The government is staying firm on its promise to raise licence plate renewal fees in southern Ontario to $82 this year, an increase of $8. That fee will rise to $98 by 2014 and is just part of a series of fee increases on drivers' licence renewals and heavy truck licences that the government says will bring in an extra $340 million annually by 2015.
The government says such fees will go towards investments in public transit, road safety, and highway maintenance and infrastructure.
Seniors with annual incomes of more than $100,000 will pay a larger share of their prescription drug costs starting in August 2014 as part of the government's efforts to improve the fairness of the Ontario Drug Benefit program. Under the new plan, high-income seniors will pay a deductible of $100 plus three per cent of income over $100,000. Senior couples with a combined income of over $160,000 will pay a deductible of $200 and three per cent of their combined income over $160,000.
“This change will affect only about five per cent of Ontario's seniors — those with the highest incomes,” said Finance Minister Dwight Duncan in his budget speech. “And it will bring Ontario in line with other provinces that have an income test for drug benefits, so that the highest-income seniors pay a greater share of their drug costs.”
Duncan told reporters earlier in the day that he believes the government should not be paying the full drug cost for people who are “really wealthy.”
Starting in 2015, homebuyers can expect to pay between one and two per cent more in fees related to land registrations and writ services. In Toronto, typical closing costs on the purchase of a home are around $4,600. Land registration and writ fees currently represent about six per cent of these closing costs.
Also on the government's radar are companies that use large quantities of water in manufacturing by expanding the province’s user-pay model. Currently, bottled water manufacturers, ready-mix concrete and fertilizer makers pay $3.71 for every million litres of water they use. The plan is to expand into other industries, such as petroleum, mining, food production and recreation. The Liberals say the new user-pay model will generate $3.5 million in 2013-14 and $6 million in 2014-15.
Businesses whose operations impact the environment will also have to pay more government approvals, a revision that will generate an additional $3.8 million in 2013-14.
Finally, tonnage fees for hazardous and liquid industrial waste will be raised to create more incentives to reduce or recycle, an initiative that is forecast to bring in $2.5 million in 2014-15.
Author: Kenyon Wallace