2019 Provincial Budget
On April 11, 2019, the PC Government released the first budget of its mandate. These are the major items from the Ford government’s first budget and what they mean for our industry.
Growing the Economy
Ontario’s Economy is expected to grow at a steady pace over the 2019-2024 period, moderating from recent years, mainly due to less supportive external environment. GDP is projected to grow by 1.4% in 2019 and 1.6% in 2020.
The government is projecting a deficit of $11.7 billion in 2018-2019, with a plan to balance the budget by 2023-2024. Ontario's current debt is $343 billion (public debt). Ontario plans to lower its net debt-GDP ratio by 2022-23 to less than 40.8% inherited by the previous government.
In 2018-2019, Government Infrastructure expenditures were $15.3 billion. This is $5.8 billion less than what was projected to be spent on infrastructure in last year’s budget.
Open for Business Initiatives
Cutting red tape by 25% by 2020, the government is expected to provide $400 million in savings to Ontario businesses in compliance costs.
The Ontario Government will establish a new governance framework through proposed legislation to replace the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeships Act. The new plan will encourage employer participation in the apprenticeship system through a new financial incentive program. The plan also creates a new one-window digital portal for apprentices and will promote the skilled trades as a pathway choice for younger students. Part of this modernization approach includes a new flexible framework to enable training and certification in a full trade or in a portable skill set, which would allow training and certification within and between trades.
The Ontario Government will be providing approximately $17 billion in capital grants over the next decade to modernize and increase capacity at our hospitals. The government will be investing $3.8 billion over 10 years to support community health and justice services, supportive housing, and acute mental health inpatient beds. The government will be investing an additional $384 million in hospitals and an additional $267 million in home and community care.
The Ontario government is planning to increase funding to the education sector by $1 billion over the next three years- to more than $30 billion. The government is investing $1.4 billion in school renewal in the 2019-2020 academic year.
The Ontario government is making the single largest capital contribution to new subway builds and extensions in Ontario’s history. The government is committing $11.2 billion, for a total cost of $28.5 billion to support transit projects in the Greater Toronto Area.
The four projects include:
- Yonge North Subway Extension
- Scarborough Subway Extension
- The New Ontario Line
- The government is also making capital contributions to the Ottawa light rail transit stage 2 project and the light rail transit project in Hamilton
Supporting Northern Communities
The government will be consulting on a proposal to repeal the Far North Act and amend the Public Lands Act in order to proceed with critical projects like the Ring of Fire. This strategy will:
- Focus on creating new investment opportunities in the mining sector
- Develop a forestry strategy to increase and attract investments
- Create more opportunities for indigenous peoples and address the skilled labour shortage across the north by creating a new Northern Ontario Internship Program and requesting the federal government reform the National Occupational Classification Codes
- Develop infrastructure of a broadband and cellular strategy to expand access to rural and remote areas of the province that will allow more people to participate in the digital economy
- Construction of new Toronto Court Houses that will amalgamate 5 Ontario court of justice criminal court locations
- Construct a new 21-courtroom Halton Region Consolidated Courthouse Facility
- Replace aging facilities with new OPP detachments
Corporate Tax Relief
The government is providing $3.8 billion in Ontario corporate income tax relief over six years to support business investments through the Ontario Job Creation Investment Incentive. The incentive will help businesses make investments in machinery upgrades and expansions to help them grow and stimulate job creation.
Reducing WSIB average premium rates from $2.35 to $1.65 on every $100 of insurable payroll effective January 1, 2019 which will save employers $1.45 Billion in 2019.