No doubt it will build on things included in the first PRS. And it will no doubt incorporate things announced in the 2014 Budget.
A very important piece will be to see how the Government will expand dental and prescription drugs benefits to children and adults with low incomes. This is what the Wynne Government announced in its 2014 budget:
As part of the first Poverty Reduction Strategy, the government launched the Healthy Smiles Ontario program in 2010, which provides dental services to children in low‐income working families. Beginning in April 2014, program eligibility is being expanded to give 70,000 more children access to dental services.
The government will further integrate existing publicly funded dental programs for children into the Healthy Smiles Ontario program to provide seamless enrolment and streamlined administration.The government is also proposing to further expand access to health benefits for children in low‐income families. Once fully implemented, children in low‐income families would be eligible to receive additional health benefits including prescription drugs, assistive devices, vision care and mental health services. By expanding eligibility to approximately 500,000 children, these benefits and services would further improve health outcomes for low‐income children and help their families remain in employment.If it does nothing else, the second Poverty Reduction Strategy should make good on these promises. That would be an important step forward for all Ontarians.
Moving forward, the government will consult with stakeholders to explore options to extend health benefits to all low‐income Ontarians.
But it will be good if the strategy moves on other things like decent employment and adequate income supports, affordable housing and a plan to tackle homelessness.