2017 Ontario Budget Commentary

Finance Minister Charles Sousa tabled the Ontario Budget on April 27, 2017.

The deficit for the 2016-17 fiscal year is projected to be $1.5 billion, with a balanced budget projected for 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20.

The Budget does not include any changes to Ontario’s personal or corporate income tax rates.




Personal Income Tax Rates

This Budget does not propose any changes to personal income tax rates; the top marginal rates are as follows:

Type of Income2017
Salary and other income53.53%
Capital gains26.76%
Eligible dividends39.34%
Non-eligible dividends45.30%


Ontario Seniors’ Public Transit Tax Credit

A new refundable Ontario Seniors’ Public Transit Tax Credit is being introduced effective for July 1, 2017. The credit will be 15 per cent of eligible expenditures, which have yet to be defined.


Ontario Caregiver Tax Credit

Paralleling the federal government changes, there will be a new Ontario Caregiver Tax Credit which replaces the provincial caregiver and infirm dependant tax credits with the following features:

  • Non-refundable at a rate of 5.05 per cent to a maximum of $4,794, which is phased out for dependent’s income over $16,401
  • Eligible relatives are infirm dependents, including adult children and spouses
  • There will be an increase in the amounts for dependents not living with the caregiver
  • Not available for non-infirm senior parents or grandparents living with children or grandchildren


Medical Tax Credit for Fertility-Related Expenses

Mirroring the federal budget changes yet to be approved, Ontario proposes to extend the application of the medical expense tax credit for fertility-related expenses to those who require medical intervention to conceive a child, even when the treatment is not on account of medical infertility.


Multijurisdictional Tax Filers

Effective January 1, 2017 there will be new technical rules to deal with the provincial surtax and the Ontario Tax Reduction for taxpayers who pay income taxes to another province and non-residents who pay income taxes to Ontario. These changes are designed to ensure consistency between multijurisdictional filers and other filers.


Postsecondary Education

As previously announced, the new Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) will start this fall and replace many existing programs with a single up-front grant, increased weekly aid limits and be annually indexed to inflation. There will also be reduced expectation of contributions from parents and spouses of the student. Savings from Registered Education Savings Plans will not reduce OSAP assistance.

Students will not have to start repaying the provincial portion of their OSAP loan until they earn a salary of $35,000 per annum, rather than $25,000. 




Corporate Income Tax Rates

The Budget proposes no changes to corporate income tax rates, which are as follows for 2017:

Small Business income4.5%10.5%15.0%
CCPC[1] Investment income11.5%38.67%50.17%
Manufacturing and Processing income10.0%15.0%25.0%
General income11.5%15.0%26.5%

[1] Canadian-Controlled Private Corporation


Employer Health Tax Avoidance

Ontario will undertake a review to ensure that structures are not used to multiply the Employer Health Tax (EHT) relief that is intended for employers with an Ontario payroll of less than $450,000 per annum. As part of the process, the EHT exemption is eliminated for employers that are designated members of a partnership, as defined in the Income Tax Act. To provide an opportunity for feedback and consultation, the change will be effective no earlier than January 1, 2018.


Paralleling Federal Measures

Ontario will work closely with the federal government to review tax planning strategies involving private corporations. These include:

  • Income splitting
  • Transformation of investment income into business income or capital gains
  • Other perceived loopholes and sophisticated tax planning




Hotel Tax

Ontario will grant municipalities the authority to levy a tax on transient accommodation by amending the City of Toronto Act, 2006 and the Municipal Act, 2001.


Tobacco Tax

Effective 12:01 a.m. April 28, 2017, the tobacco tax is being increased from 15.475 cents to 16.475 cents per cigarette and gram of tobacco products other than cigars.


Enhancements to the Canada Pension Plan

Legislation to implement the enhancement to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) came into effect in March 2017. To allow businesses to adapt, increases to CPP contributions will be phased in over seven years, beginning January 1, 2019.


Property Tax Measures

Pursuant to reviews of legislation on small-scale agri-food business on farms, railway rights-of-way and the Provincial Land Tax, the Budget proposes certain changes to these measures.


Income Tax Avoidance/Strengthening Ontario’s Tax System

The Budget indicates that the government is continuing to work with the Canada Revenue Agency to address the underground economy, and legislative and administrative reviews to promote greater effectiveness and efficiency of the tax system.


Additional Note: Ontario’s New Housing Plan

On April 20, 2017, the Ontario government introduced Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan in hopes to help people find affordable homes. Some of the measures include:

  • 15% non-resident speculation tax imposed on buyers in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area for those who are not citizens, permanent residents or Canadian corporations (Effective April 21, 2017)
  • Expanded rent control that will apply to all private rental units in Ontario including those built after 1991.
  • Legislation that would allow Toronto and other municipalities to introduce a vacant homes property tax
  • A program to leverage the value of surplus provincial land assets across the province to develop a mix of market-price and affordable housing.
  • A review of the rules imposed on real estate agents to ensure that buyers are fairly presented.


If you have any questions, please contact:

Joan Camilleri
905 738.5758 ext. 235