Here are some of the highlights from Ontario's 2017-18 budget.

What’s new

  • Free prescription drugs for Ontarians under 24
  • New taxing powers for municipalities
  • 24,000 daycare spaces this fiscal year
  • Price of cigarettes continues to rise
  • New GO train routes to Grimsby, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls

Health care - Introducing OHIP+ Children and Youth Pharmacare

  • Free prescription drugs for Ontarians under 24, regardless of income
  • Starts January 1, 2018
  • Covers 4400 medicines included in the ODB program (Ontario Drug Benefit)
  • Includes inhalers, antibiotics and birth control
  • Includes medication for acute and chronic conditions
  • Will cost province $465M per year
  • This will affect 4 million Ontarians

$7B new healthcare spending

  • Public funding for new abortion pill
  • Reducing wait times
  • $32M stem cell transplants for cancer patients
  • (helping up to 150 Ontarians suffering from blood cancer)
  • Expanding mental health, addiction services
  • Funds for hospital construction, operations

New taxing powers for cities

  • Ontario will amend legislation to boost taxing powers
  • Toronto will have ability to implement hotel tax
  • Toronto will have ability to tax vacant property owners


  • 24,000 new daycare spaces this fiscal year
  • Part of 100,000 new spaces that will be created over next five years
  • 60 per cent of the new spaces will be subsidized
  • 3,100 subsidized spaces in Toronto

Balanced budget

  • First balanced budget since 2008/2009
  • No surplus
  • Budget projected to remain balanced until 2020
  • Ontario’s net debt is $312B
  • Debt to GDP ratio expected to continue trending downward

  New cigarette tax

  • Cartons will cost $10 more in next three years
  • As of midnight, cartons will cost $2 more
  • An additional $4 in 2018, $4 in 2019
  • Last year, Ontario raised price of carton by $3


  • Gives Toronto taxing powers on vacant homes
  • Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan
  • 15 per cent tax on foreign investors
  • Land transfer tax refund doubled to $4K for first-time homebuyers
  • Rent control for all privately owned buildings after 1991
  • $125M over 5 years to encourage development of rental buildings

Affordable Housing in Toronto

  • $130M for retrofitting affordable housing in Toronto
  • Provincial land to be used for social housing
  • Minimum 20 per cent of land will be used for social housing
  • Grosvenor/Grenville and West Donlands sites to be used for 2,000 new housing units in Toronto

New GO Train routes

  • Weekday GO train to Grimsby by 2021
  • Weekday GO train to Grimsby, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls by 2023