Minister’s Foreword and Introduction

Building a Strong Ontario

Ontario and the rest of the world are continuing to face economic uncertainty.

We find ourselves in a time of geopolitical instability, higher inflation and interest rates, and ongoing supply chain disruptions.

These challenges have created pressures and risks for people and businesses across Ontario.

And while Ontario’s economy has remained resilient, the road ahead continues to be uncertain.

Families, workers and businesses are looking to our government to help get the province through these challenging times.

And this is exactly what our government is doing.

Ontario’s Plan to Build is a responsible, targeted approach to help people and businesses today, while laying a strong fiscal foundation for future generations.

And it is already showing results. Ontario’s population is growing, jobs are being created and we are attracting manufacturing investments.

Ontario’s population is now over 15 million people.

We have 275,000 more people a year moving to Ontario.

This is good news.

With this growth, we are seeing stronger communities across Ontario, which benefits families, workers, businesses, and public services.

And this growth is helping Ontario remain resilient during economic uncertainty.

Our plan is building Ontario so we can have a strong economy for the future and the infrastructure needed to support growth across the province.

It is a plan that is working for you, training workers for the jobs of the future, keeping your costs down today and providing better services for you and your family.

It is a plan that will balance the Budget. Responsibly eliminating Ontario’s deficit, while delivering on the priorities of the people and businesses of Ontario, is part of the long-term vision this province needs.

And it is a plan that will get us through this economic uncertainty today by building a strong Ontario for tomorrow.

Building Ontario

As Ontario grows, our government is building Ontario, so it has a strong economy and the highways, transit and infrastructure that communities need.

Building Ontario’s Economy for Today and Tomorrow

For too long, Ontario failed to seize its critical minerals opportunity despite the value it can bring the province.

Unlocking Northern Ontario’s critical minerals is key to the economy of the future.

It will help bring investments and better jobs with bigger paycheques to Ontario.

This is why our government has committed close to $1 billion to support critical legacy infrastructure such as all-season roads, broadband connectivity and community supports in the Ring of Fire region to keep moving forward on one of the most promising mineral deposits in Canada — one that will play a critical role in batteries, electronics, electric vehicles (EVs) and clean technology.

Our government is proposing amendments to the Mining Act that would ensure Ontario has a modern and competitive regime for mineral exploration and development.

These critical mineral resources in the North are being connected to Ontario’s world-class manufacturing sector in the South.

This means we must continue to rebuild the province’s manufacturing sector and create the conditions to attract new investments.

Between 2004 and 2018, Ontario’s manufacturing sector saw a decline in employment of over 300,000 workers.

Since 2018, our government has attracted billions of dollars’ worth of investments in automotive and clean steel manufacturing.

We have also reduced red tape, with $567 million in savings on annual regulatory compliance costs while maintaining important regulations that protect people’s health, safety and the environment.

Building on the work we have already done to make Ontario a global manufacturer, bringing investments and jobs back to the province, our government continues to strengthen Ontario’s competitiveness.

We are proposing a new Ontario Made Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit that would help local manufacturing companies invest and expand, so the products of the future are made right here at home.

By continuing to attract electric vehicle supply chain investments to the province, we are making Ontario a leading jurisdiction to build the cars of the future.

We are also helping make Ontario a global leading producer of clean steel.

But we must continue to find ways to keep Ontario competitive. This is why our government is working with partners to have shovel-ready mega-sites available for new, large manufacturing projects.

These investments in critical minerals and manufacturing are also enabled by Ontario’s clean energy advantage.

Companies in various sectors are looking to invest in jurisdictions that can help them achieve their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals.

This is why, to help boost competitiveness, the government is launching a voluntary Clean Energy Credit Registry.

We are also supporting the continued safe operation of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.

And we are leading in record battery procurements, with the largest battery storage project in Canada being built right here in Ontario.

The Oneida Energy Storage Project in Jarvis, Haldimand County, is being developed in partnership with Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation, Northland Power, NRStor and Aecon Group.

At the same time, we are keeping electricity costs for businesses down to help create jobs and economic growth.

Building Highways, Transit and Infrastructure Projects

To build a strong economy, we need the infrastructure to support it.

We are delivering on the most ambitious capital plan in Ontario’s history.

We are building new highways, roads, schools, hospitals, long-term care homes and transit.

From Uxbridge to Kitchener-Waterloo, we are building and redeveloping hospitals, and from Pickering to Ottawa to Atikokan to Windsor, we are building new schools.

And we are building the Bradford Bypass, Highway 413 through Brampton, and the Ontario Line in Toronto, as well as enabling the future widening of Highway 401, starting at Brock Road in Durham Region.

By driving economic growth, helping to create jobs and getting key infrastructure built faster and better, our government is building Ontario.

Working for You

As we build Ontario, our government is also working for families, workers, students and seniors.

We are working for you.

Working for Workers

As we help create jobs across the province, Ontario is still facing a persistent labour shortage, especially in key sectors like health care and construction.

This is why we are investing an additional $75 million over the next three years in our Skills Development Fund.

We are also providing an additional $224 million this year to leverage private-sector expertise and expand training centres, including union-led training halls so we can train and retrain skilled workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

And we are investing an additional $25 million over three years in the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program so we can welcome more skilled workers to the province.

Ontario continues to work with the Government of Canada to attract more skilled newcomers to support economic growth and fill targeted labour market gaps across the province, particularly in the skilled trades and other in-demand essential industries.

As we build a strong workforce, it is important we prepare high school students for the jobs of the future and connect our education system to the needs of employers.

This is why we are expanding the dual credit program to provide an additional 1,400 secondary students with opportunities in health care-related courses to jumpstart their careers as nurses, personal support workers, medical laboratory technicians and paramedics.

Our government is ensuring we have the trained skilled workers to build Ontario today and in the future.

Keeping Your Costs Down

Our government understands inflation is hard on household budgets.

Which is why we acted early to keep your costs down.

We eliminated licence plate renewal fees as well as licence plate stickers and refunded the past two years’ fees for eligible vehicles.

We extended the current gas tax and fuel tax cuts until December 31, 2023.

And we are making transit more affordable by eliminating double fares for most local transit services in the Greater Golden Horseshoe when commuters also use GO Transit services. Our government is working to expand this initiative to support more people commuting into Toronto.

For low-income seniors in Ontario, these uncertain times are even more challenging.

This is why we temporarily doubled the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments for eligible seniors until December 2023.

To ensure that more seniors who need financial help get it, we will be introducing legislation to expand the GAINS program, starting in July 2024, to see about 100,000 additional seniors be eligible for the program, for a 50 per cent increase in recipients.

We are also proposing to adjust this benefit annually so that it increases with inflation.

In addition, we know that many people in Ontario struggle to afford a place to call home and this includes some of the most at-risk people in the province.

This is why Ontario is investing an additional $202 million each year in supportive housing and homelessness programs.

This will help those experiencing or at risk of homelessness, those escaping intimate partner violence, and support the community organizations delivering supportive housing.

Better Services for You

Our government is improving public services to make it more convenient and faster for the people of Ontario to access them.

When it comes to health care in Ontario, our government is working to reduce waitlists, provide better outcomes and care, and add more family doctors.

This is why our government has introduced a plan that will connect you to more convenient care through your OHIP card and not your credit card.

We are now building on that plan.

Our government is investing every dollar we are receiving from the Government of Canada’s initial down payment through the new agreement in principle, and significantly more, into health care.

Through the 2022 Budget, our 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.

We are now accelerating investments to bring funding in 2023–24 up to $569 million, including nearly $300 million 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.

And we are providing an additional $425 million over three years for mental health and addictions, including a five per cent increase in the base funding of community-based mental health and addiction service providers funded by the Ministry of Health.

Expanding the scope of practice of pharmacists to prescribe over-the-counter medication for common ailments has been very successful.

This is why the government will be expanding the scope to add additional common ailments.

As we make health care more convenient, we are also investing in growing and retaining the health care workforce.

Since 2018, over 60,000 new nurses and nearly 8,000 new physicians have begun work in Ontario, but we need to do more.

This is why our government is providing an additional $80 million over the next three years to further expand enrolment for nursing programs.

We are also investing $200 million this year to address immediate health care shortages and to grow the workforce for years to come.

Our government understands it is challenging for Ontario medical students to find residency spots here at home.

To support these graduates, we are adding 154 postgraduate medical training seats to prioritize Ontario residents trained at home and abroad beginning in 2024 and going forward. We will also add 100 seats for medical undergraduates and continue to prioritize Ontario students for these spots.

Ontario’s most vulnerable continue to need support from our government.

Youth leaving the child welfare system are at a higher risk of being trafficked or experiencing homelessness.

Our government is providing $170 million over three years to the Youth Leaving Care program, which supports the success of youth leaving provincial care. We are also expanding program eligibility, which currently ends at 21 years old, to include those up to 23 years old.

Our government is also protecting you and your family.

We are providing resources to local police and communities to protect law-abiding citizens from illegal gun and gang violence.

But as we deliver these resources to communities, bail reform is also needed.

Too many innocent people have lost their lives at the hands of dangerous criminals who should have been behind bars.

This is why we have called on the federal government to take immediate action to strengthen Canada’s bail system.

We are also ensuring Ontario is prepared for, can respond to and can recover from emergencies, by providing more than $110 million over three years to improve emergency readiness.

As we build Ontario, our government is working for you to help address the challenges of today, while also creating a strong future for you and your family.

A Strong Ontario

After unprecedented spending in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, now is the time to get the province back on a path to fiscal balance.

The hard work is paying off. By planning prudently, and focusing our investments, we have made considerable progress on our path to balance. In fact, we now plan to balance the Budget in 2024–25, three years earlier than expected in the last Budget.

Because of our thoughtful, transparent planning, we can do this while still delivering on our Plan to Build to support families, workers and businesses across Ontario.

This is why we are continuing with our responsible, targeted approach that is building an Ontario that the people of this province can be proud of, not only today but in the future.

An Ontario that continues to have a resilient economy.

An Ontario that has the best infrastructure in place to support the growth of the economy and communities.

An Ontario that has skilled workers trained for the jobs of tomorrow.

An Ontario that helps those who need it the most during these uncertain times.

An Ontario that connects you with the health care and the child care you need, when you need it.

An Ontario that protects you and your family from violence in communities.

An Ontario that has a bright future ahead for your children and grandchildren.

An Ontario that is strong.

Original signed by

The Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy
Ontario’s Minister of Finance

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