Ontario Introduces New Plan to Spur Growth, Create Jobs and Strengthen Public Services
Pledges New Investments to Support Ontario Families and Businesses
The Ontario government is introducing a new three-part plan to help create jobs and economic growth. In the face of an uncertain global economy, this new plan invests in people, builds modern infrastructure and supports a dynamic and innovative business climate.
Investing in People
The government is committed to helping Ontarians save for a strong and secure retirement. The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is the foundation of Canada's retirement income system.
The Ontario government is leading the way to find a Canada-wide agreement on a CPP enhancement, particularly for the middle class. Provincial and territorial finance ministers took a critical step forward on this initiative by agreeing on the objectives of an enhancement to the CPP. If the federal government cannot be brought on board, the Province will move forward with a "made in Ontario" solution.
In addition, the government's plan for investing in people includes:
- The 30% Off Ontario Tuition grant for postsecondary education, which is helping more than 200,000 Ontario students every year
- The Youth Jobs Strategy, which will create 30,000 employment and mentorship opportunities for young people. Since its launch in September 2013, 2,000 jobs have been created
- The first-ever grant program solely dedicated to seniors, which will help older Ontarians remain active, healthy and connected to the community.
Building Modern Infrastructure
To make the province more competitive and create jobs, the government is investing more than $35 billion in infrastructure over the next three years. This will benefit all Ontarians in the near term and for generations to come, helping businesses compete and attract new job-creating investment to the Province.
The government's plan to build modern infrastructure includes:
- Becoming the first province to develop and market Green Bonds, helping fund green infrastructure projects, including public transit
- Creating a new Trillium Trust, a dedicated fund that would receive gains from asset sales, such as from the sale of the Province's interest in General Motors shares, to finance key public infrastructure priorities
- Ensuring opportunities for companies of various sizes to take part in projects led by Infrastructure Ontario through its world-leading Alternative Financing and Procurement model.
Supporting a Dynamic and Innovative Business Climate
Ontario is examining new measures to encourage increased business investment in Ontario. In particular, the government is examining "pay or play" measures to boost business research and development investment and employee training to help workers and create an even more competitive economy. The government is also working to further strengthen Ontario's industry sectors so they are poised to take advantage of emerging global opportunities.
The plan to support a dynamic and innovative business climate also includes:
- Supporting Centennial College as it partners with the private sector to train the next generation of aerospace workers
- Helping Niagara College expand its advanced manufacturing program
- Reinvesting in Communitech, a hub that provides business advice and mentorship to small businesses and entrepreneurs, to help turn more Ontario technology companies into global leaders
- Growing Ontario's music production and distribution through the new Ontario Music Fund and providing support to the film industry to ensure that Ontario remains a top location for film production.
The slow and uncertain recovery from the global recession continues to impact many areas of the world, including Ontario. This has led to lower revenues since the 2010 Budget, totalling $5 billion less than projected for 2015-16.
To help offset these impacts, the government has taken prudent steps to manage spending. Ontario has the lowest per-capita program spending in Canada. For the last two years, program expense growth has been held to less than one per cent. And last year, total government spending fell for the first time in more than a decade.
Across-the-board cuts would put the province's schools, hospitals and economy at risk. Raising taxes recklessly would risk slowing economic growth and weakening Ontario's ability to balance the budget. The government's plan calls for a fair and responsible approach, which will mean new strategic investments to spur growth, create jobs, strengthen services and help families.
The Province remains on track to balance the budget by 2017-18. However, should global economic conditions falter, causing revenue growth to fall further, the government's priority is clear -- it will continue to protect investments in jobs, growth and Ontario families ahead of short-term targets.
The government will continue to control spending while improving the quality of public services. Any further reforms must be done responsibly. Slashing investments in health care and education -- as previous governments have tried in the past and some continue to call for today -- would put the province's schools, hospitals and jobs at risk.
The Province is acting on 60 per cent of the recommendations from the Commission on the Reform of Ontario's Public Services (the Drummond Commission). The government will analyze all remaining recommendations, except those already ruled out because they do not align with the priorities of Ontario's families, as part of its plan to reduce Ontario's net debt-to-GDP ratio to its pre-recession level of 27 per cent.
Stronger growth and new jobs are the surest and fairest path to a balanced budget. The government's new three-part plan will be critical to fostering the jobs and growth necessary to both support Ontario's families and generate the revenues necessary to eliminate the deficit.
- The deficit for 2013–14 is currently projected to be $11.7 billion, on track with the 2013 Budget forecast and more than $1.0 billion ahead of the deficit projection for 2013–14 outlined in the 2012 Budget.
- Expense is on track with the 2013 Budget projection, reflecting the government’s commitment to manage spending. The 2013–14 program expense outlook is essentially unchanged from the 2013 Budget projection and is also consistent with the 2012 Budget projection, which forecasted program expense of $117.0 billion in 2013–14.
- More than 475,000 jobs have been created since the recessionary low in June 2009.
- The Province has invested more than $85 billion in public infrastructure since 2003 to reverse the underinvestment that had accumulated over several previous decades.
“Ontario is stronger when we work as One Ontario — growing our economy, creating new jobs, prosperity and fairness for all Ontarians. Our new three-part plan for jobs and growth is focused and strategic and will serve every region of our province, providing predictability and stability for Ontarians and our businesses.”
“We will continue to make new strategic investments to spur growth, create jobs, strengthen services and help families. We remain on track to balance the budget by 2017–18. However, should global economic conditions falter, our priority remains clear — this government will continue to protect investments in jobs, growth and our families. Stronger growth and new jobs are the surest, fairest path to higher revenues and a balanced budget.”