In this Quarterly Report, the Institute evaluates new policies announced in Ontario’s Speech from the Throne: creating 100,000 new childcare spaces, providing relief on electricity bills, and implementing a renewed math strategy. We also cover new policies introduced in the 2016 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: addressing housing affordability and two new programs under the Business Growth Initiative that are targeted at helping firms scale up. The Institute provides a grade for each policy:
Business Growth Initiative – scaling up programs (grade A-):
- The programs target funds towards scaling up activities and opportunities with high-growth potential.
- Still, there is no clear measurement for success in place.
Renewed math strategy (grade B):
- The strategy devotes significant resources toward professional development and increased math instruction.
- The strategy does not address issues in the curriculum or inadequate math training of teachers before they begin teaching.
Creating 100,000 new childcare spaces (grade B):
- The policy directly tackles the lack of available spaces.
- As the province with the highest childcare costs, affordability concerns should have been addressed.
Relief on electricity bills (grade C):
- The rebate does not address the issue of continually increasing prices.
- A solution that improves efficiency to bring costs down is not provided.
Increasing the land transfer tax refund (grade C):
- The initiative fails to counteract housing price inflation.
- By reducing the after-tax price of a home, the policy may stimulate demand, causing prices to increase even further.
Grade average: B-
In this quarter, the province introduced policies to improve conditions across a number of areas, with varying success. Overall, most of the policies lack proper foresight.
For an update on the state of the provincial economy, please visit the Institute’s recent blog post: Fall 2016: Quarterly economic update.