Ontario remains competitive through tax cuts and reduced red tape
TORONTO, Sept. 2 /CNW/ - The Harris government has taken the steps necessary to help Ontario remain competitive through the global economic downturn.
On this Labour Day weekend, Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) Bob Runciman said, "our government has helped establish the right economic climate for new jobs. Economic development and job creation remain our top priorities and we'll continue to do what's needed to make Ontario stronger and more competitive."
Runciman added that despite the global downturn, Ontario's economy continues to grow, although not at the record pace set in 1999 and 2000.
"Our strategy has been, and will continue to be to strengthen Ontario's economic fundamentals to create jobs," added Runciman. "That means fostering growth, cutting taxes and removing barriers to business investment. Our strategy is working. More than 837,000 jobs have been created in Ontario since our government took office in 1995, and 88,000 jobs in the past year."
July 4, Dominion Bond Rating Service upgraded Ontario's long-term rating to AA, citing the province's declining tax burden, debt, and debt-to-GDP ratio. This is the third consecutive rating improvement since the government took power in 1995. Ontario's economy is forecast to grow next year, according to the Conference Board of Canada. "We're moving in the right direction but still have more to do," said Runciman.
The government has cut taxes, eliminated 1,700 unnecessary red tape regulations, repealed more than 50 acts, amended more than 200 other acts, and passed 13 red tape reduction bills to make it easier for business to operate successfully.
"The Red Tape Commission is holding consultations around the province because what business entrepreneurs say is important to us, and the future of our province," said Runciman. "It will help us in our continuing effort to eliminate red tape and improve our business climate."
The government's new Employment Standards Act comes into effect Tuesday, Sept. 4 to strengthen business competitiveness and to support the government's objective of making Ontario's economy the strongest in North America. The Act gives employers and employees greater flexibility to design work arrangements that help them balance their business and personal lives. It ensures Ontario has up-to-date ground rules on such provisions as hours of work, overtime pay, vacations with pay, and pregnancy and parental leave to improve Ontario's position as a good place to live, work, invest and raise a family.
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For further information: Media contacts: Hal Vincent, Minister's Office, MEDT, (416) 325-8779; Eric Shapiro, MEDT Communications Branch, (416) 325-6698; Belinda Sutton, Ministry of Labour, (416) 326-7405