A temporary tax cut intended to help Ontario residents save money at the pump will be extended for a year, the province’s premier announced Sunday.
Doug Ford said his government intends to introduce legislation that would leave in place the tax relief that reduced gasoline prices by 5.7 cents per liter until the end of 2023. The reduction came in effective July 1 and was originally scheduled to expire December 1. 31.
“We know every dollar counts,” Ford said, speaking at a west Toronto gas station. “And this gas tax reduction is another way to save money for Ontario households.”
Ford cited inflation and global economic uncertainty as reasons for the extension, which will also maintain a 5.3 cent per liter reduction in the price of diesel fuel.
Ford estimated that the tax breaks would save households an average of $195 over the entire 18 months of price cuts.
The provincial gasoline and diesel tax rate will remain at 9 cents per liter until the end of 2023.
The tax cut bill is due Monday along with the province’s fall economic statement.
In a statement, Ontario NDP Interim Leader Peter Tabuns criticized the move, saying it would “leave people in trouble.”
“Ontarians are being crushed by skyrocketing cost of groceries, housing and utility bills, and they need more help,” Tabuns said. “We should restore and extend real rent control. We should double welfare rates. We should be helping people reduce their natural gas bills. We should go after the greedy corporations that use the cover of inflation to rip people off.
Recent findings from Ontario’s financial watchdog suggest the province is in good financial shape.
A report released two weeks ago by the Financial Accountability Office predicts budget surpluses for the foreseeable future.
It forecasts a surplus of $100 million at the end of this fiscal year and a surplus of $8.5 billion in 2027-2028.
Ford disputed those numbers on Sunday.
“It’s a snapshot in time,” he said. “That’s just not accurate.”
Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy announced in September that Ontario ended the last fiscal year with a surplus of $2.1 billion, a far cry from the $33 billion deficit forecast in the budget, thanks to the inflation and a strong economy.