On February 26, Finance Minister Charles Sousa released the 2016 Ontario Budget: Jobs for Today and Tomorrow, which outlines the next phase of the government’s plan to create jobs and economic growth. More than 600,000 jobs have been created since the recessionary low in June 2009. Ontario is projected to create more than 300,000 additional jobs by the end of 2019, which would bring total job creation to more than 900,000 net new jobs over a 10-year period. Ontario’s economic growth is now outpacing national growth, and is expected to continue being among the strongest in Canada over the next two years. The government’s plan is also on track to balance the budget in 2017–18.
The government’s plan is creating good jobs today in communities across Ontario by investing in infrastructure and in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth businesses. It is investing in people’s talents and skills, and the 2016 Budget will help more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan also helps people in Davenport achieve a more secure retirement. I am excited to bring these investments to Davenport and work with the community to invest in our future.
In the coming days I will be sharing more information about what the budget means to businesses, community organizations and constituents here in Davenport.
Investing in People’s Talents and Skills
In this Budget the Ontario government announced several key measures designed to invest in people’s talents and skills.
Making Everyday Life Easier
The government has introduced many initiatives to help make everyday life easier for Davenport residents, and all Ontarians.
Building a Fair Society
The Province is giving people the opportunities and supports they need to realize their full potential.
The government is also continuing to transform Ontario’s universal health care system to give Ontarians faster access to the right care, now and in the future. Highlights include increasing funding to hospitals by $345 million; lowering wait times for key services; creating more integrated, team-based primary care; making more care available at home and in the community; proposing to make the shingles vaccine available free for eligible seniors aged 65 to 70 — saving them about $170 in out-of-pocket expenses; and investing an additional $75 million in community-based residential hospices and palliative care, for a total investment of about $155 million over three years.
Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Economy
To grow the economy and create jobs, the Ontario government’s plan continues to reduce business costs, leverage investment through strategic partnerships, help businesses go global and strengthen the financial services sector. The government is also developing a sharing economy strategy and renewing the Province’s social enterprise strategy.
The global economy is moving towards pricing carbon. The 2016 Budget sets the stage for Ontario to auction carbon allowances in 2017. For that reason, the government is proposing a cap-and-trade program to help Ontario meet its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets, reward innovative companies and ensure that households and businesses thrive within the transition to a low-carbon economy. All proceeds from the cap-and-trade program, projected to be $1.9 billion in 2017, would be used to invest in green projects.
The government is also continuing to roll out its Business Growth Initiative, a five-year, $400 million strategy to accelerate the Province’s shift towards a high-growth, innovation economy and help businesses scale up. It will also modernize the regulatory system and lower the cost of doing business in the province.
Building on the Largest Investment in Infrastructure in Ontario’s History
Building and revitalizing public infrastructure are critical to strengthening Ontario’s economy and creating jobs for today and tomorrow. In this Budget, the government is investing more than $137 billion over the next 10 years in roads, bridges, public transit, hospitals and schools. That would result in $160 billion over 12 years, starting in 2014–15, which is the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history. These planned investments would support more than 110,000 jobs each year, on average.
The Province remains on track to generate $5.7 billion over time from maximizing the value of government-owned assets — $2.6 billion higher than originally projected in the 2014 Budget. Net revenue gains from the sale of qualifying assets will be dedicated to the Trillium Trust to help fund public transit, transportation and other priority infrastructure.
Strengthening Retirement Security
To reduce the retirement savings gap, the government is implementing the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP), which will help working Ontarians save for their retirement. The government is well on its way to achieving its goal of ensuring that, by 2020, all eligible Ontario workers will be covered by a comparable workplace plan or the ORPP. To ensure a successful and smooth implementation, the ORPP Administration Corporation would launch the employer verification and enrolment process in 2017, with employer and employee contribution collection beginning in 2018.
At the same time, Ontario remains committed to finding a solution that will allow the needs of Ontario employees to be met under a national framework. The Ontario government will work collaboratively with the federal government, provinces and territories to make progress on a Canada Pension Plan (CPP) enhancement that addresses the needs of future retirees. The main objective is to look at ways to meet the goals of the ORPP in an enhanced CPP framework, while preserving the ability to implement the ORPP, should that not be possible.
Strong Fiscal Management
The government is continuing to invest in the economy, people and a healthy, clean and prosperous low-carbon future, while beating its fiscal targets. These investments will help enhance the public services on which Ontarians rely, as well as stimulate growth. Good jobs and a growing economy are the best ways to support Ontario’s families and generate revenues on the path to balance and long‑term prosperity.
The government is projecting a deficit of $5.7 billion in 2015–16 — an improvement of
$2.8 billion compared with the 2015 Budget forecast and $1.8 billion compared with the target laid out in the 2015 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review. It is also a $4.6-billion improvement compared with the 2014–15 deficit of $10.3 billion.
The Province is on track to beat its deficit target for the seventh year in a row. By continuing to beat its fiscal targets, the Province’s accumulated deficit is $30 billion lower than it otherwise would have been.
The government is projecting a deficit of $4.3 billion in 2016–17, reflecting an improvement of $0.5 billion compared with the 2015 Budget forecast. The government is also projecting it will meet its commitment to return to balance in 2017–18 — the result of a plan to eliminate the deficit that was first laid out in the 2010 Budget. As an indication of greater sustainability in the Province’s management of its debt, net debt-to-GDP is expected to peak at 39.6 per cent in 2015–16, remain level in 2016–17 and begin to decline in 2017–18.
With the economy expected to continue to grow and the government’s ongoing commitment to transform government programs and services, Ontario is forecasting to remain balanced in 2018–19.
“This year’s budget contains the balance that is valuable to so many of my constituents. We are focusing on growing our economy and creating jobs, while making substantial investments in people’s talents and skills, and building a more fair society. I’m confident that by lowering costs and enhancing convenience and choice, our plan will make everyday life easier for my community in Davenport. I was truly pleased to bring the 2016 Ontario Budget to business and community leaders. I look forward to their feedback”
— Cristina Martins, MPP Davenport
“Today’s budget moves in the right direction to address many of the issues we see in Davenport. Investments in low-income seniors — in particular the shingles vaccine — plus investments in child support for families on social assistance and income support is crucial for poverty reduction. Making post-secondary education more affordable for low and modest income students is also a welcome move to help ensure the success of every young person. We are very satisfied.”
— Kim Fraser, Executive Director, DPNCHC
Read background information on the 2016 Ontario Budget:
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