The provincial election that took place on June 7, 2018 resulted in a change in Ontario’s government, with the Conservative party replacing the long-standing Liberal government. This change in leadership occurred subsequent to the release of the 2018 provincial budget on March 28, 2018. To ensure that the province’s fiscal policies align with the promises of the newly-elected government, and to provide an update on the fiscal state of the province, the 2018 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review (Fall Statement) was released on November 15, 2018.
In this Fall Statement, privately owned businesses will benefit from the province’s decision not to parallel the federal tax changes that reduce (or eliminate) a small business’s access to the small business tax rate. Certain private sector employers will also benefit from an increase to the Employer Health Tax exemption. Individuals will benefit from a new Low-Income Individuals and Families Tax (LIFT) credit that will minimize personal income taxes payable for low-income individuals and families.
Policies and commitments
One of the major themes in this Fall Statement is the government’s commitment to promote fiscal transparency and sound financial management. This commitment is further necessitated due to the projected 2018-19 deficit restatement from $6.7 billion to $14.5 billion as a result of an independent inquiry into the accounting practices of the former government.
Additional commitments provided in the Fall Statement include: • Restoring fiscal balance in the province • Creating and protecting jobs • Supporting entrepreneurs through the Open for Business Action Plan • Lowering hydro bills • Expanding natural gas and broadband networks to rural northern communities • Protecting farmers against any negative United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) impact