Mar 28, 2018

By Michael Kramer

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Ontario’s Liberal government has tabled a pre-election budget with spending that targets nearly every voter demographic – while projecting a $6.7-billion deficit.

The 2018-2019 budget, tabled by Finance Minister Charles Sousa, includes billions in spending on health care, child care and seniors.

The $158.5-billion fiscal plan puts the province back into the red – after the Liberals balanced the books last year – with the government now saying it expects to run deficits until 2024-2025.

Today’s budget promises new spending on a drug and dental care program created for people without coverage – that will launch in summer 2019 and cost $800 million over its first two years.

The fiscal plan further includes a new program that helps seniors aged 75 or older offset the costs of maintaining their homes – and will cost $1 billion over three years.

The budget also contains recently announced spending on health care, including a promised $2.1 billion for mental health services over four years and $822 million earmarked for hospital funding – as well as a $2.2 billion plan to provide free child care for preschoolers starting in 2020.

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