15 ways that the Ontario budget affects health-- and the determinants of health

Here is a summary of 15 key measures  affecting health and the determinants of health  in the Ontario budget tabled by Finance Minister Charles Sousa:

1. Tobacco

  • Increasing the tobacco tax rate (approximately $3 per carton)
  • Banning flavoured tobacco targeted at children
  • Doubling penalties for selling cigarettes to minors
  • Broadening restrictions on smoking in public areas, including bar and restaurant patios
  • Increasing measures to address contraband tobacco

2. Nutrition

  • Expanding the Student Nutrition Program by funding 340 new breakfast programs for an additional 56,000 students in higher-needs elementary and secondary schools
  • First Nation communities will receive funding and will have the opportunity to lead the development and delivery of Student Nutrition Program models that address the unique strengths and needs of their communities

3. Mental Health and Addictions

  • Continued commitment to Open Minds, Healthy Minds, a 10-year comprehensive strategy with additional investments of over $65 million in 2014–15, growing to about $83 million annually by 2016–17

4. Dental

  • Expanding eligibility for Healthy Smiles Ontario to provide access to dental services for an additional 70,000 low-income children and youth aged 17 and under

5. Reproductive Health

  • Expanding Newborn Screening Ontario for 29 inherited and/or treatable diseases

6. Employment

  • Creation of a $2.5 billion 10 year job prosperity fund to attract investment in new sectors

7. Programs to Support Children and Families

  • $33.6 million in funding for the child care sector (e.g. to preserve spaces, keep fees stable and enhance enforcement measures)
  • $810 million in community and developmental sectors over the next 3 years to improve supports for adults with developmental disabilities

8. Alcohol Control

  • Commitment to improve efficiency of performance of government assets such as the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, without necessarily selling them

9. Income Supports

  • $50 million over 5 years to create new Poverty Reduction Fund, supporting local solutions to poverty
  • Increase in social assistance by 1% in 2014
  • Increasing the Ontario Child Tax benefit to $1,310 and indexing it to the rate of the Ontario Consumer Price Index
  • Creation of a provincial pension plan
  • Increasing minimum wage to $11.00 June 2014
  • $1.00 per hour increase for child care workers in 2015 and an additional $1 in 2016
  • Reducing energy costs for low income families

10. Affordable Housing

  • $42 million increase to the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative
  • Potential $80.1 million investment over the next 5 years to support the Federal/Provincial Investment in Affordable Housing program

11. Support for Aboriginal People and Communities

  • $25 million for the Aboriginal Economic Development Fund (e.g. Aboriginal business and skill building)
  • $2 million over two years to support the Joint Working Group on Violence against Aboriginal Women
  • Introducing an Urban Aboriginal Action Plan with a $2.5 million funding over three years to develop strategies that reflect local interests and lead to improved socioeconomic outcomes
  • Moving forward with a new Treaty Strategy, including funding of $7.9 million over three years

12. New Revenue Sources

  • Increasing the tax rate for those making more than $150,000

13. Seniors

  • Doubling the size of the new Seniors Community Grant Program to $1 million per year to support seniors (e.g. learning, financial literacy, and social inclusion)
  • Investing over $8 million in preventing elder abuse, including fraud

14. Healthcare

  • Increase in wages for personal support workers from $1.50 per hour increase in 2015-16 and a further $1.00 per hour increase in 2016-17
  • $6 million for paramedic services

15. Infrastructure

  • $130 billion investments over the next 10 years (includes investments in transportation, schools, hospitals, and community health centers)

This material was adapted with permission from the Ontario Public Health Association:  opha.on.ca