Liv­ing in On­tario gets more ex­pen­sive in the New Year

The Goderich Signal-Star - - CLASSIFIEDS - John Miner Post­media

Happy New Year and keep your wal­let handy.

You’re go­ing to be pay­ing more for a whole bunch of On­tario gov­ern­ment ser­vices start­ing Jan. 1, although there are a few breaks com­ing your­way, too.

The big hit is the Wynne gov­ern­ment’s cap- and- trade pro­gram aimed at fight­ing cli­mate change.

If you heat with nat­u­ral gas, you will pay about $ 70 to $ 80 a year more, ac­cord­ing to an es­ti­mate re­leased by UnionGas.

At the gas pump, ex­pect to pay out about 4.3 cents a litre ex­tra in 2017 for cap-and-trade.

On the plus side of the ledger, On­tario will cut elec­tric­ity bills by about eight per cent when it drops its por­tion of the HST.

The­p­rovince also is dou­bling the max­i­mum­re­fund of the land- trans­fer tax to $4,000 for first-time home buy­ers, which means they won’t pay the tax on the first $368,000 of a pur­chase price.

Premier Kath­leen Wynne touted the sav­ings in a state­ment un­veil­ing the changes: “We are build­ing an On­tario where ev­ery­one has the op­por­tu­nity to ben­e­fit from our grow­ing econ­omy . . . in­clu­sive com­mu­ni­ties and . . . high­qual­ity of life.”

Lambton-Kent-Mid­dle­sex MPP Mon­teMcNaughton, Tory critic for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and growth, said the elec­tric­ity sav­ings are “too lit­tle, too late,” and cap- and-trade costs are sure to hurt.

“Life is go­ing to be much harder un­der the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment and it is go­ing to con­tinue in 2017 and beyond. Fam­i­lies are go­ing to con­tinue to suf­fer un­der Kath­leen Wynne’s poor man­age­ment,” Mc­Naughton saidMon­day.

It’s not only the province reach­ing for more money in 2017.

Lon­don house­holds get hitwith a 2.8 per cent prop­erty-tax in­crease Jan. 1, an ex­tra $76 on an av­er­age home as­sessed at $221,000.

Fam­i­lies with chil­dren will get a break in the new year when kids 12 and un­der will ride free on Lon­don Tran­sit buses. Cur­rently only chil­dren un­der five don’t have to pay.

Other new pro­vin­cial fees and fee hikes com­ing in the new year:

• Ap­peal­ing your as­sess­ment: fees for res­i­den­tial ap­peals go up to $125 from $75. Fees for non-res­i­den­tial ap­peals change to $300 from$150.

• Get­ting your sus­pended driver’s li­cence re­in­stated will cost $198 in 2017, up fromthe cur­rent $180

• Fee for a land sev­er­ance ap­pli­ca­tion rises to $800 from$720.

• Hunters will no longer have to pay $35 for the wild turkey ed­u­ca­tion course, but com­mer­cial fish­ing li­cence fees are go­ing up.

Aseries of reg­u­la­tion changes Jan. 1 won’t cost you, but could change your life. They in­clude:

• Restau­rant chains with 20 or more On­tario lo­ca­tions must start post­ing caloric con­tent, but not sodium lev­els, on menus.

• Travel agents and whole­salers must in­clude the all- in price for their ser­vices and va­ca­tion pack­ages in all ad­ver­tis­ing.

• Tow­ing com­pa­nies must post rates for tow­ing and ve­hi­cle stor­age on their trucks and pro­vide item­ized in­voices. They must also ac­cept credit cards and can­not de­mand cash.

• Child sup­port will no longer be treated as in­come for peo­ple on so­cial as­sis­tance or dis­abil­ity pay­ments, end­ing the pro­vin­cial claw­back from some of its low­est­in­come res­i­dents.

• The­max­i­mum cost of a pay­day loan will drop to $18 from $21 for ev­ery $100 bor­rowed.

• The up­dated Smoke Free On­tario Act will ban sale of clove cig­a­rettes and most men­thol-flavoured to­bacco prod­ucts.

• Po­lice in On­tario will no longer be able to en­gage in card­ing, or ran­dom street checks.

With files fromTheCana­dian Press

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