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2016-04-12 18:38:28

Help for Ontario Seniors and Students

Ontario Help for Students and Seniors

Students were the big winners in Ontario’s Provincial last budget. The Ontario Liberal government wants to ensure that college and university students from families that make less than $50,000 will have no provincial debt under a new grant unveiled in its 2016 budget. with a pledge to overhaul the Ontario Tuition Grant program to cover the average post-secondary tuition for students from families that earn $50,000 a year or less.

In Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s own words, "Our economy only hums, only improves, when everybody's contributing. And we're not going to leave anybody behind."  The budget projects GDP growth of 2.2 per cent in 2016, with projections of 2.4 per cent in 2017, 2.2 per cent in 2018 and 2.0 per cent in 2019. With those numbers, the Liberals project a $4.3 billion budget deficit for 2016-17 before hitting balance in 2017-18.

More Health Care funding for Seniors

The government has also increased funding for health-care sectors identified as priorities during pre-budget consultations, including palliative care ($75 million), cancer care services ($130 million) and $333 million to "redesign and consolidate" services for children and youth with autism. For the first time ever, there are now more people in Canada age 65 and over than there are under age 15, according to Statistics Canada.

As the Canadian population gets older, we've got more and more retired people. That puts pressure on the health system and pension system because there's a smaller pool of working age people to support that. Another health care change for seniors is a move to help prevent shingles in Ontarians aged 65 to 70. Ontario will now cover the cost of the shingles vaccine, about $170, for all residents in this age group.

The proposals include raising the income threshold to qualify for it to $19,300 from $16,018 for single seniors, and to $32,300 from $24,175 for senior couples. Low-income seniors who receive the benefit will continue to pay a $2 co-payment per prescription, with no annual deductible. Meanwhile, seniors who are at or above the updated income thresholds will see their costs go up. The annual deductible under the benefit for these seniors will increase from $100 to $170, while the co-payment ­­-- or the fee paid per prescription -- will increase by $1 to $7.11. This is leaving some middle to high income seniors  a little worried.