An Ontario Liberal Government will Invest in Children with Autism and their Families

An Ontario Liberal Government will Invest in Children with Autism and their Families

TORONTO – “Cuts and delays to the Ontario Autism Program by Doug Ford’s Conservatives have been disastrous for many families across Ontario, who have children stuck on long and growing waitlists. Ontario Liberals will work with families to finally get this fixed, ” said Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca.

Ontario Liberals will:

  • Implement a needs-based Ontario Autism Program for every child, including Applied Behavioural Analysis, occupational therapy, mental health and speech and language pathology

  • Hire 5,000 more special education workers and reduce wait times for school services for students with autism

  • Implement a direct billing option for autism therapy

  • Conduct a comprehensive reform of special education and better transition people into adult services

“The mistakes of the past will not be repeated. To make sure, we’ll establish an independent review of autism services to document and learn from past failures, funded from outside the Ontario Autism Program budget,” continued Del Duca.

“We’ll work as quickly as possible with people with autism, families and clinicians to implement a needs-based program for every child. To ensure that families don’t have to pay out of pocket for autism services, we’ll implement a direct billing option for therapy and make Special Services at Home funding more flexible. We’ll also create new autism therapy capacity across the province and regulate the sector to ensure quality.”

“Our plan will also hire an additional special education worker for every school – more than 5,000 more professionals – to reduce wait times for services and help close learning gaps.”

“We’ll also undertake a comprehensive reform of special education and the needs of students with disabilities – including the Individual Education Plan and autism services in schools – and fix the cliff that occurs when a child with a disability ages into adult services by better aligning both systems.”

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Statement by Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca on Federal Child Care Funding

Statement by Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca on Federal Child Care Funding

QUEEN’S PARK – Steven Del Duca, Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, issued the following statement:

“I would like to start by congratulating the federal Liberals. A national child care plan, funded by the federal government and implemented in every province and territory, will change lives. It is historic, and they have every reason to be proud.

I will also say that I am disappointed that Premier Ford, who, knowing how difficult a time young families are having making ends meet, knowing that federal child care money was on offer that could change their lives, deliberately chose to make them wait, and wait, and wait for help.

The thing is, the only time child care has been a priority for Doug Ford was when he cut it in his first two years in power.

Remember this headline – it’s from the Toronto Star – May 2, 2019:

Doug Ford’s cuts put over 6,000 subsidized daycare spaces at risk, Toronto warns

Ontario is cutting a total of $80 million from licensed child care across the province, including the $50-million fund to help offset costs for licensed child-care providers

Today, Doug Ford brags about a financial agreement he could and should have gotten 6 months ago. His failure has cost families thousands. And while every other province got agreements early, many still opted to make their payments retroactive to the beginning of this year, because they knew it was needed.

Ontario was last to sign and Ontario parents will be the last to benefit from the federal funding.

Ontario Liberals are the only ones pledging that if we form government, we will make sure Ontario families do not pay the price for Doug Ford’s delays. We are the only ones who will make payments retroactive to January 1st – an average of $2,750 per child – and the only party pledging $10 per day for before and after school care by this September.

I don’t trust Doug Ford to implement this agreement. I say that not out of partisanship, but based on both his past cuts, and his negotiating priorities.

From Day 1, Doug Ford has wanted as few strings attached to this federal funding as possible. Ask yourself why and who that benefits. Again, just yesterday they were bragging about how they reduced some of those funding requirements.

We all saw Doug Ford try to profit off federal COVID funds. Let’s not let him do the same with child care.”

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Steven Del Duca Launches Ontario Liberal ‘Plan for Economic Dignity’

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TORONTO – Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca launched the Ontario Liberal Plan for Economic Dignity, the party’s first economic platform commitment ahead of the 2022 Election Campaign.

“My parents taught me the value of hardwork and the right to a fair wage. In a province as wealthy and healthy as ours, no full-time worker should struggle to make ends meet,” Del Duca said. “The Ontario Liberal Plan for Economic Dignity will provide immediate recovery for workers today, and secure new, long-term portable benefits that let all workers save for a good retirement.”

“Small business owners have always been Ontario’s greatest economic strength. An Ontario Liberal government will have their back and end Doug Ford’s Big-Box bias. A Liberal government will eliminate corporate taxes for two years on small businesses hit hard by the pandemic and remove the punitive business start-up fees and make Ontario the easiest place to be an entrepreneur,” said Del Duca.

Our plan for workers:

  • Replace the minimum wage with a regional living wage starting at $16;
  • Provide all Ontario workers with portable drug, dental, and mental health services;
  • Build to a four day work week;
  • Ban underpaid gig and contract work;
  • Ensure all Ontario businesses offer equal pay for equal work;
  • Match up to $1,000 in annual retirement savings for low-income earners, including portable savings plans for gig-workers; and
  • Provide 10 paid sick days for all Ontario workers.

Our plan for small business owners:

  • Remove corporate taxes for small businesses hit hard by the pandemic for two years;
  • Eliminate incorporation fees for new start-ups;
  • Guarantee loans to small businesses and help small businesses go digital; and
  • Cap credit card and delivery fees paid by small businesses.

 Read the full Plan for Economic Dignity here.

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The Ontario Liberal Plan for Economic Dignity

The Ontario Liberal Plan for Economic Dignity

For the last two years, much of Ontario hasn’t been “open for business.” The pandemic’s devastating impacts on people’s jobs and small businesses were made worse by Doug Ford’s chaotic decision making. He scrapped paid sick days, minimum wage increases and worker protections just before people needed them most. On top of trends around automation, gig work and off-shoring, people are feeling more and more left behind. 

People are worried about making ends meet. Even simple things, like being able to pay for groceries or take a day off, feel harder. For too many of our friends and neighbours, life hasn’t felt stable.

We need to get the fundamentals right when it comes to our economy. The jobs we create must be well-paid and allow for work-life balance. Not just generate wealth, but see that wealth spread to everyone. The people of Ontario have always been our greatest economic strength – so we need to have their back.

The Ontario Liberal Plan for Economic Dignity gives much needed relief to the workers we’ve relied on so much these past two years. One that sets us up for success in the short-term and for years to come. A plan that’s a better deal for businesses, workers, families and Ontario’s future.

A Growing Economy that Works for Everyone

✅ Replace the minimum wage with a living wage

✅ Ban unfair and underpaid gig and contract work

✅ Give 10 paid sick days to all workers

✅ Make sure every worker is covered by benefits

✅ Build to a four-day work week

✅ Celebrate self-employment and help entrepreneurs succeed

✅ Support small businesses to rebuild

“In a province as wealthy and healthy as ours, no full-time worker should struggle to make ends meet. The Ontario Liberal Plan for Economic Dignity will provide immediate recovery for workers today, and secure new, long-term portable benefits that let all workers save for a good retirement.”
— Steven Del Duca

Replace the minimum wage with a living wage

Ontario Liberals will:

  • Increase the minimum wage to $16 an hour
  • Develop a living wage structure that provides wages people can actually live on in different regions of Ontario

In a province as wealthy as Ontario, no-one should struggle to meet their basic needs – especially if they’re working full-time hours. And yet for many of Ontario’s minimum-wage workers, the paycheque from a hard week’s effort is not enough to keep up with the rising cost of living.

One of the very first things Ford Conservatives did when in office was freeze the minimum wage and scrap a planned increase to $15 an hour in 2019. We’ll increase the minimum wage to $16 an hour effective January 1, 2023 to help the more than 700,000 workers who were denied three years of increases to their wages. We’ll then consult broadly and develop a living wage structure that factors different wage rates in different regions of the province – recognizing that some areas are more expensive to meet basic needs in than others.

Ban unfair and underpaid gig and contract work

Ontario Liberals will:

  • Protect gig workers
  • Bring back equal pay for equal work and protections for on-call workers
  • Ensure production quotas are fair and safe

People who work for app-based platforms do the work of employees, but aren’t classified that way under the law. Gig work is work. Unlike Ford Conservatives who are proposing to weaken employee protections for gig and contract workers, we’ll modernize Ontario employment laws to classify gig workers as employees and give them the same rights and protections all workers have, like access to sick days, workplace insurance, holiday and severance pay and more.

When they took office, Ford Conservatives scrapped basic, common-sense worker protections. We’ll bring back these protections, including one that ensures everyone is paid equally and fairly for the work they do regardless of gender or employment status – including part-time, casual and temporary workers. We’ll also bring back rules that give workers a minimum of three hours’ pay for being on-call when they are not called in or work less than three hours.

We’ll also require companies that have production or ‘piece rate’ quotas, such as parcel delivery services, to disclose these quotas to employees and we’ll help ensure these quotas don’t push people too hard and violate occupational health or safety standards.

Give 10 paid sick days to all workers

Ontario Liberals will:

  • Provide 10 paid sick days for all workers
  • Ban employer-required doctor’s notes
  • Reimburse businesses for costs up to $200 a day

When Ford Conservatives eliminated Ontario’s paid sick day guarantee, it hurt workers. Rather than admit a mistake, they refused to bring back paid sick days even during a pandemic. Only after 412 days of public outcry and pressure did they allow for three temporary paid sick days.

As we navigate our way out of the pandemic, we’ll provide 10 paid, job-protected sick days for all workers. Paid sick days can be used for getting tested, vaccinated, isolating or providing care to others. The days can also be used for major life events that require stepping back from work, like a death in the family or pregnancy loss.

We’ll also reintroduce a ban on employers making their workers produce a sick note in order to access the leave they need, and give businesses up to $200 a day to compensate for the costs of workers taking more sick days. [cost: approx. $800 million]

Make sure every worker is covered by benefits

Ontario Liberals will:

  • Create a package of portable benefits for all
  • Help small businesses transition to providing portable benefits
  • Match savings up to $1,000 a year for low-income earners
  • Require private employer benefits to include mental health services

Around half of working people in Ontario don’t have access to basic workplace benefits like prescription drugs, dental care, vision care, mental health care, parental leave and retirement savings. We’ll create a package of high-quality and affordable benefits that everyone can use, including self-employed, gig, contract and creative workers. Employers without comparable benefits would be required to enroll their staff while offering employees the option to opt-out. The plan will be portable and able to follow workers between employers.

We’ll encourage employers to contribute to the cost of the package. Small businesses will be given an extra two years before automatic enrolment is required and provided with a tax credit to contribute up to 25% of their employees’ benefits and enhance labour retention. We’ll also make it easier for smaller employers or individual people to join pension plans, and provide low-income earners with dollar-for-dollar matching up to $1,000 a year to help save for retirement or a rainy day. [cost: approx. $280 million annually]

Right now, there’s a major gap between wanting mental health help and accessing it. As one part of our plan to get everyone the help they need, we’ll require all employer health benefit plans to cover mental health services, and include mental health coverage in our new portable benefits plan.

Build to a four-day work week

Ontario Liberals will:

  • Launch a four-day work week demonstration to show the potential

During the pandemic, people showed remarkable flexibility, innovation and resolve in embracing new ways of doing work. At the same time, people felt more depressed, anxious and overwhelmed. Adopting a four-day work week would be another change, but one that experts say could boost quality of life, work-life balance and much needed relief without a loss in productivity. We’ll work with businesses and labour groups of all types to design and evaluate the model. If a four-day work week demonstrates potential in Ontario, people could have many more “Family Day Weekends” – extra time to invest in their wellbeing and spend with loved ones.

Celebrate self-employment and help entrepreneurs succeed

Ontario Liberals will:

  • Eliminate incorporation fees for new business start-ups
  • Launch a one-stop 311-type service to help businesses navigate government supports
  • Add the option of self-employment to high school careers curriculum

For many, the pandemic has fueled an entrepreneurial spirit where people are more eager to be their own boss and have control over where, when and how they work. We want to encourage these entrepreneurs and help them succeed by eliminating incorporation fees for new business start-ups. [cost: approx. $14 million annually]

Since no business should miss out on other support or important information because of bureaucratic confusion, we’ll also launch an easy-to-use, one-stop 311-type service with self-help tools and live agent support to help businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs navigate regulations and get advice on growing their businesses. And we’ll ensure the high school careers curriculum promotes the option of self-employment and the value of entrepreneurship.

Support small businesses to rebuild

Ontario Liberals will:

  • Eliminate corporate taxes for small businesses deeply hurt by the pandemic for two years
  • Backstop loans to tens of thousands of small businesses
  • Fund programs that help small and medium-sized businesses go digital
  • Cap credit card and delivery fees charged to businesses

Small businesses are the heart of Ontario’s economy, so they are central to our recovery plan. We’ll suspend corporate income tax for small businesses most impacted by COVID-19 for 2022 and 2023 – with relief scaled to losses in revenues and eliminated entirely for businesses that lost more than 50% of revenues as a result of the pandemic. [cost: approx. $500 million over two years]

We’ll also boost the flow of capital to small businesses to fuel economic recovery and job creation, partnering with financial institutions and credit unions to backstop loans and support tens of thousands of small businesses with start-up costs like equipment and real estate through a $300 million loan portfolio. [cost: approx. $8 million]

As more of our lives have moved online, so has our economy. We’ll help Ontario businesses go digital with dedicated programs, including special streams for rural and agri-businesses. We’ll also reduce the risks to online transactions by promoting low-cost cybersecurity solutions for businesses to keep their data safe. [cost: approx. $30 million increase]

We’ll also work with federal partners to cap onerous credit card transaction fees charged to businesses, as well as introduce a permanent commission cap of 15% for restaurant food delivery service.

Del Duca Pledges Retroactive Child Care Payment to Ensure Parents Not Stuck Paying for Doug Ford’s Delay

Del Duca Pledges Retroactive Child Care Payment to Ensure Parents Not Stuck Paying for Doug Ford’s Delay

OAKVILLE – Ontario Liberals commit to getting a childcare deal with Ottawa and retroactively refunding parents the extra costs resulting from Doug Ford’s delay.

“Ontario is the only province in the country that refuses to strike a deal with the federal government to implement $10 a day child care. Enough is enough,” Del Duca said. “It’s time for Ontario to elect a government that will help families cut childcare costs at a time when they need help the most.”

“Not only will I ensure a deal with Ottawa for child care is done, but I will ensure that when we get a deal, it will include retroactive fee reductions of 50% to January 1st, 2022.” the Ontario Liberal Party Leader said. “We know families are struggling right now. It’s an insult Doug Ford and his Conservative government are stubbornly refusing to sign a child care deal with the federal government when Ontario families need help now, not higher and higher child care costs,” Del Duca said.

Ford’s dithering is costing families an average of $25/day. Already he’s cost families over $1,000 this year alone. Should Ontario Liberals form government in June, the average family would retroactively receive $2,750 per child. This is in addition to our commitment to cut the cost of before and after-school care to $10/day within 100 days of taking office, and get to $10/day licensed child care for all ages by 2024.

Read our full plan here: https://ontarioliberal.ca/care-for-every-child-in-ontario/.

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Ontario Liberal Platform to Put Parents First with Childcare Plan

Ontario Liberal Platform to Put Parents First with Childcare Plan

Toronto — “The past year has been especially hard on parents in Ontario and they deserve a Premier that puts them first. That is why Doug Ford must end his petty fight with parents and sign the Federal childcare deal to make $10/day childcare a reality for all Ontarians,” said Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca.

“If elected in June affordable childcare will be one of our first priorities and within 100 days of taking office we will also cut the cost of before and after-school care by more than 50% to $10/day.”

“Additionally the Ontario Liberal Plan will top up the 18-month parental leave program so parents can stay at home longer without losing their benefits and provide free tuition for all early childhood education programs.

“I don’t need to tell the other parents here just how important those first few years are or how hard or expensive they can be. Under our plan, Toronto families with children under 4 years of age will save almost $300 per child per week.”

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Read our full plan here: https://ontarioliberal.ca/care-for-every-child-in-ontario/