The first day of 2015 brings with it a mixed bag of good and bad
news for residents of Ontario and right across the country.
To begin with, restaurant and bar
are off limits — among other places including parks —
to smokers across the province and on the national front all
Canadians should brace themselves for higher payroll taxes.
Employment Insurance rates will increase to a maximum annual
premium of $930.50, compared to $913.68 in 2014. However, the
cap on the weekly EI benefit will also rise to $524 from $514
These are just some of the provincial and federal regulations
and legislation that come into play on the first day of 2015.
Among them are the new federal
, which will put money back into
Canadians’ pockets for couples with at least one child under 18.
In families where one parent works and the other stays home, or
makes significantly less, the parent who earns more will be able
to transfer up to $50,000 of taxable income to the parent in a
lower tax bracket in order to claim a non-refundable tax credit
worth up to $2,000.
Meanwhile, all families — including single-parent households —
will see their Universal Child Care Benefit increased from $100
to $160 per month for children under the age of 6.
Parents with children between the ages of 6 and 17 will receive
a new benefit of $60 per month.
The increased payment will not actually arrive until July 2015,
but that cheque will include the additional amounts for the
first half of the year. This enhanced benefit is going to
replace the Child Tax Credit for the 2015 taxation year.
The Child Care Expense Deduction is also going up by $1,000 for
each age group, although that change only kicks in for the 2015
taxation year, which means families will not be able to claim it
on this tax return.
Those amounts will increase to a maximum of $8,000 for children
under 7, $5,000 for children aged 7 to 16 and $10,000 for
children eligible for the Disability Tax Credit.
The Children’s Fitness Tax Credit is doubling to $1,000 for the
2014 taxation year. It will become refundable the following
year, which means that those whose income is low enough not to
have to pay taxes will also be eligible for a refund.
In Ontario, the Liberal government says it is committed to
seeing that the province has the lowest smoking rate in Canada.
The new rules prohibit the sale of tobacco on post-secondary
campuses and schools, and prohibit smoking on all restaurant and
bar patios as well as children’s playgrounds and publicly owned
Other provincial changes include:
Allowing five- and six-storey buildings to be constructed
wood to cut down on the cost of construction.
Enhancing barrier-free design requirements, which the
Liberal government claims will make Ontario the leading Canadian
jurisdiction for accessibility in buildings.
Introducing new or improved energy efficiency requirements
for 22 products, including microwave ovens, water heaters and
The cost of shipping a parcel through Canada Post to anywhere in
the country is expected to increase by 4.2 per cent for most
customers beginning Jan. 12.
The cost of shipping a parcel via Canada Post to the United
States or overseas is expected to increase by about 1.8 per cent
for most customers.
The current price of stamps for mailing a standard letter within
Canada — $1 for single stamps or 85 cents each if you buy them
in a booklet — will remain the same throughout the year.