staycation ontario

People in Ontario will soon get a tax credit for having a staycation

The 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review was released today, and the whole province is buzzing about where Premier Doug Ford and his team are deciding to allocate money the province recovers from severe pandemic losses.

The highlights include nearly $3 billion more toward new infrastructure projects such as the controversial Highway 413, $1.8 billion toward hospital upgrades and helping reduce healthcare backlogs caused by the pandemic, as well as adding and upgrading the skills of thousands of frontline healthcare workers.

The province is also investing $3.8 billion over a decade into mental health, an additional $10 million over three years into investigating residential school sites, and focusing on building more homes and stronger supply chains.

The document includes some big changes we already knew about, such as the hike to minimum wage and the revitalization of Ontario Place, and then some we didn't.

But, the most surprising of all may be some of the smaller and seemingly random ones, like a new Staycation Tax Credit.

With the credit, residents of Ontario can claim some expenses associated with a vacation within Ontario on their 2022 personal income taxes.

Accomodation costs of up to $1,000 for an individual and $2,000 for a family can be claimed for a credit of 20 per cent — so up to $200 or $400, respectively, if eligible.

This means the stay has to have been less than a month and have been at a hotel, model, resort, lodge, bed-and-breakfast, cottage or campground within provincial bounds.

It also has to take place between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2022, be for leisure purposes, and be paid for by the person filing the claim, their common-law partner or eligible child.

Obviously, the costs of the trip must be outstanding, not reimbursed in any way by any person.

Other changes to tax credits include the extension of the existing Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credits and the Ontario Seniors' Home Safety Tax Credit. There are also no tax cuts listed in the update.

Of course, there has been ample criticism of the new economic statement, mostly for what it leaves out: addressing the exorbitantly high and rising cost of living in parts of the province and the needs of disabled residents, among other things.

On the topic of the staycation credit in particular, which is meant to encourage citizens to explore their own province and stimulate the hard-hit tourism sector, some seem to feel that the amount is too paltry to make any real difference for those who use it.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath called the release "troubling" during a press conference on Thursday afternoon, saying it is "completely bereft of anything that Ontarians need right now."

"The cost of everything is going up for Ontarians," she continued, listing off how the costs of housing, childcare, utilities and more are skyrocketing.

"This budget update continues to ignore all of those problems that Ontarians are facing and also continues with Doug Ford's low-wage policy. In this budget, the premier's buddies get everything, but everyday families get nothing."

On the staycation topic, Horwath instead advocates for a complete $1,o00 refund for a staycation, saying the current amount "really isn't going to help families a great deal to get back out there and start enjoying Ontario."

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