Recently, the provincial government presented its 2018 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review. The Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review is an update to the government's plan and includes an overview of expenses and revenues, key investments, program/policy changes. Below is our summary of the Provincial government's plan with respect to housing and healthcare. We have also included links below to the fall statement, media coverage and other information.
We will continue to monitor the areas of housing and mental health and addictions, providing updates as they come in. We will also be looking closely at the details of the government's new Housing Supply and Action Plan as they become available.
The PC government addressed the challenges around housing affordably due to inadequate supply and increasing demand in the GTA. This as we know has led to higher housing prices and rents. The government cites that rent control policies weaken investment incentives and construction activity which have played a role in limiting supply growth in purpose-built rental housing.
Housing Action Plan
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing will launch a Housing Supply Action Plan in spring 2019. The multi-pronged Action Plan will aim at increasing housing supply by addressing barriers that inhibit the development of ownership and rental housing.
The plan will be informed by immediate public and stakeholder consultations and will focus on actions to help increase supply and address longer term outcomes. The timing for the plan's roll out will be over the next 18 months. TAEH will strive to be in those consultations and try to keep a focus on how this can produce more deeply affordable housing.
Rental Housing Market
The Provincial government has addressed the need for more purpose-built rental housing. The undersupply of purpose-built rental units has been a contributing factor to historically low vacancy rates in the rental market, particularly the GTA.
To encourage more housing supply, the government has said it will enact policies to increase the supply of housing in Ontario by reintroducing the rent control exemption (i.e. reversing the last government's extension of rent control) that will apply to new rental units occupied after November 15, 2018. TAEH will be exploring what that means for deeply affordable housing.
The Province will follow-through on its commitment to preserve rent control for existing tenants. There was no indication whether any other changes may be made to the act.
The government will also cancel the Development Charges Rebate Program which they estimate will save approximately $100 million over the next four years.
Mental Health and Addictions
Ontario has committed to spending $1.9 billion over 10 years on mental health and additions services, matching the federal government's 2017 budget commitment.
The government will be working closely with front-line care providers, along with mental health and addictions organizations, hospitals and patients. Investments this year will address hallway health care and connect people with mental health and addictions issues with supports
The investments will:
Prioritize a reduction in wait times and focus on creating support today to intervene early, so patients can receive the help they need to recover sooner;
Provide faster access by investing in mental health and opioid addiction treatment services; and
Provide a new, enhanced approach to addictions treatment and rehabilitation services through the new Consumption and Treatment Services model.
Access to Treatment
The Province is providing funding to expand the scope and coverage of Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinics for individuals with substance abuse issues that require specialized, evidenced-based addiction medicine support by creating new or expanded RAAMs in communities of high need.
·RAAM clinics provide patients with immediate access to low-barrier, short term addictions treatment until the patients is stabilized and can be linked with appropriate care in the community for ongoing support.
Hallway Health Care
Capacity challenges with unsustainable hospital occupancy levels are contributing to the use of hallway health care.
In 2018-19, the government has invested an additional $90 million for 1,100 beds and spaces in hospitals and the community, including the creation of over 640 new beds and spaces as an immediate measure.
The Province is also adding 6,000 new long-term care beds across Ontario.
The government is committed to investing more than $300 million to support these new beds which represent the first wave of more than 15,000 new long term care beds the government committed to build over the next five years.
Personal Support Worker Agency review
The government has wound down the Self-Directed Personal Support Services Ontario agency to reduce the administrative burden of home care delivery. The wind down has had no impact on home care clients. The Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) will continue to provide services and support to eligible clients and families under another self-directed care initiative, the Family-Managed Home Care program.
We've included a few links to media coverage as well as the official news release and legislative statement. As always, we will continue to monitor and provide updates as they come in.
Ontario Government News Release