Chapter 1, Section B: Working for You


As Ontario faces economic uncertainties like the rest of the world, the government has a plan to support you today and tomorrow. By working for workers, keeping costs down and providing better services, everyone will have an opportunity to take part in and benefit from Ontario’s Plan to Build.

Working for Workers

Ontario is facing a persistent labour shortage, with over 300,000 jobs unfilled, especially in crucial sectors like health care and construction.1 Each unfilled job represents a missed opportunity for workers to earn a bigger paycheque and reach their full potential.

Ontario is making it easier for job seekers, newcomers and students to get the training they need to get good-paying, in‑demand jobs. From health care to skilled trades, the province is training the workers of tomorrow.

Building the Skilled Workforce of Tomorrow, Today

Photo of a construction worker carrying lumber.

Ontario needs more skilled workers to tackle the province’s labour shortage, strengthen the economy and build a stronger workforce for everyone. To do this, the government continues to invest in skills training, transform the apprenticeship and skilled trades system, and help newcomers put their skills to use.

Training Skilled Workers Through the Skills Development Fund

To help workers and job seekers, including apprentices, get the skills they need to take on new opportunities and advance in their careers, the government is enhancing the Skills Development Fund with an additional $75 million over the next three years.

Since 2020, the government has invested close to $700 million in the Skills Development Fund to support those who face barriers in employment. To date, the government has delivered over 388 training projects to help more than 393,000 workers including carpenters, plumbers and health care workers take the next step in their careers within in‐demand industries.

Training Workers in Union Training Halls

The government is working to provide more accessible and flexible training opportunities for workers, including apprentices, so they can get the skills they need to find good, well-paying jobs and to ensure businesses can find the talent they need to drive Ontario’s economic growth.

The government is investing $224 million in 2023–24 in a new capital stream of the Skills Development Fund to expand crucial access to brick-and-mortar training centres, including union training halls. This funding will increase the quality of training for workers and the capacity of these programs to support the government’s plans to build 1.5 million homes by 2031 and other major infrastructure projects, as well as to continue bringing manufacturing back to Ontario.

This expansion will leverage funding from the private sector and ensure Ontario has the training facilities it needs to train more workers for careers in the skilled trades and other in-demand jobs, while drawing on the insights, knowledge and strengths of private-sector unions, which are often closest to the labour needs of the economy.

Helmets to Hardhats applauds the increase of funding to the Skills Development Fund. The Skills Development Fund has supported Helmets to Hardhats’ mission of referring Veterans, Reservists, Cadets, Military family members and Afghan interpreters into the skilled trades as a second career. Most recently, it has also allowed Helmets to Hardhats to expand our outreach to homeless or near homeless Veterans. The additional funding will continue to ensure that Veterans leaving the military are aware of the opportunities that await them in civilian life, while also ensuring they have the training and safety skills to join the unionized construction industry. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Ontario government to refer Veterans to in-demand careers within the trades.

Joe Maloney, M.S.C.
Founder and Executive Director
 Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) Canada

Helping Workers Get Skills Training Through Better Jobs Ontario

For workers looking to retrain and get the skills they need for in-demand careers, Better Jobs Ontario provides eligible applicants with up to $28,000 to cover expenses including child care, tuition and transportation for short-term training programs, such as micro-credentials. With an additional $15 million over the next three years, the government is ensuring more job seekers can match their skill set with the needs of Ontario’s employers.

The program is available for job seekers across Ontario such as youth, gig workers, newcomers and those on social assistance who face barriers finding stable jobs. With this investment, more workers will be able to join the over 7,700 people who have started training through Better Jobs Ontario since January 20212.

Providing Rapid Training Through Micro-Credentials

Micro-credentials help prepare workers for in-demand jobs through rapid training at Ontario’s public and private colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes. These short-duration programs are recognized by many employers and are convenient ways for people to retrain and upgrade their skills, giving them more opportunities in the job market. Not only does this help workers find new employment, it also helps respond to regional labour market needs and the needs of specific employers.

The government is investing an additional $5 million to launch a second round of the Ontario Micro‑credentials Challenge Fund to support the creation of more micro-credential projects. The first round helped create up to 250 new micro-credentials across the province.

Enhancing the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program

To help address the ongoing labour shortages and support economic growth, Ontario is investing an additional $25 million over three years to attract more skilled workers, including in-demand professionals in the skilled trades, through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program. This program is focused on nominating applicants for permanent residency who have the skills and experience to support Ontario’s ambitious Plan to Build. This additional funding will welcome more newcomers to Ontario by expanding staffing and information technology (IT) capabilities to speed up application processing times.

Helping Skilled Newcomers Through the Ontario Bridge Training Program

Ontario is a top choice for skilled newcomers. Through the Ontario Bridge Training Program, the government helps them better integrate into the labour market to build Ontario. The government is providing $3 million in 2023–24 to expand the Ontario Bridge Training Program to help internationally trained immigrants find employment in their fields and get faster access to training and supports towards a licence or certificate.

In 2020–21, nearly 6,000 newcomers benefited from the program. Through this additional funding, the government is supporting more immigrants with the opportunity to train and put their skills to use to build Ontario.

Supporting Skills Development for People with Disabilities

The government is helping to remove barriers that exist between employers looking to hire workers and people with disabilities looking to find work. This is why the government is investing an additional $3.5 million over three years to continue to support the Abilities Centre in Whitby. The Abilities Centre is a community hub that delivers a range of inclusive programming to promote health, community relationships, and skills development for individuals with disabilities. This additional investment will allow the Abilities Centre to provide employment supports and programs to help people with disabilities participate in the workforce.

Preparing Students for the Jobs of the Future

Ontario is preparing students for the jobs of the future by better connecting learning in the classroom to meaningful careers. This is why the government is creating more hands-on learning opportunities and allowing students to earn college credits and take apprenticeship training while still in high school, building a pipeline of job-ready graduates.

Training the Next Generation of Skilled Workers

Ontario is providing more hands-on learning opportunities for postsecondary students to develop the skilled workforce of the future. This is why the government is investing an additional $32.4 million over the next three years to support about 6,500 high-quality research internships through Mitacs, an organization that builds research partnerships between postsecondary institutions and industry. Through partnerships with Mitacs, the government is continuing to fund thousands of research internships for undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows to help them gain the skills they need for in-demand jobs after graduation. These internships support high-quality research and range widely in discipline, with support for key provincial priorities like critical minerals, manufacturing and health care.

Preparing High School Students for Health Care Careers Through Dual Credits

Photo of a health care worker smiling.

Ontario is helping students who want to work in health care get a head start. The government is providing an additional $3.3 million over the next three years, beginning in 2023–24, to expand access to dual credit opportunities in health care-related courses for an additional 1,400 secondary students. This will help ensure hospitals, long-term care homes, and home care have the workers they need.

Eligible high school students who successfully complete these courses will earn credit towards both their Ontario Secondary School Diploma and introductory courses in college health care programs. This gives them a head start in their journey to becoming nurses, personal support workers, paramedics or medical laboratory technicians. This funding will also provide additional opportunities for up to 6,000 students in Grades 7 to 12 over the next three years to take part in hands-on health care-related activities across Ontario.

With the expansion of dual credit opportunities, close to 27,000 students in 2023–24 will have the opportunity to earn credits towards their Ontario Secondary School Diploma and a postsecondary certificate, diploma, degree or a Certificate of Apprenticeship. In addition to health care-related programs, there are also dual credit courses in other areas of focus, including skilled trades, technology and Early Childhood Education.

Training More Health Care Workers

As part of the government’s plan to connect people to care closer to home, the province is expanding the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant to add more health care professionals in underserved and growing communities. The grant provides full, upfront funding for tuition, books and other direct educational costs to students in return for working and caring for people in the region where they studied for a term of service after they graduate. In addition to nursing programs, the grant will now include paramedic and medical laboratory technologist programs in priority communities.

Grant applications will open this spring for the 2023–24 academic year, targeting up to 2,500 postsecondary students who enrol in the following programs and regions:

  • Nursing programs in Northern, Eastern and Southwestern Ontario;
  • Medical laboratory technologist/medical laboratory sciences programs in Northern and Southwestern Ontario; and
  • Paramedic programs in Northern Ontario.

Expanding Degree Options at Ontario Publicly Assisted Colleges

Ontario is building a pipeline of job-ready graduates by expanding the degrees that publicly assisted colleges in Ontario can offer. With a focus on key in-demand sectors, these new, three‐year applied degrees and additional four‐year degree programs support Ontario’s commitment to increasing choices and reducing barriers to high‐quality, local education for students. Some examples of three‑year applied degree programs that are being considered or are under development include a Bachelor of Skilled Trades Business Management and a Bachelor of Computer Science.

Expanding Veterinary Training

Remote and Northern communities face a shortage of veterinarians. To improve access to veterinary care across Ontario, the government is investing $14.7 million over two years, starting in 2024–25, to launch a new collaborative Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program with the University of Guelph and Lakehead University. This new program will allow an increase in enrolment by 20 new students per year, resulting in up to 80 new Doctor of Veterinary Medicine seats over four years, to better support the livestock agri-food sector, when and where farmers need it most.

To further improve and increase veterinary capacity in underserviced areas of Ontario, the government is investing $900,000 over three years to launch a new Veterinary Incentive Program. The program will provide student loan assistance for up to 30 recently graduated veterinarians per year to relocate to underserviced areas and practice livestock veterinary medicine to address critical skill and labour shortages.

Keeping Your Costs Down

Inflation has left many in Ontario, especially the more vulnerable, feeling pressure on their household budgets. The government understands that it is a challenging time for many across the province, and it has acted early to provide relief. The government is helping to keep costs down for those who need it the most by putting more money back in their pocket, whether it is at the gas pumps or on electricity bills.

Putting Money Back in Your Pocket

Reducing transit costs and helping you save at the gas pump are some of the ways Ontario is putting more money back in your pocket.

Making It Easier and More Affordable to Take Transit

As Ontario families continue to look at managing costs, the government is helping put more money in their pockets with affordable transit options. The government has made it more affordable, easier and more convenient for families and workers to travel across the Greater Golden Horseshoe by eliminating double fares for most local transit when using GO Transit services. This means that after riders pay their fare for a GO bus or train, they do not pay again when accessing most local transit services in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The government has also increased PRESTO discounts for youth and postsecondary students and continues to provide more riders with more options and convenient ways to pay.

This GO Transit co-fare discount applies to the following transit systems: Durham Region Transit, Milton Transit, Grand River Transit, Guelph Transit, Oakville Transit, MiWay (Mississauga Transit), Brampton Transit, Hamilton Street Railway, Burlington Transit, Bradford West Gwillimbury Transit, York Region Transit and Barrie Transit. The government is working to expand this initiative to support more people using public transit to come into Toronto.

Ontario is also making it more convenient for riders to pay their fare on select transit systems. The government is working to expand the credit card payment system used by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and to introduce debit tapping payment capability to all transit systems in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). Riders on Durham Region Transit, York Region Transit, Burlington Transit, Hamilton Street Railway, Brampton Transit, MiWay (Mississauga), Oakville Transit, GO Transit and the Union Pearson (UP) Express have more options to pay fares on a PRESTO device, including with credit cards, smartphones or smartwatches.

Eliminating Licence Plate Renewal Fees and Stickers

People and businesses continue to feel the pinch of higher costs and the government has taken action to help make life more affordable for nearly eight million vehicle owners in Ontario.

The government put money back in people’s pockets through legislation passed in March 2022 to enable it to refund eligible licence plate renewal fees paid since March 2020.

The government also eliminated licence plate renewal fees and plate stickers on a go-forward basis for passenger vehicles, light-duty commercial vehicles, motorcycles and mopeds that are owned by individuals, a company or business, resulting in savings of $1.1 billion per year for vehicle owners.

Cutting the Gas Tax and Fuel Tax

As part of its plan to help keep costs down for Ontario families and businesses, the government has extended the current gas tax and fuel tax rate cuts for an additional year, keeping the rates at 9 cents per litre until December 31, 2023.

This extension follows legislation passed in spring 2022 that cut the gas tax by 5.7 cents per litre and the fuel tax by 5.3 cents per litre for six months.

These cuts are expected to save Ontario households $195 on average between July 1, 2022, and December 31, 2023.

Making Auto Insurance More Affordable

The government is taking action to make auto insurance more affordable. The government will continue to make progress on previous commitments, including cracking down on fraud and abuse and considering options to provide more choice, reduce disputes and improve health access and outcomes for people. 

Since announcing the multi‐year strategy, Putting Drivers First: A Blueprint for Ontario’s Auto Insurance System in 2019, the government and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) have made significant progress on their commitments, including:

  • Increasing competition, by making it easier for insurers to offer more discounts and options to consumers such as enabling insurers to offer incentive and rebate programs.
  • Increasing innovation, by enabling insurers to develop usage‐based insurance programs. As a result, insurers have launched new usage‐based insurance programs. The government has also enabled FSRA to operate an auto insurance regulatory sandbox that allows insurers to pilot other innovative initiatives.
  • Increasing consumer convenience, by enabling electronic communications for customers, including offering electronic proof of auto insurance.
  • Increasing consumer choice, by making it optional to purchase not‐at‐fault property damage coverage (also known as Direct Compensation – Property Damage). This change was made to give drivers more options and will come into effect on January 1, 2024.
  • Enabling a FSRA rule that defines unfair or deceptive acts or practices to make the oversight of insurance more transparent, dynamic and flexible. This rule ensures consumers are treated fairly, while enabling insurers to offer rebates or incentives.

Particularly in this period of high inflation, the government is concerned about the burden of high auto insurance costs on consumers and expects all participants in the system, including the auto insurance industry, to work together to keep costs down for consumers.

Helping Ontario’s Most Vulnerable

The high cost of goods and services is even harder for the most vulnerable, who often live on fixed incomes. This is why the government continues to support Ontario’s most vulnerable, including low-income seniors.

Providing Financial Support to More Seniors

During this period of higher prices, the government has temporarily doubled the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments for 2023 to help approximately 200,000 eligible low‑income seniors.

To ensure that more seniors who need financial help get it, the government is proposing to make changes to expand the eligibility for GAINS, starting in July 2024, which would see about 100,000 more low-income seniors receive payments, for a 50 per cent increase in recipients.

The proposed amendments to the Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income Act would allow more seniors to be eligible for the program and keep more of their benefits. The government is proposing to lower the rate at which the benefit is reduced in relation to annual private income. At the same time, to continue to put more money in the pocket of eligible seniors, the government is proposing to adjust the benefit annually to inflation.

Photo of a senior participating in a knitting class at a seniors centre.

Keeping Electricity Costs Down for Ontario Families

At a time of increased costs, the last thing Ontario families should be worried about is if they can afford to keep their home warm. This is why, to help those who need it the most manage their electricity bills, the government continues to provide targeted electricity bill relief for eligible low-income households and on-reserve First Nation consumers, as well as eligible rural or remote customers. This is in addition to the on-bill Ontario Electricity Rebate for all eligible residential customers.

Bringing Home Ownership into Reach for More People

Ontario’s population is growing. Housing starts in the province over the last two years have hit the highest level since 1988 despite major global and national economic challenges. Unnecessary red tape, however, is slowing down construction and preventing more homes from being built at the pace the people of Ontario need. This is why the government is taking bold, transformative action to get 1.5 million homes built by 2031.

The More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 received Royal Assent on November 28, 2022, implementing changes that will help build more homes and make life more affordable for Ontario families. This includes streamlining planning and approvals processes to get shovels in the ground faster, strengthening protections for homebuyers, and reducing government fees that add thousands of dollars to the cost of a new home.

In the case of non-profit development in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the impact of these changes is estimated to reduce the cost of building a single-family home by $116,900. The More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 also allows the development of “gentle density” — housing like triplexes or garden suites — that bridge the gap between single-family homes and high-rise apartments.

In addition, Ontario continues to work with municipal partners to ensure that cities, towns and rural communities grow with a mix of ownership and rental housing that meets the needs of people across the province. In Southern Ontario, 29 of the largest and fastest-growing lower- and single-tier municipalities have been assigned housing targets to incentivize more housing where it is needed the most. Ontario has also helped strengthen municipal powers to deliver on shared provincial–municipal priorities, such as housing, through the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, 2022; as well as the Better Municipal Governance Act, 2022; and associated regulations.

The province also launched the Streamline Development Approval Fund to provide more than $45 million to help Ontario’s 39 largest municipalities modernize local approval processes for residential developments. Additionally, the government increased the Non-Resident Speculation Tax rate to 25 per cent and expanded the tax to apply provincewide, to help deter non-resident investors from speculating on the province’s housing market and to help make housing more attainable for Ontario residents.

Addressing the housing crisis is a long-term strategy that requires long-term commitment and collaboration from all levels of government including municipalities, the private sector and not‑for‑profits to drive change. This is why the government has committed to advancing Ontario’s housing supply action plan every year to help build more homes and make life more affordable for the people of Ontario.

Addressing Homelessness through Supportive Housing

Many of Ontario’s most at-risk residents do not have a safe place to call home. To help those experiencing or at risk of homelessness, Ontario is investing an additional $202 million each year in the Homelessness Prevention Program and Indigenous Supportive Housing Program.

This investment in supportive housing helps people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, struggling with mental health and substance use, those escaping intimate partner violence, seniors and those experiencing poverty. Ontario will continue to support the most vulnerable by providing supportive housing and homelessness prevention services to help those most in need.

Supportive housing provides people in need with a roof over their heads. It also connects them with services that provide a hand up to improve their circumstances, including mental health support and job training. This approach is supported by experts, municipalities and other stakeholders. In addition to reducing costs in other sectors, supportive housing provides people in Ontario with an opportunity to live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.

This new funding builds on the government’s investment of nearly $4.4 billion over the past three years to grow and enhance community and supportive housing, respond to COVID‑19 and address homelessness for vulnerable people — including over $1.2 billion to service managers and Indigenous program administrators through the Social Services Relief Fund.

Better Services for You

From health care to child care, transit and justice services, the public services that the people of Ontario need should be convenient and easy to access. The government is challenging the status quo to provide better service for people and businesses across the province.

Connecting You to Convenient Care

Too many people are finding it difficult to access the health care services they need. People are waiting too long for appointments, surgeries and tests as well as often having to travel too far to get the care they need.

This is why the government introduced Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care, which puts people at its heart, by adding and expanding health care services closer to home. This long-term plan, introduced in February 2023, is built on three pillars: The Right Care in the Right Place, Faster Access to Care, and Hiring More Health Care Workers.

By focusing on improving the health care experiences and growing the health care workforce, the government will improve the quality of health care delivered across the province for years to come. Ontario is enhancing that plan in Building a Strong Ontario.

Pillar One: The Right Care in the Right Place

Having Pharmacists Prescribe Medications for More Common Ailments

To help connect the people of Ontario to care closer to home, local pharmacists can now prescribe over‑the‑counter medication for common ailments, including tick bites, pink eye (conjunctivitis), hay fever, insect bites and hives, and musculoskeletal sprains and strains.

Allowing pharmacists to prescribe over‑the‑counter medication for common ailments has proven to be hugely popular, so the government is expanding it to make care more convenient for people and families. Building on this success, Ontario will be expanding this program to allow pharmacists to prescribe medication for more common ailments. These may include:

  • Acne (mild to moderate);
  • Oral aphthae (canker sores);
  • Diaper dermatitis;
  • Vulvovaginal candidiasis (yeast infection);
  • Pinworms and threadworms; and
  • Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.

Investing in Home Care Services

The only thing better than care close to home is care at home. Having strong home and community care is a key part of the government’s plan for connected and convenient care. In partnership with hospitals, primary care, and Ontario Health Teams, Ontario is expanding and improving access to home and community care.

Through the 2022 Budget, the government announced a plan to invest $1 billion over three years to get more people connected to care in the comfort of their own home and community. The government is now accelerating investments to bring funding in 2023–24 up to $569 million, including nearly $300 million to support contract rate increases to stabilize the home and community care workforce. This funding will also expand home care services and improve the quality of care, making it easier and faster for people to connect to care.

The province is continuing to make it more convenient for families to get the care they need by making home and community care more reliable and reducing wait times. Over the next year, the government will work with home care partners on making improvements to modernize the system, remove barriers and make it easier to more directly connect people to care at home and in the community.

Ontario is taking steps towards:

  • Integrated Care Coordination, through Ontario Health teams, to better align care providers, reduce duplication and make care more responsive to people’s needs.
  • Flexible Care Planning and Delivery that focus on addressing improving health outcomes for people.
  • Needs-Based Care that focuses on people’s individual health needs and not on hours of care or the number of visits.

In addition, to make it easier for seniors to claim, rules regarding expenses eligible for the Ontario Seniors Care at Home Tax Credit are the same as those for the existing federal and Ontario Medical Expense Tax Credits. Eligible costs cover a broad range of medical expenses for seniors living in a variety of settings. Ontario continues to work with the federal government to make claiming available support as easy and convenient as possible for those with medically necessary expenses.

Connecting You to Care through Community Paramedicine

The government is investing more than $174 million over two years, starting in 2024–25, to continue the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care Program. The program leverages the skills of paramedics to provide additional care for seniors in the comfort of their own homes through:

  • 24/7 access to health services through in-home, online and virtual supports;
  • Non-emergency home visits and in-home testing procedures;
  • Ongoing monitoring of changing conditions to prevent or reduce emergency incidents;
  • Additional education about healthy living and managing chronic diseases; and
  • Connections for participants and their families to home care and community supports.

This innovative program is offered provincewide through paramedic service providers. By providing additional care and support, the program aims to improve the quality of life for seniors, provide timely access to primary care and reduce the number of hospital admissions and emergency department visits. The Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program is one of the government’s measures to improve access and modernize the health care system.

Connecting People to Mental Health Services

More than one million people in Ontario experience a mental health or addictions challenge annually — with COVID‑19 exacerbating the need for support — but a broken and fragmented system has made it challenging to access the care they need.

Ontario launched the Roadmap to Wellness: A Plan to Build Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions System to better connect people to mental health services that are convenient for them. Building on this historic investment of $3.8 billion over 10 years, the government is providing an additional $425 million over three years, mainly to:

  • Support mental health programs that are community-led and delivered, making it more convenient for people to connect to mental health services closer to home;
  • Make a broad range of addictions services available across Ontario that are easy to access and there when needed;
  • Support children and youth, by providing access to mental health and addictions services, primary care, and social and community supports to youth aged 12 to 25 through Youth Wellness Hubs;
  • Support for children and youth suffering from eating disorders, including inpatient and specialized outpatient services;
  • Identify the data and digital health needs of service providers to deliver better care for clients;
  • Maintain supportive housing and services for people living with mental health and addictions challenges as they transition from hospital to the community; and
  • Work with Indigenous partners and communities to maintain co-developed programs and services that support Indigenous people’s access to high-quality, culturally appropriate care.

This investment will provide community-based mental health and addictions service providers — funded by the Ministry of Health — with a five per cent increase in base funding.

Ontario will continue to deliver on the Roadmap to Wellness to connect those in need of mental health services to care. Discussions with the federal government continue as there is more work to be done.

Concluding the Extension of Time-Limited Paid COVID‑19 Leave

As a time-limited pandemic measure, the Ontario government introduced paid COVID‑19 leave, a program designed to support people who needed to take time off work to isolate or get vaccinated. Ontario has now achieved one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, and consistent with the sunset date for this program in the Employment Standards Act, 2000, it will expire effective March 31, 2023.

Pillar Two: Faster Access to Care

Reducing Wait Times for Surgeries and Procedures

Long wait times have taken a toll on not only the physical health of people, but also on their mental health due to increased stress and anxiety. For health care to be helpful, it needs to happen faster.

This is why the government is reducing wait times for people across the province by investing an additional $72 million in 2023–24 to make more surgeries available at community surgical and diagnostic centres to connect people to care faster. This investment will allow hospitals to focus their time and efforts on more complex and high-risk surgeries, ease pressure on emergency departments and reduce surgical waitlists.

Community surgical and diagnostic centres will also coordinate with local hospitals to accept people that are being referred so they can get the surgeries they need as quickly as possible. The people of Ontario will always access the health care they need with their Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card, and never their credit card.

This builds on previous 2022–23 investments, including:

  • $300 million as part of the surgical recovery strategy to increase scheduled surgeries and procedures, as well as appropriate diagnostic imaging services in hospitals, with a focus on areas with the greatest need; and
  • $18 million to cover care for thousands of patients, including more than 49,000 hours of MRI and CT scans, 4,800 cataract surgeries, 900 other ophthalmic surgeries, 1,000 minimally invasive gynecological surgeries and over 2,800 plastic surgeries, such as hand soft tissue repairs, in existing facilities.

Ensuring Children Have Access to the Care They Need

Every child in Ontario should be able to get the care they need, when they need it.

The recent health care funding agreement in principle between the governments of Canada and Ontario includes a one-time top-up in 2023–24 to address urgent needs such as pediatric surgical backlogs, emergency departments and other priorities.

The Ontario government has committed more than $200 million to connect children and youth to care at hospitals and close to home in their communities, including new funding for surgical and diagnostic wait times, pediatric hospitals and rehabilitation programs, as well mental health and other community-based supports.

As part of the one-time top-up provided by the agreement in principle, Ontario will also allocate additional funding and work with frontline pediatric health partners to identify more ways to connect children and youth to the care they need.

Supporting Children with Complex Medical Conditions

To support children and youth with complex special needs, the government is investing $12 million over three years to fund 14 additional beds at Safehaven, a not-for-profit organization providing residential and respite care at community sites in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). This funding will help support more children and youth with complex medical conditions and other needs with highly skilled and trained care.

Using Procurement to Support Health Care Transformation

Every year, the government pays out over $22 billion for insured physician services, drug products, pharmacy services, and assistive devices and supplies to millions of people in Ontario.

Ontario is home to a vibrant ecosystem of health technology companies with products and services that can help reduce wait times, streamline administration and provider payments, and make health care more convenient and accessible for people. The government is committed to providing procurement opportunities for innovators to help transform Ontario’s health care system for the benefit of patients.

The government is moving forward with a multi-year Claims Modernization plan to upgrade the business processes and IT infrastructure that manage claims for Ontario’s health plans. This plan will include a market sounding so companies can bring forward solutions to make these processes and systems more effective, efficient and responsive to patients and health care providers.

The government is also exploring a new Innovation Pathway that, in collaboration with Supply Ontario, would review promising new innovations and provide funding to health service providers so they can procure the innovations across the health system. The Innovation Pathway could also help remove barriers to earlier adoption of new technologies by funding clinical assessments.

Pillar Three: Hiring More Health Care Workers

Ontario’s dedicated and highly trained health care workforce works day in and day out so that care is there when you need it most. The government is building a stronger health care workforce so that well-trained and well-supported doctors, nurses, personal support workers and other health care professionals are there to provide quality care to the people of Ontario.

Making Progress to Build the Health Care Workforce

Since 2018, more than 60,000 nurses and almost 8,000 doctors have begun practising in Ontario, along with thousands more personal support workers, with 2022 being a record year for the number of nurses joining the province’s health care workforce. The province continues to make progress and increase the number of workers that are available to provide the people of Ontario the care when they need it. This includes:

  • 1,300 internationally trained nurses who have received support from the province to become fully licensed in Ontario; and over 3,100 more will soon have their licence to practice in the province.
  • 12,000 newly registered nurses with 30,000 more students enrolled in nursing programs at colleges and universities.
  • 24,000 more personal support workers in training by the end of 2023.
Photo of four health care workers sitting together.

Supporting the Supply of Health Care Workers

Ontario is continuing to hire more health care workers to ensure everyone can see a trained professional when they need to. Key new investments in 2023–24 to build the health care workforce include:

  • $22 million to hire up to 200 hospital preceptors to provide mentorship, supervision and training to newly graduated nurses;
  • $15 million to keep 100 mid-to-late career nurses in the workforce; and
  • $4.3 million to help at least 50 internationally trained physicians get licensed in Ontario.

Extending Supports to Hire More Health Care Workers

Ontario is investing $200 million in 2023–24 to extend supports to address immediate health care staffing shortages, as well as to grow the workforce for years to come. This includes:

  • Offering up to 6,000 health care students training opportunities to work in hospitals providing care and gaining practical experience as they continue their education through the Enhanced Extern Program. This program has offered these opportunities to over 5,000 health care students; and
  • Supporting up to 3,150 internationally educated nurses to become accredited nurses in Ontario through the Supervised Practice Experience Partnership Program. More than 2,000 internationally educated nurses have enrolled in this program and over 1,300 of them are already fully registered and practising in Ontario.

Helping More Ontario Students Become Doctors

Ontario needs more doctors. There are many Ontario students who want to be doctors right here in the province but there are not enough medical training seats available, and those who go on to study abroad have a hard time getting residencies back at home. This is why Ontario continues to expand undergraduate and postgraduate medical training seats across the province. The government is more than doubling the previous investment of $42.5 million over two years, with an additional $100.8 million over the next three years to expand and accelerate the rollout of undergraduate and postgraduate seats. This will result in an additional 160 undergraduate positions and 295 more postgraduate positions by 2028.

Ontario is also investing an additional $33 million over three years to add 100 undergraduate seats beginning in 2023, as well as 154 postgraduate medical training seats to prioritize Ontario residents trained at home and abroad beginning in 2024 and going forward. Ontario residents will also continue to be prioritized for undergraduate spots at medical schools in the province.

These investments will bring the total number of undergraduate seats to 1,212 and postgraduate training seats to 1,637 in Ontario by 2028.

Connecting You to Additional Primary Care Teams

Primary care and family physicians are the foundation of Ontario’s health care system. To help make care more convenient for people, the government is investing $60 million over two years to expand existing teams and create up to 18 new primary care teams in communities with the greatest need. By increasing the number of teams, people in underserviced communities and those without a family doctor will be able to connect to the care they need close to home.

These multidisciplinary care teams include doctors, nurses, social workers, and other health care professionals who will be able to provide direct care to vulnerable and marginalized people as well as those without a family doctor across Ontario. This will help connect people to care when they need it without having to visit emergency rooms and experience long wait times, while also improving health outcomes by increasing preventive care and screening procedures.

Enhancing Emergency Health Services in the Community

To help connect people with the right care and reduce wait times, the government is investing an additional $51 million over three years to support the Dedicated Offload Nurses Program to support timely 9-1-1 response in Ontario communities.

The program provides funding to hire health care providers focused exclusively on transferring ambulance patients to hospital care, thereby freeing paramedics to respond to other 9-1-1 emergency calls. In January 2022, eligibility for program funding was expanded to include paramedics, respiratory therapists, physician assistants, as well as nurses, to address health human resource challenges affecting hospitals’ ability to staff offloading positions.

The program will provide 800,000 dedicated hours to support municipalities over three years with offloading ambulance patients to the emergency department, which will increase the availability of paramedics to respond to other emergency calls in their communities.

Recruiting More Frontline Personal Support Workers

Ontario continues to support critical frontline health care workers. This is why the government is providing $1.2 million to the Ontario Personal Support Workers Association to help with recruitment efforts by promoting the personal support worker profession in the long-term care sector. The funding will help raise awareness of the profession through outreach with district school boards, community groups, and in job fairs across the province.

This investment builds on the government’s ongoing commitment to support frontline health care workers and improve the quality of care for long-term care residents, making a real difference in the lives of seniors and their families.

Supporting Students and Families

Ontario is putting students and parents first. This is why the government is helping students catch up, as well as connecting the education system to in-demand jobs.

Helping Students Catch Up

Ontario continues to take action to ensure students catch up after two years of learning disruption. The next steps in the government’s Plan to Catch Up will focus on helping students develop skills in math and reading and preparing them for the jobs of the future.

Moving forward, the government will further enhance supports under the plan, including:

  • Early Reading Enhancements will invest $25 million over two years to provide support for students in senior kindergarten to Grade 2. Students will be assessed twice a year for their reading skills using evidence-based screening tools. The government plans to work with school boards to establish a consistent set of recommended screening tools.
  • Targeted Math Supports include an additional $12.6 million investment over two years, to double the number of school math coaches who will be responsible for implementing early intervention strategies and providing other math-related supports for students at targeted schools across the province.
  • Preparing More Students for the Jobs of the Future will involve creating stronger links between classroom learning and good-paying careers. Over three years, the government is investing $6.2 million in targeted supports for students with disabilities to pursue cooperative education opportunities.
  • Continued Curriculum Updates will focus on life and job skills by revising curriculum in language; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); and skilled trades. This includes a new Computer Studies and revised Technological Education curriculum, beginning with the implementation of a new Grade 10 course in September 2023 and revised Grade 9 and 10 courses to be offered in September 2024.

Teaching Financial Literacy

In 2020, Ontario launched a new math curriculum for students from Grades 1 through to Grade 8. In 2021, Ontario launched a new de-streamed math curriculum for students in Grade 9. The new curriculum emphasizes financial literacy so that by the time students graduate from secondary school, they have the skills to budget and manage their personal finances. Building on this, the government will provide $6.8 million over three years to support practical, hands-on experiences for students to further their financial literacy learning and growth. Ontario will also release self-directed learning modules on financial literacy that help Grade 9 and 10 students prepare for their transition to postsecondary education or the workforce after high school.

Providing Parents Choice and Making Child Care More Affordable

Access to affordable and high-quality child care is essential for Ontario families. It helps reduce the financial pressures that families face and gives children a positive start to their education. This is why the government is providing a high-quality child care system across the province.

Photo of a parent helping their two children get ready for school.

Since its launch, 92 per cent of Ontario’s licensed child care sites have enrolled in the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system. This landmark $13.2 billion investment made jointly by the Governments of Canada and Ontario provides direct financial relief for families through a 50 per cent reduction to child care fees for children aged 0 to 5. Child care fees will be further reduced to an average of $10 per day by September 2025.

Ontario continues to work with municipalities and other partners to create 86,000 new, high‐quality child care spaces by December 2026. To support this, the government launched a $213 million grant program for new and existing operators to help offset the costs of expanding or creating spaces such as purchasing equipment or renovating facilities. By providing startup grants, the government is helping to create new child care spaces for communities that need them the most.

While Ontario implements the new child care system, eligible families continue to benefit from the Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) Tax Credit. This credit provides families with financial support of up to 75 per cent of their eligible child care expenses and provides parents with choice in meeting their child care needs.

Improving Outcomes for Youth Leaving the Child Welfare System

Youth leaving the child welfare system are at high risk of being trafficked, experiencing homelessness and developing mental health issues, and have lower high school graduation rates than their peers. As part of the child welfare redesign, the government is investing $170 million over three years to support a new program aimed at improving long-term outcomes for youth. The government is also expanding eligibility, which currently ends at 21 years old, to include those up to 23 years old. This investment will help youth achieve financial independence through life skills development, supports to pursue postsecondary education, training and pathways to employment.

Under the Ready, Set, Go program, children’s aid societies will be required to help children plan for the future, beginning at age 13. This investment will help Ontario youth become adults who are more likely to achieve financial independence and contribute to their communities.

Responding to Community Needs

Public services should work for the people of Ontario and be easy and convenient to access. The government is continuing to improve the services it provides to make it easier for you to access these services and save money.

Protecting Seniors from Elder Abuse

Ontario is committed to ensuring the safety and security of seniors across the province, including providing support to those experiencing or at risk of elder abuse. This is why the government is investing close to $1 million over three years to expand the Seniors Safety Line so seniors can access the support they need. The Seniors Safety Line is the only dedicated elder abuse helpline operating provincewide.

Investigating Indian Residential School Burial Sites

Across Canada, more than 150,000 Indigenous children were removed from their families and communities and sent to Indian Residential Schools between 1870 and 1996. The government is committed to working with Indigenous partners to support meaningful reconciliation and a broader understanding of the legacy of Residential Schools.

The government is providing an additional $25.1 million in 2023–24 to support the identification, investigation, protection and commemoration of Residential School burial sites across the province, as well as mental health supports for First Nation communities. Funding will provide resources for community coordinators, researchers and technical expertise, ongoing engagement with survivors, mental health supports, archival analysis, and the deployment and interpretation of ground-scanning technologies.

Protecting You and Your Family

The government is committed to making all communities safe. From getting criminals off the streets to reducing guns and gang violence, the government is acting to protect law-abiding citizens.

Fighting Guns, Gangs and Violence

Gang members are criminals who put communities at risk. A variety of criminal offences are consistently linked to gang membership, including property offences, drug trafficking and importation, fraud, robberies, assaults with weapons, homicides and human trafficking.

The government is addressing crime and building safer communities to protect law-abiding citizens. Building on the success of the Guns, Gangs and Violence Reduction Strategy, Ontario is investing $13.4 million in 2023–24 to fight gun- and gang-related crime. This additional funding will continue effective gang prevention and intervention strategies that are known to work.

From 2021 to 2022, over 1,000 completed and ongoing investigations have received funding through the Gun and Gang Specialized Investigations Fund. These investigations targeting guns, gangs, and human trafficking have seized over 437 firearms, resulted in 1,259 persons charged and targeted 58 organized crime groups.

Helping to Address Human Trafficking, Violence Against Women and Victims of Crime

Since 2020, the government has also committed over $693 million to support victims of violence, including emergency shelters, counselling services and 24-hour crisis lines.

Sex trafficking is the most reported type of human trafficking in Ontario. It is a vicious crime that poses a real and growing threat to the children and youth of the province, especially Ontario’s most vulnerable youth. The victims of sex trafficking are primarily young women and girls, and the average age of recruitment is just 13 years old. Sex traffickers repeatedly target the vulnerability of their victims in order to control and exploit them.

This is why the government is providing $2.5 million in 2023–24 to continue to support the Youth Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention Program and the Victim Quick Response Program+, under the Guns, Gangs and Violence Reduction Strategy. These programs support community-based prevention initiatives including supports for survivors of human trafficking. This also builds on Ontario’s leadership in combatting human trafficking, including legislation that raises awareness, protects victims, supports survivors and holds offenders accountable.

Enhancing Ontario’s Emergency Readiness

Failure to plan is preparing to fail. This is why the government is putting in place systems and funding that will lead to better outcomes for the people of Ontario during and after an emergency.

When people need help, they must be assured everything has been done to prepare for the best response possible. Ontario’s first responders, community organizations, and those who step up during an emergency deserve gratitude and support. It is up to the government to ensure that they have the tools, training, systems, coordination, and funding to do what they do best.

This is why the government is investing $110 million over three years to fund, train, coordinate, and improve Ontario Corp and the province’s emergency preparedness. This additional investment will enhance the government’s emergency management by:

  • Creating a new Emergency Management Preparedness Grant to support community organizations, including for purchasing equipment required to help and protect people and communities.
  • Investing in a new Emergency Response Fund, to provide urgent relief for municipalities, First Nations and communities often needed in the first 24 to 72 hours after an emergency arises. The funding could be used to assist communities by mobilizing skilled volunteer resources, deploying coordination teams, and providing equipment and financial assistance to ensure a strong and swift recovery after an emergency.
  • Expanding a new, comprehensive emergency preparedness program created in coordination with emergency management partners to help ensure meaningful exercises geared toward enhancing preparedness, which meet the diverse needs of communities and are implemented across the province. This will be supported by improvements to training development and delivery and through the establishment of a year-round public education campaign.
  • Providing annual funding to better support capacity among communities with nuclear roles and responsibilities, and enhance their ability to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of Ontario in the event of a nuclear incident.

The government is also enhancing the Ontario Corp’s volunteer portal and IT systems to support data and information sharing with emergency management partners. Ontario will continue to find ways to enhance information sharing.

These investments will support the province in being better prepared and quicker to respond to future emergencies.


[1] Based on preliminary estimates of the average number of job vacancies for October, November and December of 2022. Data are not seasonally adjusted.

[2] As of January 2023.

[3] These are illustrative examples.

[4] The customer is assumed to consume 700 kWh of electricity per month. The customer would automatically receive the Ontario Electricity Rebate (OER), which provides an on-bill rebate of 11.7 per cent, and based on the customer’s income level, the customer would be eligible for a $45 monthly credit from the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP).

[5] The customer is assumed to consume 1,100 kWh of electricity per month. The customer would automatically receive the OER. Based on the customer’s income level, the customer would be eligible for a $68 monthly credit from the OESP. The customer would also automatically benefit from the Distribution Rate Protection Program (DRPP).

[6] The customer is assumed to consume 2,500 kWh of electricity per month (which includes electric heat). The customer would automatically receive the OER. The customer would also automatically receive the DRPP, which currently caps their base monthly distribution charges at $38.08, as well as the Rural or Remote Rate Protection program (RRRP), which provides a $60.50 credit on their bill.

[7] The customer is assumed to consume 1,100 kWh of electricity per month. The customer would automatically receive the OER. The customer would also be eligible for the First Nations Delivery Credit (FNDC), which reduces the delivery line on their electricity bill to $0.

Chart Descriptions

Chart 1.6: Ontario Is Investing Every Dollar of New Federal Funding into Care and Significantly More

This chart illustrates that the additional dollars Ontario is investing in health care in the 2023 Budget significantly exceed the new federal health funding. Ontario will receive a total of $4.4 billion in new federal health funding over three years: $1.8 billion in 2023–24, $1.1 billion in 2024–25 and $1.5 billion in 2025–26, while Ontario will make incremental health care investments of $15.3 billion over three years: $3.2 billion in 2023–24, $5.9 billion in 2024–25 and $6.2 billion in 2025–26.

Notes: The new federal health funding includes a one-time additional health care payment, time-limited funding for shared priorities and an enhancement of the Canada Health Transfer. Funding under existing Canada-Ontario agreements is not included (i.e., 10-year agreement on shared health priorities, including Home and Community Care and Mental Health and Addictions). All federal health funding amounts are notional and estimated based on population and nominal GDP forecasts, which are subject to change.

Sources: Department of Finance Canada and Ontario Ministry of Finance.

Return to Chart 1.6

Updated: March 23, 2023
Published: March 23, 2023