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2017 ONTARIO ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

Posted on 15 November 2017 by admin

Welcome to the 2017 Ontario Economic and Fiscal Review.

Ontario is moving forward with its plan to create fairness and opportunity for people across the province with the release of the 2017 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review.

While Ontario’s economy has grown faster than Canada’s and those of all other G7 nations for the past three years, the government recognizes that the numbers do not tell the whole story. The measures in the 2017 Review will help create greater fairness and opportunity for all by supporting the right conditions for families and businesses to succeed.

In 2017 Ontario is predicted to continue to see increases in population size, labour force size and net migration. The unemployment rate is expected to continue its downward trend, dropping -0.1 points over 2016 and -0.3 points over 2015. The labour market participation rate will hold steady at 65%.

 

 

Download pdf below to read the complete report.

2017 Ontario Economic Outlook

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NEWS RELEASE: Province Releases 2017 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review

Posted on 15 November 2017 by admin

 

Ontario Implementing Plan to Create Fairness and Opportunity.

November 14, 2017

Province Releases 2017 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review.

Minister of Finance Charles Souza

Ontario is moving forward with its plan to create fairness and opportunity for people across the province with the release of the 2017 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review.

Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, delivered the 2017 Review today in the legislature, outlining new measures to grow the economy and help people thrive in an uncertain global environment.

The government will balance the budget this year, as well as the next two years. A balanced budget means more funding for the programs and services people rely on most, such as health care and education.

While Ontario's economy has grown faster than Canada's and those of all other G7 nations for the past three years, the government recognizes that the numbers do not tell the whole story. Many people are facing uncertainty and challenges. The measures in the 2017 Review respond to this uncertainty and will help create greater fairness and opportunity for all by supporting the right conditions for families and businesses to succeed.

Strengthening Health Care

Ontario is set to launch the most significant expansion of medicare in a generation with OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare. Starting January 1, OHIP+ will provide free prescription medications for everyone under 25, ensuring parents never have to choose between paying for their children's prescription drugs and providing other essentials.

In addition, Ontario is boosting supports for seniors to ensure they are able to access the services they need at every stage of their lives. Aging with Confidence: Ontario's Action Plan for Seniors includes a $155-million investment over three years. Working with sector partners, the plan also commits to creating 5,000 new long-term care beds by 2022 — and more than 30,000 beds over the next decade. These new beds are in addition to the 30,000 existing beds in Ontario that are being redeveloped. The government will also increase the provincial average to four hours of direct care per long-term care resident per day when fully phased in.

The province is also investing to improve care for all patients, with an additional $618 million for hospitals this year to provide faster access to procedures, new programs and digital technology. And, to support a smooth transition for patients discharged from hospital, the government is investing an additional $40 million to help patients receive care at home.

Investing in Education, Skills and Training

Starting this school year, more than 210,000 college and university students are receiving free tuition thanks to the new Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). As a next step, the province will implement net tuition billing to ensure that college and university students receive a reduced upfront bill with OSAP already factored in. Ontario is also proposing to recognize Indigenous Institutes as a third pillar of the postsecondary system alongside colleges and universities.

To continue supporting young people as they begin their careers and transition to the workforce, Ontario is providing new incentives for businesses to employ youth. Beginning in 2018, the province will provide $124 million over three years in supports for youth aged 15 to 29 to support employer hiring and retention. A small business with fewer than 100 employees would receive a $1,000 incentive for hiring a young worker and a $1,000 incentive for retaining that worker for six months.

The government is launching a new grant that encourages employers to help apprentices complete their training programs, and is expanding support to five additional trades. The province is also modernizing its apprenticeship system to improve completion rates — creating clearer pathways to jobs — and increasing opportunities for underrepresented groups.

Ontario's Fair Housing Plan has helped to stabilize the real estate market and make housing more affordable. As part of the plan, the expansion of rent control to all private market units in the province is ensuring tha

Creating Fairness and Opportunityt people are not subject to large, unfair spikes in rent. To continue helping families buy or rent a home they can afford, the province established a roundtable on housing development approvals. It has issued recommendations that will help address housing affordability challenges, increase supply and support mixed-use communities that make more efficient use of land and infrastructure.

One-third of all workers in Ontario are employed by small businesses. The province is helping to build a dynamic and competitive business environment by providing more than $500 million over three years in new initiatives to lower costs for small businesses and promote growth. This includes the proposed 22 per cent cut to the Corporate Income Tax rate for small businesses. Along with recent measures, such as lowering Workplace Safety and Insurance Board average premium rates and other business-focused initiatives, this would result in $1.9 billion in provincial support for small businesses over three years.

Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the most significant expansion of medicare in a generation.

 

 

QUICK FACTS

  • Ontario is forecasting real GDP growth of 2.8 per cent in 2017, higher than earlier expectations.
  • Government revenues are projected to rise to $158.2 billion in 2019–20, up from $140.7 billion in 2016–17, an average annual growth rate of four per cent.
  • The net debt-to-GDP ratio is anticipated to decline to 37.3 per cent in 2017–18, reflecting the government’s solid fiscal performance and a stronger economy.
  • Ontario’s unemployment rate has been below the national average for 31 consecutive months and below six per cent for the past three months — a first since 2000. The economy is expected to create more than 300,000 new jobs by 2020. 

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News Release: Ontario Expanding Protection for Consumers Making Big Purchases

Posted on 09 October 2017 by admin

  

News Release

Ontario Expanding Protection for Consumers Making Big Purchases

October 5, 2017

Proposed Changes Improve Protections for Building a New Home and Buying Travel, Real Estate and Event Tickets

Ontario is introducing legislation that would, if passed, strengthen protection for consumers making significant purchases like buying event tickets or travel services, and purchasing or selling real estate, including newly built homes.

Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, made the announcement today in Toronto.

The Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act would:

  • Strengthen confidence in Ontario's new home warranties and protections by introducing significant changes, including the creation of two administrative authorities — one to administer the new home warranty program and one to regulate new home builders and vendors.
  • Introduce stronger rules and professional standards in the real estate sector, including new measures to address conflict of interest issues that arise in multiple representation situations and heavier fines for Code of Ethics violations by real estate professionals.
  • Further protect consumers buying travel services by enabling the creation of new rules for representations, such as advertising by out of province travel businesses that target Ontarians, creating new registration requirements for individual travel salespersons and improving compliance with the rules by enhancing enforcement tools, such as administrative penalties.
  • Help prevent ticket fraud and excessive markups in the resale ticket market, including banning ticket bots and the sale of tickets that were purchased using bots, capping the resale price of tickets at 50 per cent above face value, requiring businesses selling or reselling tickets to disclose key information to consumers and establishing new enforcement measures.

Strengthening consumer protection is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

 

 

QUICK FACTS

  

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News Release: Ontario Adds 34,700 Jobs in September

Posted on 07 October 2017 by admin

 

 

 October 6, 2017

Province Focused on Supporting Job Creation and Helping People Get Ahead

Employment in Ontario increased by 34,700 in September, the third straight month of job gains,and the unemployment rate fell to 5.6 per cent, the lowest level since July 2000.

Employment in Ontario is up 169,500 year-over-year. The province's unemployment rate has been below the national average for 30 consecutive months.

The employment increase included gains in sectors suchas wholesale and retail trade, and manufacturing.

According to the 2017-18 First Quarter Finances, Ontario is on track to balance the budget this year while making investments in the programs and services people and their families rely on most.

Building on this strong economic momentum, Ontario is taking historic action to create more opportunity and security for workers with a plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs. This includes hiking the minimum wage, ensuring part-time workers are paid the same hourly wage as full-time workers, introducing paid sick days for every worker and stepping up enforcement of employment laws.

Supporting Ontario workers and businesses is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

 

 

 

 

 

QUICK FACTS

  • Employment in 2017 is forecast to increase by 94,000 net new jobs. In 2016, Ontario employment increased by 76,400 net new jobs. 
  • On a year-to-date basis, wholesale trade rose 9.1 per cent over the first seven months of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016.
  • On a year-to-date basis, retail sales advanced 6.8 per cent over the first seven months of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016.
  • Over the last three years, Ontario’s real GDP growth has outpaced that of all G7 countries.
  • On a year-over-year basis, employment has increased in many economic regions across the province, including Muskoka-Kawarthas (11.1 per cent), Hamilton-Niagara Peninsula (6.3 per cent) and Kitchener-Waterloo-Barrie (6.0 per cent).

 


 

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News Release: Ontario Lowering the Cost of Transit

Posted on 06 October 2017 by admin

 

October 6, 2017

Province Cutting Cost to Ride the TTC in Half for People Paying to Ride GO Transit and UP Express

Ontario is lowering the cost of commuting for people in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) by introducing a 50 per cent discount for PRESTO card users who transfer between GO Transit or the Union Pearson Express (UP Express) and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), in both directions.

Premier Kathleen Wynne was at Union Station in Toronto today to announce that adult, senior and youth/student TTC riders will pay a TTC fare of just $1.50 when they use a PRESTO card to transfer to or from GO Transit or the UP Express. The discount will launch in January 2018, shortly after the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension will begin service to six new stations. For people whose regular commute includes GO/UP Express-TTC transfers, this step towards regional fare integration and more affordable transit options will save about $720 per year.

The new discount builds on a number of recent actions the government has taken to save people money, including a tax credit for seniors who use public transit, steps to make buying or renting a home more affordable and reducing residential electricity bills by 25 per cent on average.

Making public transit more convenient, available and affordable is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

 

 

QUICK FACTS

  • PRESTO adult, senior, student and youth riders will pay $1.50 for the TTC portion of their combined TTC and GO or UP Express journey.
  • More than 50,000 daily trips include transfers between the TTC and GO Transit or UP Express.
  • More than 3 million people have activated PRESTO cards, which can be used on 10 transit systems in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), plus OC Transpo in Ottawa.
  • The subway extension from Sheppard West to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre will have six new stations, including York University.
  • Eight other GTHA municipal transit systems offer discounts on GO Transit linked trips.  

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Premier Wynne Delivers Historic Address to the Québec National Assembly

Posted on 21 September 2017 by admin

  

Statement.

Premier Wynne Delivers Historic Address to the Québec National Assembly.

September 21, 2017.

 

Premier Kathleen Wynne released the following statement today, following her speech in the Québec National Assembly:

"Today I had the honour of being the first Canadian Premier from outside Québec to address the province's National Assembly. It is a testament to the strength of the relationship between our two provinces and the way our collaborations in Central Canada are building a stronger Québec, a stronger Ontario and a stronger country.

In my speech, I talked about how today's partnership between Ontario and Québec is grounded in a rich history and in our vision of a fairer, better tomorrow. As founding partners in Confederation, we understand that our cultural and linguistic differences do not diminish our union, they enhance it. Diversity is the essential character of Canada. On the 150th anniversary of Confederation, the Government of Québec has invited all of Canada into an open and democratic dialogue about the diversity of our country and the importance of Québec's place within Canada. Ontario looks forward to continuing to contribute to this discussion. Together, French and English helped build this country, and together, Québec and Ontario can continue to keep it strong.

Sometimes independently, sometimes working together, we are responding to the challenges of a volatile world. Instead of withdrawing, we are being bold, active and innovative. Above all, we are striving to ensure fairness. We in Central Canada understand that in this time of turmoil, we must work harder than ever to build and preserve a fair society. Where our approach differs, it is always grounded in these shared values of equality, fairness and respect for diversity.

Premier Couillard and I are strongly aligned on many issues that affect the people of our provinces, our economies and our climate. We share common ground in our belief that government can be a force for good. And we both believe that if we make the right choices now, we can navigate the turbulence of today's world in a way that helps our people get ahead and puts our provinces on a course towards long-term success.

Tomorrow, Québec will host the seventh joint meeting of our Cabinet ministers. These meetings enable us to work together to address our shared opportunities and challenges. We will engage in a candid dialogue on the current state of Canada-U.S. relations, and we will explore ways we can continue to bolster Ontario and Québec's position as leaders in the innovation economy. This year we will also welcome Governor Jerry Brown of California, and further our common commitment to fighting climate change.

My address to the National Assembly represents a milestone in the relationship between our two provinces. Ontario and Québec are natural allies — our relationship predates Confederation and continues to create opportunities for our people and drive greater prosperity across Canada. I look forward to everything we will do together to grow the economy and create greater fairness and opportunity for people in the days and months ahead."

 

 

 

  

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Ontarians living pay cheque to pay cheque, Canadian Payroll Association’s 2017 Survey finds

Posted on 06 September 2017 by admin

Ontario employees challenged by debt, not saving enough for retirement, pessimistic about local economy.

TORONTO, Sept. 6, 2017 /CNW/ – Even though there have been some signs of economic improvement over the past year, most employed Canadians, including those in Ontario, are no better off when it comes to their retirement prospects.

High Levels of Spending, Low Rates of Savings

According to the Canadian Payroll Association's ninth annual survey, released today, 47% of working Canadians report it would be difficult to meet their financial obligations if their pay cheque was delayed by even a single week. The numbers are even higher for millennials in their 30s (55% would have difficulty) and Gen Xs in their 40s (51%). In Ontario, 49% live pay cheque to pay cheque.

The survey also shows that 41% of employees nationally, and 42% in Ontario, spend all of or more than their net pay. The number-one reason given for increased spending is higher living costs.

Forty-two per cent of survey respondents (and 43% of Ontario employees) said they save 5% or less of their earnings, below the 10% savings level generally recommended by financial planning experts.

Illustrating just how strapped some employees are, 22% nationally and in Ontario (nearly 1 in 4) say they could not come up with just $2,000 within a month for an emergency expense.

High Debt Levels

Debt levels of working Canadians continue to remain high. Over one-third (35%) of working Canadians and 37% of Ontarians feel overwhelmed by their level of debt.

Nearly one-third (31%) of respondents nationally (32% in Ontario) say their debt load increased over the year.

Canada-wide, those who believe it will take more than 10 years to pay down their debt has risen to 42% (versus 36% in 2016). Fully 12% believe they will never be debt free. 

As in past years, 94% of Canadians carry debt, with the most common debt being mortgages (28%), credit cards (17%), car loans (18%) and lines of credit (17%). Not surprisingly, given the high cost of real-estate in some areas, more respondents than ever find mortgages on principal residences the most difficult debt to pay down, with 32% of respondents selecting this option. For the first time in the survey's nine year history, mortgages surpassed credit card debt (23%) as the most difficult to pay down.

Results indicate that the primary reason for increased debt is higher overall spending. The major reasons for increased spending are higher living expenses (32%) and unexpected expenses (25%). Despite their precarious financial situation, 26% of working Canadians feel that earning more is their best way to financial well-being, versus just 19% who think spending less is the ticket to financial security.

"Half of Ontarians live pay cheque to pay cheque, further underscoring the need to spend less and save more every day, for emergencies and for retirement," says Janice MacLellan, the Canadian Payroll Association's Vice-President of Operations. "The survey results also show that it is very difficult for people to change or reduce their spending patterns. By Paying Yourself First through automatic payroll deductions, you are diverting money into a retirement or savings account before you have the opportunity to think about spending it."

Retirement Delayed for Many

Almost half of working Canadians (46%) say they will now have to work longer than they planned five years ago, and the top reason cited is they are "not saving enough".

This is corroborated by another result indicating that 74%, nationally and in Ontario, have saved only a quarter or less of what they feel they will need to retire. And even among those Canadians closer to retirement (50 and older), a disturbing 47% are still less than a quarter of the way to their retirement savings goal.

The average Canadian's target retirement age is now about 61 (62 in Ontario), and half (46%) think they will need a retirement nest-egg of at least $1 million. Ontario residents are setting the bar slightly higher, with 53% feeling they will need at least $1 million to retire.

Economic Outlook

Canada-wide, there were a few positive indicators, most notably a 5% increase in the number of employees with total household incomes of over $125K, and a slight rise (2%) in full time employment to 89%.

However, most working Canadians see little to cheer about, with only 39% (37% in Ontario) expecting the economy in their city or town to improve. While national optimism is up 3% over last year, it is down by 27% from the first survey done in 2009.

What to Do

With many Canadians challenged by debt, cost of living worries, and insufficient retirement savings, the Canadian Payroll Association recommends you Pay Yourself First by saving 10% of your net pay. 

If you want to learn more about automatic savings – and how you can Pay Yourself First – talk to your payroll professional.

"The Canadian Payroll Association's Research Survey of Employed Canadians is conducted each year to support National Payroll Week," says Frank Lilley, CPA, CGA and Chair of the Canadian Payroll Association's Board of Directors. "National Payroll Week recognizes the contributions of payroll professionals in delivering $928 billion annually in wages and benefits on behalf of employers and in helping Canadians Pay Themselves First."

Regional survey findings are available. Go to www.payroll.ca → Media Room for provincial/regional news releases and infographics.

Canadian Payroll Association spokespersons are available across Canada for interviews.

Canadian Payroll Association 2017 Survey of Employed Canadians
A total of 4,766 employees from across Canada, and from a wide range of industry sectors, responded to an online research survey between Monday, June 27th, 2017 and Friday, August 5th, 2017, using a convenience sampling methodology. The survey was developed by the Canadian Payroll Association and conducted by Framework Partners. The survey is consistent with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.3% 19 times out of 20, but as a non-probabilistic methodology was used, a definitive margin of error cannot be expressed. 

Payroll Professionals – Keeping Canada Paid™
Canada's 1.5 million employers rely on payroll practitioners to ensure the timely and accurate annual payment of $928 billion in wages, $313 billion in statutory remittances to the federal and provincial governments, and $177 billion in health and retirement benefits, while complying with more than 200 federal and provincial regulatory requirements. Since 1978, the Canadian Payroll Association has annually influenced the payroll compliance practices and processes of over five hundred thousand organizational payrolls. As the authoritative source of Canadian payroll knowledge, the Canadian Payroll Association promotes payroll compliance through education and advocacy.

SOURCE Canadian Payroll Association 

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Landlords can no longer evict tenants without compensation

Posted on 05 September 2017 by admin

Ontario tenants will have additional protection from eviction starting Friday; when a landlord ends a tenancy to have family members move in, people evicted must receive compensation.

By ROBERT BENZIEQueen's Park Bureau Chief (Courtesy: The Toronto Star).

Thu., Aug. 31, 2017.

Ontario tenants will have more protection from eviction starting Friday.

That’s when new measures aimed at stopping landlords from turfing people from their rental units will take effect.

Effective Friday, when a landlord ends a tenancy to have family members move in, people evicted must receive compensation.

“When a tenant is evicted through no fault of their own, they are forced to scramble to find new accommodations and cover the costs of a sudden move,” Housing Minister Peter Milczyn said in a statement.

Landlords will have to pay one month’s rent to the evicted tenant or offer him or her another comparable rental unit.

There will also be a new measure in place to ensure that an apartment isn’t vacated, ostensibly for a relative, and, less than one year later, rented out to someone else.

“If the landlord advertises, re-rents or demolishes/converts the unit within one year, she or he will be considered to have acted in bad faith, unless they can prove otherwise and could face a fine of up to $25,000,” the government says.

“The new measures will help protect tenants by discouraging landlords from unlawfully evicting them, whether for conversion of the unit into a short-term rental or immediately re-renting it at a higher rate.”

Milczyn, who is also the minister responsible for Ontario’s poverty-reduction strategy, said the aim is to help “make that transition easier” for tenants forced to move.

The minister said, in some cases, it could “prevent it from happening at all, by curbing unlawful evictions.”

Friday’s changes are part of sweeping tenant-protection protections imposed this year.

Residential rent increases are capped at 1.8 per cent next year unless landlords apply to housing authorities for more.

But those who renovate their units can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for increases based on the amount of money spent on improvements.

Rent controls were expanded by Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government in April.

In all, there are about 1.2 million private rental units in Ontario.

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Delivering Value to Ontarians – LCBO Highlights 2016-17 Fiscal Year Results

Posted on 17 August 2017 by admin

Delivering Value to Ontarians – LCBO Highlights 2016-17 Fiscal Year Results!

 

  • Dividend of over $2 billion to pay for important government priorities
  • Sales across all categories, e-commerce, and wholesale drive increase in revenue
  • Customer donations and employee fundraising raised a record-breaking $13.3 million

 

Full details available at:www.lcbo.com/year-in-review

 

TORONTO, Aug. 17, 2017 /CNW/ – The yearly dividend returned by the LCBO to the Province of Ontario goes toward improving our communities, including through investments in health care, education, and infrastructure. With financial revenues of $5.89 billion, marking net sales growth of 5.8 per cent, the LCBO transferred a dividend of $2.06 billion* to the Ontario government for the 2016-17 fiscal year – an increase of $125 million from fiscal year 2015-16.

"We are proud that the significant dividend we transfer to the provincial government is invested in services that improve the lives of all Ontarians like hospitals and schools, the building of bridges and roads, and to connecting businesses and communities across the province," said LCBO President & CEO George Soleas. "LCBO's strong fiscal year results highlight our commitment to excellence in the customer experience, support of local producers, and our focus on social responsibility. Moving forward we will continue to drive progress in our strategy to succeed in a more competitive marketplace so that we continue to deliver value for the people of Ontario."

Additional information on the LCBO's fiscal 2016-17 year in review can be found at www.lcbo.com/year-in-review Highlights by category include:

Overall sales

  • Key net sales figures by category (excluding Private Ordering) were:

    • Spirits $ 2.24 billion, up 5.1 per cent
    • Beer & Cider $ 1.29 billion, up 9.9 per cent
    • Wine including VINTAGES $ 2.04 billion, up 3.9 per cent
    • Gift Cards $ 105.1 million up 11.9 per cent
  • e-commerce: Sales through this new channel in the first eight months starting in July 2016, totaled $4.4 million.
  • Grocery: Sales from the wholesale supply of beer, wine and cider to grocery stores totaled $65 million, a figure expected to grow alongside the number of grocers licensed for sales.

 

Support of local producers

  • Net sales of Ontario wine through LCBO wines and Vintages were $483 million, an increase of 5.9 per cent.
  • Locally produced craft cider increased 39 per cent to $7.1 million.
  • Sales of local craft beer were $88.5 million, up more than 27.6 per cent over the previous year.
  • Ontario small distillers continue to see sales growth, up 62 per cent to $6.3 million.

 

Social Responsibility
The LCBO is recognized by Ontarians for actions that support responsible retailing and for promoting a culture of moderation; product quality and safety; environmental sustainability and community involvement and fundraising.

  • LCBO retail staff challenged more than 14.4 million people who appeared underage, intoxicated or were suspected of purchasing for an underage or intoxicated person. 258,628 individuals were refused service; 82 per cent for reasons of age.
  • LCBO's Quality Assurance department conducted 633,000 laboratory tests to confirm products are safe to consume, are authentic and meet federal and provincial compositional, packaging and labeling standards.
  • Through the LCBO's funding of the Ontario Deposit Return Program (ODRP) and municipal curbside Blue Box programs, more than 93 per cent of the bottles and cans we generate are recycled and kept away from landfill. There were approximately 350 million beverage alcohol containers returned through the ODRP in 2016-17.
  • Customer donations at LCBO checkouts and employee fundraising efforts raised a record-breaking $13.3 million for worthy causes, an increase of 22 per cent over last year. Charitable organizations that benefit include the United Way, Ontario's four children's hospitals, MADD Canada, and numerous other provincial and local charities. Like many retailers, LCBO participated in a prompted donation campaign in response to the Alberta wild fires, raising $2.95 million dollars for the Red Cross.

*excludes HST and $246 million from the land sale of LCBO's Head Office.  

 

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New Wait Times Data Now Available for Surgeries and Procedures Across Ontario

Posted on 10 August 2017 by admin

By: Upali Obeyesekere – Editor, The Times of Sri Lanka.

Wait times at hospital across the province of Ontario has been much in the news for quite some time. Some Quick Facts on the subject matter is shown below.

QUICK FACTS

  • Through the 2017 Budget, Ontario is investing $245 million over the next three years to improve patient access to specialists, including new digital solutions to streamline consultations and eReferrals.
  • The province is investing $12.9 million over two years to support the expansion of eReferral systems in eight Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs). The LHINs are: Waterloo-Wellington, Champlain, South East, Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant, South West, Erie St. Clair, North East, and North West.
  • An estimated 184,600 patients currently receive virtual care each year through digital self-care programs such as telehomecare and nearly 650,000 virtual care visits, and these numbers are growing rapidly.
  • Ontario.ca/health is a joint project between the Ontario Digital Service and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. 

Following is a News Release issued today.

News Release

August 10, 2017

Province Investing in New Online Tools to Improve Patient Experience

Ontario has launched a new online tool to help people find wait times information for surgeries and procedures at hospitals across the province, and is providing more digital tools to help improve the patient experience.

Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, and Hillary Hartley, Chief Digital Officer, were at OneEleven innovation hub in Toronto to announce a number of new digital tools for patients, including:

  • Enhanced wait times information: developed in collaboration with Health Quality Ontario (HQO), the new, easy-to-use wait times tool now includes the length of time between a referral received from a family physician or nurse practitioner and the patient's first appointment with a specialist or surgeon, in addition to the time between the decision on a procedure and the date the procedure is performed. Data is available down to the hospital-level, and will help patients better understand what to expect and allow them to make more informed choices about their health care needs, including being able to talk with the referring physician about options to reduce their wait times.
  • Ontari o.ca/health: a user-focused, mobile-friendly and trusted source for information about a wide variety of health services in Ontario, including how to renew health cards, find health services in your community and get dental care for children. The website will be continually refined based on users' experience and feedback. People are invited to complete the first user survey before Sept. 1, 2017.
  • Expansion of the innovative, online eReferral system in Waterloo-Wellington Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and seven more LHINs. eReferral helps reduce wait times by connecting patients and primary care providers to specialists and other health care services in their community faster.

The province is continuing to develop other electronic tools that are increasing access to ca re for people, such as an electronic version of the immunization card and digital self-care and virtual home visits.

Ontario is increasing access to care, reducing wait times and improving the patient experience through its Patients First Action Plan for Health Care and OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare – protecting health care today and into the future.

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