Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy has released a three-pronged economic recovery plan that will no doubt form the basis of the Ford Government’s campaign platform when the election is held next June. The 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario, lays out health spending, construction spending, and spending aimed at wooing worker votes. The programs announced appear to go after the NDP’s traditional appeal to workers, particularly public sector unionized workers and to residents of Northern Ontario
Under health and long-term care spending highlights include:
$400 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 as well as 225 nurse practitioners in the long-term care sector.
$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.
$12.4 million over two years starting in 2021–22 to continue rapid access to existing and expanded mental health and addictions supports.
$72.3 million over three years to increase enforcement capacity including doubling the number of 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: Major construction spending will include:
$2.6 billion in funding for 2021–22 in support of the Ontario Highways Program, on more than 580 construction, expansion and rehabilitation projects. Including the controversial Bradford Bypass and Highway 413.
$1 billion to support the planning and construction of an all-season road network, as well as other projects that will provide a corridor to prosperity for the remote First Nations in the Far North. This program relies on a Federal contribution
Another $1 Billion for Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund program. Providing funding to 424 small, rural and Northern communities for building and repairing roads, bridges, and water and wastewater infrastructure.
Nearly $4 billion over six years to expand high=speed internet to underserved areas.
$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 to modern design standards.
$30.2 billion over the next 10 years to build, expand and enhance hospitals.
Working for Workers: Highlights include:
The already announced hike in minimum wage
Development of Ontario’s Critical Minerals Strategy. An abundance of critical minerals in the province will help secure investments such as new electric vehicle technology and create new opportunities for Ontario workers.
Province has secured investment commitments of $5.6 billion from major auto manufacturers for electric vehicle supply chain capacity.
Creation of a new provincewide two-year $40 million Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Competitiveness stream, which is part of the Regional Development Program.
$90.3 million over three years starting in 2021–22 in the Skilled Trades Strategy.
Extension of the Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit to 2022. The 2022 credit extension would provide an estimated $275 million in support to about 240,000 people, or $1,150, on average.
An additional $5 million in 2021–22 to expand the Second Career program.
A new temporary Ontario Staycation Tax Credit for 2022. The credit would provide an estimated $270 million to support over one-and-a-half million families to vacation in Ontario.
$1.1 million in 2021–22 to support a dedicated team of officers to undertake focused inspections of temporary help agencies and recruiters of migrant workers.