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Ontario NDP pledge to allow property tax deferrals for seniors if elected

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath makes an announcement, in Bowmanville, Ont., Saturday, May 7, 2022. Ontario's New Democrats say they'll implement property tax deferrals for seniors if elected next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

CHATHAM, Ont. — Ontario's New Democrats would implement property tax deferrals for seniors if elected next month, Leader Andrea Horwath said Friday.

Residents aged 55 and older would be eligible for the program that would allow the province to pay their taxes in the interim, she said. The homeowner would then reimburse the province when they sell their home.

"We want to see seniors be able to afford to stay in their homes longer so we have a plan to help with the property taxes so that seniors who are at a bit of a financial crossroads can take that weight off of their backs," Horwath said at a campaign stop in Chatham-Kent, Ont.

The measure would save about $375 every month for someone who pays $4,500 annually in taxes, Horwath said.

The program is part of the party’s plan to decrease costs for seniors. 

That plan also includes $1 billion in home care in an effort to keep seniors living at home longer. 

If a resident dies before repaying their deferred taxes, that would be dealt with in their estate, Horwath said. 

The measure is not a death tax, she said. 

"Not at all, when that situation occurs, that would be part of the estate process," she said.

The proposed program is another tool to help seniors deal with increasing property values throughout the province, the NDP leader said.

"In some cases that's the very barrier that people have to be able to financially manage to stay in their own home," Horwath said.

The program would allow seniors to use that money to pay for other expenses, particularly with the cost of living and inflation on the rise, Horwath said. 

The party said evidence from a similar program in British Columbia shows seniors will maintain "substantial equity" in their homes, ensuring that they can pass that on to their children. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 13, 2022.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

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