11 a.m., April 30)
drug program for children and youth just one benefit for
local residents in provincial budget
By Fred Sherwin
The Orléans Star
MPP Marie-France Lalonde announces the government's
new OHIP-plus universal drug program for children
and youth up to age 24 with Ottawa-South MPP
john Fraser at the Innes Road Shopper's Drug
Mart on Friday. Fred Sherwin/Photo
one eye fixed on next year's election, the Liberal government
unveiled the provincial budget on Thursday with several
goodies that should appeal to their base supporters.
among them is the new universal drug program for children
and youth which was unveiled in Orléans on Friday
at the Shopper's Drug Mart location at Innes and Mer Bleue
program, dubbed OHIP plus. will make prescription drugs
free for all youth, 24 and under, as of January 1, 2018.
The iniative, which comes with a $486 million price tag,
will allow individuals to simply provide their Ontario
Health Card number with their prescription.
will be automatic, with no upfront costs, and will include
drugs to treat cancer and rare diseases.
is a game-changer for residents in Ontario," said
Ottawa-Orléans MPP Marie-France Lalonde. "We
are the first jurisdiction in Canada to introduce such
a program. We believe that every individual should have
access to prescription drugs and particulary children
and youth in need up to age 24."
universal drug program is part of the Liberal government's
plans to invest $7 billion in health care services over
the next three years, $890 million of which will be used
to reduce waiting times for hip, knee and cataract surgeries.
$1.44 billion will be spent in the 2018-2019 fiscal year
as part of the government's plan to reduce hydro rates
by an average of 25 per cent starting this summer, and
its commitment to freeze future rate increases to the
rate of inflation while providing an eight per cent rebate
to cover the provincial portion of the HST starting January
Liberals also plan to spend more than $200 million in
next fiscal year to increase accessibility and affordability
of licensed child care centres; another $85 million will
be invested in the creation of additional long-term care
facilities; and $100 million has been earmarked over the
next three years to help seniors suffering from dementia.
students who are graduating this summer and will miss
out on the government program announced in last year's
budget which will provide free tuition for students whose
parents make less than $90,000 starting this September,
won't have to start paying back their OSAP loans until
they make over $35,000.
all the spending, the Liberals are forcasting balanced
budgets for the next three years after 10 years of deficits
during which the overall provincial debt increased $90
billion to $332.4 billion.
that economic growth is generating an increase in provincial
revenues to the point where there's enough money to produce
a balanced budget, pay down the debt, or reduce taxes,
depending on the priorities of the government of the day,
Lalonde is adament that Ontario residents want to see
the government invest in health care and education.
commitment remains strong on health care, including access
to mental health services; education, where we plan to
reduce class sizes to 25 for Grades 5-8; and in providing
Ontarians with decent quality of life by indexing the
minimum wage," said Lalonde.
debate over whether or not the increase in provincial
reveues should be spent on infrastucture and social programs,
or paid back in the form of tax cuts will be debated hotly
over the coming months and into next year's provincial
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
of our local business partners.)
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