Chapter 1, Section B: Working for You


Ontario continues to deliver on its plan to build a strong province for everyone. There are opportunities for all the people of Ontario to take part in and benefit from Ontario’s Plan to Build, which works for workers, keeps costs down and provides better services.

Working for Workers

Building a strong Ontario together includes ensuring the province has highly skilled workers recruited and trained for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Ontario’s Plan to Build requires all hands on deck to deliver on its objectives. This is why the province is making it easier for people to get the skills they need for a meaningful career in key sectors like health care and the skilled trades, while also helping workers plan for their retirement. The government’s support has also improved working conditions for workers across many sectors and provided a hand-up to people who are helping to build the province.

Supporting Skills Development and Training

Ontario employers need over 200,000 workers to fill existing vacancies across the province. Some sectors such as health care and certain skilled trades continue to experience recruitment challenges and labour shortages. The government continues to invest in skills training and career supports to help connect job seekers and workers with their next big opportunity, so that they too can be a part of the plan to build a strong Ontario.

Photo of a skilled tradesperson carrying lumber.

Training Apprentices Through Ontario’s Skilled Trades Strategy

Ontario needs more skilled workers to help build its economy and deliver on the government’s ambitious capital plan, as well as to build at least 1.5 million homes by 2031. This is why the government is continuing to modernize and evolve the skilled trades and apprenticeship system through the Skilled Trades Strategy, with a total investment of more than $1 billion in the skilled trades over three years. These investments will result in better jobs and bigger paycheques for the people of Ontario.

Investing in Skills Training through the Skills Development Fund

To help address challenges to hiring, training and retaining workers, including apprentices, and to drive Ontario’s economic growth, Ontario has invested over $860 million in the Skills Development Fund Training Stream since its launch in 2021. Through its first three funding rounds, the Skills Development Fund Training Stream has supported close to 600 projects, helping over half a million people advance their careers and earn bigger paycheques.

Ontario is making significant investments in the Skills Development Fund, including:

  • $160 million in a fourth round of funding through the Training Stream, which prioritizes training programs for people who may face barriers to employment, such as those on social assistance; and
  • $224 million in the Capital Stream, announced in the 2023 Budget, which provides more people with opportunities to learn new skills by building and upgrading brick-and-mortar training centres.

Teaching Students and Young People Across Ontario About the Skilled Trades

Recognizing the need to connect more young people to rewarding careers in the skilled trades, Ontario is investing $5.4 million through the Skills Development Fund to design and build three mobile tech classrooms to teach students and young people about these careers. Built and operated by Skills Ontario, the tech classrooms will travel across the province and will feature hands-on learning stations and simulators for electrical systems, welding, crane operation, auto painting, tire and brake work, heavy machinery and more. The mobile classrooms will be fully operational by 2024 and will accommodate 150,000 students per year.

Attracting Skilled Newcomers and Helping Them Launch Their Careers in Ontario

Last year alone, nearly 500,000 more people came to Ontario, including skilled workers from around the world. To help those skilled newcomers start working in their trained fields faster, Ontario has invested $3 million in 2023–24 to expand the Ontario Bridge Training Program. The province has passed legislation to mandate the removal of Canadian work experience requirements for certain regulated professions, making it easier for newcomers to work in the professions they trained for. In response to these legislative changes, earlier this year, Professional Engineers Ontario became the first association to remove Canadian work experience from their application criteria.

Building a strong Ontario together includes welcoming more skilled immigrants. This is why, through the 2023 Budget, the government invested an additional $25 million over three years in the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program. The program nominates applicants for permanent residence who have the skills, experience and education to support Ontario’s economy.

Supporting Skills Development for People With Disabilities

The government continues to remove barriers that exist between employers looking to hire workers and people with disabilities who are seeking employment. As announced in the 2023 Budget, the government’s investment of $3.5 million over three years will support the Abilities Centre, which is a community hub in Whitby that offers a wide range of inclusive programming for people with disabilities. The investment supports programs like therapeutic recreation, skills development and post-rehabilitation programs that help people with disabilities build life skills and stay healthy and active, as well as employment services that help people with disabilities find meaningful work.

Providing Hands-On Learning Opportunities for Students

Ontario is helping students get the skills they need for their future careers by providing more access to practical learning. As announced in the 2023 Budget, 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 builds on the expansion of the Dual Credit Level 1 Apprenticeship programs announced in 2022, which allows more eligible students to take apprenticeship courses. These investments will create about 27,000 opportunities for students to earn dual credits towards their Ontario Secondary School Diploma and a postsecondary credential in 2023–24, increasing pathways for students seeking a rewarding career in health care, technology, early childhood education and skilled trades.

To help postsecondary students get hands-on training for in-demand jobs, including those in key sectors such as critical minerals, manufacturing and health care, the government will continue to invest $32.4 million over the next three years to support up to 6,500 high‐quality paid research internships for undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows through Mitacs.

Helping Workers Plan for Retirement

Implementing a Target Benefit Framework

Photo of an experienced skilled tradesperson smiling in their shop.

Target benefit pension plans are intended to provide a monthly stream of income in retirement at a predictable cost for employers. Multi-employer pension plans that would provide target benefits would often be created by a union or association within a specific industry, especially industries involving the skilled trades. This means members of these plans do not have to worry about whether they will be able to continue to participate in their plan even though they may move from employer to employer over time.

The government is working on a regulatory framework for target benefits. Through consultation papers issued in March and September 2023, the government has been engaging with the sector and receiving feedback on proposed regulations necessary for implementing this framework.

The proposed framework would help support the sustainability of these pension plans by building on best practices for plan funding and governance and by enhancing plan transparency through increased communication and engagement with plan members. The new framework would help protect the retirement security of workers in the skilled trades and other occupations, while also encouraging more people to choose a career in the skilled trades. Implementing the framework would pave the way for more employers to offer workplace pension plans, increasing the opportunities for workers to save for  their retirement.

Keeping Your Costs Down

Putting Money Back in Your Pocket

It has been a challenging time for many across the province, which is why the government acted early to help put money back in people’s pockets amid high inflation.

Extending Tax Relief at the Pumps

In spring 2022, the Ontario government cut the Gasoline Tax by 5.7 cents per litre and the Fuel Tax by 5.3 cents per litre. Statistics Canada had previously noted that the province’s rate cut was a contributor to the decline in gas prices in Ontario in July 2022, helping to lower consumer price inflation.1

To provide additional relief the government is proposing to extend the rate cuts so that the rate of tax on gasoline and fuel (diesel) would remain at nine cents per litre until June 30, 2024. This would save Ontario households $260 on average over two years since 2022.

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


Eliminating Licence Plate Renewal Fees and Stickers

Through legislation passed in March 2022, refunds were provided to nearly eight million vehicle owners in Ontario and the annual licence plate renewal fee was eliminated 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 and $3.3 billion since March 2020. For the average household this has resulted in $600 in savings thus far.

Supporting GO Transit Co-Fare Discounts

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 riders do not pay an additional fare for most local transit systems when connecting to and from GO Transit. The government has also increased PRESTO discounts for youth and postsecondary students and continues to provide more riders with additional options and convenient ways to pay.

The 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 and out of Toronto. 

Increasing the Minimum Wage

On October 1, 2023, the government increased the general minimum wage from $15.50 to $16.55 per hour, a 6.8 per cent pay raise that will help workers and their families keep up with rising costs. A worker making the general minimum wage and working 40 hours per week will see an annual pay increase of nearly $2,200.

Improving the Ontario Disability Support Program

To encourage people who want to work more, without impacting their benefits, the government increased the monthly earnings exemption for persons with disabilities. The government is also adjusting monthly core allowance rates to inflation each July.

Temporarily Doubling Guaranteed Annual Income System Payments

To help eligible low-income seniors, the government temporarily doubled the Guaranteed Annual Income System payments for 2023. Starting in July 2024, the government will expand the program so that more seniors get the financial help they need.

Helping Seniors through the Ontario Seniors Care at Home Tax Credit

Introduced in 2022, this credit will provide an estimated $115 million in support this year, or about $550 on average, to over 200,000 low- to moderate-income senior families with eligible medical expenses, including expenses that support aging at home.

Providing Affordable Child Care

Through the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, the province is making progress towards creating 86,000 new, high‐quality, affordable child care spaces by 2026. By the end of 2023, over 23,000 new spaces will be created, including over 1,500 new licensed child care spaces in schools. Since December 31, 2022, out-of-pocket child care fees for parents across the province have been reduced to an average of 50 per cent of 2020 fees saving families an average of $6,000 to $10,000 per child annually. Child care fees will be further reduced to an average of $10 per day by September 2025.

Building More Housing

Like the rest of Canada, Ontario is in a housing crisis – pricing people out of home ownership. This is why the government is helping to build at least 1.5 million homes by 2031. By building more homes, we can bring home ownership into reach for more people.

Removing HST on Purpose-Built Rentals

To help encourage the construction of more purpose-built rental housing, the government is taking steps to enhance the Ontario Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) New Residential Rental Property Rebate to remove the full eight per cent provincial portion of the HST on qualifying new purpose-built rental housing. The enhanced relief would apply to new purpose-built rental housing, such as apartment buildings, student housing and senior residences built specifically for long-term rental accommodation. This would mirror the enhancements to the federal Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) New Residential Rental Property Rebate of the five per cent federal portion of the HST, and together would remove the full 13 per cent HST on qualifying new purpose-built rental housing in Ontario.  

For a two-bedroom rental unit valued at $500,000, the full provincial portion of the HST would be rebated — totalling $40,000 in provincial tax relief.

The enhanced rebate would apply to qualifying projects that begin construction on or after September 14, 2023, and on or before December 31, 2030, and complete construction by December 31, 2035.

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

Building More Homes Faster With Modular Housing

Ontario is looking at modular construction and other innovative options to reduce the cost and speed up the creation of housing. A modular house is built using one or more prefabricated components or modules. It is constructed partially or completely off-site, then transported to a property for assembly. The government will engage with the construction sector, municipalities and Indigenous communities on the use of modular construction and other innovative technologies so that more people can live in a house that is affordable.

Increasing Housing Supply

Addressing the housing crisis requires Ontario to work together with the federal government, municipalities, the private sector and not-for-profits. To make housing more affordable for the people of Ontario, the government has continued to advance its More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan to help build at least 1.5 million homes by 2031. These actions include:

  • Announcing the Building Faster Fund, a new three-year $1.2 billion fund that will provide up to $400 million per year to municipalities that meet or exceed the housing targets they have pledged to achieve by 2031;
  • Expanding strong mayor powers to provide municipalities the tools they need to build homes and meet their provincial targets;
  • Launching the Streamline Development Approval Fund to provide over $45 million to improve municipal process and reduce red tape, getting more homes approved faster; and
  • Increasing the Non-Resident Speculation Tax rate to 25 percent provincewide to deter foreign speculation on the province’s housing market and help make home ownership more attainable for the people of Ontario. 

New measures in Building a Strong Ontario Together, including the Ontario Infrastructure Bank and the Housing-Enabling Water Systems Fund, build on actions already taken by the government.

Better Services for You

Making Health Care More Connected and Convenient

The services that families need to stay healthy should be easy and convenient to access. Ontario is building a better health care system to help people get the right care at the right time without having to travel too far or wait too long. Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care is the government’s plan for a connected and convenient health care system that is built around people.

The Right Care in the Right Place

Ontario is connecting people with the right care where and when they need it. As part of Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care, the government is improving patient access so people have more options to access appropriate treatments and services to keep them healthy and connected in their homes and communities. This includes:

  • To help more people receive care in the comfort of their own homes, the government accelerated its commitment of $1 billion over three years to bring home care funding in 2023–24 up to $569 million. This includes more than $370 million to support home and community care workers through rate increases and investments to hire more care workers. This funding will also support the expansion of home care and community care programs such as adult day programs, meal services, transportation and assisted living services;
  • Building on the historic investment of $3.8 billion over 10 years for mental health and addictions services as part of the Roadmap to Wellness: A Plan to Build Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions System strategy, the government is investing an additional $425 million over three years, starting in 2023–24. These investments support the stabilization and expansion of existing mental health and addictions services, including the implementation of innovative solutions, and improved access to mental health and addictions services and programs.

Faster Access to Care

Providing Earlier Breast Cancer Screening

Earlier diagnosis of breast cancer can save lives. This is why Ontario is expanding provincial eligibility for breast cancer screening. Beginning in fall 2024, people ages 40 to 49 will be able to self-refer for a mammogram through the Ontario Breast Screening Program and will receive direct program support including communication of results and follow-up care.

The expansion of eligibility will increase access to breast cancer screening for more than 305,000 additional individuals, including those without a primary care provider. Earlier detection can mean less invasive treatment and better outcomes. This is another way that the government is helping to provide better and more convenient health care for the people of Ontario.

Reducing Wait Times for Care

People in Ontario have been waiting too long for surgeries and procedures. For care to be convenient and connected, people need to be able to access the services they need when they need them.

This is why, through the 2023 Budget, Ontario invested an additional $72 million to reduce wait times by offering more surgeries at community surgical and diagnostic centres. This investment will allow hospitals to turn their attention to more complex and high-risk surgeries, reduce surgical wait times, and ease emergency department pressures. As of June 2023, the waitlist for surgeries has been reduced by more than 25,000 from the peak in March 2022. The government has achieved this reduction in part through new partnerships with community surgical and diagnostic centres that shorten surgical wait times and by funding additional hours for procedures such as MRI and CT scans. 

The government is committed to further reducing wait times by expanding funding to existing community surgical and diagnostic centres, as well as funding new centres for MRI/CT imaging, gastrointestinal endoscopy and orthopedic surgeries and procedures. Whether in a hospital or at a community surgical and diagnostic centre, the people of Ontario will always access the high‑quality health care they need with their Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card, and never their credit card.

Hiring More Health Care Workers

Ontario’s dedicated and highly trained health care workers are the foundation of the province’s health care system. They step up and work tirelessly every day to provide the care people need where and when they need it.

In 2022, Ontario added thousands of new physicians and nurses to the health care system to strengthen and stabilize the province’s health care work force. This includes over 2,400 physicians, including close to 1,000 internationally educated physicians, and nearly 15,000 nurses, including almost 6,000 internationally educated nurses. The government is continuing to build a stronger health care workforce that Ontario needs with trained physicians, nurses, personal support workers and health care professionals to provide high quality care. This includes:

  • The Practice Ready Ontario program breaks down barriers for internationally educated physicians by allowing them to practice in Ontario. The program will add more than 50 new physicians to the province’s workforce by 2024;
  • An expansion of medical training seats in Ontario will help address the need for more physicians in the province. Through the 2023 Budget, the government more than doubled the previous investment of $42.5 million over two years, with an additional $100.8 million over 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. The government also invested an additional $33 million over three years to add 100 undergraduate seats beginning in 2023, and 154 postgraduate medical training seats to prioritize Ontario residents trained at home and abroad, beginning in 2024. This will bring the total number of undergraduate seats to 1,212 and postgraduate training seats to 1,637 in Ontario by 2028;
  • An additional 52 new physician assistant training seats beginning in 2023 will help reduce wait times and improve patient access in high-need areas including emergency medicine and primary care;
  • An expansion of enrolment for nursing in universities and colleges will help address the nursing shortage. Ontario is increasing enrollment by 2,000 registered nurse, 1,000 registered practical nurse and 150 nurse practitioner seats. Ontario’s investment totalling over $225 million over four years will support the addition of 8,000 nurses in the health care workforce by 2028;
  • The government is providing additional supports for students who want to become a paramedic in Ontario by adding more than 300 spaces in paramedic programs at provincial colleges across Ontario this year;
  • The Clinical Scholar Program pairs an experienced frontline nurse as a dedicated mentor to newly graduated or internationally educated nurses as well as nurses wishing to upskill. The program ensures that nurses entering the workforce have the right supports to confidently transition into the nursing profession;
  • The Enhanced Extern and Supervised Practice Experience Partnership programs extend supports to address staffing shortages by hiring qualified students from various health professions and internationally educated nurses to work in hospitals and the community. Through the 2023 Budget, the government invested $200 million in these programs to provide needed capacity for the workforce; and
  • The Dedicated Offload Nursing Program helps to ensure timely 9-1-1 response in Ontario communities. Through the 2023 Budget, the government invested an additional $51 million over three years in this program to transfer ambulance patients to hospital care, thereby freeing paramedics to respond to other 9-1-1 emergency calls.

Bringing In-Demand Health Care Workers to Communities Across Ontario

As part of the government’s plan to deliver more connected care, the province has opened applications for the newly expanded Ontario Learn and Stay Grant, as announced in the 2023 Budget. The grant provides full, upfront funding for tuition, books and other direct educational costs for students who enrol in an eligible nursing, paramedic or medical laboratory technologist program in return for working in underserviced communities where they studied for a term of service after graduation. The Ontario Learn and Stay Grant is designed to be responsive to evolving labour market needs. The grant has seen exceptional interest from students, with more than 5,000 students applying since the grant was launched this spring.

Photo of senior patient and medical professional sitting and talking at a table.

Protecting You and Your Family

Seeking Accountability for the Opioid Crisis

The opioid crisis has cost the people of Ontario enormously. This is why Ontario is actively participating in national litigation to hold pharmaceutical manufacturers, wholesalers and their marketing consultants accountable for damages caused by the opioid crisis. The government is proposing legislative changes that would strengthen Ontario’s participation in these national lawsuits. Any proceeds would be invested into frontline mental health and addictions services.

Supporting Youth Leaving the Child Welfare System

Children and youth leaving the child welfare system are more likely to experience a range of negative outcomes, such as homelessness, mental health challenges, unemployment, low academic achievement, human trafficking and involvement in the justice system. This is why the government is investing $170 million over three years to support the Ready, Set, Go program, to improve long-term outcomes for youth.

Launched on April 1, 2023, the program connects youth transitioning out of care with the life skills and supports they need to succeed, including pursuing postsecondary education, skilled trades training and employment opportunities. Under the new program, children’s aid societies are required to help youth plan for the future, beginning at age 13. The program allows youth to remain in care until the age of 23, up from age 21, and provides monthly financial support to enhance safety and stability for youth leaving care. In 2023–24, this new program is expected to support more than 4,000 youth as they prepare for adulthood.

Combatting Guns, Gangs and Violence

Criminal offences such as auto theft, property damage, drug trafficking, homicide and weapons offences are consistently linked to gang membership. Gang members and those who commit violent crimes put community safety at risk. This is why the government is investing $13.4 million in 2023–24 through the Guns, Gangs and Violence Reduction Strategy to fight gun‐ and gang‐related crime, including investments to support policing, prosecution, correctional services and victims of crime.

Since April 2019, the strategy has supported 155 investigations, 1,707 arrests, 10,891 charges and the seizure of 686 firearms. Over 9.7 tonnes of illicit drugs have been confiscated, with an approximate street value of $179.6 million. Most importantly, 54 survivors, mostly young women and youth, have been rescued from the horrific conditions of human trafficking.

Cracking Down on Auto Theft

Auto theft is a serious and growing challenge that is impacting jurisdictions across Canada, especially Ontario. It also burdens people with higher insurance premiums needed to cover the cost of stolen vehicles.

Ontario is fighting auto theft through an investment of $51 million in new measures to help police identify and dismantle organized crime networks and put those responsible behind bars. The funding also supports first-of-its kind auto theft prosecution teams to investigate and prosecute criminal organizations that profit from stolen vehicles.

To help stop the illegal export of stolen vehicles and target violent crime linked to criminal organizations, the Ontario government is also investing $1.4 million over three years in the Greater Toronto Area-Greater Golden Horseshoe Investigative Fund. This funding will continue to provide eligible police services with the resources they need, including cutting-edge technology.

Ontario will work with the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario so Ontario drivers are properly informed of the risks of auto theft. Furthermore, the Ontario government is urging the Canada Border Services Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Montreal and Halifax Port Authorities, and shipping container and rail companies to support efforts to combat auto theft. Additionally, the Ontario government is calling on the Government of Canada to make investments that increase outbound inspections at Canadian ports; examine the increased use of police pre-clearance of containers and consider the role that railway companies can play in tackling auto theft.

Fighting auto theft helps with reducing auto insurance premiums. The government is also continuing to work with industry stakeholders to identify opportunities to increase choice, improve access to benefits, reduce disputes and combat fraud and abuse in auto insurance.


[1] Statistics Canada, The Daily: Consumer Price Index, July 2022.

Updated: November 2, 2023
Published: November 2, 2023