At over 300 pages, the 2019 provincial budget is a mind numbing barrage of numbers.
We did the dirty work and sifted through the telephone book-thick document to extract some of the more interesting elements.
The government plans to introduce legislation that could see Premier Doug Ford and Finance Minister Vic Fedeli face fines of up to 10 per cent of their salaries if they fail to meet fiscal planning objectives.
The government is proposing a new framework called the Fiscal Sustainability, Transparency and Accountability Act which includes an Accountability Guarantee that would require Ford and Fedeli to pay fines from their respective salaries for each missed reporting deadline.
“We are quite literally putting our money where our mouths are,” Fedeli said in his budget speech.
New Trillium design
Premier Ford complained that the Ontario Trillium logo looked like “three men in a hot tub” and spent nearly $90,000 to have it redesigned. The new logo was unveiled on Thursday and it looks nearly identical to the old one, minus the three people lounging in the hot tub.
The government admitted that there could be additional costs associated with removing the old logo and replacing it with the new one at government buildings.
The government has vowed that this will be the last time taxpayer money is spent on changing government branding.
“The government intends to deliver a new visual identity directive across the entire public sector that will explicitly prohibit the spending of taxpayer dollars on new logos or other visual identifiers going forward,” the budget stated.
New Ontario licence plates
Ontarians also got their first look at the new Ontario licence plate.
The slogan “Yours to Discover” is gone, replaced by “A Place To Grow,” and the previously white plate is now two shades of Conservative blue.
Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath called the new licence plate “shameful” and said it was an inappropriate “use of public money for partisan purposes. It’s such an obvious Conservative-branded licence plate,” she said. “I think it will cause a lot of rear ending.”
Parents’ Bill of Rights
Ontario is aiming to become the first province to draft a Ministry of Education Bill of Rights for parents.
The budget states that the goal of the bill is to give parents more say in their children’s education. But it could also give parents the right to pull their child from a class if they don’t agree with what’s being taught.
“Parents also suggest that the Bill should include parents’ rights to withdraw their children from lessons, classes and schools that are teaching content they do not agree with…” the budget stated.
Wine lovers rejoice
The province is planning to introduce legislation to pause the previous government’s Wine Tax increases.
“The proposed change would leave more money in the pockets of Ontario wine consumers,” the government said.
Watch below: Richard Southern and Mike Eppel give us the highlights of the Ontario Provincial budget.
Ontario’s vice grip: Budget extends freedoms on drinking, gambling
Funding for colleges, universities, increasingly tied to performance outcomes
No new taxes but Ontario budget won’t be balanced until after next election
4 key priorities: Breaking down Fedeli’s budget speech