Ontario Provincial Election Primer 2018. Undecided? Read This!


On June 7th, 2018, Ontarians will get an opportunity to vote in an election which will shape the way our province runs for the next 4-years.

The decision we make, has to be made based on what is best for the collective whole, what is best for us, and what is best for the next generation of Ontario Taxpayers, and not based on what people will say about us, our Province, our Premier or our Prime Minister.

The task is a tough one, but let’s try to shed some light on the platforms and what to expect for the next 4-years, and see if that helps you decide who gets your vote.

In 2014, the Ontario Liberal Government made these promises;

Personal taxes

Liberal 2014 pledge was to “Raise taxes on top 2% of Ontario earners”

In order to see how they did, I pulled the Ontario tax rates from the Canadian Tax Returns from 2010-2018.

Ontario tax rates

2018: 5.05% on income of $42,960 or less, 9.15% on $42,963-$64,077, 11.16% on $64,077-$70,000,  12.16% on $70,000-$220,000 and 13.16% on income over $220,000.

2017: $42,201 or less @5.05%, $42,201-$84,404 @ 9.15%, $84,404-$150,000 @ 11.16%, $150,000-$220,000 @ 12.16%, over $220,000 @ 13.16%

2016: $41,536 or less @ 5.05%, $41,536-$83,075 @ 9.15%, $83,075-$150,000 @ 11.16%, $150,000-$220,000 @ 12.16%, Over $220,000 @ 13.16%.

2015: Less than $40,922 @ 5.05%, $40,922-$81,847 @ 9.15%, $81,847-$150,000 @ 11.16%, $150,000-$220,000 @ 12.16%, and income more than $220,000 @ 13.16%

2014: $40,120 or less @ 5.05%, $40,120-$80,342 @ 9.15%, $80,242-$150,000 @ 11.16%, $150,000-$240,000 @ 12.16%, More than $220,000 @ 13.16%

2013: $39,723 or less @5.05%, $39,723-$79,448 @ 9.15%, $79,448-$509,000 @11.16%, over $509,000 @13.16%

2012: $39,020 or less @ 5.05%, $39,020 – $78,043 @ 9.15%, $78,043-$500,000 @ 11.16%, More than $500,000 @ 12.16%.

2011: $37,774 or less @ 5.05%, $37,774-$75,550 @ 9.15%, More than $75,550 @ 11.16%.

2010: $37,106 or less @ 5.05%, $37,106-$74,214 @ 9.15%, More than $74,214 @ 11.16%

 

As you can see, the tax brackets move year over year, and there have been additional tax brackets added. Here is how much Ontarians earned, according to Statistics Canada census.

According to Statistics Canada

Individuals by total income level, by province and territory (Ontario)
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
number of persons
Total, all income groups 9,741,870 9,743,420 9,867,280 10,083,520 10,157,280
Under $5,000 872,840 799,690 805,190 855,500 764,990
$5,000 and over 8,869,030 8,943,730 9,062,090 9,228,020 9,392,290
$10,000 and over 8,155,630 8,245,590 8,375,390 8,562,450 8,748,520
$15,000 and over 7,219,670 7,322,660 7,457,070 7,655,920 7,878,190
$20,000 and over 6,301,960 6,416,620 6,545,820 6,745,310 6,974,390
$25,000 and over 5,530,610 5,645,750 5,772,340 5,959,770 6,184,900
$35,000 and over 4,334,550 4,460,560 4,582,210 4,749,620 4,948,440
$50,000 and over 2,852,030 2,972,470 3,087,320 3,230,610 3,394,390
$75,000 and over 1,404,030 1,487,700 1,574,090 1,668,890 1,771,250
$100,000 and over 658,520 707,620 766,990 819,960 886,190
$150,000 and over 231,310 246,520 265,550 278,330 305,590
$200,000 and over 122,190 128,140 136,290 141,740 157,450
$250,000 and over 78,370 81,210 86,300 88,600 98,750
$
Median total income 30,290 31,310 31,820 32,380 33,840

According to Statistics Canada, in 2015, there were 10,157,280 Ontario Taxpayers.

For the Liberals to increase taxes on the top 2% of them would, mean increasing taxes for approximately, 203,145.6 Ontarians, which would be every Ontarian earning over $200,000 per year.

It looks like that has happened, and I’m sure many would support that, but have a closer look at the numbers, and you will see that in 2013, the top tax rate of 13.16% applied only to Ontarians earning over $500,000, but that was dropped in 2014 to apply to Ontarians who earned over $220,000.

In 2013, if you earned $200,000, your tax rate was 9.16%. In 2014, it was 12.16%, and in 2015, it was 13.16%

That is a 4% increase on the highest income earners!

Wait until later in this post to see what the Liberals did to the “middle class” and how much their taxes increased!

 

Corporate taxes

In 2014, the Liberals promised to;

  • Maintain corporate tax rate at 11.5% for now
  • Increase tax rate on aviation fuel
  • Remove small business tax deduction currently used by large businesses

Fact: Ontario Corporate Tax Rates have a low and a high, and in 2018, the rate was 3.5%-11.5%.

The low end is one of the highest in Canada, while the high end is one of the lowest in Canada.

Under the Liberal government who states that Corporations must pay their fair share, the Ontario General corporate income tax rate was:

14% before July 1, 2010

12% June 30, 2010

11.5% after June 30, 2011.

 

In the most recent budget, the Ontario Liberal government matched the Federal Liberal government and got rid of the Small Business Deduction – which reduced the corporate income tax rate on the first $500,000 of active business income of Canadian‑controlled private corporations (CCPC) earned to 4.5%.

As of January 1, 2018, the lower rate of Ontario corporate income tax decreased from 4.5% to 3.5% and CCPC’s with taxable capital is between $10 million and $15 million are no longer eligible for the preferential corporate income tax rate of 4.5% on the first $500,000 of active business income.

 

Jobs

In 2014, the Ontario Liberals pledged to;

  • Increase minimum wage to $11/hour
  • Spend $2.5 billion over 10-years on a Jobs and Prosperity Fund to attract and keep businesses in the province
  • Spend $38-million in the Youth Employment Fund in 2014-15 until September 2015
  • Simplify and restructure Foreign Credential Recognition Program
  • Spend $25-million in the Aboriginal Economic Development Fund over 3 years to promote aboriginal business
  • Create a regulated crowdfunding system
  • Spend $75-million on a “wine strategy” to encourage exports of Ontario VQA winesAside from really jacking up the minimum wage which resulted in the largest loss of part-time jobs in the history of this province, the government spent a lot of our taxpayer dollars in areas which are difficult to measure the cost to job ratio.

Deficit

In 2014, the Liberals pledged to;

  • Balance the budget by 2017-18

Not even close! Between 2007-08 and 2018-19, Ontario’s debt grew from $157 billion to $325 billion.

One only has to look at this chart from the National Post to see the damage that Liberal Spending has done to the deficit, which we all have to pay back, eventually.

In 1985, the Liberals under David Peterson arrived, marking the defeat of Ontario’s four-decade conservative dynasty.

In 1990, Bob Rae became premier with the NDP forming Ontario’s government for the first time in history and their tenure coincided with the worst recession since the end of WWII, resulting in plunging revenues and growing expenditures in an effort to maintain services and stimulate the economy.

The resulting deficits were as high as $12.4 billion and saw the accumulation of $63.4 billion in net public debt.

By 1995, Ontario’s net public debt had reached $101.9 billion.

The NDP government was replaced in 1995 by Mike Harris’s Conservative government, which began expenditure reduction (cut costs) and restructuring to balance the budget as well as tax reductions to stimulate the economy.

Lower taxes, lower interest rates and a booming U.S. economy together helped Ontario’s economy rebound and government revenues grew, helping close the budgetary gap.

Ontario balanced its budget by 1999 but its net debt still grew to $138.8-billion under Ernie Eves in 2003 from $101.9-billion in 1995.

The defeat of Eves ushered in the Liberals under Dalton McGuinty in 2003 and then Kathleen Wynne in 2013.

This period witnessed the largest debt accumulation in Ontario’s history.

Between 2003 and 2014, Ontario’s net public debt grew to $287.3 billion from $138.8 billion – an increase of $148.5-billion.

The Liberals reduced it once, by $1.1 billion dollars after selling of part of Hydro 1, but that surely cannot be the only way to pay down the debt, can it?  Once all the assets are gone, what would they use?

Ontario has been a province since 1867 but 87% of its net public debt was accumulated in the years since 1990.

*** Interest on this debt is $11 billion a year! ***

 

Health care

In 2014, the Liberals pledged;

  • Increase hourly wage for personal support workers by $1.50 in 2014 and 2015 and $1 in 2016
  • $20-million to improve access to primary care physicians
  • Expand home, community and supported home care for 46,000 more seniors
  • Access to dental services for 70,000 more children in low-income families
  • Create low-income health benefit to provide vision care, drug coverage and mental health services to low-income families
  • Eliminate service waitlists for 21,000 people with developmental disabilities
  • $5-million to Children’s treatment centres
  • Expand and improve hospitals over a 10-year plan
  • Cap or cut hospital parking fees for frequent hospital visits
  • Establish Patient Ombudsman

 

Unfortunately, this Liberal government will be known for failing hospitals, failing patients, and failing to take full care of the lowest income earners.

Instead of free medication for the poorest Ontarians, the Liberals provided free medication for children.

Nursing homes are still over crowded. Hospitals are still over crowded. Doctor’s are leaving the province due to the Liberals poor negotiation / tax increase on them.

Pensions/Seniors

  • The Provincial Pension Plan to provide further retirement savings to the Canada Pension Plan

But thanks to the Federal Liberal government, this did not happen and while the concept was a good idea, the burden of cost for administering this program would fall to the employers, who have already been hit with increased taxes, and in 2014, had no idea what was to come with the sharp rise in the minimum wage.

 

Education

  • Implement full-day kindergarten for 4 and 5 year-olds by September 2014
  • Expand student nutrition program to 340 more schools
  • Integrate 60 minutes of physical activity into the school day
  • 3-year $150-million spent on technology and learning fund for tools such as tablets and cameras and professional development for teachers
  • $10-million to create Experience Ontario – Done – Experience Ontario is a pilot program for a limited number of recent high school graduates who have an interest in attending postsecondary education or apprenticeship training, but are uncertain of their next steps.
  • Keep 30% off tuition grant for post-secondary students – Hidden tax increase because if tuition drops by 30% and teachers / teaching assistants, etc., keep getting pay raises, then who gets to make up the difference… Ontario Taxpayers!
  • Build new post-secondary campuses and create spaces for 15,000 more students – this was announced – to be built in Markham – a joint venture between Seneca College and York University. Ironically, after the York University FINALLY opened, a mere 10-years later than it should have, the government plans to build this campus where there is no underground service… Can you say commuter University part 2.

 

Transportation/Transit

In 2014, the Ontario Liberals pledged to;

  • Invest $15-billion in transit projects in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, including the electrification of GO Express Rail and downtown relief line
  • All-day regional express rail GO service in Waterloo Region
  • Invest $14-billion in transit projects outside GTHA, including $1-billion in Ring of Fire transportation infrastructure
  • Two-way, all-day GO Train service in more communities
  • $2.5-billion for highways including expanding Hwy. 427 and expanding Hwy. 7 to four lanes between Kitchener and Guelph

They didn’t agree to speed up the building of current Toronto projects like the Eglinton LRT, or the proposed Finch LRT, which has been dragging along for 6-years costing commuters and business owners significant amounts of money each and every day. Ultimately, they can propose what they want, but they have to get the job done, and that has not happened, anywhere.  Traffic is getting worse by the day.

 

Consumers

  • Lower auto insurance rates by an average of 15% by August 2015
  • Create Consumer Bill of Rights

This pledge was a giant joke, as Ontarians pay some of the highest insurance rates in the world, while Ontario insurance companies make some of the highest profits in the world.  Additionally, what good is a Bill of Rights without any teeth? 

Family care

  • Pay for one cycle of in vitro fertilization – check. Good one!
  • Increase Ontario Child Benefit to $1,310 & index it to inflation afterward – done. Currently at $1378 per child per year.
  • Call on federal parties to include a national child care program in 2015 election platforms… Err, okay, this has not happened. Maybe they should focus on, I don’t know, Ontario!
  • Increase Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program rates for people with disabilities by 1% in 2014-15

Where was removing the Child Fitness Tax Credit??? Wasn’t mentioned but was removed – essentially a tax increase! Families put kids in programs for health and due to the tax incentive.  The removal of this credit is significant, sadly.

WSIB is killing Ontario businesses due to the costs to administer and it punishes the workers. This needed a major overhaul, but wasn’t touched.

 

Environment/Energy

  • Eliminate debt retirement charge on residential electricity bills
  • Develop program to reduce electricity bills for low-income families
  • Keep Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program to help businesses reduce energy costs
  • Expand outer boundary of Greenbelt over next six years
  • Promote urban forestry
  • Address algae problems in Great Lakes
  • $30-million over next 10 years to maintain Walkerton Clean Water Centre
  • $30-million over next three years to promote local food
  • $25-million over three years for cycling strategy CycleOn
  • Expand provincial trail network

I’m not even going to touch this disaster portfolio by the Liberals. They spent, spent and then spent more, and they taxed, raised, and increased anything and everything to pay for their out-of-control spending. Gas taxes went up, user fees increased, hydro coasts soared, Liberals went to jail, Liberals went on trial, and everybody had to pay.

 

Political reforms

  • Maintain MPPs’ salary freeze – still $116,500 as it was in 2008. Not even increased in line with inflation. That must suck.
  • Cap public sector and broader public sector executives’ salaries – check
  • Reduce number of government agencies by 30% in 2015

There are currently 28 Ontario Agencies;

Accessibility Directorate of Ontario
Government & Consumer Services
Environment & Climate Change
Citizenship & Immigration
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Attorney General
Natural Resources & Forestry
Children and Youth Services
Municipal Affairs
Health and Long-Term Care
Treasury Board Secretariat
Tourism, Culture and Sport
Labour
Natural Resources & Forestry
Community Safety and Correctional Services
Education
Finance
Advanced Education and Skills Development
Transportation
Northern Development and Mines
Research, Innovation and Science
Energy
Infrastructure
International Trade
Housing
Children and Youth Services
Francophone Affairs
Community and Social Services

In 2010, I counted 26 of them. I’m sure there must be more, but merging them together doesn’t mean efficiencies were created, it just means fewer web-pages to have to update.

  • Introduce financial accountability officer – done
  • Give municipalities option of ranked ballots as an alternative to first-past-the-post in elections

After a review of the facts, this government has essentially lived up to their spending promises, however, there are 2 areas where I believe they failed miserably;

  1. Spending, and
  2. Taxation.

Increased spending where there is a balanced budget means the government takes in X amount of dollars in tax from Ontarians, and spends X amount of dollars.Unfortunately for all Ontarians, the government took in X amount of dollars from Ontarians, yet spent hundreds of billions of dollars more than they took in.

The effect of this spending means that Ontario has to borrow the money and has to pay interest on this borrowed money.

The amount Ontario has borrowed, or the deficit, currently stands at $325 billion dollars!

Imagine earning $100,000 per year, and borrowing $30 million dollars from the bank?  Then having to borrow more and more each year just to make the minimum payments on the interest to stay out of bankruptcy?  That debt will never be paid off unless you earn significantly more amounts of money, reduce all of your expenses, and if the lender agrees to reduce the interest.

If, however, the bank calls the loan, then you are bankrupt.

The same holds true for provinces.

The long-term effect of this irresponsible spending is that going forward for every X dollars the province brings in as tax dollars, there is an amount, let’s call it Y, which the government MUST pay in interest to the bank on the money they had to borrow. That means in order to balance a budget, they have to get even more money from Ontarians, which means even higher taxes, or they have to cut spending.

But if they cut spending, then they have to cut services, which is what they claim the Conservatives always do, so they don’t cut expenses or raise taxes, they do it in a much sneakier way so that you never know they are doing it.

One way this government has reduced spending and increased taxes, for example, is by getting rid of tax credits or deductions, such as the Child Tax Credit, or the Transit Credit. By not allowing these credits, the government no longer has accept less taxes from Ontarians and they win again because either these Ontarians will get back less taxes (because no deduction).

It’s brilliant.

It’s devious.

It’s immoral.

It’s like reducing the size of a jar but charging the same price. Consumers think they’re getting the same amount for their dollars, but in fact they are getting less and paying the same.

If the government told you back in 2014 that they would spend the province into bankruptcy and increase taxes by 3-4% on every Ontarian earning over $40,000/year while cutting credits and deductions, would you have voted for them?

Funny how that was never discussed…

 

Note: By moving the middle tax bracket, your $70,000 of income in 2014 put you in the 9.15% tax bracket, but in 2018, it puts you in the 12.16% tax bracket. That move increases taxes on the “middle class” without increasing the tax rate.  This was done while both the Liberal governments here in Ontario and Federally have been campaigning against the “rich and wealthy.”

These adjustments, along with the adding of levies, and user fees, and all those other words which mean tax, is just another way to prove that this government is underhanded and untrustworthy.

So instead of posting each parties platform and going through the pros and cons of each government, I decided to save everyone time and pull out what I feel really matters.

Liberals: More spending. Budget not balanced until 2024-2025.  Wave hands, and magically increase taxes on everyone over $50,000.

NDP: Even more spending.  Remove the power for governments to call an end to strikes. Debt and deficit to continue to grow.  Money to come from increasing taxes on the”rich” which we now know to be everyone over $40,000 per year.

Conservative: One or 2 years of deficit, then balanced budget and begin paying down the debt.  Plan to get more money into the governments pockets is not through increasing the tax rate, but by lowering taxes, gas, hydro, and letting Ontarians spend more money because 8% of that HST (consumption tax) belongs to Ontario.

Green: Increase spending for 2-3 years, no balanced budget for 3-4 years, and increased revenue to come from taxing the “rich” taxpayers and corporations.

 

Personally, if you ask, I’d rather tighten my belt buckle now and pay that bit extra in order to see the deficit reduced so that my children are not paying for this in the next 5-10 years.  Unfortunately, because the Liberals typically spend without consideration for where the money to pay for it will come from, it puts the next governing party in a bad light because they have to reduce waste, and cut where the Liberals didn’t want to.  It’s a great strategy to keep getting elected, but as a Taxpayer its annoying and unfair.

Good luck and get out there and vote!  It’s your democratic right!

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