Minister’s Foreword

Delivering on Our Plan to Build Ontario

Over the past six years, as our economy and population have grown, our government has been delivering on our plan to build Ontario.

Like the rest of the world, Ontario continues to face economic uncertainty due to high interest rates and global instability.

These challenges are putting pressure on Ontario families, as well as public finances. High inflation, high Bank of Canada interest rates and the high cost of the federal carbon tax have pushed costs up. Households are struggling.

Faced with these challenges, other governments might choose to raise taxes, reduce investments in services or download costs on municipalities. Our government is taking a different approach. We are continuing to invest in Ontario’s people and communities. We are doing what’s needed to get it done.

Our plan is rebuilding Ontario’s economy. We are keeping costs down by holding the line on new taxes as we build the infrastructure our growing province needs.

Because for too long, Ontario was left behind.

Under previous governments, over 300,000 manufacturing jobs were lost.

Previous governments failed to adequately build roads, highways, bridges and public transit. After decades of a chronic lack of funding, Ontario’s economy loses billions of dollars each year from the high cost of gridlock.

Previous governments let the cost of energy spiral out of control.

Our government was elected on a plan to fix these problems. We were elected on a plan to rebuild Ontario’s economy and bring back good-paying manufacturing jobs. We were elected to build roads, highways and public transit. We were elected to keep costs down for Ontario workers and families.

Now, more people are working than ever before.

Now, shovels are in the ground on new roads, highways and the largest public transit expansion in North America.

Now, Ontario is leading the future of affordable, safe and clean nuclear energy.

We’re sticking to our plan. We’re getting it done.

Rebuilding Ontario’s Economy

From the day we first took office, our government has been on a mission to rebuild Ontario’s economy.

We’re keeping taxes low, cutting red tape and investing in workers.

Despite challenging economic headwinds, we are attracting record investment to Ontario.

Over the last three years, Ontario created almost 900,000 net new jobs, the fastest growth on record.

In Northern Ontario, we are advancing the building of all-season roads to the Ring of Fire to bring prosperity to First Nations and Northern communities. We are unlocking the economic potential of the critical minerals that will help power Ontario’s electric vehicle battery supply chains. Minerals mined in Ontario will power electric vehicles built in new Ontario factories by Ontario workers, purchased in Ontario and around the world.

In Hamilton, ArcelorMittal Dofasco is making a $1.8 billion investment to replace its coal‐fed coke ovens and blast furnaces with new, low‐emission technology. And in Sault Ste. Marie, Algoma Steel is investing $700 million in a low‐emission electric arc furnace.

In St. Thomas, Volkswagen’s $7 billion investment in its first overseas electric vehicle battery cell plant is creating 3,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs.

In Windsor, the NextStar Energy EV battery plant will support 2,500 Ontario workers, with more than $5 billion invested in Ontario.

And in Loyalist Township, Umicore is creating 600 new direct jobs with a $2.7 billion investment.

In fact, Ontario is the only place in North America where five of the largest auto manufacturers have set up shop. In addition, Volkswagen is establishing its first overseas electric vehicle battery cell manufacturing plant in Ontario.

This success is not an accident. It is a direct result of our government’s plan to rebuild Ontario’s economy by investing in workers and keeping taxes low.

These investments and our economy are powered by one of the cleanest grids in North America. Our government is leading the future of nuclear energy by building the first grid-scale small modular reactors in Canada. At the same time, we are supporting the refurbishment of the Bruce, Darlington and Pickering Nuclear Generating Stations with pre-development work also underway for a new large-scale nuclear plant at the Bruce nuclear site.

As part of a pragmatic plan that includes natural gas, investing in and bringing online more clean nuclear energy will fix the mistakes of past governments' energy policies with sensible policies that support economic growth and keep costs down for people and businesses.

Building Infrastructure, Highways and Transit in Your Community

Rebuilding Ontario’s economy demands that we build the infrastructure needed to support our growing communities.

Ontario’s Plan to Build includes the most ambitious capital plan in the province’s history, with $190.2 billion over the next decade to support growing businesses, families and newcomers.

To help municipalities meet their housing targets and get shovels in the ground, we are increasing funding for infrastructure so municipalities can build more homes.

That includes $1 billion in our new Municipal Housing Infrastructure Program and $825 million for the Housing-Enabling Water Systems Fund. The $1.2 billion Building Faster Fund is also helping municipalities build new homes.

To help Ontario communities grow and thrive, we are introducing the new $200 million Community Sport and Recreation Infrastructure Fund to support new and upgraded sport and recreation facilities to support the health and well-being of children, families and seniors across Ontario.

In addition, we successfully negotiated our historic new deal with the City of Toronto, providing new tools, resources and funding to support the City’s recovery through growth.

Across Ontario, we are building new roads and highways. We are leading the largest expansion of public transit in North America.

In Windsor-Essex County, shovels are in the ground to expand Highway 3, with planning underway to build a new interchange connecting Highway 401 to Lauzon Parkway. Now, we are helping to build a new interchange at Banwell Road and E.C. Row Expressway to support population growth and the development of the NextStar Energy electric vehicle battery plant.

In Ottawa, we are designing a new interchange at Highway 416 and Barnsdale Road to support South Ottawa’s growing population.

We are also moving forward with critical projects that will get people and goods across the GTA moving again, including building Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass and advancing work on Highway 7 in Markham to Brock Road, through Pickering.

As part of our government’s historic transit expansion, we are bringing back two daily weekday train trips on the Milton GO Line and moving forward with our plan to provide two-way, all-day GO service to Milton.

We have also added year-round GO train service to Niagara.

We are bringing fast and reliable transit to downtown Mississauga and Brampton by expanding the Hazel McCallion Light Rail Transit Line, including a two-kilometre extension and loop through to Confederation Parkway.

Work is well underway on four priority subway projects in the GTA, including the Ontario Line, three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension, Yonge North Subway Extension into York Region, and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, and planned connection to Pearson International Airport, one of the largest employment areas in Canada.

In order to attract more investment in the province’s infrastructure, our government introduced the Building Ontario Fund, which will help build more projects in areas like clean energy generation, long‑term care and student housing.

Starting with an allocation of $3 billion, the fund will create opportunities for pension funds to put their members’ investments to work right here in Ontario.

This Plan to Build is the most ambitious in Ontario’s history, but it is also necessary to lay the groundwork for Ontario’s long-term growth. Our government will continue to invest to support the success of Ontario workers, families and businesses for years to come.

Working for Workers

Ontario’s workers are central to Ontario’s Plan to Build. They are our greatest asset and the reason that people want to invest in Ontario.

We are investing in our workers to help them get the skills they need to train for the in-demand jobs of the future in key areas like health care and the skilled trades.

Since our government launched the Skills Development Fund in 2021, we have trained more than 500,000 workers for better jobs and bigger paycheques, including carpenters, plumbers and health care personnel through nearly 600 training projects.

Through an additional $100 million in the Skills Development Fund this year, we will continue to help job seekers advance their careers.

We are also investing more than $62 million in two of the province’s foundational skilled trades programs to help young people explore future careers in the skilled trades. This includes over $21 million to expand the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and $42 million to launch 100 pre‑apprenticeship training projects around the province that will help young people acquire firsthand job experience.

Our workers deserve sustainable pensions. This is why we are taking action to implement a target benefit framework that would help protect the retirement security of workers in the skilled trades and other occupations. It would help employees move from employer to employer while keeping the same pension, and they could even see their savings invested in projects right here in Ontario.

Our plan ensures that as Ontario and its economy grow, so do workers’ paycheques.

Keeping Your Costs Down

Bank of Canada interest rate hikes, high inflation and the federal carbon tax have made life challenging for Ontario families. As families are feeling the pinch on their household budgets, our government refuses to increase taxes or pass on additional costs.

We acted early to keep costs down and we are continuing to support Ontario families.

At a time when the federal government is set to raise the carbon tax even further, we are proposing to extend the gas tax and fuel tax cuts until December 31, 2024, saving Ontario households $320 on average since July 2022.

We are also supporting families and students across Ontario by extending the tuition freeze at Ontario’s publicly assisted colleges and universities for at least three more years. Since the freeze was first implemented in 2019, we have saved university students an estimated $1,600 and college students an estimated $350 each year.

We are also saving daily transit users on participating systems an average of $1,600 each year through One Fare, which eliminates double fares across transit systems throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

We are standing up for drivers by banning new road tolls on 400-series highways in Ontario, and we have frozen driver’s licence and photo card fees, saving drivers an estimated $66 million over the next five years.

We are putting money back in people’s pockets by refunding eligible licence plate renewal fees paid since March 2020 for nearly eight million vehicle owners in Ontario. We also eliminated licence plate renewal fees and plate stickers on a go-forward basis.

And our government is helping more seniors access financial assistance by indexing the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) benefit to the rate of inflation for the first time in Ontario’s history. We are also expanding the annual income eligibility threshold, meaning about 100,000 more low-income seniors in Ontario will receive payments.

This year, our government froze the beer basic tax indexation and the LCBO mark-up rates for another two years and is proposing to scrap the 6.1 per cent on-site wine-basic tax, making it easier for businesses and providing potential savings for consumers.

These measures will help keep more money in the pockets of Ontario families at a time when they need it most.

Better Services for You

We believe in investing in better services that make people’s lives easier and more convenient.

This is why our government is building a robust health care system that puts people at the centre of care, including the most ambitious plan for hospital expansion in the province’s history.

Ontario’s plan includes supporting more than 50 hospital projects that would add approximately 3,000 new beds over 10 years.

In fact, over the next 10 years, Ontario is investing nearly $50 billion in health infrastructure, including close to $36 billion in capital grants.

But we know Ontarians also depend on health care supports outside of hospitals. This is why our government is continuing to make health care more connected and convenient, to help patients receive the right care in the right place.

Through an additional investment of $546 million over three years, we are creating new and expanded primary care teams to provide team-based primary care to approximately 600,000 people.

We are also strengthening our health care workforce by providing $128 million over the next three years to support enrolment increases of 2,000 registered nurses and 1,000 registered practical nurses at publicly assisted colleges and universities.

The government is helping to address the increasing demand for health human resources across the province, particularly in underserved communities, through the expanded Ontario Learn and Stay Grant.

We’re supporting a new medical school at York University, which will be the first medical school in Canada focused primarily on training family doctors.

We’re building new schools and renovating existing schools to help ensure Ontario’s students learn and grow, with $1.4 billion in the current school year alone to help build schools in places like North Bay, Kitchener, Lincoln, Barrhaven and Brockville.

We are helping students get back to basics through skills in math, reading and writing, and better preparing them for the in-demand jobs and opportunities of the future.

Our government knows Ontario families deserve to feel safe in their homes and communities.

This is why we are providing $46 million over three years to support patrol and response times in the GTA, including the purchase of four helicopters.

We are also investing in correctional and courthouse facilities to improve safety and security in aging institutions and to help to provide access to justice in growing communities, such as the recently completed expansion of the Brampton courthouse in Peel Region.

We’re also hitting back against auto theft with $49 million over three years to help police put those responsible behind bars, and we are supporting increased crime-fighting measures to support prevention and detection of auto theft.

We’re investing in these services because we know they are critical to helping Ontario workers and families reach their full potential and fully participate in society and the workforce.

We’re doing so while retaining a path to balance the budget.

A Plan to Build Ontario

Our Plan to Build Ontario is working.

After years of neglect and mismanagement under previous governments, we are rebuilding Ontario’s economy.

But we know there is more work to be done and at a time of high interest rates and global economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever to keep costs down.

This is why our government refuses to slow down our work to rebuild this province and it is why we refuse to put additional costs and taxes on families, businesses and municipalities.

We will continue our prudent, responsible approach. We will get it done.

The Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy
Ontario’s Minister of Finance

Updated: March 26, 2024
Published: March 26, 2024