Call it a $5-million suggestion box.

That’s how much money is up for grabs in next spring’s pre-election budget as Finance Minister Charles Sousa earmarks the cash for ideas from the public.

It’s the fourth year the Ontario government has asked for submissions on a budget website, but the offer comes with a catch that’s designed — at least in part — to keep pranksters at bay.

“We look forward to tapping into the skills and experiences of Ontario’s best and brightest,” Sousa said Thursday in launching the site, adding “innovation is the driver of good policy.”

The proposals must be aimed at quick results on child care, helping seniors, small business, students and healthy living and be made online by midnight on November 3.

No more than $1 million will be spent on each idea, which must be completed or show progress by spring 2019. The public will be allowed to cast ballots online for their favourites.

Last year’s budget, for example, incorporated a suggestion to put energy-saving LED lights on section of Highway 401.

There have been other ideas, too — including many for an end to public funding of Catholic schools, which the government has shot down.

Competition is stiff. Last year, 404 ideas were submitted and just over 19,000 ballots cast. Suggestions to reduce food waste, improve digital services to libraries and access to digitized health date got the most votes.

A budget date has not yet been set.


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I have only one suggestion…resign.