It’s been just over 24 hours since the budget was released and there’s still many questions about what’s in the lengthy document.
Here are four things mentioned in Doug Ford’s first budget in which information is still scarce:
Auto insurance changes
The government is proposing to give drivers more choice and create more competition among insurance providers, which in theory, would lower rates.
They also proposed creating a “Driver Care Card” to make the claims process easier to navigate for injured claimants and end Postal Code Discrimination – so if that even if you live in a high claims area. you can’t be charged more for insurance.
The details of when or how the driver care card will be rolled out have yet to be announced.
Specifics about the changes to the auto insurance industry have also not been released.
Public health funding reduction
While we have heard a significant amount of information about the consolidation in health care by the Ford government, but details of how they will operate have yet to be released.
There are 35 health units across the province which will be consolidate into 10. Overall funding for the health units will be reduced by $200 million
Public Health units are used sounding the alarm for disease and other health risks. They also do restaurant inspection and keep track of immunizations.
The Toronto Public Health Unit, in particular, has also been tracking the opioid crisis.
How responsibilities will be divided in the new system have yet to be announced. When asked, the provincial government said they want to streamline public health units.
No gas tax increase
Something the budget did not include: a gas tax increase. The city of Toronto was planning to put the millions of dollars in revenue from the gas tax into maintaining the TTC. It will now be in the hole about $24 million to make repairs.
It came as a surprise to city staff and was a broken promise from the Ford government.
Mayor John Tory said he was very disappointed that the province would not be proceeding with the promised gas tax increase that would have provided Toronto with $1.1B over the next 10 years.
“We had budgeted for much of that committed increase to go to the state of good repair for the TTC,” said Tory.
Legal Aid funding cut
Legal Aid funding will to be cut by 30 per cent and the government has issued an edict – no more legal aid funding for refugees. They maintains the federal government should be covering the funding for refugees.
They will receive $133 million less in this fiscal year than the $456 million it had anticipated.
The budget says “streamlining the delivery of legal aid to promote long-term sustainability” is expected to reduce the funding by $164 million in 2021-22.
With files from The Canadian Press