Ontario dips into reserves to cover increased costs of free tuition and college strike

Ontario dips into reserves to cover increased costs of free tuition and college strike

Higher costs for student loans – including for college learners whose courses were extended because of a fall strike — forced the province to dip into its $500 million reserve fund in the third quarter.

But Finance Minister Charles Sousa said Thursday the Liberal government remains “on track” to balance its budget before the June 7 election.

The finance department’s report on three months ending Dec. 31 said “greater demand” for free tuition following the early launch of Ontario Student Assistance Plan applications pushed costs up by $118 million.

Another $20 million went to college students following a five-week strike that forced some programs to continue into the New Year.

The government spent a further $8 million to provide fare discounts to PRESTO card users transferring from GO Transit lines or the Union-Pearson Express to the TTC.

Overall, expenses in the quarter were $215 million more than forecast in last spring’s budget.

Revenues came in $115 million higher, with drops in personal income taxes and land transfer taxes offset by higher revenues from corporation taxes and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

 

https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2018/02/15/ontario-dips-into-reserves-to-cover-increased-costs-of-free-tuition-and-college-strike.html