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Minister’s Foreword and Introduction
Together, we’ve come so far.
In just four years, we have made significant progress.
Together, we’ve taken a province that was losing thousands of manufacturing jobs and have positioned it to become an electric vehicle and battery manufacturing powerhouse.
These are investments that will deliver better jobs, bigger paycheques and more opportunity for Ontario workers and families.
Together, we’re unlocking the economic potential of critical minerals and the Ring of Fire, which will help deliver multigenerational opportunities to First Nation and Northern communities.
Together, we’ve seen thousands more train for rewarding careers in the skilled trades. That’s thousands of new carpenters, electricians, iron workers and mould makers.
Together, we’ve provided cost savings and support for Ontario businesses through actions such as lowering payroll costs, providing relief from electricity prices and taxes, and cutting red tape.
Together, we’ve embarked on one of the most ambitious infrastructure plans in the world with shovels in the ground to build new hospitals, schools, long-term care homes, and roads and highways.
We are delivering more public transit across this province, from the return of passenger rail service to Northeastern Ontario, to breaking ground on the historic Ontario Line.
Together, we’re expanding Ontario’s health workforce with more doctors, nurses and personal support workers.
We are well underway on delivering a historic expansion of long-term care beds across the province. We are also making record investments in our health care system.
We have already added over 3,500 new critical care, acute and post-acute hospital beds and over 11,700 health care workers, including nurses and personal support workers.
Together, we’re breaking down barriers for qualified international health care workers so they can work in our hospitals, long-term care homes and home care.
And, we are continuing to explore ways to improve health care, guided by the principles of providing the right care in the right place, and ensuring better and faster access to treatment and supports, with the appropriate health care workforce to support the system.
Together, we’ve made so much progress. Every day, in every corner of our province, we are getting it done.
That’s why the 2022 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review includes our first-ever Building Ontario Progress Report. This progress report provides the people of Ontario with a clear view of the many things our government has done to build our economy, support our workers and deliver the roads, highways and public transit they need.
This progress report is our promise to continue doing everything to be open and transparent with you about what we’ve done and what we will do.
Because together, we’re building Ontario.
The Right Plan in the Face of New Challenges
We have faced a challenge unlike any other that we have seen in our lifetimes.
The once-in-a-generation COVID‑19 pandemic tested us as a people and as a province.
But by standing together and supporting one another, Ontario fared better than many other jurisdictions.
Today, as we move ahead with our plan to build Ontario, we are navigating new economic uncertainties.
We are in a time of rising inflation that is straining household budgets by driving up the price of everything from gas to groceries. In June 2022, consumer price inflation in Ontario nearly reached a 40-year high.
High inflation has prompted central banks in many countries to raise interest rates.
Here at home, rising interest rates, supply chain challenges and ongoing labour shortages are putting a strain on our economy, while a housing crisis that was decades in the making has priced many new Canadians and young families out of the market.
Ongoing geopolitical instability, driven by Russia’s criminal war against Ukraine has cost thousands of innocent lives and has increased economic instability in Europe.
Many here at home are worried about their finances and their future.
Our government has always been open and transparent with the people of Ontario.
And we know that these are challenging times.
Under the leadership of Premier Ford, our government has a responsible, flexible plan to navigate Ontario through these uncertain times.
It’s the right plan that will help families, workers and small businesses overcome economic challenges.
We will continue to strive, to build, and to forge ahead with a focus on protecting Ontario’s economy and, most importantly, the people of this province.
Ontario’s Plan to Build
The 2022 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review provides an update on the current state of Ontario’s economy, as well as our forecasts for the near term.
It also includes a new set of initiatives that advance Ontario’s Plan to Build.
It includes relief for small businesses so they can invest to grow.
It includes more measures to tackle labour shortages.
And it includes additional targeted measures to keep costs down for families and businesses.
Building Ontario’s Economy Together
As Ontario and the world navigate economic uncertainty, we must ensure the fundamentals of a resilient economy.
An attractive investment climate that helps create good jobs.
Low taxes and a competitive business environment.
A highly skilled workforce who are prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
The ability to get goods and services to the market sooner with new roads, highways and other critical infrastructure.
Safe and strong communities with good schools, high-quality hospitals and long-term care homes as well as convenient transit options.
Ontario’s Plan to Build delivers on these fundamentals. But we have more work to do. We must look for additional ways to make Ontario the destination of choice for global investors.
This is why we are refocusing our approach to cutting red tape to clear up supply chain delays so we can get goods and services to customers faster and help create more jobs.
Leveraging Ontario’s world-class electricity grid, our government is introducing legislation that would launch a voluntary clean energy credit registry, giving Ontario another tool to compete for global capital.
Building our economy also means building Ontario businesses by providing the tools they need to invest, expand and grow — particularly at a time of economic uncertainty.
There are nearly 484,000 small businesses across this province; employing one-third of Ontario workers. Small businesses provide essential goods and services to larger companies, consumers and to government.
This government understands that Main Street Ontario matters. This is why we are lowering small business costs and supporting business investment.
Our province, and our government, are building our economy together by making Ontario the best place to start or expand a business in Canada.
Working for Workers
Like other jurisdictions across North America, Ontario is facing a historic labour shortage, which not only impacts businesses, but our economy as well. Too few workers will result in slower growth, lower investment and, eventually, fewer jobs.
That’s why we’re continuing to make significant investments in skills training, while expanding worker supports so Ontario is the best place in the world to live, to work and to raise a family.
It is why we are building on the success of the Skills Development Fund, which has already helped over 393,000 people take the next step in their careers in in-demand industries, by investing an additional $40 million for the latest round.
Immigrants and newcomers to our province are essential for our economy and for our success. Our government continues to work with the federal government to significantly expand the number of skilled newcomers allowed to immigrate to Ontario as we remove barriers for immigrants who want to use their skills to help us build a stronger Ontario.
Our government also believes in helping all people of all abilities to use their individual skills and talents.
We plan to raise the amount a person with a disability on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) can earn, from $200 to $1,000 per month, without impacting their income support benefits. This measure would encourage people on ODSP who want to increase their work hours to do so and promote more participation in the workforce.
Our government also recognizes that there are many ODSP recipients who cannot work, and that they need our continued support. This is why our government increased ODSP rates by five per cent and plans to adjust ODSP rates to inflation beginning in July 2023.
As we increase support for ODSP recipients, reforms are required to make sure that those who need it can get it.
Keeping Costs Down
Putting more money back into the pockets of workers and families has always been a top priority for Premier Ford, and for our government.
And with interest rates rising, many families are feeling even more pressure on their household budgets, especially at the pumps.
This is why our government is introducing legislation to extend the gas tax and fuel tax cuts by an additional 12 months.
At this time of uncertainty, now is not the time to be increasing costs on Ontario families.
We know that these are challenging times for many, but the most vulnerable are the ones that feel the impact of rising prices first.
At a time when food costs are rising, communities across the province are stepping up to support those in need. And so are we.
This is why we are helping to keep costs down for about 200,000 of Ontario’s lowest income seniors by proposing to double the Guaranteed Annual Income System payment for 12 months starting in January 2023.
Respecting Taxpayer Dollars, Today and in the Future
Despite enhancing our plan to build, we are managing our debt burden. Debt is an important tool for government. Through our capital plan we use debt to finance critical infrastructure projects, from highways to hospitals.
However, persistent deficits have built up debt over time, with the interest payments costing taxpayers billions of dollars every year.
That money should be going to support the critical programs and services the people of Ontario depend on.
This is why eliminating Ontario’s deficit, while delivering on Ontario’s Plan to Build, is a critical part of our government’s long-term vision for the province.
In September, we announced that the deficit for the 2021–22 fiscal year had been eliminated, putting Ontario in a surplus for the first time since 2008.
While we expect to return to deficit for 2022–23, we know that we can eliminate Ontario’s structural deficit with a responsible fiscal plan, that is flexible enough to respond to uncertainty and risk.
Faced with the prospect of challenging economic times ahead, we need to be ready for anything.
And we are prepared to support people and business, no matter what the future may bring.
We will continue to invest to create jobs, to build infrastructure, and to strengthen our health care system while laying a sound fiscal foundation for the next generation.
So our children and grandchildren have the freedom to invest in themselves, and in the future.
Together, Let’s Build Ontario
The spirit, resilience and optimism of the people of Ontario has always been an inspiration to me.
The economic road ahead will not be easy. But there is nothing that we cannot do together. No challenge that we cannot meet. No obstacle we cannot overcome.
Whatever the economic uncertainty may bring, our government has a plan.
We will rebuild the economy and bring good-paying manufacturing jobs back to Ontario.
We will get shovels in the ground to build highways, hospitals, transit and other key projects that will boost our economy and improve our day-to-day lives.
We will work for Ontario workers by investing in skills training and helping recent immigrants and newcomers put their skills and talent to use.
Under the leadership of Premier Ford, this government will put more money back into the pockets of the people.
Together, let’s get it done. Let’s Build Ontario.
Original signed by
The Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy
Ontario’s Minister of Finance