The government is introducing a new three-part plan to grow the economy and create jobs. This plan invests in people, builds modern infrastructure and supports a dynamic and innovative business climate.
Forces outside Ontario continue to affect the economy, leading many Ontarians to worry about their job security and their future. The recovery from the global recession remains uncertain. What is certain is the government's determination to help Ontario families and businesses succeed.
Ontario has recovered all of the jobs lost during the recession and employment is now above the pre-recession peak.
Investing in People
The government is continuing to help youth get additional training and support to help them succeed.
Implementation of the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy
The government created the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy to help young people find jobs, start their own businesses and gain valuable skills. The strategy will create 30,000 employment and mentorship opportunities for young people. Since its launch in September 2013, 2,000 jobs have been created.
This strategy will help young people over the next two years get practical workplace experience. A key element of the strategy, the Youth Employment Fund, was launched in September 2013 through the Province's network of employment services across Ontario. The program gives employers incentives to offer four- to six-month job and training placements for young people to help cover wage and training costs. It also helps young people pay for job-related costs, like tools and transportation to work.
Postsecondary Education Transformation and Training
Education is the cornerstone of the government's economic plan. Ontario colleges and universities prepare the next generation for good jobs.
The government has improved access to higher education for low- and middle-income families with the introduction of the 30% Off Ontario Tuition grant. About 230,000 students received this grant in 2012-13, up from 207,000 the previous year.
The Ontario government is working with colleges, universities, students and other stakeholders to build a sustainable postsecondary education system that supports job creation, enhanced productivity and better collaboration with regional communities.
Key government priorities in creating a sustainable postsecondary education system include:
- Improved collaboration with industry on program development and applied research
- Improved credit transfers between institutions so students have more options
- Collaboration between postsecondary institutions and support for institutions to build on their distinctive strengths.
Building Modern Infrastructure
Building modern public infrastructure is a key driver of economic growth, prosperity and job creation.
The Province will continue to make significant investments in infrastructure of more than $35 billion over the next three years, including about $13.5 billion in 2013-14. Planned infrastructure investments over the next three years would support well over 100,000 jobs on average each year in construction and related industries across the province.
Innovative Approaches to Infrastructure Investment
Ontario is a global leader involving the private sector through Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP). Through Infrastructure Ontario (IO), the government is using the AFP model to help deliver projects on time and on budget.
To improve the delivery of large and complex projects, particularly large transit systems, the government is taking action to enhance the AFP approach to help companies of various sizes participate, while boosting opportunities for apprentices.
Also, IO will work with the Province's international trade offices to create export opportunities for Ontario's construction companies, engineers, architects and financial services.
With its partners, IO will play a critical role in delivering important infrastructure projects including:
- Eglinton Crosstown
- Burlington's Joseph Brant Hospital
- Cambridge Memorial Hospital
- University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
Supporting a Dynamic and Innovative Business Climate
A Competitive Tax System
The Ontario government has significantly enhanced the competitiveness of the tax system, and will examine "pay or play" measures to encourage higher levels of business investment.
Increasing the Competitiveness of the Aerospace and Manufacturing Sectors
The government supports partnerships between colleges, universities and industry leaders to help ensure there is on-the-ground, hands-on learning and training.
The government will support Centennial College as it partners with the private sector to train the next generation of aerospace workers.
The Province will also support a permanent Industry Innovation Centre at Niagara College that will allow Ontario-based manufacturers to access services and expertise provided by the faculty and students at Niagara College.
Supporting the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Sector
Ontario's ICT sector is concentrated in three clusters -- Toronto, Ottawa and Kitchener-Waterloo. This corridor accounted for almost 80 per cent of Ontario's ICT employment in 2012, and has strong concentrations of Research and Development (R&D) activity and venture capital investment.
The government is taking targeted measures to secure new investments from global companies that concentrate on Information Technology and R&D. For example, the government is supporting Ericsson, a Swedish-based multinational corporation, to expand its R&D centre in Ottawa, creating and retaining jobs.
Growing Ontario's Agri-Food Industry
Ontario's innovative agri-food industry, including its large and diverse farming sector, competitive food processing industry and large food services sector, supports more than 740,000 jobs across the province. Ontario has the sixth-largest food processing sector in North America, and a strong food safety culture that is in high demand in world markets, including fast-growing emerging economies.
The government recently issued a challenge to the agri-food industry to double its exports and create 120,000 jobs by 2020.
Investing in Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Successful small businesses are one of the largest job creators in the economy, and many of these businesses are founded and led by entrepreneurs who bring new ideas, products and services to the marketplace.
To better meet the needs of entrepreneurs and small business owners, the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs has consolidated three support networks into a unified one-window approach. This will help to more easily connect entrepreneurs across the province.
To encourage entrepreneurial activities, the government will continue to invest in organizations like Communitech, a Waterloo-based innovation hub, to help turn more Ontario technology companies into global leaders.
Going Global Trade Strategy
The Going Global Trade Strategy will expand the reach of Ontario's trade, including to fast-growing emerging markets that are quickly increasing their share in the global economy.
The strategy will help Ontario companies -- especially small and medium-sized business -- increase their success exporting to global markets and create jobs.
The government is helping communities create jobs through business investment and support for regional projects initiated by municipal governments or other economic development associations. The Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) and Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) support businesses, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations for economic development projects. The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) offers support for business and skills development, as well as assistance with important infrastructure investments for small rural communities in the north.
- Since its launch in October 2012, the SWODF has leveraged a total investment of $285 million.
- Since October 2003, the NOHFC has leveraged over $3.2 billion.
- Since 2008, the EODF has leveraged a total investment of nearly $650 million.
- These investments have created and protected more than 45,000 jobs.