital spending and the auditor general’s recommended accounting treatment for pension assets, with which the government disagrees.

As a result, LeClair projects Ontario’s ratio of net debt to gross domestic product will exceed 40 per cent by the 2020-21 fiscal year, which, he said, is “well above” the government’s interim target of lowering it to 35 per cent by the 2023-24 fiscal year.

Last winter, the government disagreed with Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk that the government could not count $10.7 billion of taxpayer-funded pension surpluses as assets on the province’s books, as it has since 2001.

Treasury Board President Liz Sandals said the government is taking the advice of Tricia O’Malley, chair of the Canadian Actuarial Standards Oversight Council.

Lysyk argued that the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union Pension Plan and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which the government co-sponsors, shouldn’t be booked as assets because the government does not have ready access to the funds


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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watchdog says Ontario budgets likely won't be balanced after this year

Charles Sousa
Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa speaks during a press conference at Queen's Park in Toronto on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014. (The Canadian Press/Darren Calabrese)

The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, May 31, 2017 1:22PM EDT

TORONTO -- Ontario's budget watchdog says the province's budget will steadily deteriorate into deficit after this fiscal year.

The Liberal government delivered a balanced budget this year, and projects it will stay in the black for at least the next two years.

But the financial accountability officer says in a report today that staying in balance will likely require additional fiscal measures.

The report says this year there is strong tax revenue -- such as income tax and land transfer tax due to a hot housing market -- and there is one-time revenue, such as from the partial sale of Hydro One.

But after this year, the financial accountability officer is projecting more moderate growth and higher expenses, leading to deficits.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa says his projections are prudent and take into account the growing economy

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is Ontario's budget actually now balanced ?

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