Getting Results For Ontario
Premier Marks First Year In Office With Progress Report On The Government's Plan To "Strengthen our greatest competitive advantage; our people"
TORONTO -- The McGuinty government marked its first year in office by today releasing Getting Results for Ontario, the first in a series of progress reports on its strategic plan to deliver success for students, better health and a strong economy.
"Our plan is about strengthening our province's greatest competitive advantage: our people," the Premier said in a major speech to the Toronto Board of Trade.
"It's a plan to strengthen the education and skills of our people because we know the best workforce will attract the best jobs. It's a plan to strengthen the health of our people, by ensuring our health care system is as modern as the challenges it faces. It's a plan to ensure we have prosperity for people -- strong economic growth grounded in the knowledge and skills of Ontarians."
The report spells out what the government has accomplished in its first year, the key results it is working to achieve over the next three years and the strategies it's putting in place to get the job done.
To ensure success for students, the government is working to deliver smaller class sizes and higher test scores, as part of its plan for higher achievement in reading, writing and math and a lower high school dropout rate.
In its first year, the government has made progress. Class sizes in the early grades are smaller in 1,300 schools this fall. More than 1,100 new teachers were hired. Struggling students are getting more help because funding for public education has been increased by $854 million this year. Crumbling schools will get the repairs they need because of a $2.1-billion infrastructure fund.
To ensure better health, the government is working to deliver shorter waiting times for key services, access to care for more families and new efforts to prevent illness and promote wellness.
In its first year, the government has made progress. The first three of nine new and expanded MRIs have been opened. The Budget commits funding for an additional 36,000 cardiac procedures, 9,000 cataract surgeries and 2,300 hip and knee replacements per year by 2007-08. It will create 150 new family health teams to improve primary care, especially in areas where there are not enough family doctors. Hospital budgets have increased by more than half-a-billion dollars, including funding to hire up to 1,000 more full-time nurses. A new free vaccination program will protect more than two million children against pneumonia, chicken pox and meningitis -- saving families more than $600 per child.
To ensure a strong economy, the government is working to deliver a well-educated, highly skilled workforce that can attract the best jobs, a competitive business environment and modern, efficient public services -- including a reliable energy supply.
In its first year, the government has made progress. There's new funding to create an additional 7,000 apprenticeships and a proposed tax credit to encourage businesses to hire and train more apprentices in the skilled trades. Tuition for post-secondary education has been frozen for two years. Student aid has been enhanced for 50,000 students. A groundbreaking review of higher education is also underway.
An extensive review of the province's energy sector will lead to expanded supply, increased conservation and greater use of renewable energy sources. While investing in our people, the government is working to balance the Budget over its mandate. It has started that process by reviewing all programs, placing strict controls on non-priority spending and assessing all government-owned assets.
"We know the results identified in our strategic plan can't be achieved overnight," Premier McGuinty said. "But we also know that, working with Ontarians, we're making real, significant progress. Together, we can get the results Ontarians want and deserve. We can build a quality of life that's second to none."
Getting Results for Ontario is available at www.resultsontario.gov.on.ca.