Chapter 1, Section C: Working for Workers


Ontario’s frontline workers kept store shelves stocked and our supply chains going during the pandemic, but for too long workers have been falling behind. Take-home pay for many has not kept pace with the rising cost of living, and far too many workers find themselves stuck in precarious employment situations.

Ontario workers should be in a race to the top, not a race to the bottom. This is why the government is raising the minimum wage, investing in skills training opportunities and attracting the investment that will create good, well-paying jobs in every region of the province.

The government is Working for Workers.

Working for Workers

Raising the Minimum Wage

An incredible debt of gratitude is owed to the frontline workers of Ontario. These dedicated men and women kept store shelves stocked and supply chains going throughout the pandemic. They had Ontario’s back, and the government has theirs. For too long, wages for many have not kept up with the cost of living. Ontario workers should be in a race to the top, not a race to the bottom.

The government is proposing to increase the general minimum wage to $15 per hour effective January 1, 2022. This represents a 4.5 per cent increase over the current minimum wage of $14.35 per hour. Under the proposed changes, the special minimum wage rate for liquor servers would be eliminated and they would be entitled to the general minimum wage. The minimum wage rates for students, homeworkers, hunting and fishing guides and wilderness guides would be increased proportionately to the increase in the general minimum wage. Annual increases based on the Ontario Consumer Price Index would continue to take place starting October 1, 2022.

Taking Action Against Underground Labour Brokers and Traffickers

No one in Ontario should go to work in fear. This is why the government is protecting workers and cracking down on exploitation and labour trafficking. Ontario is investing $1.1 million in 2021–22 to implement a pilot team of officers to undertake inspections of temporary help agencies and recruiters suspected of worker exploitation and labour trafficking. This team will help protect some of the most vulnerable and marginalized workers in Ontario, including Indigenous workers, newcomers, young workers, migrant workers and women.

This initiative ensures all workers, no matter their status, will have the full protection of Ontario’s labour laws. The Province has recently introduced legislation to set up licensing for temporary help agencies and recruiters. The pilot team will be in place ahead of the requirement for all temporary help agencies to be licensed and will support greater compliance.

Working for Skilled Workers

Helping Workers Get the Training They Need

In the 2021 Budget, the government introduced a temporary Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit for 2021 to help workers get the training they need.

The credit provides up to $2,000 in relief for 50 per cent of a person’s 2021 eligible training expenses, such as tuition at an eligible Canadian institution and fees paid to certain bodies in respect of an occupational examination in 2021. The credit is refundable, meaning that people can benefit whether or not they owe any Ontario Personal Income Tax.

To help individuals continue to upgrade their skills and transition back to the labour force, or those who may not have used the credit in 2021 (e.g., due to concerns related to the pandemic), the government is proposing to extend this credit to the 2022 tax year. The extension of this credit would provide up to $2,000 in relief for 50 per cent of a person’s 2022 eligible training expenses, or up to a total of $4,000 over the two tax years. The 2022 credit extension would provide an estimated $275 million in additional support to about 240,000 people, or $1,150, on average.

Chart 1.8: Supporting Workers with Their Training Expenses
Accessible description of Chart 1.8

See Annex: Details of Tax Measures and Other Legislative Initiatives for further information.

Building Opportunities in the Skilled Trades

Journeyperson provides a lesson in welding to two students. All particpants are wearing protective coverings and visors.

Skilled trades workers are vital for the health of Ontario’s economy. The trades provide good jobs that support families and communities. The Province is investing an additional $90.3 million over three years starting in 2021–22 in its Skilled Trades Strategy announced in the 2020 Budget.

Based on recommendations from the Apprenticeship Youth Advisors appointed in August 2020, Ontario is enhancing its Skilled Trades Strategy to provide more information, further promote the value of the trades, establish clearer pathways, encourage diversity and inclusion and enhance linkages between government, school boards and industry with the goal of making it easier than ever to learn a trade in the province of Ontario.

Skilled Trades Strategy

Sources: Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and Ontario Ministry of Education.

Expanding the Second Career Program

The Second Career program has traditionally helped laid-off, unemployed workers access the training they need to become qualified for in-demand, well-paying jobs while also connecting local employers with the high-skilled workers they need. Ontario is investing an additional $5 million in 2021–22 to expand the Second Career program to extend support to more people, including newcomers, gig workers and people with disabilities.

Enhancing the Skills Development Fund

The Skills Development Fund supports projects that remove pandemic-induced barriers to hiring, training and retraining workers. With almost 150 projects so far, the first round of the Skills Development Fund is helping more than 260,000 workers and job seekers across the province. Ontario is committing more than $200 million to the Skills Development Fund and is accepting proposals for the second round of funding, as well as expanding the Fund’s eligibility to allow an even wider range of organizations to apply, including Indigenous skills and employment training centres and hospitals.

Helping Immigrant Entrepreneurs Find Opportunity

Many new immigrants are looking for business opportunities, while smaller communities are looking for investment. To help create more jobs in smaller communities, Ontario is investing $6 million over three years for a pilot program to expand opportunities for foreign investors to establish new, or purchase and expand existing businesses in Ontario outside of the Greater Toronto Area (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. Applications received under this economic development initiative will be processed on a priority basis.

Ontario’s Task Force on Women and the Economy

In the 2021 Budget, the government announced the creation of a task force to provide advice to the Minister of Finance and the Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues to address the unique and disproportionate economic barriers women face.

The task force met several times over the summer and considered three areas of focus relating to women’s participation in economic growth. Their work was informed by diverse voices from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Key Focus Areas of the Task Force on Women and the Economy

Sources: Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and Ontario Ministry of Finance.

Informed by the task force’s work, Ontario is taking immediate steps to address the unique economic challenges facing women, including:

  • Committing $500,000 in 2021–22 to the Investing in Women’s Futures program that offers free training opportunities and wrap-around supports for women facing abuse, isolation and mental health challenges so that they can develop the in-demand skills they need to participate in the workforce. In 2019–20 and 2020–21, the Investing in Women’s Futures program helped 1,110 women become employed or start their own businesses and 880 women pursue further training or education;
  • Investing $5 million in targeted supports for Indigenous, Black and racialized entrepreneurs to start or grow their business through the Racialized and Indigenous Support for Entrepreneurs (RAISE) grant. This grant will promote opportunities for female entrepreneurs, help remove barriers to economic opportunity and advance racial equity;
  • Establishing a diversity and inclusion governance structure within Skilled Trades Ontario;
  • Modernizing the education curriculum to ensure all students, including young women, have the foundational and entrepreneurial skills they need in a rapidly changing world along with a renewed focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM);
  • Providing a 20 per cent top-up to the Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) tax credit for 2021, increasing support from $1,250 to $1,500, on average;
  • Expanding eligibility for the Second Career program, which provides financial support to offset living costs, including for child care, and supports families, including women, to enter and re-enter the workforce;
  • Introducing Canada’s most comprehensive framework for temporary help agencies, requiring all agencies and recruiters to be vetted and licensed, and enacting new penalties to combat labour trafficking and unscrupulous recruitment of workers. This licensing framework would include proactive enforcement through the establishment of a dedicated team of officers. This would help protect some of the most vulnerable and marginalized workers in Ontario, such as Indigenous workers, migrant workers, newcomers, young workers and women; and
  • Planning to introduce an increase to the general minimum wage to $15 per hour effective January 1, 2022. This would provide higher wages for many low-income and precarious workers, who are disproportionately women.

Improving Choice and Affordability in Child Care

Ontario continues to make child care more affordable, improving options for parents and supporting inclusive economic growth. Recently, Ontario and the federal government made progress in this area with the renewal of the Canada-Ontario Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, which includes enhanced funding from the government of Canada to 2024–25. Ontario has also secured one-time funding from the federal government to support the Province’s ongoing early childhood educator recruitment and retention efforts.

Ontario recognizes the federal government’s commitment to invest in child care to expand access and affordability. Ontario looks forward to continuing to build on the progress made to date to meet the needs of Ontario families, while ensuring new federal commitments recognize the Province’s existing investments, such as full-day kindergarten. The Province expects the federal government to provide adequate and sustained funding to improve affordability and sufficient flexibility that recognizes the size and complexity of Ontario’s child care system.

Working for Economic Growth

Lowering Employer Costs and Supporting Growth

Since June 2018, the government has lowered costs for employers to help them grow, protect existing jobs and create opportunities for workers. In fact, Ontario has enabled an estimated $10.1 billion in support to Ontario businesses in 2021, with more than 60 per cent, or $6.3 billion, going to small businesses.1 Examples include:

  • Supporting a reduction in Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) premiums;
  • Allowing businesses to accelerate writeoffs of capital investments for tax purposes;
  • Reducing the small business Corporate Income Tax rate to 3.2 per cent;
  • Introducing and temporarily enhancing the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit to encourage investments in certain regions of Ontario that have lagged in employment growth in the past;
  • Lowering high Business Education Tax (BET) rates for job creators;
  • Increasing the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption from $490,000 to $1 million;
  • Lowering electricity bills through measures such as the Renewable Cost Shift program, with the Province paying for a portion of high-priced, non-hydro renewable energy contracts;
  • Providing targeted COVID‑19 support through the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which delivered $3 billion in urgent and unprecedented support to over 110,000 small businesses across the province; and
  • Providing property tax and energy cost rebates for eligible businesses impacted by provincial public health measures.

Supporting Entrepreneurship and Growth

Entrepreneurship is an integral part of Ontario’s economy that creates jobs and supports economic growth across the province. Business owners in the province continue to face challenges accessing new capital. Ontario is providing $1 million in new funding to Futurpreneur Canada in 2021–22, to help expand support for young entrepreneurs across Ontario. This non-profit organization offers mentorship programs to businesses led by young entrepreneurs. It also offers loan capital worth up to $20,000 and can potentially be used to leverage an additional $40,000 from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). This new investment will make sure that these small businesses have the resources they need to reach their full potential.

Creating a Single Window for Business

It should be simple and straightforward to start, grow and manage a business in Ontario. The Province sought creative ideas and solutions to develop a single point of entry for any business to access government information and services. This is just one of the many actions the government is taking to eliminate red tape and burdensome regulations so businesses can thrive and grow.

Helping Small Businesses Go Digital

In response to the global economic downturn caused by the COVID‑19 pandemic, many of Ontario’s small businesses have found alternative ways of doing business, such as through online platforms and digital sales. Before the pandemic, about 60 per cent of Ontario’s small businesses had a website, while only seven per cent had an online payment solution.

In 2020–21, the Digital Main Street program helped more than 20,000 businesses across the province to increase their digital presence, including more than 14,000 independent businesses and artists who received support to create online stores and more than 4,000 businesses that received grants to help with the costs of digital adoption.

Through the new Small Business Digitization Action Plan, the government is extending and enhancing the Digital Main Street program. Over the next two years, $40 million will be invested in the program to better position Ontario’s businesses to compete and improve the productivity of their workers by:

  • Providing small businesses with grants, offering technical training for workers, and digital resources to help businesses reach more customers in person and online;
  • Supporting the opening of online stores through the ShopHERE program; and
  • Offering access to Digital Service Squads, which provide one-on-one help and access to
    Digital Transformation Grants that will fund the implementation of digital strategies for
    small businesses.

The expansion of Digital Main Street is expected to help 36,000 businesses over the course of the next two years.

As part of the Action Plan, Ontario is also investing $10 million over the next two years to create a new Small Business Digitization Competence Centre. The competence centre will provide small businesses with training and support for emerging equipment and processes, and help companies understand the benefits of digital adoption.

Working for Tourism, Hospitality, Culture and Sports Workers

Children playing on a stationary merry-go-round at the Ilderton Ontario fair in October 2021

The COVID‑19 pandemic has hit Ontario’s tourism, hospitality and culture sectors particularly hard due to limits on travel and other restrictions. To support the tourism, culture, sport and recreation sectors, Ontario has invested more than $800 million since the pandemic began.

Encouraging Residents to Discover Ontario

To help the tourism, hospitality and culture sectors recover from the pandemic and encourage Ontario families to rediscover the best the province has to offer, the government is proposing a new temporary Ontario Staycation Tax Credit for 2022.

This new Personal Income Tax credit would provide eligible Ontario residents with support of 20 per cent on eligible 2022 accommodation expenses in Ontario of up to $1,000 for an individual or $2,000 for a family. In total, the credit is expected to provide support of an estimated $270 million in 2022 to about 1.85 million Ontario families. The credit would provide up to a maximum of $200 for an individual and $400 for a family.

The new credit would build on a wide range of government initiatives designed to help these sectors through the COVID‑19 pandemic, including the Ontario Tourism Recovery Program and the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant.

By making tourism in the province more affordable, the credit would help encourage people to explore Ontario while keeping tourism dollars right here at home.

Chart 1.9: Supporting Ontario Tourism
Accessible description of Chart 1.9

See Annex: Details of Tax Measures and Other Legislative Initiatives for further information.

Supporting the Film and Television and Interactive Digital Media Industries

Investing in the Film and Television Industry

The film and television industry is a vibrant part of Ontario’s economy, drawing on the province’s skilled workers in high-tech production studios and local communities for filming locations. In 2020, Ontario’s film and television industry contributed $1.5 billion to Ontario’s economy, while navigating the challenges of COVID‑19. This activity created 29,700 high-value, full-time equivalent, direct and spin-off jobs for the people of Ontario.2

The government offers three refundable tax credits to support the film and television industry, including the Ontario Film & Television Tax Credit (OFTTC), the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit (OPSTC) and the Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit (OCASE). These incentives play an important role in increasing job creation and economic activity in Ontario while also enhancing the province’s cultural profile.

In response to COVID‑19, the Province temporarily extended some timelines and amended some requirements for these tax credits, helping companies maintain tax credit eligibility despite delays due to the pandemic.

In July 2021, the government announced more than $7.3 million to support the film and television industry in Northeastern Ontario. This investment is being delivered through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) helping Northern production and post-production projects succeed. Funding will help create jobs and promote economic development in Northern communities such as North Bay and Sudbury.

The government is committed to providing stability and support for workers and businesses in this key industry, while exploring opportunities to maximize benefits for Ontario. The Province appreciates the work of the Film and Television Advisory Panel and will continue to work with the industry to grow high-value film and television production in Ontario.

Supporting the Interactive Digital Media Industry

Ontario’s deep pool of technical and creative talent and its competitive interactive digital media tax credit have helped to make the province a prime location for video game development in the interactive digital media industry. In 2019, the interactive digital media industry employed more than 25,000 people in Ontario and contributed $3.7 billion to the province’s economy.3

In August, the government announced an investment of almost $1 million to expand on-the-job training for 350 young people in creative industries like film, music, gaming and animation. The initiative is focused on youth above the age of 16 with disabilities, who are newcomers to Ontario, Indigenous or Black.

The government will continue to explore opportunities to work with the digital media industry to attract more investment and create jobs in Ontario.

Improving Administration of the Election Finances Act

The Province is proposing amendments to the Election Finances Act to streamline the implementation of recent changes to reduce the influence of third-party advertising in Ontario elections. The amendments would eliminate the requirement for the advertising sector to verify the activities and compliance of third parties with the spending limits under the Act. This update would reduce the administrative burden placed on sellers of advertising and align Ontario’s approach to verifying third-party spending limits with other comparable Canadian jurisdictions.

Investing in Research and Innovation

Research and innovation are key drivers of productivity and economic growth. This is why Ontario is investing a total of $48 million over the next two years in research supports that are of strategic value to the province.

This funding will provide the essential stability to ensure work continues in priority areas for the Perimeter Institute, the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory Laboratory (SNOLAB), and Advanced Research Computing facilities. The Perimeter Institute will continue to undertake fundamental research in cosmology and quantum computing, and SNOLAB will seek breakthroughs in the study of solar neutrinos. The Advanced Research Computing facilities will continue to provide computing infrastructure for Ontario research institutes and industry.

Ontario’s investments will leverage funding from federal and private-sector partners and attract world-class talent to help ensure that Ontario continues to be internationally competitive for global research and development activities.

Modernizing Financial Services

The government is fulfilling its commitment to implement the seven recommendations stemming from the 2019 review of the Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders and Administrators Act, 2006. The government is also implementing a new legislative framework for credit unions, as introduced with the Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act, 2020.

The government is also following through on its commitment to better protect consumers. Empowering the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) to develop a whistleblower protection program would allow FSRA to better identify misconduct and advance enforcement investigations. A program that provides protections to whistleblowers from disclosure of identity, reprisals and civil liability will ensure the people of Ontario who witness behaviours that harm others have avenues to raise issues with the regulator without fear of repercussions.

Furthermore, the government is proposing changes that will allow FSRA to establish clear market conduct requirements regarding the design, marketing, sales, issuance and administration of segregated funds to improve consumer protection.

Modernizing Ontario’s Capital Markets to Attract Investment and Create Jobs

The Ontario government is following through on its commitment to modernize Ontario’s capital markets to further enhance the province’s position as a globally competitive capital markets jurisdiction. Strong, modern capital markets that protect investors and prioritize consumer choice will play an important role in building a more prosperous Ontario.

The 2021 Budget announced that the government will be moving forward with implementing the Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce recommendations intended to make the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) — the province’s capital markets regulator — more effective.

The mandate of the OSC has been expanded to include fostering capital formation and competition in the markets to boost economic growth and create a level playing field for all market participants. The government also intends to separate the combined OSC Chair and Chief Executive Officer role into two distinct positions, as well as separate the OSC’s adjudicative and regulatory responsibilities.

Also, the government has now delivered on its 2021 Budget commitment to release the draft Capital Markets Act for public consultation. The draft Capital Markets Act takes a platform approach to regulation by setting out the fundamental provisions of capital markets law while leaving detailed requirements on specific matters to be addressed in rules.

The government continues to carefully consider the remaining recommendations made by the Taskforce and is committed to moving forward on additional steps to modernize the capital markets and protect consumers.

Working with the Investment Management Corporation of Ontario

The Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO) was created as a pooled asset manager for Ontario’s broader public-sector institutions. IMCO operates at arm’s length from the government and aims to deliver dynamic, cost-efficient investing solutions for broader public-sector pensions and investment funds. Through consolidated broader public-sector asset management, IMCO aims to reduce investment management costs and provide access to a broader range of investment strategies. This includes strong client portfolio management, improved access to investments, and risk management capabilities. The government will continue to work with IMCO in the execution of its mandate.

Working for Farmers

With a shortage of processing capacity and supply chain disruptions that affect productivity and growth, the agri-food sector has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. Ontario is supporting key investments in innovation, capital and equipment to help modernize the province’s processing capacity and position the sector for growth, strengthening Ontario’s agri-food supply chain and food security. In addition, the government is proposing enhancements to property tax programs that support farm businesses.

Supporting Jobs in the Agri-Food Processing Industry

Ontario’s agri-food sector represents a diverse and dynamic contributor to the province’s economy, producing some of the safest and highest-quality food products in the world while providing high-value jobs across the province. Ontario will invest up to $25 million over three years starting in 2021–22 in a new Strategic Agri-Food Processing Fund to support projects that will enhance processing capacity and food security. The investment will help with the shortage of processing capacity, including a rural/Northern stream with a focus on areas that are underserved or experiencing lower economic growth compared with the rest of the province.

Through grants of up to $3 million to food processing businesses, the fund will encourage industry investment in innovative technology, capital and equipment required to increase capacity and productivity in the sector. These strategic investments will result in efficiency improvements and will increase the sector’s competitiveness and resiliency against future disruptions. Through this investment by the Province, industry will be able to capitalize on opportunities in value-added processing to expand domestic and international market opportunities for Ontario’s trade and exports.

Working for Manufacturing and Automotive Sector Workers

Creating the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Competitiveness Stream of the Regional Development Program

As global markets continue to reopen, there is growing international competition for investment. Supply chain challenges are continuing due to strong demand for global goods as well as logistical challenges. Ontario will help businesses facing these challenges by investing $40 million for a new provincewide, two-year Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Competitiveness stream of the Regional Development Program. The new stream will help Ontario businesses invest in the equipment, advanced technologies and skilled workers needed to improve competitiveness, support growth, and create and retain jobs in every region of the province.

Recognizing Ontario Manufacturing

In October 2021, the government, in partnership with Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), announced October 1 as Manufacturing Day. The day celebrates Ontario’s manufacturers, their hard-working employees, and a collective commitment to ensuring that Ontario maintains its status as the economic engine of Canada. This past October, Manufacturing Day kicked off a full month of activities to celebrate all Ontario-based manufacturers, from the small 3D print shop to the large automaker.

To further promote manufacturing in Ontario, the government supported the CME’s launch of the Ontario Made program. The Province invested $1 million in 2021–22 to support enhancements to the Ontario Made program to reach more retailers and manufacturers, to encourage participation and build awareness and recognition among consumers of made-in-Ontario products. This program makes it easier for shoppers to identify and purchase products produced right here at home. Under the program, more than 2,400 manufacturers have registered more than 10,800 products, and 400 retailers are participating.

Advancing Ontario’s Automotive Sector

Ontario is home to a thriving auto sector with more than 200 companies working on connected and autonomous vehicle technologies. In 2020, Ontario’s auto industry employed more than 120,000 people.

The Province has a plan to help the auto sector, its workers, and the communities that depend on it to thrive and grow in Ontario. Ontario is developing phase two of its Driving Prosperity plan, which will look to continue the transformation of the province’s automobile supply chain by establishing a domestic battery ecosystem and ensuring Ontario’s auto workers have the skills needed for high-paying jobs in the auto sector and the broader supply chain. The plan will also support growth in auto-related tech companies, help attract new investments, create research and development partnerships, drive innovation and secure good jobs in the auto sector.

Ontario is also solidifying the province’s status as a North American manufacturing industry leader by working with the steel sector to encourage large-scale investments to transition production to low-carbon emission steel. The transition would entrench Ontario as a strategically located high-value steel producer, critical to the auto and broader manufacturing sectors.

Encouraging Electric Vehicle Development

According to Bloomberg’s Electric Vehicle Outlook 2021, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are expected to account for more than 25 per cent of new global passenger vehicle sales by 2030. By 2040, it is anticipated that global electric vehicle sales will have surpassed the production of internal combustion engines. Electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing and adoption presents a major opportunity to help Ontario strengthen its North American position in automotive and auto parts production, secure long-term economic growth of the sector, provide job opportunities for Ontario workers as well as meet emission reduction targets. A key goal of the government is to develop a battery supply chain ecosystem and a new generation of EVs in Ontario.

To date, the province has received significant investment commitments in its EV supply chain capacity from major auto manufacturers, indicating that Ontario’s auto sector remains globally competitive and continues to grow and thrive. The investment commitments in Ontario’s auto sector from major auto manufacturers total $5.6 billion, creating and protecting high-quality jobs for workers.

Developing Ontario’s Critical Minerals Strategy

Critical minerals are important to the development of new technologies and high-growth sectors such as renewable energy, electronics, EVs and cleantech — all of which support a low-carbon future. The abundance of critical minerals in Ontario will help position the province to play a vital role in critical minerals development and secure investments such as new EV technology, creating new opportunities for resource and automotive sector workers.

In March 2021, Ontario announced plans to develop its first-ever Critical Minerals Strategy and released a Critical Minerals Framework Discussion Paper for consultation. The strategy will strengthen Ontario’s position as one of North America’s premier jurisdictions for responsibly sourced critical minerals, including rare earth elements. It will also support the mineral exploration and mining industry by reducing regulatory barriers, creating jobs, attracting investment, and helping the transition to a low-carbon economy while respecting the environment as well as Aboriginal and Treaty rights. Consultations on the discussion paper closed in June 2021, and the comments received are being considered as Ontario prepares its Critical Minerals Strategy.

Working for Workers in Every Region

Supporting Regional Investment Opportunities

Regional economic development initiatives support workers, families and communities across the province. Ontario introduced the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit in the March 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update to encourage business investment in areas of the province where employment growth in the past was slower than the provincial average. This Corporate Income Tax measure is a 10 per cent refundable tax credit for eligible corporations that build, renovate or purchase eligible commercial or industrial buildings in a qualifying region of the province.

To provide additional support for businesses looking to re-open or transition their operations due to disruptions from COVID‑19, Ontario temporarily doubled the tax credit rate in the 2021 Budget from 10 per cent to 20 per cent for eligible expenditures on assets that become available for use in the period beginning on March 24, 2021 and ending before January 1, 2023. This change doubled the available tax credit support for regional investment from a maximum of $45,000 to a maximum of $90,000 in a year and is estimated to provide an additional $61 million in tax credit support, resulting in a total of $155 million by 2022–23.

Working for Northern Ontario

Promoting Economic Prosperity Across Northern Ontario

To support workers and build prosperity in Northern communities, the government announced an improved Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) program in February 2021 with a focus on culture, talent, business development and community infrastructure. The program targets existing and emerging markets, provides more employment opportunities for Indigenous peoples and helps address the skilled labour shortage in the North. Alongside these program improvements, Ontario is committing $100 million per year over the next two years through the NOHFC to support investments in infrastructure, culture, economic development and training.

Supporting Biomass, the Forestry Sector, and Northern Communities and Jobs

The Province is proposing to fund the above-market costs of near-term re-contracting or extensions of existing biomass electricity generators in Northern Ontario through the Renewable Cost Shift program. Funding these contract extensions would support clean electricity generation, while maintaining electricity rate stability for businesses and households. It would also provide time for the development of the Province’s Forest Biomass Action Plan. It will create good jobs in the North and support the forest sector and forest workers.

Encouraging Economic Growth in Eastern and Southwestern Ontario

In 2019, Ontario launched the Regional Development Program to help eligible businesses, municipalities and economic development organizations create jobs and opportunities located in Eastern and Southwestern Ontario.

To support business growth and distinct regional priorities and challenges in these areas, the Province has committed more than $100 million over the period of 2019 to 2023 through the Eastern Ontario Development Fund and the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, both under the Regional Development Program.

Working with Indigenous Partners

Expanding the Aboriginal Loan Guarantee Program

The Province is expanding the Aboriginal Loan Guarantee Program (ALGP) to a broader range of electricity infrastructure projects as well as expanding the program envelope to $1 billion. Successful applicant projects will help create opportunities and jobs for Indigenous communities. The program facilitates Indigenous participation in the energy sector at a more affordable cost by providing loan guarantees to support equity investments by Indigenous groups.

Working for Ontario’s Francophone Community

Francophone entrepreneurs and businesses are important contributors to Ontario’s prosperity and to the economy. To support their business ventures, Ontario is investing $1.5 million over three years in the Francophone Business Network and expanding the range of business support services available, including the creation of a Francophone business incubator. This investment will support new startups, promote Franco-Ontarian goods and services, foster strategic partnerships with other jurisdictions and promote the next generation of Francophone entrepreneurs, including women and newcomers.

Ontario also recognizes the importance of a strong Francophone and bilingual workforce. This is why the Province would also implement a French Language Services Strategy, including a modernization of the French Language Services Act, to improve access to French-language services.


[1] Source: Ontario Ministry of Finance.

[2] Ontario Creates, 2020 Production Statistics, 2021. Data represent expenditures of all productions using Ontario Creates-administered incentives and services. Data do not include television commercials, corporate videos, music videos, or broadcaster in-house production.

[3] Statistics Canada. Table 36-10-0452-01, Culture and sport indicators by domain and sub-domain, by province and territory, product perspective.

Chart Descriptions

Chart 1.8: Supporting Workers with Their Training Expenses

The chart provides examples of savings in 2022 from the Canada training credit and the proposed 2022 extension of the Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit.

In the first example (on the left), Graeme is a 32-year-old working a low-wage job. Graeme has $700 in eligible expenses for a course to develop skills for a chance at a promotion. Out of the $700 in expenses, Graeme will receive $350 back through the Canada training credit and would receive $350 from the Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit. In total, Graeme would receive $700 in support from the two training credits, or 100 per cent of his eligible expenses. This example assumes that Graeme has a Canada training credit limit for 2022 of at least $350.

In the second example (on the right), Elliott is a 27-year-old who lost his job due to the COVID‑19 pandemic. Elliott has $4,050 in eligible expenses in 2022 to develop skills for a new career. Out of the $4,050 in expenses, Elliott will receive $750 back through the Canada training credit (the maximum amount available for 2022) and would receive $2,000 from the Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit (the maximum amount that would be available for 2022). In total, Elliott would receive $2,750 in support from the two training credits or 68 per cent of his eligible expenses. This example assumes that Elliott has a Canada training credit limit for 2022 of $750.

Source: Ontario Ministry of Finance.

Return to Chart 1.8

Chart 1.9: Supporting Ontario Tourism

The bar chart shows three examples in 2022 of the proposed temporary Ontario Staycation Tax Credit to support eligible accommodation expenses in Ontario. In the first example (on the left), Hayley books an eligible hotel room for one night at $250. She also has $250 in non-eligible tourism-related expenses (e.g., a dinner out and a ticket to a show). As a result, Hayley would receive $50, or 20 per cent of her eligible accommodation expenses through the new Personal Income Tax (PIT) credit.

In the second example (in the middle), Jed and Nuri are a couple with two children. They book eligible campsites for two long weekends for a total cost of $600. They also have $400 in non-eligible tourism-related expenses (e.g., renting a car and purchasing supplies from a nearby convenience store). As a result, Jed and Nuri would receive $120, or 20 per cent of their eligible accommodation expenses through the new PIT credit.

In the third example (on the right), Hope and Deepak are a couple with two children. They book an eligible cottage for one week at $2,750. They also have $750 in non-eligible tourism-related expenses (e.g., local groceries and nearby attractions). As a result, Hope and Deepak would receive $400, or the maximum available for a family, through the new PIT credit.

Source: Ontario Ministry of Finance.

Return to Chart 1.9

Updated: November 4, 2021
Published: November 4, 2021