Some Relief from Hydro Rates in Sight in Ontario!

Well, the people have spoken, and for once the Liberal Government that has been running Ontario for what seems like the last hundred years has finally listened, at least to an extent. After many years of complaints from the people of Ontario who have suffered from extremely high electricity prices coupled with a stagnating economy, the Liberals under Premier Kathleen Wynne have made the decision to finally give Ontarians a small break from the exorbitant cost of hydro in the province.

Beginning in January 2017 legislation ( if it clears all the hurdles!) will be enacted that will “rebate” the provincial portion of the HST from the bills of those in residential homes and for farmers and small businesses as well. The total amount of savings realized by most affected by the changes will be in the area of around $11.00 per month or $130 per year.

While many are happy that the Liberals seem to finally be coming around and getting it that the supposed economic growth touted by the financial professionals and the Liberal Government in both Ottawa and Ontario has yet to trickle down to the ordinary, average Ontarian or Canadian for that matter. Many believe it is much too little and much, much too late for the Wynne Government who is not enjoying overwhelming support from the base these days.

The most recent polls show that the Wynne administration is currently sitting at a 20% approval rating from fed up Ontarians who have seemingly just about had it with the lingering gas plant scandal and the sex ed. curriculum debacle as well as other unmentionables. There are some who would point out that her predecessor was re-elected 3 times and had on occasion dipped into single digit popularity in the polls but somehow it just does not feel the same this time. Maybe it is the burgeoning growth of involvement in politics by the millennials that makes one think that the Liberals have used up their 15 minutes and will be forced out in the next general election in 2018.

There are many who feel that this hydro rebate is just another way to bribe Ontarians with their own money as the Liberals (and every other Government to be 100% fair!) have done before. There also seems to be a lot of residual anger over the sale of Hydro One that the Liberals hope to finalize before the election in 2018. CUPE’s decision to sue the government for its actions in the sale of the first tranches of shares will no doubt have an even greater effect on the popularity of this embattled provincial government. It remains to be seen if Ontarians can be bought off this time around. For a measly $11.00 a month it would be a really, really cheap sale indeed.

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Sam Seidman, CPA, CA, LPA
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Toronto, Ontario
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