The Ontario government’s 2010 provincial budget sets out a cautious fiscal plan for the coming year. In our 2010 pre-budget submission, the Wellesley Institute encouraged Ontario to invest in equity and innovation to ensure a healthy future. Here is a first glimpse at the Ontario budget and the three core recommendations proposed by the Wellesley Institute:
1) WI recommendation: Maintain current affordable housing investments and increase housing funding by $289 million to meet the growing needs of precariously housed Ontarians. Ontario budget 2010: Province will spend $330 million this year to match federal housing investments, as they promised last year. However, budget 2010 calls for a cut in the operating / capital budget of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to $646.4 million.
2) WI recommendation: Create a health equity innovation fund of $43 million. Ontario budget 2010: No funding for health equity investments. However, the province has promised to launch a review of the Public Hospitals Act “to create a hospital system that taps into the expertise of community partners and health care professionals”. And the budget also announces a “thorough review” of Local Health Integration Networks as part of the Local Health System Integration Act, 2006.
3) WI recommendation: Capitalize the social innovation fund proposed by the Ontario government two years ago. Ontario budget 2010: No investments in social innovation. However, the Ontario government will increase funding for its Youth Opportunities Strategy to $22 million. The province is flat-lining its annual investment in the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which supports innovation in the social sector, at $120 million.