Ontario throne speech

Prescription drugs could soon be free for people over 24 in Ontario

The provincial election race continues to heat up this week with a speech from the throne by Ontario's Liberal government.

Like NDP leader Andrea Horwath and the PC party's Doug Ford before her, Premier Kathleen Wynne previewed the some of star points on her government's agenda leading up to the June 7 general election.

The speech itself was read by Ontario Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell this afternoon at Queen's Park, where Wynne has prorogued the legislature.

You can read the entire address on Ontario's website right now, but two of the major highlights involve healthcare and education.

"OHIP+, the pharmacare program that is providing free medications for children and youth, will be expanded to include other parts of the population," said Dowdeswell, without mentioning what those other parts actually encompass.

"More people without a drug or dental benefits plan will have access to more affordable prescription drugs and dental care," she continued, later promising that "more students will be able to attend college and university, tuition-free."

Ontario's general election is now just 80 days away and, as The Star's Robert Benzie points out, some public opinion polls suggest that the Liberal administration may be "on its last legs" after 14 years in office.

More details about the party's platform – including how much everything might cost – will be announced in the government's pre-election budget on March 28.

Dowdeswell did, however, caution that the budget will "show a modest deficit next year of less than one per cent of our GDP" on account of the government's choice to make more investments in services for Ontarians.

Update: The Office of The Ontario Premiere clarified on Tuesday that the expansion of OHIP+ would only apply to people 65 and over

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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