Local Member of Provincial Parliament for Kingston and the Islands Ted Hsu provided his perspective on the Throne speech and new budget introduced by the Ontario government on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022.
The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, opened the province’s 43rd Parliament by delivering the Speech from the Throne, and Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy tabled the new Ontario budget immediately afterward from Queen’s Park on Tuesday afternoon.
Much of the Throne speech and tabled budget focused on inflation and the increased costs that Ontarians have borne over the past few years.
“People are now paying more for every day goods like groceries and gas, putting increased strain on household budgets, particularly for low-income families. Long-planned vacations are being put on hold as small family pleasures like a meal out at a favourite local restaurant become just a little out of reach,” said Dowdeswell in her readng of the Throne speech.
“To help those who qualify for disability support, the government is delivering on its commitment to increase the rates for income support by five per cent beginning in September 2022, for families and persons under the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP),” the Ford government announced during the introduction of the budget. “Beginning in September, the government will increase both the ODSP rate and the Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities Program maximum monthly amount by five per cent. Future ODSP rates will also be adjusted to inflation.”
Hsu, who has been given the Ontario Liberal Party critic roles for Energy, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, and Citizenship and Multiculturalism, provided a response shortly thereafter, honing in on the Ford government’s proposed rate of increase for income support, saying that an increase of five per cent was not nearly enough.
“The small size of this increase, when compared to the cumulative inflation over recent years, is wholly inadequate and unconscionable,” Hsu responded. “People on ODSP have lost more ground. Premier Ford should have spent more time during the election campaign talking to voters at the doors. He would have heard from real people on ODSP about how they have been crushed by the dramatic rise in cost of living. They needed help yesterday.”
“The throne speech also said that, in the ‘coming months’ ODSP would become adjusted for inflation,” Hsu continued. “I urge Premier Ford to reconsider his numbers and, to be fair, set the reference point for that inflation adjustment well back in the past.”
Nothing in the Ontario budget as tabled is set in stone; it will be debated and voted on over several weeks during the summer session of the Ontario Legislature.