2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review

2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review

Today, Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy released the 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario. The plan lays out how the government will build the foundation for Ontario’s recovery and prosperity.  The plan also protects Ontario’s progress against the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are three pillars to their plan: Protecting Our ProgressBuilding Ontario and Working for Workers.

Protecting Our Progress:

The government has a plan to build a health and long-term care system that delivers the quality of care our loved ones deserve. Highlights include:

  • Investing $342 million, beginning in 2021-22, to add over 5,000 new and upskilled registered nurses and registered practical nurses as well as 8,000 personal support workers. In addition, Ontario is investing $57.6 million, beginning in 2022-23, to hire 225 nurse practitioners in the long-term care sector.
  • Investing an additional $548.5 million over three years to expand home and community care. This funding would support up to 28,000 post-acute surgical patients and 21,000 patients with complex health conditions every year.
  • Investing $12.4 million over two years starting in 2021-22 to continue rapid access to existing and expanded mental health and addictions supports.
  • Providing an additional $72.3 million over three years to increase enforcement capacity in long-term care homes, including doubling the number of long-term care home inspectors across the province by 2022-23. This will make Ontario’s inspector to long-term care homes ratio the highest in Canada.

Building Ontario:

The government has a plan to build Ontario’s future with shovels in the ground for highways, hospitals, housing and high-speed internet. With these investments, the government will expand our health care capacity, provide access to critical mineral resources in Ontario’s North, and cut down on the time drivers spend in gridlock so they can spend more time with friends and family. Highlights include:

  • Investing approximately $2.6 billion in 2021-22 in support of the Ontario Highways Program, which features more than 580 construction, expansion and rehabilitation projects. As part of the Highways Program, the government has committed funding to build and advance the Bradford Bypass and Highway 413.
  • Working in partnership with Northern and First Nation communities to create jobs, unlock critical minerals and bring economic prosperity to Ontario’s North, committing close to $1 billion to support the planning and construction of an all-season road network, as well as other projects that will provide a corridor of prosperity for the remote First Nations in the Far North.
  • Investing an additional $3.7 billion, beginning in 2024-25, to build an additional 10,000 net new long-term care beds and upgrade 12,000 existing beds.
  • Investing $30.2 billion over the next 10 years, to build, expand and enhance hospitals, a historic commitment to ensure people can get the care they need in their communities.
  • Doubling the government’s annual investment in the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund program from $1 billion to nearly $2 billion over the next five years, providing certainty and predictability to 424 small, rural and Northern communities so that they can build and repair roads, bridges, and water and wastewater infrastructure.

Working for Workers:

The government wants workers in a race to the top, not a race to the bottom. This is why the government has a plan to build up Ontario’s workers by proposing to raise the minimum wage, providing funding so workers can learn new skills, and attracting the investment in critical minerals, automotive manufacturing and other industries to create good-paying jobs. Highlights include:

  • Proposing to increase the general minimum wage to $15 per hour effective January 1, 2022 and to eliminate the special minimum wage rate for liquor servers by raising it to the general minimum wage.
  • Investing an additional $90.3 million over three years starting in 2021-22 in the Skilled Trades Strategy. Key initiatives include creating a skilled trades career fair as well as enhancing the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program.
  • Proposing to extend the Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit to 2022, which would provide an estimated $275 million in support to about 240,000 people, or $1,150 on average.
  • Proposing a new temporary Ontario Staycation Tax Credit for 2022, which would provide an estimated $270 million to help over one-and-a-half million families further discover Ontario.

News Release: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1001102/build-ontario

Minister’s Speech: 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, Minister’s Statement

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