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Guide to writing a Budget Talks proposal

The consultation is now closed.

The 5 ideas that received the most votes from the public have been announced in the 2018 Budget. We’ll spend up to $5 million bringing these ideas to life. Check back for progress updates throughout the year.

On this page

How the process works

Phase 1: Idea submission


Thank you for submitting ideas to help make government services faster and easier to use.

Idea submission closed midnight on November 3rd with 787 ideas and 697 comments.

Browse proposed ideas in the 5 focus areas: Childcare, Healthy Living, Student Success, Small Business and Seniors.

Phase 2: Idea review


All ideas will be reviewed to ensure they meet our submission criteria, and are within the scope of the Ontario Government to deliver.

Phase 3: Live Events


Learn more about this year’s events.

Phase 4: Public voting


Browse the 13 projects that were selected for public voting.

Following the review and workshop phases a short list of submissions will be posted online, for the public to vote on which idea they would like to see implemented.

Phase 5: Implementation


The winning ideas will be announced in the 2018 Budget and then implemented. You can follow our progress, using our Budget Talks trackerOpens in a new window.

Submission criteria

What kinds of ideas we will consider

We’ve written tips on what to think about when writing your idea.

There are also a few rules that you must follow if your idea is to be reviewed. Your idea must:

  • not ask for funding for an individual, group, organization, company and/or business
  • help us solve a problem in one of 5 focus areas
  • be submitted by midnight on November 3, 2017
  • be a proposal for a new fund, pilot, study, event or digital service not cost more than $1 million
  • be within the scope of the Ontario government to deliver (please check to make sure your idea is not the responsibility of a municipal government or the federal government)
  • start or be finished by spring 2019
  • follow our comment policy and Terms of UseOpens in a new window

Your idea and/or comment(s) may be removed from Budget Talks or not proceed to public voting if it violates our terms of use or suggests the Ontario government act in a way that goes against our policies.

How successful ideas will be funded

The Government of Ontario has committed up to $5 million to fund up to 5 ideas that help us solve problems in five key areas. The public will vote on the ideas they would most like to see implemented. The final funded ideas could receive a one-time investment of no more than $1 million. For example in the 2017 Budget 3 ideas submitted from Budget Talks were funded up to $2.6 million. Last year’s Budget Talks shows our progressOpens in a new window.

The Government of Ontario will determine how the final ideas are funded. This means we will not fund any individual, group, organization, and/or business referenced in the original idea submission.

How ideas will be implemented

The Government of Ontario will determine how ideas are implemented; which may not be as described in your original idea submission.

We do not and will not endorse any organization, technology, location or other content in your idea submission, and we may or may not implement the idea or use the organization, technology or location referenced in the original submission when implementing the idea.

Types of ideas that you can propose

Make sure your idea falls under one of five actions:

A new fund

The Government of Ontario provides funding through open competitive grants. This means individuals and/or organizations must submit proposals that meet specific criteria, for review and approval, before they can receive funds. For example, Ontario’s granting fundsOpens in a new window pay for projects to:

  • build local cycling infrastructure
  • fight human trafficking
  • upgrade equipment in public libraries

If you’re proposing a new fund, your idea should explain how to create a granting fund to support one-time projects in a specific area. If your idea receives the most votes, we will create and determine how the fund is administered and fund projects that meet the criteria.


Pilots are a way of running a small scale test, experiment or trial to learn about an issue or approach, and see whether an idea works or not. Examples include the HOT lanesOpens in a new window and Basic IncomeOpens in a new window pilots. We can task our own experts, which include researchers, public policy experts, scientists or outside advisors to launch a pilot and release the results to the public.


If there’s an issue you’d like us to investigate and publicly report on, then consider proposing a study. We can task our own experts, which include scientists, economists, statisticians, public policy experts, or outside advisors to look into the issue and publicly release the results.


Events could involve holding a public meeting to discuss an issue, a conference, festival or celebration, or a commemoration of an important event or date. For example, you could submit a proposal to fund farmers’ markets and local food events across the province to promote healthy food choices.

Digital service

Can you think of a new digital service or change to an existing service that the government should provide? A digital service can provide useful information like traffic and road closuresOpens in a new window or how to protect yourself as a consumerOpens in a new window. They can also make it more convenient to order alcoholOpens in a new window, file court documentsOpens in a new window or a complaint.

What to include in your submission

When you submit your idea on Budget Talks, it’s important that you tell us how your idea would work and which problem your idea might solve.

You don’t have to be an expert to come up with a good idea. People with lived experience of a problem often have valuable insights into that problem’s effects and how it might be addressed. If you are comfortable, we encourage you to include this type of detail.

Your idea should include:

  • What your project idea is, including:
    • how your idea would work
    • who needs to be involved
    • when and where it should happen
  • How your idea will solve the problem:
    • what is the problem?
    • tell us about your and others’ lived experience of the problem
  • Other important information or research, including:
    • links to background material that others can use to better understand your idea
    • evidence for your idea and its effectiveness
    • examples of similar initiatives in other places

Guidelines and submission policy

Our policy on abusive submissions

While we invite and welcome discussion and debate, please note that your idea and/or comment(s) may be removed from the Budget Talks platform or not proceed to public voting if it suggests the Ontario government act in a way that:

  • results in discrimination on the basis of gender, race, religion, creed, national origin, disability, handicap, age, sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by law
  • violates Ontario’s accessibility laws
  • promotes activities that appear/are unsafe or dangerous
  • requires access to private or restricted property and/or private information
  • requests a transfer of funds to an individual or organization
  • promotes a competitive advantage for a specific individual, company, brand, or product for commercial purposes or promotion
  • is, in Ontario’s reasonable opinion, inappropriate

If you are commenting on someone’s idea, please see our Comment Policy.

What you can expect from us

This process is about trying a new way of making decisions together with people. We have not made decisions in advance, and are open to all contributions made in good faith.

We want to respect your time, effort, and contributions to Budget Talks and make the following commitments to you:

  • we will read and consider every contribution, even if it is not selected to move forward
  • we will act on the decisions that we make with you, and implement the successful ideas
  • we will do our best to give you the information that you need to participate meaningfully
  • after the process is done, we’ll tell you what happened
  • we will do our best to ensure that you can participate meaningfully, in a safe online forum which is respectful of all participants
  • we will moderate comments to ensure that they are free from abuse, hate speech, sexism, homophobia, racism (see our Comment Policy for more information)
  • we will answer your questions and welcome your comments about how we can improve this process (send us an email at