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Ford government to unveil first budget since winning majority

Last Updated Apr 11, 2019 at 12:15 pm EDT

Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli tables the government's Fall Economic Statement for 2018-2019 at Queen's Park in Toronto on Nov. 15, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government is set to table its first budget Thursday afternoon.

Premier Doug Ford has said the fiscal plan will lay out what he calls a thoughtful path to a balanced budget, though he has not said how long it will take to eliminate a $13.5-billion deficit.

The Tories pegged the deficit from the previous Liberal government at $14.5 billion after winning a majority in last year’s provincial election, however, the financial accountability officer has said it was closer to $12 billion.

The $1-billion reduction so far in the deficit is largely due to higher sales and corporate income tax revenues, Ontario’s third-quarter finances indicate.

Opposition politicians have accused the Tories of inflating the deficit so they can justify cuts to programs and services.

Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy has said he would like to cut waste and the $12.5 billion a year the province spends on interest on its nearly $350-billion debt.

Sources have said the budget will include free dental care for low-income seniors.

Education Minister Lisa Thompson has also hinted that child care news will be coming in the budget.

The Tories promised during the election that families would receive a rebate of up to 75 per cent of their childcare expenses, up to $6,750 per child until age six. For kids between six and 15, families would receive up to $3,750.

During the campaign, the Tories said it would work on a sliding scale based on family income.

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