The Trillium Trust and Moving Ontario Forward
A cornerstone of good government is strong, effective management of provincial assets over the long term.
This is why Ontario is moving ahead with its plan to unlock the value of certain public assets and use the net proceeds to help support investments in transit and transportation infrastructure projects through Moving Ontario Forward. This will represent the largest infrastructure investment in Ontario's history.
The Trillium Trust is a tool that supports the government in these efforts. It is a separate account to ensure transparency. Net proceeds from the sale of qualifying provincial assets would be credited to the Trillium Trust which, in turn, will be used to fund infrastructure projects that will create jobs and strengthen the economy to build Ontario up.
Hydro One IPO
The government intends to introduce legislative amendments that would enable the gain from the Hydro One IPO and any subsequent share sales to go into the Trillium Trust. The government is also committed to ensuring that electricity ratepayers are treated fairly by proposing in the amendments to the Electricity Act changes that would, for example, allow the province to relieve the Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation (OEFC) of a certain amount in debt obligations.
In February 2015, Ontario completed selling its remaining shares in General Motors for net proceeds of $1.1 billion, exceeding the $900-million asset optimization target set in the 2014 Budget. Net proceeds from that sale, including the $200 million generated over the asset optimization target, are now in the Trillium Trust ready to be used for public infrastructure, such as transit and roads.
The Value of Optimizing Assets
The result of maximizing these assets is the targeted investments in infrastructure projects that are part of Moving Ontario Forward, which is expected to support over 20,000 jobs per year on average in construction and related industries. This will help spur long-term economic growth and strengthen the reliability of valued services and maintaining public ownership of key assets.
What are Net Proceeds?
Net proceeds under the Trillium Trust Act represent the gain realized from a sale of a qualifying asset.
Building Modern Infrastructure and Transportation Networks
Modern public infrastructure is vital to Ontario's growth and quality of life -- it forms the backbone of a well-functioning economy and prosperous society. It includes roads, bridges, public transit, hospitals, schools and water systems, all of which are important elements that together allow a strong economy and modern society to thrive.
That's why we're renewing and expanding Ontario's infrastructure. The government is investing more than $130 billion across the province over 10 years to fund projects in public transit, highways, schools, health facilities, postsecondary institutions and other assets, from Cornwall to Kenora and Windsor to Moosonee. These projects will support jobs today while meeting our education, health care and transportation needs of the future.
Total infrastructure investments are expected to support over 110,000 jobs per year on average in construction and related industries, including over 20,000 jobs per year on average from investments made as part of Moving Ontario Forward.
Moving Ontario Forward
Moving Ontario Forward is part of Ontario's investment of more than $130 billion over 10 years in public infrastructure. Over 10 years, dedicated funding through Moving Ontario Forward will be used to invest in transit, transportation and other priority infrastructure within and outside the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).
New targets from assets, including the $200 million generated over the asset optimization target in GM, mean that more funding will be available for Moving Ontario Forward. What was announced in April 2014 as a nearly $29 billion investment in Moving Ontario Forward is now a $31.5 billion commitment over 10 years.
To ensure every region across the province benefits fairly from Moving Ontario Forward, the government is allocating dedicated funds to the GTHA and outside the GTHA based on their relative shares of the population using census data from Statistics Canada.
This means about $16 billion is being allocated for transit projects in the GTHA and about $15 billion is being allocated for infrastructure projects outside the GTHA. These figures represent an increase of $1.4 billion for the GTHA and an increase of $1.2 billion elsewhere in Ontario, thanks to the higher-than-anticipated assets revenue.
Dedicated funds will allow the province to:
- Accelerate service enhancements to the GO Transit network, which will lay the foundation for Regional Express Rail (RER)
- Launch a new Connecting Links program, which provides funding for municipal roads that connect to provincial highways
- Develop a new program to help communities partner with utilities to extend access to the natural gas network, which can help stimulate the economy, particularly in smaller communities
- Enhance regional mobility by investing in key projects in Metrolinx's Next Wave of the Big Move.
GTHA Moving Ontario Forward Projects
In the GTHA, dedicated funds of about $16 billion will transform the GO Transit network to a more frequent, flexible and convenient regional transit service, and will also be used to build key Metrolinx projects that support regional connectivity.
- The creation of Regional Express Rail - a fully electrified service that runs at about 15-minute frequencies, along the following routes:
- Lakeshore East and Lakeshore West corridors, between Oshawa and Burlington
- Union Station to Unionville on the Stouffville corridor
- Union Station to Bramalea on the Kitchener corridor, including the Union Pearson Express
- Union Station to Aurora on the Barrie corridor.
Regional Express Rail will change the way people think about regional transportation. The RER vision will provide significant new travel choices including:
This regional network will also be the foundation for the SmartTrack proposal in the City of Toronto. Additional funding is needed to support key elements of this proposal, such as new stations along the route and an extension along Eglinton to the busy airport area. The SmartTrack funding proposal entails contributions of about $5.2 billion in new funding from partners, including the City of Toronto and the federal government.
Planned enhancements in 2015-16 include the addition of up to 24 weekday rail trips. By 2020, this will result in increased rail service on the GO Transit network of approximately 50 per cent over today's levels. Additional weekend and off-peak trips will also increase opportunities for commuters to choose transit not just for getting to work, but also for getting around. GO Transit is also increasing bus service to address new demand areas, reduce overcrowding and improve reliability. Planned service enhancements include the introduction of 14 new buses and the addition of 250 weekly bus trips in 2015-16.
Moving Ontario Forward Projects in Other Parts of the Province
Beginning in 2015, the Province will work with regions, communities and the private sector to design new programs and a framework to prioritize and evaluate infrastructure needs based on the economic, social and environmental returns. This framework will be used to select the next generation of infrastructure investments that improve the competitiveness of Ontario's communities, enhance productivity, promote innovation and develop new economic opportunities. Potential projects could include investments in municipal rapid transit in Ottawa, Waterloo and London, and in GO Transit, including Regional Express Rail service beyond the boundaries of the GTHA.