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Ontario Liberals propose tax credit for children’s sports, extracurricular activities



The Ontario Liberals are set to introduce legislation that would provide families a $1,000 non-refundable tax credit in an effort to make children’s extracurricular activities more affordable.

If the Prioritizing Leisure Activities for Youth Act (the P.L.A.Y. Act) is passed, families can use the credit toward a variety of activities like sports, drama classes, piano lessons “and everything in between.” It would also likely cover summer camp.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday afternoon, Orleans MPP Stephen Blais and Ontario Liberal Party Leader Bonnie Crombie explained how it’s their goal to break down financial barriers for families to keep their children enlisted in these after-school programs, citing the health and social benefits for kids – especially in a post-pandemic world.

“Many kids were stuck indoors and physical and mental health suffered. Now, coming out of the pandemic, families are facing an affordability crisis that we haven’t experienced in a generation. It’s like families of all shapes and sizes of all income levels that are looking for ways to save,” Blais said.

“For some, this means cutting out the little extras, for too many, that means cutting out essentials. So, we must do everything we can to ensure that our kids can benefit from the mental and physical benefits that play through sport and extracurricular activities provides.”

As for how much it would cost, if passed, Blais told reporters it’s difficult to provide a “firm figure” since it would depend on parents’ income levels and how many of Ontario’s four million children would participate.

However, Blais noted about one in four children from middle-class families do not participate in after-school activities – “and that number gets worse as income levels go down.”

“Let’s not forget that there’s a generation of kids that really lost out during the COVID pandemic and were kept in lockdown and didn’t have the ability to participate in sports or drama or art classes,” Crombie said. “It’s a real shame.”

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