Budget 2024

Ontario Fall Economic Statement 2023

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Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy delivered the 2023 Ontario Fall Economic Statement (ON FES 2023) on November 2, 2023. The 2023 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Building a Strong Ontario Together serves as a precursor to Ontario’s 2024 budget.

The ON FES 2023 estimates a $5.6 billion deficit for the 2023-24 fiscal year—a significant jump from the $1.3 billion deficit projected in the province's 2023 budget. Ontario attributes the larger deficit to recent interest rate hikes, high inflation, and lower-than-expected revenue from 2022 personal tax returns. In addition, Ontario cites spending $2.5 billion in reserve to address economic uncertainty.  

Ontario projects a balanced budget by the 2025-26 fiscal yearone year longer than projected in this year’s budget. 

Estimated surplus (deficit)





Original estimate (Budget 2023)




Revised estimate

(Fiscal Review 2023)




Business tax measures


Ontario states that it will mirror the federal government’s changes related to the   general anti-avoidance rule (GAAR), if enacted. The federal government recently proposed changes to the GAAR rules, which may cause significant implications to taxpayers.

Personal tax measures

Ontario Focused Flow-Through Share Tax Credit 

Ontario proposes to expand eligibility for the Ontario Focused Flow-Through Share Tax Credit. This Ontario tax credit will provide eligible individual shareholders with a 5% refundable tax credit on the specified critical mineral exploration expenses that are eligible for the federal Critical Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (in addition to other eligible expenses). This change will apply to expenditures renounced under flow through share agreements on or after January 1, 2023. 

Note that this tax credit is in addition to the 100% flow-through deduction and 15% investment tax credit under related federal tax rules.

Minimum wage

The ON FES 2023 includes the government’s previous announcement to increase the general minimum wage to $16.55/hour (from $15.50/hour), effective October 1, 2023.

Other technical amendments

ON FES 2023 includes various legislative amendments to: 

  • update the Ontario Health Premium tax calculation to include split income
  • remove the rounding rule used for an individual's tax credit for Ontario minimum tax calculations
Excise tax measures


Ontario will increase its existing rebate on the provincial portion of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) for certain purpose-built rental housing, joining the federal government and some of the eastern harmonized provinces. 

The enhanced rebate will increase to 8% (i.e., the provincial portion of HST) with no maximum, from the existing rebate of 6% capped at $24,000. The expanded Ontario rebate, combined with the 5% federal rebate, will offset the full 13% HST levied on construction costs for qualifying units. 

The Ontario rebate will apply where: 

  • the building includes a minimum of four private apartments (i.e., apartments that have a private kitchen, bathroom, and living area) or 10 private rooms/suites; and
  • 90% of the units in the building are designated for long-term rental.

To qualify, construction must begin on or after September 14, 2023 and up to (and including) December 31, 2030, and completed by December 31, 2035.   

Ontario will align with the federal government, which is expected to release detailed regulations on its rebate soon. 

Gas tax 

Ontario has extended cuts to the gas tax (including diesel) to June 30, 2024 (previously set to expire on December 31, 2023). 

The relief includes a continued reduction of 5.7 cents/litre for gas and 5.3 cents/litre for diesel. These reductions hold the provincial gas and diesel tax component of fuel prices to 9 cents/litre. 

Vaping tax 

Ontario proposes to join the federal government’s vaping tax agreement to implement an additional excise duty on vaping products intended for sale in Ontario. The Ontario vaping tax will mirror the existing federal measure, with the same tax rate. Ontario states that further details will be available in the coming months.

Other notable measures

The new Ontario Infrastructure Bank

Ontario is providing an initial $3 billion investment to support a new board-governed, arm’s-length bank to help fund major infrastructure projects. The new Ontario Infrastructure Bank aims to attract investment from trusted institutional investors including public-sector pension plans. The bank will initially focus on projects such as new long-term care homes, affordable housing, municipal and community infrastructure, transportation initiatives and energy infrastructure initiatives including those involving Indigenous communities. 

Health care 

Ontario is providing more than $48 billion over the next 10 years to support several health infrastructure projects and investing $330 million annually to enhance health care access for children and youth. The province is also lowering the eligible age for publicly funded breast cancer screening to 40 (from 50).


Ontario is investing an additional $100 million in the Invest Ontario Fund to attract investments in the province.  


Ontario is investing more than $1 billion over three years in the Skilled Trades Strategy to train more skilled workers. 


Ontario is investing $200 million over three years in a new Housing-Enabling Water Systems Fund to enable the building of new housing through stronger water infrastructure. This is in addition to Ontario’s recently announced provision of $1.2 billion over three years in a new Building Faster Fund to help municipalities achieve housing targets.

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The information contained herein is general in nature and is based on proposals that are subject to change. It is not, and should not be construed as, accounting, legal or tax advice or an opinion provided by Grant Thornton LLP to the reader. This material may not be applicable to, or suitable for, specific circumstances or needs and may require consideration of other factors not described herein. 


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