Strengthening Ontario's Rural Communities
Province Establishes Roadmap to Help Rural Communities Succeed
Ontario's continued investments in health care, education, infrastructure and other essential public services are driving economic growth, creating jobs and supporting a high quality of life in the province's rural communities.
These achievements are highlighted in the province's Rural Roadmap. The report, released today, outlines key government priorities aimed at building on the strengths of Ontario's rural communities. These include:
- Developing a small, rural and northern municipal infrastructure program based on consultations with community leaders that will provide more predictable, reliable and sustained funding for consideration in the 2014 Ontario Budget.
- Focusing on manufacturing -- rural Ontario's second largest industry based on employment -- to ensure the industry will continue to innovate, grow and successfully compete in today's economy.
- Continuing to provide rural-specific health care investments through the Small and Rural Hospital Transformation Fund, which has improved patient care in up to 64 hospitals across the province.
- Continuing to revitalize communities, create jobs and grow local and regional economies through the Rural Economic Development Program.
- Advancing a framework to help grow rural Ontario's digital economy and working to address the existing gaps in rural Ontario's broadband connectivity.
- Creating a formal process to ensure government policies and programs reflect the needs and realities of rural communities.
Supporting a strong and prosperous rural Ontario is part of the government's economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow. The comprehensive plan and its six priorities focus on Ontario's greatest strengths -- its people and strategic partnerships.
- In 2012, Ontario’s rural communities contributed $106 billion in economic output, nearly 20 per cent of the province’s GDP.
- Based on GDP, Ontario has the largest manufacturing industry in Canada.
- Ninety-five per cent of rural residents now have access to a family doctor.
- The $100 million Small, Rural and Northern Municipal Infrastructure Fund has helped rural municipalities revitalize roads, bridges, water, wastewater and other critical infrastructure.
- Every dollar invested in building or renewing infrastructure gives one dollar and fourteen cents back to Ontario’s GDP.
- Since 2003, the province has invested more than $167 million in 468 Rural Economic Development Program projects, generating more than $1.2 billion in local economic activity and creating more than 35,000 jobs.
“As a government, we are proud of the achievements we’ve made in creating a healthier, more prosperous rural Ontario. At the same time, we recognize that more must be done. The Rural Roadmap we’ve developed in collaboration with our rural partners sets out our priorities, and going forward, we will refine the plan to ensure rural Ontario’s remains a key contributor of the province’s economy.”
“Growing Ontario’s economy in both the short- and long-term is dependent upon the continued success of our small and rural communities. The Rural Roadmap not only outlines key Ontario government priorities for rural Ontario, but also serves as a building block that will ensure rural residents, businesses and municipalities have the tools they need to succeed in today’s economy.”