Ontario Grows the Economy and Creates Jobs in 2014
The government moved forward with several initiatives this year to build opportunity and security for Ontarians. It made significant progress on its four-part plan to invest in people's talent and skills, build new public infrastructure, create a dynamic and supportive business environment and build a secure pension plan.
Eliminating Coal-fired Electricity
January 8, 2014 and April 15, 2014
The province's largest coal-fired station, Nanticoke Generating Station, burned its last coal and went out of service. Three months later, Thunder Bay Generating Station burned its last piece of coal, making Ontario the first jurisdiction in North America to eliminate coal as a source of electricity production. Replacing coal-fired electricity generation was the single largest climate change initiative undertaken in North America and has reduced harmful emissions, resulting in cleaner air and a healthier environment.
Expanding Opportunities in the South American Market
January 17, 2014
Ontario opened its newest International Marketing Centre in São Paulo, Brazil to help make the province more globally competitive. Brazil's economy continues to show a strong demand for goods and services that Ontario can provide. These areas include infrastructure development, information technology, agri-food, mining equipment and services, and financial services.
Partnering on Energy Innovation
February 28, 2014
Premier Wynne and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the Canadian Energy Innovation Summit to work together to advance energy innovation, support clean, renewable power and promote economic development in both provinces.
Fostering Talent and Skills for the New Economy
March 18, 2014
Premier Wynne hosted representatives from the business, labour and academic communities for Ontario's first summit on Talent and Skills in the New Economy. The summit focused on building partnerships and fostering collaboration across the education, business, labour and non-profit sectors to ensure the province's economy remains prosperous and competitive.
Engaging the Public on Open Data
April 14, 2014
Ontario launched an online inventory of government data sets for the public to vote on, making it the first province in Canada to create a data inventory for public input and helping Ontario create a more open and transparent government.
Increasing the Minimum Wage and Tying It to the Cost of Living
June 1, 2014
Ontario's general minimum wage rose to $11 per hour on June 1, 2014, making it the highest in Canada, in line with Nunavut. The minimum wage is also now set to change annually to keep up with the cost of living, giving businesses and families time to plan for any increases and ensuring fairness to low-income workers.
Planning for Ontario's Future
July 24, 2014
The Ontario Legislature passed the government's Building Opportunity and Securing our Future Act (Budget Measures), 2014, which lays out a four-part plan for building Ontario up. The 2014 Budget focuses on investing in people, building infrastructure, supporting Ontario's business climate and ensuring the province has a secure and sustainable future.
Building Canada Up
August 6, 2014
An Infrastructure Working Group formed by Canada's Premiers and led by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne convened a summit in Toronto to discuss opportunities to build up Canada's public infrastructure and drive economic growth. Premiers Wynne, Selinger, Taptuna and McLeod, along with several provincial and territorial ministers, discussed the importance of public infrastructure to Canada's economy with business leaders. The results of the summit were delivered in a report to Canada's Premiers, who jointly called on the federal government for increased investments in infrastructure.
Working Together as Canada's Premiers
August 28-29, 2014
At the summer Council of the Federation meeting, Premiers across Canada met to discuss issues in need of attention from the federal government. Ontario pressed the need to address infrastructure, supported a call for an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women, and worked with other provinces and territories to move forward on the Canadian Energy Strategy.
Expanding 30% Off Tuition
August 29, 2014
The government's 30% Off Ontario Tuition grant helped about 230,000 students start college or university in the 2013-14 school year. The value of the grant has increased annually to keep pace with tuition costs. Helping Ontario students with the costs of postsecondary education is part of the government's plan to ensure everyone has the chance to reach their full potential.
Making Full-Day Kindergarten Available Across Ontario
September 2, 2014
Ontario fully rolled out its full-day kindergarten (FDK) program, making it available to 265,000 four- and five-year-olds in approximately 3,600 schools across the province. By the end of the 2014-15 school year, almost half a million kids will have benefitted from FDK since it was first introduced in 2010.
Launching the New Poverty Reduction Strategy
September 3, 2014
Ontario set a new goal of ending chronic homelessness. The Realizing Our Potential strategy builds on the province's first strategy by focusing on ending chronic homelessness and providing a stable foundation to help people rise out of poverty.
Fostering Growth in Northern Ontario
September 25, 2014
The Ontario cabinet met in Sudbury on September 25, 2014, as part of the government's commitment to keep the needs of Northern Ontario in focus. Priorities for this region include job creation, revitalizing transportation infrastructure and improving vital access to the Ring of Fire.
Posting Minister and Parliamentary Assistant (PA) Mandate Letters
September 25, 2014 and November 4, 2014
For the first time in Ontario's history, Premier Kathleen Wynne publicly shared mandate letters addressed to the cabinet ministers, outlining key priorities. On November 4, the government also made public cabinet ministers' mandate letters to their PAs. Publishing the letters is part of the government's plan to increase transparency and accountability.
Improving Outcomes for Aboriginal Communities
October 7, 2014
Ontario launched the Aboriginal Economic Development Fund to support business, employment and training opportunities in Aboriginal communities. Other important initiatives underway are the Treaty Strategy and the Remote Electrification Readiness Program. Improved social conditions and economic opportunities are essential to ensuring that Aboriginal communities can thrive.
Championing Accessibility in Ontario
October 24, 2014
Ontario launched a marketing campaign to increase awareness and compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. The government appointed former Lieutenant Governor David C. Onley as a special advisor on accessibility and launched an award in his name to recognize leadership in accessibility and disability issues as part of the government's plan to promote a fair society.
Improving Trade Relations with China
October 25, 2014
The Premier's first international trade mission to China built on Ontario's Going Global Trade Strategy to help the province's businesses expand into priority markets. As a result, Ontario secured 11 investment projects valued at $966 million. These projects will create about 1,800 jobs in communities across the province, from Ottawa to Niagara Falls to Stouffville.
Expanding Eligibility for Legal Aid
October 30, 2014
Ontario is moving forward with a plan to make one million more people eligible for legal aid services, once the full strategy is implemented. Raising the income level at which people qualify for legal aid assistance will help build a fair society by more than doubling the number who are eligible today.
Establishing a Partnership with Honda Canada
November 6, 2014
The government's new partnership with Honda Canada will make the Alliston plant one of the most innovative in North America and protect 4,000 jobs. The plant will also be the first lead Honda plant for the production of Civics located outside of Japan. Growing opportunities and creating jobs are part of the government's economic plan for Ontario.
Initial Report on Government-owned Assets
November 13, 2014
Ed Clark, Chair of the government-appointed Premier's Advisory Council on Government Assets, delivered the group's initial recommendations. The government had asked the council to find ways to improve customer service, increase efficiencies and unlock the full value of Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). The Advisory Council will deliver its final recommendations in time for the government's 2015 Budget process.
Strengthening Ties with Québec
November 21, 2014
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Québec Premier Philippe Couillard chaired a joint meeting of cabinet ministers. Working together with Québec builds economic opportunities for both provinces. Ontario and Québec signed Memorandums of Understanding to address climate change, exchange electricity capacity during periods of peak demand and revitalize the Ontario-Québec Trade and Cooperation Agreement. They also signed a declaration affirming a shared commitment to protecting and promoting Francophone culture and heritage. They called on the federal government to provide adequate, stable funding for infrastructure, and also agreed on a set of principles to guide decisions concerning pipeline projects, including TransCanada's Energy East project.
Improving Access to Mental Health Care
November 25, 2014
Ontario is moving forward on the next phase of its mental health strategy, including a $2.75 million investment to improve access to mental health care and reduce wait times for patients.
Strengthening Pollinator Health
November 25, 2014
Ontario is working to strengthen bird, bee, butterfly and other pollinator health to protect ecosystems, support the agricultural sector and strengthen the economy. Pollinators help the fertilization of crops worth nearly $900 million and support $26 million each year in honey production.
Promoting Physical Activity for Kids
November 27, 2014
The province is partnering with ACTIVE AT SCHOOL and the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association to help kids get the opportunity to participate in 60 minutes of physical activity connected to the school day, so they can develop healthy habits for life.
Celebrating the Francophone Presence in Ontario
December 3, 2014
The government committed to providing up to $1.4 million to support events that commemorate 400 years of Francophone presence in Ontario. The events will boost tourism, create jobs and invite visitors across the province and the world to celebrate.
Enhancing Support for Victims of Sexual Violence
December 4, 2014
Premier Wynne directed several ministers to prepare options to enhance support for victims of sexual violence and harassment. Work will begin immediately and result in an action plan to be brought forward by March 8, 2015, International Women's Day.
Strengthening Ontario's Retirement Income System
December 8, 2014
The government introduced a landmark piece of legislation that would, if passed, strengthen its retirement income system and ensure working Ontarians are better able to enjoy their retirement years. The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Act, 2014, lays out a framework for the creation of a new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan and would commit the government to establishing the plan by January 1, 2017.
Building Essential Infrastructure to Get Ontario Moving
December 10, 2014
The new Union Pearson Express was unveiled. The dedicated express train will provide fast, reliable service between Canada's two busiest transportation hubs, Union Station in downtown Toronto, and the Toronto Pearson International Airport. Enhancing and expanding GO Transit services and the opening of the Highway 404 Extension are two other initiatives that aim to get Ontario moving.
Strengthening Anti-smoking Legislation
January 1, 2015
As of January 1, 2015 it will be illegal to smoke on playgrounds and publicly owned sport fields. Smoking will also be banned on bar and restaurant patios unless subject to specific exemptions. Making Ontario more smoke-free is part of the government's plan to promote healthy lifestyles.