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Progress: Ontario’s Plan Supports Growth, Builds for Future

Province Delivering on Commitments and Beating Fiscal Targets

VAUGHAN – York Region MPPs Steven Del Duca, Chris Ballard, Michael Chan, Helena Jazcek, and Reza Moridi are pleased to announce that at a time of fundamental economic change, Ontario is supporting business by capitalizing on its diversified economy. The Province has already made significant progress on its plan to grow the economy, create jobs and promote a fair society in a balanced and fiscally responsible manner. Going forward, the Province will implement its plan to help more businesses succeed and grow, and provide opportunities for all Ontarians. 

Today, Finance Minister Charles Sousa presented the 2015 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review. The Province is now forecasting revised deficits of $7.5 billion in 2015-16 and $4.5 billion in 2016-17. This is an improvement of $1 billion in 2015-16 and $0.3 billion in 2016-17 compared with the deficit targets laid out in the 2015 Budget. The government remains committed to balancing the budget by 2017-18.

Ontario’s economy continues to grow in an increasingly competitive global environment. Since the 2009 recessionary low, the Province has created 559,600 jobs, the majority of which are full-time positions and in industries that paid above-average wages. The provincial unemployment rate of 6.8 per cent is below the national average. Ontario has become one of the strongest growing provincial economies in Canada, and private-sector economists expect this growth trend to continue over the next two years.

The Review outlines the government’s progress to date and its plans to help the province thrive financially while maintaining vital public services for Ontarians. 

 Supporting a Dynamic and Innovative Business Climate

The government is helping Ontario businesses grow and succeed so they can create rewarding, high-paying jobs and contribute to the province’s economic prosperity. Recent progress includes:

  • Proposing to remove the Debt Retirement Charge (DRC) from all non-residential electricity bills on April 1, 2018, nine months earlier than previously estimated. This will provide certainty on the end date of the DRC for non-residential electricity users, lowering costs for commercial, industrial and other users. As previously announced, the DRC will be removed from residential bills as of January 1, 2016.
  • Launching a new Business Growth Initiative that will focus on supporting the scale-up of small firms, promoting an innovation-based economy and modernizing regulations for business.
  • Proposing a down payment of $325 million in 2015-16 through a Green Investment Fund that will be targeted at reducing greenhouse gas emissions while strengthening the economy. Through this initial investment, the Fund will support energy retrofits in homes (including affordable housing), energy efficiency investments in small and medium-sized businesses and industry, support for Aboriginal communities, and new investments in electric vehicle infrastructure.
  • Supporting the sharing economy to harness the opportunities it presents while protecting Ontario consumers and workers. This is an emerging sector that has immense potential to foster economic growth and innovation.
  • Establishing a steering committee, co-chaired by Minister Sousa and the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, Tracy MacCharles, to improve representation of women on boards and in senior executive positions.
  • Eliminating restrictions to allow pension plans to further invest in businesses.

Building Modern Transportation and Infrastructure

Ontario has committed to making the largest investment in public infrastructure in its history. This investment, with more than $134 billion over 10 years in priorities such as roads, bridges and public transit, will support more than 110,000 jobs on average per year. Since the 2015 Budget, the government has announced support for more than 200 projects that will keep people and goods moving, connect communities and improve quality of life. Recent progress includes:

  • Funding up to $1 billion for the Hamilton Light Rail Transit (LRT) project. The Province will cover the capital costs of building the LRT, contributing to the extensive revitalization underway in Hamilton.
  • Investing $5.3 billion in capital costs for the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT in Toronto. The line is expected to be in service by September 2021 and will provide service that is up to 60 per cent faster than bus service today. 
  • Continuing work on the Confederation Line, Ottawa’s 12.5 kilometre LRT project. Major sections of this line are expected to be ready by the summer of 2017.
  • Widening Highway 7 in Kitchener from Fischer Hallman Road to Courtland Avenue.
  • Continuing the expansion of Highway 69 between Sudbury and Parry Sound. In 2015, an additional nine kilometres of four-lane highway between Highway 64 and the Murdock River opened and 11 more kilometres are now under construction.
  • Investing $25 million over three years to improve routes for cyclists all across the province, including $15 million for routes that provide key connections and linkages on provincial highways.

Working Together Towards a Stronger Ontario and a Stronger Canada

Ontarians are ready for a new collaborative approach to federalism in Canada that is driven by a set of common goals and values. The Province looks forward to working together with the federal government on a number of initiatives including implementing the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, combating climate change, building infrastructure, sustaining health care, collaborating with our Aboriginal partners and supporting international relief efforts to help welcome and resettle refugees in the province.

The government’s economic plan is building Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic and innovative environment where business thrives and strengthening retirement security for Ontarians.

QUOTES

“Earlier in the year, our government laid out an ambitious agenda to build Ontario up in the 2015 Budget. Today, I am proud to report that our province is delivering on that plan. Not only have we made significant progress in beating deficit targets and investing in public infrastructure, but we are enhancing the lives of all Ontarians by making the province more competitive and productive.”

Steven Del Duca, M.P.P., Vaughan

“I am proud of the Ontario Government’s significant progress with our plans to grow the economy, build modern infrastructure and create jobs in the Province. By producing valuable opportunities for people, while remaining committed to balancing the budget by 2017-18 in a responsible way, we are improving the lives of Ontarians and strengthening the security of our future. “

Reza Moridi, M.P.P., Richmond Hill

“Our government’s Fall Economic Statement confirms that we are on the right track and our responsible, progressive plan to build Ontario up is working.  I am proud to deliver news to my constituents in Markham-Unionville that Ontario has become one of the strongest growing provincial economies in Canada, that economists expect that growth to continue, and that people and businesses across the province can thrive, succeed and prosper.”

Michael Chan, M.P.P., Markham-Unionville

“I am proud our government is continuing to build Ontario up by creating innovative and dynamic business environments, building modern public infrastructure, investing in people’s skills and talents and strengthening retirement security. I am sure the residents of Newmarket-Aurora will be pleased to learn the Government is making strategic investments for the benefit of generations to come. This Fall Economic Statement is evidence of that."

Chris Ballard, MPP Newmarket-Aurora

“I am proud that our government has taken a balanced economic approach by reducing the deficit while investing in a fair and responsible society. Ontario continues to invest in infrastructure and critical services that communities like my riding of Oak Ridges-Markham need to ensure that we are part of a globally competitive economy.”

Helena Jaczek, MPP Oak Ridges – Markham

QUICK FACTS

  • The Province’s achievements in combatting the underground economy have generated a $225 million revenue increase above what was reported in the 2015 Budget. 
  • In September, the Public Accounts of Ontario 2014-2015 reported the deficit for 2014-15 was $10.3 billion, an improvement of $2.2 billion compared with the projection in the 2014 Budget. This marks the sixth year in a row that Ontario has beaten its deficit target.
  • For the second year in a row, fDI Intelligence selected Ontario as the number one destination in North America for global foreign direct investment based on capital spending projects.
  • Non-tax revenue, including the net revenue from the Hydro One initial public offering, is projected to be about $1.1 billion higher than forecast in the 2015 Budget.
  • Ontario’s interest on debt expense for 2015-16 is now projected to be $140 million

less than forecast in the 2015 Budget.

  • Ontario’s long-term borrowing requirement for 2015-16 has decreased by $1 billion from the 2015 Budget projection.
  • Real GDP is forecasted to grow at 1.9 per cent in 2015 and 2.2 per cent annually, on average, over the 2016-2018 period.
  • Ontario’s combined federal-provincial general Corporate Income Tax rate is lower than the comparable rate in any U.S. state.

LEARN MORE

For more information, please contact:

Steven Del Duca, M.P.P., Vaughan                              905-832-6630                        

Michael Chan, M.P.P., Markham-Unionville            905-305-1935

Reza Moridi, M.P.P., Richmond Hill                         905-884-8080

Chris Ballard, M.P.P., Newmarket-Aurora               905-750-0019
Helena Jaczek, M.P.P., Oak Ridges-Markham        905-294-4931

 

 

 

 

 

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