Anyone who made saving money their New Year’s resolution could face some serious difficulty, thanks to new changes coming into effect province-wide for 2017.
The Liberal government’s new cap-and-trade plan came into effect on January 1st, which means residents are paying more to fill up their cars and heat their homes.
The price of gas is increasing by around 4.3 cents a litre, and people who heat their homes with natural gas or furnace oil will see their monthly bills increase by an average of $5.
Some companies are already warning customers should expect to pay even more than that, with Enbridge advising their carbon fee will be closer to $6 or $7 a month for the typical customer using 2,400 cubic metres of natural gas annually.
The overall impact of the initiative, which will see Ontario auction off pollution credits to companies to offer a financial incentive to reduce emissions, is expected to cost the average household an extra $156 this year.
Those costs will be slightly offset by Premier Kathleen Wynne’s promise to waive the 8 per-cent-provincial portion of the HST on hydro bills, which is expected to save the average homeowner about $11 monthly or $130 a year.
Though Wynne is vowing that there will be even greater savings for rural homeowners, the opposition parties have long criticized the Liberals for soaring electricity prices.
There are some cost savings measures some residents will be able to take advantage of in 2017.
A maximum refund of $4,000 will be offered to eligible first-time homebuyers on the land transfer tax, which is double the previous level.
Admission is free at all national parks this year to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, and travellers can rest assured that new legislation means trip packages will be advertised with all-in pricing and no hidden fees.
Ontario has also become the first in Canada to force food service providers with at least 20 locations to post calorie counts for both food and drink items.
That includes restaurants, coffee shops, convenience stores, and movie theatres. The Dieticians of Canada hope it will help residents make healthier food choices.
Towing companies and vehicle storage lots are now required to disclose their rates, where vehicles are parked, and provide itemized invoices to prevent gouging.
Child support payments will no longer be treated as income for Ontarians on social assistance, and those who rely on payday loan services will see the maximum cost of interest lowered from $21 to $18 for every $100 borrowed.