Government spending will go up by $8 billion, a seven per cent increase over the 2009-10 budget.
The government will introduce legislation to freeze the salaries of non-bargaining unit – management – employees in the Ontario Public Service and the Broader Public Sector for two years, as well as political and legislative staff.
The government will not re-open existing contracts or impose unpaid days off for bargaining unit employees in the Ontario Public Service and the Broader Public Sector.
Instead, when collective agreements expire, the government will not fund wage increases, for a period of at least two years, in the new contracts that are negotiated.
The government expects to save $750 million on wage freezes over two years or less than two per cent of the $20 billion deficit.
Public sector workers will save $750 million for the government, while the government is giving away $2.5 billion to profitable Bay Street corporations.
The government will go ahead with corporate tax cuts over three years, which will cost the province $2.5 billion in lost revenue by 2012-13.
The first cut to the corporate income tax rate takes effect July 1.
$600 million in new funding will go to the Second Career training program over two years to add spaces for 30,000 laid-off workers. Note that a good portion of this is primarily Employment Insurance money.
$310 million in new funding will go to universities and colleges for their operating budgets to accommodate spaces for 20,000 new students this year. $62 million will go to the colleges and $210 million to the universities.
Hospitals will receive a 1.5 per cent increase to their base budgets, about half what the Ontario Hospitals Association said was needed to maintain the status quo. For more, go to http://opseudiablogue.wordpress.com/
The government is cutting the Special Diet Allowance that helps people on social assistance eat nutritious meals, something that is impossible to do on inadequate benefits.
For the first time since 2005, the Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works benefits increases are being held below inflation – a one per cent increase compared with a two per cent projected inflation rate.
There will be an additional $6 million over two years to hire more employment standards officers.
There is nothing in the budget about what transfer payment agencies in the community can expect for their base budgets.
It’s probably safe to conclude that the government’s message to the broader public sector is: Keep on struggling. Keep on relying on the good-will and ingenuity of your workers to scrape together what few resources there are to serve a rising need in your community.
No additional funding was announced for Children’s Aid Societies to respond to the province-wide funding crisis in that sector.
A permanent Northern Energy Credit was introduced in the budget which will provide $130 annually to single people and up to $200 to families in Northern Ontario to help with energy costs.
A prior funding commitment of about $4 billion to help expand the transit system in the Greater Toronto Area was postponed.Overall, spending has risen slightly in most Ministries except Government Services, Revenue, Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Natural Resources.