Ontario supports economic growth, job creation with additional municipal infrastructure funding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 8, 2021

BAY OF QUINTE – The Ontario government is providing $16,951,102 to help build and repair local infrastructure in local municipalities, Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte announced today. This investment is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario by getting shovels in the ground on critical infrastructure projects that support economic recovery, growth and job creation.

Through the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF), the City of Belleville will receive $7,032,052 for 2022 (compared to $3,232,839 in 2021), the City of Quinte West will receive $7,531,017 (compared to $4,157,747) and Prince Edward County will receive $2,388,033 (compared to $1,147,499).

“Our municipal partners in Bay of Quinte need stable funding to address infrastructure renewal, particularly as they weather the challenges of this ongoing pandemic,” said Smith. “Our government is committed to building Ontario by making significant investments to ensure they can move forward with critical projects like upgraded roads, bridges, and water and wastewater systems.”

Today’s announcement is part of the government’s additional $1 billion investment to help build and repair roads, bridges, water and wastewater infrastructure in small, rural and northern communities. The multi-year funding bring Ontario’s total investment to nearly $2 billion over the next five years.

“Our small, rural and northern communities will be at the forefront of our efforts to build Ontario for the future,” said Premier Doug Ford. “With this investment, we are saying ‘yes’ to helping these communities build and repair the vital infrastructure they need to keep their communities working for decades to come.”

The funding allocations are based on a formula that recognizes the different needs and economic conditions of communities across the province. The new formula will include an increased funding minimum of $100,000 for all communities per year, up from $50,000 over previous years.

“Communities are the heartbeat of this province and we know they are facing unique infrastructure needs and challenges, especially as we navigate through the pandemic,” said Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure. “Our government has been with them every step of the way. When we were told more funding supports were needed, we listened and acted in a meaningful way by providing the largest OCIF increase since the start of the program. By doing so, we’re providing stability and predictability to small, rural and northern communities to repair, upgrade, and modernize their critical infrastructure so that they are safer, healthier, and more reliable for all.”

The Province’s investment in OCIF is part of the 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario. The plan lays out how the government will build Ontario’s future with shovels in the ground for highways, hospitals, long-term care, housing, and high-speed internet. To ensure all families, workers and businesses in the province have a better and brighter future, the government’s planned infrastructure investments over the next decade total more than $148 billion.

QUOTES

“COVID has challenged our City in many ways but we have continued to safely move forward to serve and support our residents in every possible way. This important provincial funding allows us to continue the work of building a better Belleville in 2022 and we appreciate this assistance.”

Mayor Mitch Panciuk, City of Belleville

”Renewing vital infrastructure is a key priority for Prince Edward County. We are encouraged that the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) continues to be a source of stable of funding for these important projects. With funds provided through OCIF, we look forward to undertaking work to improve our roadways as well as water and wastewater infrastructure in 2022.”

Mayor Steve Ferguson, Prince Edward County

“OCIF funding allows us to make infrastructure investments that improve the day-to-day lives of our residents. We are very grateful to the province for the additional funding this year that will allow us to move forward with critical projects within the City of Quinte West.”   

Mayor Jim Harrison, City of Quinte West

QUICK FACTS

  • The OCIF supports local infrastructure projects for communities with populations under 100,000, along with all rural and northern communities.
  • For 2021, approximately $200 million in funding was allocated to 424 small, rural and northern communities. Municipalities may accumulate their funding for up to five years to address larger infrastructure projects.
  • Ontario also provides funding to communities through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), a $30-billion, 10-year infrastructure program cost-shared between federal, provincial and municipal governments, and other partners. Ontario’s share per project will be up to $10.2 billion spread across five streams: Rural and Northern, Transit Infrastructure, Community, Culture and Recreation, Green and COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure.
  • The 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario is the government’s seventh financial update since the pandemic began, highlighting the government’s commitment to providing regular updates on Ontario’s finances, even during this uncertain economic period. It is part of the government’s plan for recovery driven by economic growth.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 


Fall economic statement, Build Ontario, supports communities, including Bay of Quinte

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THURSDAY, NOV. 4, 2021 

BAY OF QUINTE – The 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario lays out how the government will build the foundation for Ontario’s recovery and prosperity by getting shovels in the ground on critical infrastructure, attracting increased investment, and restoring leadership in auto manufacturing and other industries. The plan also protects Ontario’s progress against the COVID‑19 pandemic.

“As we continue to protect the hard-won progress against the pandemic, our government is looking forward with our plan to build a better and brighter future for families, workers and businesses in Ontario,” said Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy. “By unlocking critical minerals in the North, harnessing our manufacturing capacity and building critical infrastructure, our plan will drive our economic recovery and prosperity for every region of our province.”

Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte and Minister of Energy, added “The people and businesses of Bay of Quinte have demonstrated the Ontario Spirit in working together to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario is our government’s plan to protect our progress, build Ontario and work for workers, so that we can emerge stronger than ever.”

The plan includes support for Bay of Quinte, including:

Investing $30.2 billion over the next 10 years to support hospital infrastructure and to address longstanding challenges in the hospital sector. Investments in hospital infrastructure in Eastern Ontario include:

  • Quinte Health Care Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Redevelopment Project — replacement of the existing hospital on the Picton site with a new facility to meet increasing demand for health services in the area.
  • Kingston Health Sciences Centre — redevelopment of the Kingston General Hospital site to accommodate inpatient, surgical, and emergency department growth for health services in modern care settings.
  • Investing $6 million over three years for a pilot to expand opportunities for foreign investors to establish new or purchase and expand existing businesses in Ontario outside of the GTA. The pilot is expected to result in 100 additional Entrepreneur Stream applications through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program, which will help generate employment in regions that need the most help to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
  • Investing an additional $8.7 million, for a total of $27.9 million in 2021–22, to increase mental health supports at Ontario postsecondary institutions, including new funding for Indigenous Institutes and Université de l’Ontario français.

The three pillars outlined in today’s statement are as follows:

Protecting Our Progress: The government has a plan to build a health and long-term care system that delivers the quality of care our loved ones deserve.

Highlights include:

  • To strengthen the health and long-term care workforce, Ontario is investing $342 million, beginning in 2021–22, to add over 5,000 new and upskilled registered nurses and registered practical nurses as well as 8,000 personal support workers. In addition, Ontario is investing $57.6 million, beginning in 2022–23, to hire 225 nurse practitioners in the long-term care sector.
  • To help hospitalized patients continue their recovery and rehabilitation at home, where they are most comfortable, the Province is investing an additional $548.5 million over three years to expand home and community care. This funding would support up to 28,000 post-acute surgical patients and 21,000 patients with complex health conditions every year.
  • To support the mental health and well-being of health and long-term care workers across the province, the government is investing $12.4 million over two years starting in 2021–22 to continue rapid access to existing and expanded mental health and addictions supports.
  • To ensure long-term care resident safety, the government is providing an additional
    $72.3 million over three years to increase enforcement capacity including doubling the number of inspectors across the province by 2022–23. This will make Ontario’s inspector to long-term care homes ratio the highest in Canada.

Building Ontario: The government has a plan to build Ontario’s future with shovels in the ground for highways, hospitals, housing and high-speed internet. With these investments, the government will expand our health care capacity, provide access to critical mineral resources in Ontario’s North, and cut down on the time drivers spend in gridlock so they can spend more time with friends and family.

Highlights include:

  • To build, expand and repair Ontario’s highways and bridges, create jobs and spur economic growth, the government has invested approximately $2.6 billion in funding for 2021–22 in support of the Ontario Highways Program, which features more than 580 construction, expansion and rehabilitation projects. As part of the Highways Program, the government has committed funding to build and advance the Bradford Bypass and Highway 413.
  • Working in partnership with Northern and First Nation communities to create jobs, unlock critical minerals and bring economic prosperity to Ontario’s North, the Province has committed close to $1 billion to support the planning and construction of an all-season road network, as well as other projects that will provide a corridor to prosperity for the remote First Nations in the Far North. The Government of Canada must step up and match Ontario’s commitments in this critical project.
  • Ontario is responding to the need expressed by municipalities through the doubling of its annual investment in the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund program. This additional multi-year investment of $1 billion will bring the total investment to nearly $2 billion over the next five years beginning in 2021–22, to provide certainty and predictability to 424 small, rural and Northern communities so that they can build and repair roads, bridges, and water and wastewater infrastructure.
  • To provide all regions of Ontario with access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet by the end of 2025, the Province made a historic commitment of nearly $4 billion over six years.
  • To address decades of neglect and help those waiting to get into long-term care, Ontario plans to invest an additional $3.7 billion, beginning in 2024–25, to build an additional
    10,000 net new long-term care beds and upgrade 12,000 existing beds to modern design standards. This would bring total investment to $6.4 billion since spring 2019 — a historic investment that will lead to more than 30,000 net new beds by 2028 and about
    28,000 upgraded long-term care beds across the province.
  • To support growing demands on the health care system, Ontario is investing $30.2 billion over the next 10 years to build, expand and enhance hospitals, a historic commitment to ensure people can get the care they need in their communities.

Working for Workers: The government wants workers in a race to the top, not a race to the bottom. This is why the government has a plan to build up Ontario’s workers by proposing to raise the minimum wage, providing funding so workers can learn new skills, and attracting investment in critical minerals, automotive manufacturing and other industries to create well-paying jobs.

Highlights include:

  • To support workers, the government is proposing to increase the general minimum wage to $15 per hour effective January 1, 2022 and to eliminate the special minimum wage rate for liquor servers by raising it to the general minimum wage.
  • To strengthen Ontario’s position as one of North America’s premier jurisdictions for responsibly sourced critical minerals, the Province has announced plans to develop its first-ever Critical Minerals Strategy. An abundance of critical minerals in the province will help secure investments such as new electric vehicle technology and create new opportunities for Ontario workers.
  • To protect and create jobs in the automotive sector, the Province has secured investment commitments of $5.6 billion from major auto manufacturers for electric vehicle supply chain capacity.
  • To address growing competition for investment and supply chain challenges, Ontario is creating a new provincewide two-year $40 million Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Competitiveness stream, which is part of the Regional Development Program.
  • To help workers get good jobs, Ontario is investing an additional $90.3 million over
    three years starting in 2021–22 in the Skilled Trades Strategy. Key new initiatives include creating a skilled trades career fair as well as enhancing the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and the Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program.
  • To provide more training opportunities for workers, the government is proposing to extend the Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit to 2022. The 2022 credit extension would provide an estimated $275 million in support to about 240,000 people, or $1,150, on average.
  • To support workers who need training to get a job, the Province is investing an additional
    $5 million in 2021–22 to expand the Second Career program.
  • To help the tourism and hospitality sectors recover, and encourage Ontario families to explore the province, the government is proposing a new temporary Ontario Staycation Tax Credit for 2022. The credit would provide an estimated $270 million to support over one-and-a-half million families to further discover Ontario.
  • To protect Ontario workers from exploitation and labour trafficking, the government is investing $1.1 million in 2021–22 to support a dedicated team of officers to undertake focused inspections of temporary help agencies and recruiters of migrant workers. The pilot will help protect some of the most vulnerable and marginalized workers.

“The qualities that saw our province through the worst days of the pandemic — the spirit of the people of Ontario — will see us to a brighter, more prosperous future,” said Bethlenfalvy. “Our government has a responsible and prudent plan that creates the conditions for an economic and fiscal recovery driven by growth. It is a plan to protect the progress we’ve made, build for the future and work for workers who make it all happen.”

QUICK FACTS

  • The 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario is the government’s seventh financial update since the pandemic began, highlighting the government’s commitment to providing regular updates on Ontario’s finances, even during this uncertain economic period. It is part of the government’s plan for recovery driven by economic growth.
  • Ontario’s economy is recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and is poised to keep growing. For 2021–22, the government is projecting a deficit of $21.5 billion,
    $11.6 billion lower than the outlook published in the 2021 Budget. This improvement reflects a stronger economic growth outlook, as well as more recent information about the impact of COVID-19 on the province’s finances.
  • Over the medium term, the government projects steadily declining deficits of $19.6 billion in 2022–23 and $12.9 billion in 2023–24, an improvement of $8.1 billion and $7.2 billion, respectively, relative to the outlook presented in the 2021 Budget.
  • Given the uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Province continues to maintain flexibility to deploy resources where they are needed most and support further recovery initiatives through COVID-19 Time-Limited Funding.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

  • Ontario supporting hospitals with additional funding during COVID-19 - news.ontario.ca/ en/release/60848/ontario-supporting-hospitals-with-additional-funding-during-covid-19
  • Hallway Health Care: A System Under Strain - www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/publications/premiers_council/report.aspx

MPP Smith visits Cherry Valley to announce natural gas expansion project

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MONDAY, OCT.18, 2021

PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY – Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte and Ontario’s Energy Minister, joined local officials and Enbridge Gas today to announce that approximately 152 homes, businesses and farms in Prince Edward County will be able to connect to natural gas for the first time thanks to the province’s Natural Gas Expansion Program.

Under Phase 2 of the program, Ontario will allocate up to $5,206,389 to support new connections to the natural gas distribution system and help make life more affordable in Bay of Quinte.

“We’re making good on our promise to deliver affordable energy and expand natural gas pipelines to even more communities across Ontario, including our own right here in Prince Edward County,” said Smith. “Under Phase 2 of the expansion program, access to natural gas will help even more families and businesses find energy savings, while promoting economic development and job creation across Bay of Quinte.”

The Ontario government is expanding access to natural gas across the province to help keep the cost of energy low for families, businesses and farmers. Phase 2 of the Natural Gas Expansion Program will allocate more than $234 million to support approximately 8750 connections in 43 rural, northern and Indigenous communities.

“As part of our government’s plan to make life more affordable, we are lowering energy costs for homes, businesses and farms across rural, remote and underserved communities,” said Smith. “With Phase 2, we’re putting people first, bringing prosperity to their communities, and ensuring Ontario remains open for business. This will be a game-changer for these 43 communities.”

The average household could save between $250 to $1,500 per year in energy costs by switching to natural gas from costlier fuel sources. Businesses are expected to save up to 30 per cent per year on energy costs.

“Residents and businesses have expressed their desire to see natural gas expansion occur in Prince Edward County, and we’re pleased to see this move forward," said Steve Ferguson, Mayor of Prince Edward County. “Natural gas is the most common, affordable heating fuel in Ontario. The municipality fully supports the efforts of the Government of Ontario and Enbridge Gas. We look forward to working together to expand natural gas access in our community to attract new opportunities, help create jobs, and lower monthly costs for residents."

“We’re thrilled that through Ontario’s Natural Gas Expansion Program, Enbridge Gas will bring much needed and wanted natural gas in the most affordable way to more communities across Ontario, including this one,” said Cynthia Hansen, Executive Vice President & President, Gas Distribution & Storage, Enbridge Inc. “Natural gas is the most economic way to heat buildings and water, and we are excited to work with local officials and the community to move this project forward, so residents can benefit from the cost savings, and local businesses can be more competitive.”

Construction for projects under Phase 2 will begin as soon as this year, with all 28 expansion projects expected to be underway by the end of 2025.

 

QUICK FACTS

  • Phase 2 of the Natural Gas Expansion Program will allocate more than $234 million to support 28 new natural gas expansion projects from 2021 to 2026.
  • Since its launch in 2019, Phase 1 of the Natural Gas Expansion Program has supported projects that are forecasted to connect over 9,000 customers, in 16 communities, to natural gas.
  • Phase 1 and 2 projects are funded through a $1-per-month charge to existing natural gas customers.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Backgrounder: www.ontario.ca/page/natural-gas-expansion-program