NEW – ON: New government budget provides skills development and training support
Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy delivered the Ford government’s second budget on March 24, 2021. Budget 2021 maintains the government’s focus on two pandemic priorities: health care funding and economic recovery measures for small businesses. It also signals a vision for long-term deficit elimination after 2024. The document contains no new taxes or spending cuts but does provide new, or renewed supports, for individuals and businesses impacted by the pandemic.
Economic Recovery – To support economic resilience and recovery from COVID-19, the government is creating, or extending eligibility for the following:
- A new Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit for 2021 providing up to $2,000 per recipient for 50 per cent of eligible expenses, expected to support about 230,000 workers.
- A doubling of Ontario Small Business Support Grant payments by automatically depositing funds into first round recipients’ accounts.
- An additional $320 million in relief through off-peak electricity pricing.
- $400 million over the next three years to aid the recovery of the tourism, hospitality and cultural industries, and another $150 million for a planned 2021 tax credit to encourage exploring Ontario, when it is safe to do so.
- $2.8 billion for broadband connectivity, over $60 million for remote learning technology and enhancing virtual learning, and an additional $10 million to the Digital Main Street Program to help businesses establish ecommerce sites.
- $10 million for wineries and cideries and $1.2 million for small distillers, to support agri-tourism recovery.
- $400 million over four years to create the Invest Ontario Fund, which will support Invest Ontario and encourage investments in advanced manufacturing, technology, and life sciences.
- New funding to support mining jobs and growth in Northern Ontario: $5 million over two years for a new Ontario Junior Exploration Program offering junior mining companies funding of up to $200,000 per mineral exploration or development project.
Skilled Trades – Members may also be interested in enhanced investments of $288.2 million in the government’s skilled trades strategy announced in the 2020 Budget. They include:
- Adding $39.6 million over three years to expand the Specialist High Skills Major program for 75 new programs for Grade 11 and 12 students to gain job‑ready skills in the skilled trades;
- Investing $3 million over three years in a new pilot bursary program for hands-on learning in the skilled trades;
- Expanding the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program to include a Grade 10 summer learning opportunity, starting in 2021; and
- Developing a new digital portal to enable secure, convenient access to online information and services for apprentices.
Ontario Government Relations Director, Marcelline Riddell, will continue to work with the Ministry of Skills Development and Training to identify and promote access for the propane sector to any of the programs outlined in Budget 2021. She will also update CPA members on eligibility requirements for business support programs proposed in this budget as information becomes available.