Pocketbook Initiatives Making Life in Ontario More Affordable: Ontario is continuing to strengthen consumer rights and lower the cost of living for people across the province – especially for middle-income families and individuals.
The province released its 2014 Pocketbook Initiatives Progress Report today. It highlights what the government is doing to help people as they try to balance their household budget and save for the future.
Key accomplishments since 2003 that are helping people alleviate everyday financial pressures include:
- Moving forward with a made-in-Ontario plan to improve retirement security.
- Strengthening consumer protection legislation. The Wireless Services Agreements Act ensures companies provide consumers with clear information and fewer surprises when they enter into wireless services contracts. The Stronger Protection for Ontario Consumers Act provides consumers with more protections in door-to-door water heater rentals and sales, debt settlement services, real estate fees and commissions and transparency in real estate transactions.
- Increasing the minimum wage to $11 an hour, effective June 1, 2014, and introducing legislation that would index it to inflation.
- Reducing auto insurance rates by an average of close to six per cent, with the goal of reaching an average rate reduction of 15 per cent by August 2015.
- Establishing a fairer, more consistent approach to tuition billing at colleges and universities.
- Reducing generic drug prices to help families manage their health care costs.
- Helping seniors get the care they need at home by increasing funding for home care.
- Investing $900 million in programs and services designed to help new Ontarians settle and enter the workforce.
- Helping Ontario families manage rising energy costs as the province transitions to cleaner power through programs such as the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit and the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit.
- Creating the 30% Off Ontario Tuition grant in 2012, which has helped 667,000 postsecondary students offset the cost of tuition.
Making people’s everyday lives better and more affordable is part of the government’s economic plan. The comprehensive plan and its six priorities focus on Ontario’s greatest strengths – its people and strategic partnerships.
- Since 2003, Ontario has invested nearly $3 billion towards affordable housing – that’s the largest investment in the province’s history.
- In 2012-13, Ontario provided $5 million in distance grants to support the educational aspirations of 13,000 students from remote and rural areas.
- To keep up with the rising cost of children’s activities, the province has indexed the Children’s Activity Tax Credit to inflation.
Office of the Premier, April 21, 2014