Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy

2021 Budget brings Province’s COVID-19 response to $51 billion, including support for Bay of Quinte

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 2021

 BAY OF QUINTE  - Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, welcomed the new and ongoing support for local families and businesses delivered through the Province’s 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy.

“With a doubling of support grants for businesses, additional funding to support families with childcare and remote learning, significant supports for children with special needs, a substantial investment in broadband infrastructure and targeted funding for our tourism and beverage industries, this is a good budget for Bay of Quinte,” said Smith.  “These commitments build upon the work we are already undertaking to address safety and health-care capacity in our hospitals, in long-term care, and within our communities.”

Tabled in the Ontario Legislature at Queen’s Park today by Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy, the 2021 Budget is the next phase of Ontario's response to COVID-19 and is the second Budget the government has delivered during the pandemic.

“You can’t have a healthy economy without healthy people,” said Bethlenfalvy. “For the past year, we have been focused on protecting people from COVID-19. Many challenges lie ahead. But with vaccines being distributed in every corner of the province, hope is on the horizon. We are ready to finish the job we started one year ago.”

The 2021 Budget builds on the government’s record investments in response to the global pandemic, bringing total investments to $16.3 billion to protect people’s health and $23.3 billion to protect our economy. Ontario’s COVID-19 action plan support now totals $51 billion. 

It includes investments to support people and jobs in Bay of Quinte, including:

  • Expanding and renewing hospital infrastructure, including redevelopment projects at Quinte Health Care’s Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital (creating a new full-service hospital on the existing site) and the Kingston Health Sciences Centre (creating 80 new inpatient beds and improving surgical capacity, waiting times, and mental health and addictions supports).
  • Creating a one-time $10-million grant to help wineries and cideries impacted by lockdown measures, increasing funding for the Small Distillery Support Program by an additional $1.2 million, and extending existing support programs for wineries, breweries, cideries, and distilleries until 2022-2023.
  • Expanding the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program across Hastings and Prince Edward counties, including Belleville and Quinte West.
  • Proposing to temporarily double the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit rate from 10 per cent to 20 per cent, which would double the available tax credit support for regional investment from a maximum of $45,000 to a maximum of $90,000 a year.

 

“The hard work and sacrifice of people of Bay of Quinte is helping us reach the day when the pandemic is behind us,” said Smith. “Our government will continue to be there every step of the way to protect people's health and jobs. Working together, we will unleash the economic growth that is necessary for job creation, prosperity and a stronger province."

Protecting People’s Health is the first pillar of the 2021 Budget. It includes measures for defeating COVID-19, fixing long-term care and caring for people.

“Vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel, and boots are on the ground to get vaccines into arms as they arrive in the province,” said Bethlenfalvy. “We will continue to invest in our health care system today and for the long term, building on record investments since the start of the pandemic to create more hospital beds, build and improve hospitals, increase testing, and fix long-term care.”

Highlights of Ontario’s plan to defeat COVID-19:

  • To vaccinate every person in the province who wants to be vaccinated, Ontario has made more than $1 billion available for a province-wide vaccination plan. Ontario is also making it safer to re-engage with workplaces, businesses and communities with $2.3 billion for testing and contact tracing.
  • To protect the frontline heroes and vulnerable people, Ontario has made available
    $1.4 billion for personal protective equipment, including more than 315 million masks and more than 1.2 billion gloves.
  • To ensure that every person who requires care in a hospital can access a bed, even during the worst of the pandemic, the government is investing an additional $5.1 billion to support hospitals since the pandemic began, creating more than 3,100 additional hospital beds. This includes $1.8 billion in 2021–22 to continue providing care for COVID-19 patients, address surgical backlogs and keep pace with patient needs.

 

Highlights of Ontario’s plan to fix long-term care:

  • To address decades of neglect and help those waiting to get into long-term care, Ontario is investing an additional $933 million over four years, for a total of $2.6 billion, to support building 30,000 new long-term care beds. Ontario is also investing $246 million over the next four years to improve living conditions in existing homes, including ensuring that homes have air conditioning for residents, so loved ones can live in comfort and with safety, dignity and respect.
  • To protect loved ones in long-term care from the deadly COVID-19 virus, Ontario is investing an additional $650 million in 2021–22, bringing the total resources invested since the beginning of the pandemic to protect the most vulnerable to over $2 billion.
  • To ensure loved ones receive the best quality care in Canada, Ontario is investing
    $4.9 billion over four years to increase the average direct daily care to four hours a day in long-term care and hiring more than 27,000 new positions, including personal support workers (PSWs) and nurses.

 

Highlights of Ontario’s plan to care for people:

  • To address the need for more health care services, Ontario is making investments to support historic hospital expansion and construction projects, including a new inpatient wing at William Osler Health System’s Peel Memorial, and ongoing planning of a new regional hospital in Windsor-Essex.
  • To help the thousands of people struggling with mental health and addictions issues, Ontario is providing additional funding of $175 million in 2021–22 as part of a historic investment of $3.8 billion over 10 years, to provide more and better care for everyone who needs it.

Protecting Our Economy is the second pillar of the 2021 Budget. It outlines Ontario’s plan to support families, workers and employers.

“The necessary public health measures have come at a cost for workers, families and business owners, but there is no question that they have saved lives,” said Bethlenfalvy. “We recognize the sacrifices that have been made. We are taking further steps to provide additional relief and support to those who have been most impacted by the pandemic, including providing a third round of direct payments to parents, doubling the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, and helping workers with their training expenses.”

 

Highlights of Ontario’s plan to support workers and families:

  • To help workers with their training expenses, the government is proposing a new Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit for 2021. It would provide up to $2,000 per recipient for 50 per cent of eligible expenses, for an estimated $260 million in support to about 230,000 people in 2021.
  • To help families — who have faced new pressures and expenses due to the pandemic — keep more money in their pockets, the government is providing a third round of payments to support parents through the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit, totaling $1.8 billion since last March. The payment will be doubled to $400 per child for this round and $500 for each child with special needs, which means a family with three young children, one of whom has special needs, will receive $2,600 in total after the third round of payments.
  • To support parents with the cost of child care and help them get back to the workforce, the government is proposing a 20 per cent enhancement of the CARE tax credit for 2021. This would increase support from $1,250 to $1,500, on average, providing about $75 million in additional support for the child care expenses of over 300,000 families.

 

Highlights of Ontario’s plan to support jobs:

  • To help small businesses that have been most affected by the necessary restrictions to protect people from COVID-19, Ontario is providing a second round of Ontario Small Business Support Grant payments to eligible recipients. Approximately 120,000 small businesses will automatically benefit from an additional $1.7 billion in relief through this second round of support in the form of grants of a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 — bringing the estimated total support provided through this grant to $3.4 billion.
  • To support Ontario’s tourism, hospitality and culture industries that have been among the most heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario is investing an additional
    $400 million over the next three years in new initiatives to support these sectors. This builds on previously announced investments of $225 million, bringing the total to more than
    $625 million since the pandemic began.
  • To connect homes, businesses and communities to broadband — which COVID-19 has demonstrated is a necessity, not a luxury — Ontario is investing $2.8 billion, bringing the Province’s total investment to nearly $4 billion over six years beginning 2019–20.

 

Highlights of Ontario’s plan to support communities:

  • To support faith-based and cultural organizations that are struggling due to the additional costs caused by COVID-19, Ontario will be making up to $50 million available for grants to eligible organizations.
  • To support Ontario’s 444 municipalities, the Province’s key partners in the fight against COVID-19, the government is providing almost $1 billion in additional financial relief in 2021 to help preserve vital public services and support economic recovery.

 

Learn more about Ontario’s 2021 Budget at budget.ontario.ca.

 


Province to provide Loyalist College $3.5 million to offset impact of COVID-19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FRIDAY, MARCH 19, 2021

BELLEVILLE – The Ontario government is providing $3.5 million to help Loyalist College address the financial impacts of COVID-19, Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte announced today.

This investment will support the sustainability of postsecondary education in the Bay of Quinte region and help ensure students get the skills and education they need for the in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow.

“Loyalist College is a major employer and economic driver in our community and it has consistently developed skilled workers to meet our region’s needs,” said Smith. “COVID-19 has affected program delivery, while adding new costs for PPE and physical alterations to classrooms, labs, and public space. We recognize that and we’re delivering support to ensure the college is well positioned to continue its important work.”

Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan, the President and Chief Executive Officer at Loyalist College, said the funding will allow the college to purchase additional PPE and sanitation products and to hire cleaning staff and security personnel to enhance campus entry screening procedures.  It will also help the college to address student needs.

“Thank you to the Government of Ontario for allocating these generous funds, which will empower us to address students’ financial, technological and food security needs through bursaries, IT supports, and healthy food cupboard contributions,” said Vaughan. “In addition to meeting public health guidelines and keeping our college community safe, Loyalist College faculty and staff have remained singularly focused on supporting student success through hands-on in-class learning, remote and blended program delivery, as well as personalized academic, health, and wellness services.

“As the Bay of Quinte region prepares to emerge from the pandemic, Loyalist College is at the ready – driving economic development through innovative partnerships, academic programs and applied research projects which prepare graduates to anticipate and meet new market needs.”

This funding is part of the Postsecondary Education Support Fund, a provincial investment of $106.5 million for postsecondary institutions who have been the most financially impacted by COVID-19.  The money will help to offset pandemic-related costs, including those associated with online learning, personal protective equipment and enhanced cleaning.

“Our postsecondary institutions are critical to the prosperity of our province and local communities and will contribute significantly to our economic recovery,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “Postsecondary institutions are a key source of job creation, skills training, research, and innovation. That’s why our government has established the emergency fund to help address the financial impacts of COVID-19 and ensure they have the tools, technologies and resources they need to support students throughout their studies.”

QUICK FACTS

  • Earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario delivered $25 million in additional funding to publicly assisted colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes to help address each institution’s most pressing needs, including purchasing medical supplies, offering mental health supports and deep cleaning campus facilities.
  • According to the Conference Board of Canada, every $1 invested in postsecondary education generates a positive economic return on investment estimated at $1.36.
  • The university and college sectors had annual surpluses of $863 million and $333 million respectively at the end of 2019-20.
  • The sectors anticipate COVID-19 impacts of up to $1.9 billion dollars in 2020-21.
  • The Postsecondary Education Support Fund allocates funding to institutions using an approach that accounts for size as well as COVID-19 related revenue impacts and added expenses relative to an institution’s existing surplus in order to target those that need it most.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES


Province approves 160 new and upgraded long-term care beds at Westgate Lodge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2021

BELLEVILLE– Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, announced that Westgate Lodge is being allocated 72 new spaces and 88 upgraded spaces as part of the Ontario government’s historic investment in 80 new long-term care projects today.

“Long-term care beds across our region are in high demand now and the number of people in Bay of Quinte who will need long-term care is expected to rise over the next decade,” said Smith. “Today’s announcement at Westgate Lodge will help ensure we have safe, modern spaces ready for those who need them.”

The redevelopment of Westgate Lodge is part of the government’s delivery of 30,000 much-needed spaces over 10 years. In addition to modernizing the long-term care sector, these projects will help reduce waitlists to end hallway medicine.

“Our loved ones in long-term care deserve a comfortable, modern place to live, near family and friends, with the support they need when they need it,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario’s Minister of Long-Term Care. “These new and upgraded spaces, built to modern design standards will help prevent and contain the transmission of infectious diseases and ensure residents have access to the care they need in a safe and secure environment.”

Criteria for selecting the projects announced today included:

  • Upgrading older homes in response to lessons learned around improved Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) measures, particularly the elimination of three- and four-bed rooms;
  • Adding spaces to areas where there is high need;
  • Addressing the growing needs of diverse groups including Francophone and Indigenous communities and/or;
  • Promoting campuses of care to better address the specialized care needs of residents.

Greg Freeman, the Vice-President and Chief Executive Officer of the home’s owner/operator, Crown Ridge Health Care Services Inc., said his organization has been planning for the redevelopment of Westgate Lodge since 2015. He indicated they were thrilled to learn about its approval.

“We have completed a substantial amount of development work already and look forward to getting a shovel in the ground as quickly as possible,” Freeman said. “This announcement is exciting for our residents, families and staff as we look forward to the enhanced amenities in accommodations as part of the new long-term care design standards. The new home will provide residents with larger accommodations, more common areas and resident rooms with no more than two residents to a room, enhancing their quality of life and care.”

Freeman indicated a stringent approvals process for the architectural and engineered drawings is still to come, but said Crown Ridge will work with the Ministry of Health and the City of Belleville to be in a position to start construction within 12 months.

QUICK FACTS

  • These projects are part of Ontario’s Long-Term Care Modernization Plan.
  • As of December 2020, more than 40,000 people across Ontario were on the waitlist to access a long-term care bed.
  • Across the province, the Ontario government is moving forward with 80 new long-term care projects, which will lead to an additional 7,510 new and 4,197 upgraded long-term care spaces.
  • Ontario is investing $933 million in these projects province-wide, on top of $1.75 billion already earmarked for the delivery of 30,000 new spaces over 10 years.
  • On July 15, 2020, the government announced a modernized funding modelto help accelerate the construction of urgently needed long-term care beds (ontario.ca/en/release/57690/ Ontario-unveils-new-innovative-approach-to-building-long-term-care-homes-faster).
  • With this new allocation, Ontario now has 20,161 new and 15,918 redevelopment spaces in the development pipeline.
  • Ontario is the first province in Canada to commit to an average of four hours of direct care per day for residents of long-term care homes.
  • In June 2019, the Ontario government also committed to a 160-bed redevelopment of the H.J. McFarland Memorial Home in Picton.