Provincial investment supports Quinte Economic Development Commission’s skills training initiatives

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2022

BAY OF QUINTE – The Ontario government will provide $1,323,670 to support the Quinte Economic Development Commission (QEDC) to address workforce challenges, complex business conditions and new opportunities in Bay of Quinte’s growing, diverse manufacturing sector and industrial supply chain.

Today, Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, announced that QEDC is receiving funding through the Province’s Skills Development Fund for its Future Factory Skills Initiative.  The program will address workforce needs in the local manufacturing sector through:

  • Removing barriers to employment and providing skills training through Elevate Plus training program to support 40 individuals looking to enter the manufacturing sector;
  • Supporting 760 incumbent workers in the sector to enhance and modernize their skills;
  • Providing advisory services to manufacturing leadership teams focused on worker recruitment and retention, process improvements and overcoming growth barriers.

“Manufacturing provides good, well-paying jobs and is a leading driver of economic growth and prosperity in our communities. Local manufacturers also ensure we have access to many high-quality goods we use in our daily lives,” said Smith. “There is great opportunity in this sector and our government recognizes the collaborative effort led by QEDC with industry and training partners will yield results in developing the workforce necessary to meet its needs.”

To deliver the program, QEDC will leverage the expertise of the Quinte Manufacturers Association in sharing industry standards and employer contacts, and primarily engage Loyalist College’s corporate training division, the Loyalist Training and Knowledge Centre to train participants.

Chris King, QEDC’s Chief Executive Officer, welcomed the program approval.

“The Bay of Quinte Region’s large and diverse manufacturing sector offers 10,000 good paying jobs and provides over half of the region’s economic output,” said King. “The Skills Development Fund will support new hire training for individuals that want jobs in manufacturing through the highly successful Elevate Plus program delivered in partnership with Loyalist College.   The program will also assist workers and manufacturers with support of training costs that promote technology, innovation and improved performance.  We express our thanks to the Province and Minister Smith for recognizing the importance of manufacturing to our region and providing relevant and timely funding to support this sector.”

Chandy Davis, Chair of the Quinte Manufacturers Association, was also pleased with the investment.

“I wish to express the appreciation of the manufacturers in the Bay of Quinte for the government’s support to train over 800 job seekers and incumbent workers for careers in manufacturing,” said Davis. “This funding will help us with training for areas such as technology adoption, improved productivity and increasing employee engagement and satisfaction.”

JBS Foods Ontario Ltd. has been a partner in delivering practical skills training through Elevate Plus previously and has benefitted from hiring graduates from the program. General Manager Alan Cook was pleased to learn the program will be continuing.

“JBS Foods Ontario is fortunate to be a key employer partner for Elevate Plus, the job seeker portion of this funding. Elevate Plus has helped us access untapped portions of the labour market. We have found that the Elevate Plus staff’s level of engagement to support job seekers helps prepare them for a career in manufacturing,” said Cook.

The Skills Development Fund has provided more than $200 million in funding for innovative projects that address challenges to hiring, training, or retaining workers during the pandemic.

“Our government is working for workers every day. Through our Skills Development Fund, we’re giving workers the training they need to fill in-demand jobs, earn bigger paycheques and advance in rewarding careers that make their families and communities stronger,” said Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton.

QUICK FACTS

  • For more information about registering in the 30th cohort of the Elevate Plus Manufacturing program, interested individuals can visit elevateplus.ca. At that website, there is also information available about Elevate Plus Military training programs aimed at skills development and employment for veterans, military spouses and family members.
  • Data suggests the need to replace retiring workers is greater for skilled trades workers than other occupations. In 2016, nearly one in three journeypersons in Ontario were aged 55 or older.
  • In the fall of 2021, there were more than 360,000 jobs vacant in Ontario.
  • Ontario’s Skills Development Fund is supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.
  • In addition to the Future Factory Skills Initiative, this year, the Skills Development Fund is also supporting local programs at Quinte Immigration Services ($813,453), the Eastern Ontario Leadership Council ($574,236), CMHA-HPE ($546,364), and Youth Habilitation Quinte Inc. ($162,936).

 


Ontario’s Plan to Build: 2022 Budget supports better jobs, critical building, and lower costs for Bay of Quinte families

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2022  

BAY OF QUINTE – Today, Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy released the 2022 Budget. Ontario’s Plan to Build has five pillars: 

1.Rebuilding Ontario’s Economy 

2.Working for Workers 

3.Building Highways and Key Infrastructure 

4.Keeping Costs Down 

5.A Plan to Stay Open  

The government’s plan will seize the opportunities in critical minerals, batteries and electric and hybrid vehicle manufacturing, help deliver better jobs and bigger paycheques for workers, help keep costs down for families, and get shovels in the ground for highways, transit, hospitals and other key infrastructure. Supported by a plan to stay open, the government is building Ontario.  

 “The people of Ontario deserve a government that has a real plan to build,” said Minister Bethlenfalvy. “Our government’s Budget is Premier Ford’s vision and our plan to cut through the excuses and act right away on the priorities of the people of Ontario.”  

The 2022 Budget continues the government’s track record of strong fiscal management. The plan includes increases to base program spending at an average annual rate of about five per cent over the next three years. The Budget also presents a recovery plan that will eliminate Ontario’s deficit two years earlier than projected in the 2021 Budget. It also includes investments to support people and jobs in Bay of Quinte, including: 

  • Enabling the expansion of Highway 401 will relieve congestion in Eastern Ontario. The government is laying the foundation through early works and property acquisitions along Highway 401 that will enable future widening, including replacement of the Choate Road Bridge and Ganaraska Bridge on Highway 401 in Port Hope. 
  • Investing nearly $2 billion over five years to help 424 small, rural and Northern communities construct and rehabilitate roads, bridges, water and wastewater infrastructure, including critical projects that will directly support public safety,  job creation and drive economic growth, such as the widening of Bell Boulevard in Belleville from two to four lanes. 
  • Providing high-quality care through access to new, state-of-the-art health care. Projects include: Redeveloping Kingston General Hospital and the regional trauma centre to accommodate inpatient, surgical and emergency department growth, and replacing the Quinte Health Care Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital with a new hospital on the exiting site in Picton. 
  • Investing a historic $6.4 billion since spring 2019 to make swift progress in fixing the long-term care sector and helping Ontario’s seniors get the quality of care and quality of life they deserve. Ontario now has more than 31,000 new beds and more than 28,000 upgraded beds in the development pipeline, and is on track to build more than 30,000 net new beds across the province by 2028. Long-Term Care Projects include:1. Neighbourhood Better Living: Building 160 new long-term care beds in a greenfield development in Belleville, 2. Revera Hallowell House: Building 31 new long-term care beds and upgrading 97 others in Prince Edward County. 

“Our government has a plan, and that plan is working,” said Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte. “But the work is not over, and the job is not done. We are ready to get it done for the people of Bay of Quinte.” 

Rebuilding Ontario’s Economy is the first pillar of the government’s plan. While Ontario lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs between 2004 and 2018, the government has a plan to help create jobs and build prosperity everywhere, for everyone.  

Highlights include:  

  • Seizing Ontario’s critical minerals opportunity begins in the north. Critical minerals will become part of the future of clean steel, batteries and hybrid and electric vehicles as the next generation of automobiles are built in Ontario, by Ontario workers and sold across North America and the world. The government’s plan includes up to $1 billion for legacy infrastructure, such as all-season roads to the Ring of Fire, building the corridor to prosperity. The plan is also supported by a Critical Mineral Strategy and $2 million in 2022-23 and $3 million in 2023-24 to create a Critical Minerals Innovation Fund.
  • Helping create good manufacturing jobs as Ontario becomes a North American leader in building the vehicles of the future. As of early April 2022, Ontario has seen more than $12 billion in new investments for vehicle production mandates and battery manufacturing over the past 18 months. Ontario is also supporting investments to help make the province a world-leading producer of clean, low-emission steel to help build automobiles in the province. 
  • Working to bring jobs at provincial agencies to communities across Ontario to help spur economic growth. This begins with exploring the relocation of the headquarters of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) to London, working in close partnership with the agency and other partners, and identifying main street communities to headquarter new government agencies.  
  • Investing nearly $107 million over the next three years to help the province compete with jurisdictions in a global race to develop and own critical technologies.
  • Nearly $4 billion to support high-speed internet access to every community in Ontario by the end of 2025. 

Working for Workers is the second pillar of the government’s plan. Ontario workers deserve a government that works as hard as they do for Ontario. That’s why the government has a plan to support better jobs and bigger paycheques.    

Highlights include:  

  • Increasing the general minimum wage to $15.50 per hour on October 1, 2022, while guaranteeing digital platform workers the general minimum wage and new, first-in-Canada protections.
  • Investing $1 billion annually in employment and training programs to help people retrain and upgrade their skills as the province continues to support better jobs and opportunities for Ontario workers.  
  • Investing an additional $114.4 million over three years in its Skilled Trades Strategy to break the stigma associated with the skilled trades and simplify the system. 
  • Expanding college degree granting to help build a pipeline of job-ready graduates in applied fields and allow students to gain the education, experience, and skills to enter the workforce faster. 
  • Providing $268.5 million over three years in additional funding through Employment Ontario to strengthen the government’s skills training and employment programs, including pandemic recovery initiatives.  
  • Relaunching the Second Career program as Better Jobs Ontario to support a larger, more diverse range of Ontario workers with $5 million in new funding in 2022–23 in addition to the nearly $200 million invested over the last three years. Better Jobs Ontario helps laid-off unemployed workers access the training they need to become qualified for in-demand, well paying jobs and connect local employers with the high-skilled workers they need. 
  • Attracting newcomers with a plan that includes an additional $15.1 million over three years in the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), which nominates applicants for permanent residence who have the skills and experience that match Ontario’s labour market needs. 

Building Highways and Key Infrastructure is the third pillar in the government’s plan. For too long, the people of Ontario have been stuck in gridlock, with thousands of hours wasted on packed trains, or behind the wheel in bumper-to-bumper traffic, costing billions to the province’s economy. This has to change. The government is getting shovels in the ground to build highways, transit and other infrastructure projects to fight gridlock, boost the economy and create jobs.  

Highlights include:  

Planning one of the most ambitious capital plans in the province’s history, with planned investments over the next 10 years totaling $158.8 billion, including $20 billion in 2022-23. 

Investing $25.1 billion over the next 10 years to support the planning and construction of highway projects across the province, including:- Building Highway 413, Building the Bradford Bypass, The first steps to enable the future widening of Highway 401, Improving the QEW Garden City Skyway, Continuing the next phase of construction for the new Highway 7 between Kitchener and Guelph, Reconstructing Highway 101, the Timmins Connecting Link 

Investing $61.6 billion over 10 years for public transit, including: 

- Breaking ground on the Ontario Line, Advancing planning work for the Sheppard Subway Extension, Planning and design work for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension to Toronto Pearson Airport, The Bowmanville GO Rail Extension, Weekday GO Rail trips between London and Union Station in Toronto, Passenger rail service to Northeastern Ontario.  
Investing about $14 billion in capital grants over the next ten years to build and renew schools and child care spaces.   

Keeping Costs Down is the fourth pillar in the government’s plan. When costs go up, it has a direct impact on families, seniors, workers and the economy. That’s why the government has a plan to help keep costs down by increasing housing supply, making it less expensive to drive or take transit, and by providing relief on everything from child care to taxes. 

Highlights include:  

  • Implementing a long-term plan to address the housing crisis, informed by the Housing Affordability Task Force’s recommendations. This includes supporting the creation of all types of housing by speeding up approvals to get more shovels in the ground faster, prioritizing Ontario homebuyers over foreign speculators, cracking down on unethical developers, and committing to introduce a housing supply action plan every year for the next four years.
  • Making it less expensive to drive by eliminating and refunding license plate renewal fees for passenger vehicles, light-duty trucks, motorcycles and mopeds, cutting the gas tax by 5.7 cents per litre for six months beginning July 1, 2022, and removing tolls on Highway 418 and 412.
  • Proposing to provide an additional $300 in Personal Income Tax (PIT) relief, on average, to about 1.1 million taxpayers by enhancing the Low-income Individuals and Families Tax Credit. 
  • Lowering child care fees for parents and securing a fair deal for Ontario by signing a $13.2 billion agreement with the federal government in an important step towards achieving an average of $10-a-day child care by September 2025.  
     
     

A Plan to Stay Open is the fifth pillar in the government’s plan. With more than 32 million vaccine doses administered and more than 90 percent of people aged 12 and over fully vaccinated, Ontario has fared better than many jurisdictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The province has cautiously lifted restrictions, and the economy is recovering. To meet the challenges that may lie ahead, the government is making significant investments in its plan to stay open.   

  Highlights include:  

  

  • Expanding Ontario’s health care workforce by:

o   Launching the new Learn and Stay Grant for up to 2,500 eligible postsecondary students who enrol in priority programs, such as nursing and work in underserved communities in the region where they studied after graduation. 

o   Helping retain nurses across the health sector and stabilize the current nursing workforce by investing $764 million over two years to provide Ontario’s nurses with a retention incentive of up to $5,000 per person. 

o   Building on the 8,600 health care workers added to the system since March 2020, investing $230 million in 2022–23 to enhance health-care capacity.  

o   Investing $42.5 million over two years beginning in 2023–24 to support the expansion of 160 undergraduate and 295 post-graduate positions, including at the new medical schools in Brampton and Scarborough.  

o   Shoring up domestic production of critical supplies and ensuring Ontario is prepared for future emergencies by committing, as of April 2022, more than $77 million of the Ontario Together Fund to leverage almost $230 million in investments to support manufacturing of Ontario-made PPE.  

o   Embracing the opportunity to become a global hub for biomanufacturing and life sciences and making a strategic investment of $15 million over three years in a new Life Sciences Innovation Program to develop and scale up the commercial potential of therapeutics and medical and digital technologies.  

o   Building and improving hospitals by investing more than $40 billion over the next 10 years in hospital and health care infrastructure supporting more than 50 major hospital projects that would add 3,000 new beds over 10 years.  

o   Making historic investments in hospitals with an additional $3.3 billion in 2022-23, bringing the total additional investments in hospitals to $8.8 billion since 2018-19. The government is also investing $3.5 billion over three years to support the continuation of over 3,000 hospital beds put in place during the pandemic and $1.1 billion over three years to support the continuation of hundreds of new adult, pediatric and neonatal critical care beds added during COVID-19.  

o   Making additional investments in home care by planning to invest up to an additional $1 billion over the next three years. The government is also proposing a new, refundable Ontario Seniors Care at Home Tax Credit to help seniors aged 70 and older with eligible home care medical expenses to help people stay in their homes longer.   

QUICK FACTS 

  •  Ontario’s real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 4.3 per cent in 2021, and employment rose by 344,800 net jobs in 2021 or 4.9 per cent, the strongest annual pace of job growth on record. 
  • Ontario is projected to return to a surplus position by 2027–28, two years earlier than forecast in the 2021 Budget. Over the medium term, the government is projecting steadily declining deficits of $19.9 billion in 2022–23, $12.3 billion in 2023–24, and $7.6 billion in 2024–25, representing a significant improvement since the 2021 Budget.
  • The net debt-to-GDP ratio is projected to be 40.7 per cent in 2021–22, 8.1 percentage points lower than the 48.8 per cent forecast presented in the 2021 Budget. Over the medium-term outlook, Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP ratio is now forecast to be 41.4 per cent in 2022–23 and 2023–24, and declining to 41.3 per cent in 2024–25.  
  • Legislative amendments proposed as part of Ontario’s Plan to Build would, if passed, help to create seamless transit services across Toronto municipal boundaries, crack down on auto insurance fraud, and remove the requirement for the WSIB head office to be located in Toronto. 

 

 


Province moves Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital redevelopment to tendering stage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TUESDAY, APRIL 26, 2022

PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY – The Ontario government is moving the Quinte Health Care (QHC) Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital redevelopment project to the fourth stage of a five-stage project, paving the way to go to tender, Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, announced today.

The Ministry of Health has approved Quinte Health Care’s Stage 3.2 preliminary design drawings, allowing the hospital corporation to continue working with Infrastructure Ontario toward the new build.  Stage 4 allows QHC to:

  • Prepare detailed designs (including comprehensive breakdowns of materials and cost estimates)
  • Finalize all tender documents
  • Tender the project and evaluate proposals, select a preferred vendor, and make a submission to the ministry to approve a construction grant and move forward to implementation

Typically, this stage lasts between 18-24 months, allowing construction to begin as early as Spring 2024.

“Our government recognizes the importance of building a modern, full-service hospital in Prince Edward County,” said Smith. “Today, with a lot of hard work from QHC and the community, we’ve reached the final stage of a long planning process before we’re able to select a contractor and put shovels in the ground. I’m looking forward to the final push to finish the job by building this new hospital.”

When built, the new Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital will have a 24-hour emergency department, 18 inpatient beds (expandable to 23), diagnostic imaging, a surgical suite, a dialysis unit and ambulatory care. It will also feature state-of-the-art design to promote infection prevention and control.

Stacey Daub, QHC’s President and CEO, is pleased to be able to move forward.

“Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital is an integral part of Quinte Health Care and the hospital plays a huge role in the health of its community.  Today’s announcement ensures we will have a strong hospital, with care close to home, for Prince Edward County residents as well as the thousands of visitors that come to this beautiful part of our region each year,” said Daub. “This is a significant milestone for our QHC team, and our Foundation partners, who have worked relentlessly to make a new hospital a reality, ensuring high-quality care in Prince Edward County for generations to come.”

Community representatives welcomed the announcement.

“We are thrilled to see the momentum continue to build toward a redeveloped Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital,” said Steve Ferguson, Mayor of Prince Edward County. “A new, modern, full-service hospital right here in Prince Edward County has been a dream within our community for so many years. And the fact that the project is moving into the final stage before groundbreaking is undoubtedly welcome news for our residents.”

Barbara McConnell, the Chair of the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation, said the milestone offers the community confidence the project is proceeding.

“This day signals the next phase of development, and it is a testament to the commitment of many people who have been dedicated for a long time to this vision of a new hospital at the ‘heart’ of our community,” said McConnell.  “Contributions to our Back the Build campaign have come as monetary donations, as volunteer hours and as vocal support….all in the name of demonstrating to the Province and the planning partners, that we are a community united in helping make this hospital happen. Today…together…we take another step toward that goal.”

QUICK FACTS

  • To support the high-quality care provided by Ontario’s hospitals, the government is providing an additional $827 million to hospitals across the province, representing a four per cent increase from last year. This will ensure all publicly funded hospitals receive a minimum two per cent increase to their budgets to help them better meet patient needs, while building a stronger, more resilient health care system.
  • To support growing demands on the health care system, Ontario’s investments over the next 10 years will lead to $30 billion in health infrastructure across the province. These investments will increase capacity in hospitals, build new health care facilities, and renew existing hospitals and community health centres.