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News Release: Ontario Releases 2017-18 Third Quarter Finances

Posted on 15 February 2018 by admin

  

News Release

Ontario Releases 2017-18 Third Quarter Finances

February 15, 2018

Province Continues to Project a Balanced Budget in 2017-18

Today Ontario released the 2017-18 Third Quarter Finances, which confirm the government is on track to balance the budget this year while making investments in the programs and services people and families rely on most.

Projections in the report include:

  • Total revenue of $150.1 billion, up $115 million from the 2017 Budget forecast
  • Program expense of $137.4 billion, up $215 million from the 2017 Budget forecast
  • Interest on debt expense of $12.2 billion, unchanged from the 2017 Budget forecast

Key expense changes include increased funding for the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), responding to greater demand following the earliest launch of OSAP applications ever. More than 210,000 full-time university and college students are currently receiving free tuition after major changes were made by the government to ensure that the opportunity to attend a college or university is based on a student's potential, not their ability to pay.

While Ontario's economy has shown steady growth, including leading the G7 in GDP growth in recent years, the government knows that more must be done to encourage increased growth and ensure that the benefits of a growing economy are shared fairly across the province.

There are a number of risks that could affect Ontario's economic outlook which the government is currently monitoring, including global economic growth, rising interest rates and potential changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Further details on the outlook for the Ontario economy and the province's fiscal plan will be presented in the 2018 Budget.

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 biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

 

 

QUICK FACTS

  • The Ontario Quarterly Finances contains updated information about Ontario's fiscal outlook for the current fiscal year, including the major components of revenue and expense as set out in the 2017 Budget.
  • Private-sector forecasters, on average, have estimated that Ontario real GDP increased by 2.9 per cent in 2017. 

  

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DOUG FORD enters race for leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party

Posted on 29 January 2018 by admin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TORONTO – MONDAY, JANUARY 29TH, 2018.

DOUG FORD ENTERS RACE FOR LEADER OF THE ONTARIO PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE PARTY
 
The McGuinty-Wynne Liberals have destroyed Ontario’s economy. The Liberals are plagued by scandal and mismanagement. Life in this province is unaffordable. It is becoming impossible for families to keep the lights on. The hard working taxpayers of this province deserve better.
 
I love Ontario and I love the PC Party. It’s the Party my family has been devoted to for decades. The PC Party is the only one that can defeat the Wynne Government and put Ontario back on the right path.
 
I have been fighting for the people of this province on the frontlines. Supporting the party in byelections, working with nominated candidates and knocking on doors across Ontario.
 
I’ve been deeply troubled by what I have seen recently unfolding within the PC Party. Lifelong supporters of our Party have been watching in horror as it falls into complete disarray. We have seen backroom politics at its worst. Insiders trying to politically capitalize at the expense of the people. Elites who are disconnected from the grassroots of the party and don’t care about the struggles of average Ontarians. This hostile environment cannot continue. Right now the party needs strong leadership. Someone who is ready to clean up this mess and lead us into the June election.

This is why I am announcing that I'm running for the leadership of our Ontario PC Party and to be the next Premier of this great province! I love Toronto and love serving the residents of this great city. As Premier, I will serve them and every Ontario resident.
 
I had every intention of running for Mayor of this great city but I can’t watch the party I love fall into the hands of elites. The elites who have shut the door on our grassroots; the foundation of our Party. Our Party can not go without a tested leader at this crucial time. If we lose this election I don’t know how average people in Ontario will recover.
 
Folks, make no mistake. The elites of this Party, the ones who have shut out the grassroots, do not want me in this race. But I am here to give you a voice. The hard working taxpayers of this province. People who have been ignored for far too long. People across Ontario are suffocating under the weight of high taxes and big government. I respect my colleagues running against me in this leadership race and I intend on running a positive campaign.
 
Friends, I could have never predicted that I would be standing here right now making this announcement today. This is a truly critical moment for our Party, our people and the future of our province.
 
We can not have a strong Ontario without a strong Progressive Conservative Party and together we will make sure that we have both.
 
I will not be taking questions today but in the coming days I will have much more to say about our campaign.
 
Thank you. 

Doug Ford

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Bulletin: Ontario to Welcome More Economic Immigrants in 2018

Posted on 20 January 2018 by admin

Bulletin:

Ontario to Welcome More Economic Immigrants in 2018!

Ontario’s Allocation for Provincial Nominee Program Increased by the Federal Government, Becoming Largest in Canada.

January 18, 2018.

Ontario will welcome more economic immigrants to the province this year, with the Government of Canada increasing Ontario's 2018 nomination allocation to 6,600. Ontario's allocation is the largest in the country, in recognition of Ontario's role as a key driver of the national economy and the success of the program.

Ontario's Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) offers pathways to permanent residence for international students, internationally educated professionals, skilled and in-demand workers, entrepreneurs and Francophones. The program allows the province to nominate skilled immigrants whose professional and educational skills meet Ontario's current labour market needs for permanent residence.

The OINP is now accepting applications to the following streams:

Helping newcomers thrive and succeed 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

  • Ontario’s provincial nominee program is now the largest in Canada.
  • Ontario’s federal nomination allocation has increased 20% since 2016.
  • Ontario welcomes more newcomers than any other province or territory in Canada.

“Ontario’s economy encompasses a dynamic mix of sectors which require skilled workers. The increase in our 2018 provincial nominee allocation means that Ontario will be able to welcome more immigrants with the skills and education to meet our labour market needs and deliver sustained growth to the provincial economy.”

Laura Albanese

Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

 

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Three things to watch for in the 2018 Ontario election season

Posted on 02 January 2018 by admin

OPINION: With six months to go before voting day, John Michael McGrath – TV Ontario highlights key issues that will shape the race.

Published on Jan 02, 2018

by John Michael McGrath – Courtesy: TV Ontario.

The three major parties are already gearing up for the next election, which will be held June 7, 2018.

It’s 2018, and that means the only thing you really need to know about Ontario politics this year is: voting day is June 7. The general election will be the lens through which everything at Queen’s Park is viewed, and it’s going to shape how MPPs and aspiring MPPs act between now and then.

But there’s still a lot of time until election day. The Liberals aren’t done governing just yet, and they’ve got some priorities they’ll want to see passed into law before their time is up. The House will return in February, the daily cycle of grilling the government at Question Period will get even more heated, and there will inevitably be surprises along the way.

All that said, here are some things to watch for this year.

The budget will be the platform, again

The single biggest day each spring is the release of the provincial budget, and in election years, the document has even greater significance. In 2014, the budget actually triggered an election: in the absence of NDP support, Kathleen Wynne asked the Lieutenant Governor to dissolve the legislature, and the Liberals kicked off their campaign saying simply, “The budget is our platform.” It worked well for them: they won a narrow majority at Queen’s Park and secured the right to govern for the next four years — something that didn’t seem like a sure thing when the campaign started.

This year will proceed along similar lines: the budget will set the stage for a June election (in 2014, it was June 12). The document is also likely to feature major commitments: serious money for major rail upgrades to the GO system around the Greater Toronto Area, perhaps, or even a high-speed rail to Windsor. Given the moves the Liberals made in the last few budgets (OHIP+ in 2017, cheaper university and college tuition in 2016), it’s a safe bet they’ll offer a substantial expansion of the social safety net. There’s no shortage of possible ideas: a return to major provincial funding for affordable housing or the creation of a comprehensive child-care system could both be very popular.

But the Liberals won’t be able to deliver on the contents of the budget unless they win the election. And voters will be asked not just whether they approve of the government’s proposals, but whether they trust it to implement them. Given her personal unpopularity, that may be a bar Wynne can’t clear.

Liberal trials aren’t over yet (and the Tories may get theirs, too)

The Liberals got some good news in October when an Ontario judge acquitted two high-ranking party members of corruption charges, but at least two more court cases could still sour voters on the Liberal brand before election day. The case against two Liberal staffers in former Premier Dalton McGuinty’s office for tampering with computer hard drives has seen the charges against Laura Miller and David Livingston reduced in severity, but it lives on.

The Liberals are also facing a case related to their handling of the horse-racing industry. The government, with no notice, summarily ended a provincial revenue-sharing program with racetracks in February 2012, creating chaos in the industry. McGuinty and former Finance Minister Dwight Duncan will face questioning from lawyers in the New Year, though they’re unlikely to actually appear in a public court hearing. (Because it’s a small world after all, one prospective Tory has also been deposed in the case: Rod Phillips, the PC candidate in Ajax, was the CEO of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation when the Liberals introduced these changes.)

And the Tories have legal headaches of their own: in December, the party was in a Toronto courtroom advocating that an appeals judge should uphold a prior decision to seal a recorded conversation (and its transcript) about the Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas riding nomination. That’s just one of many local nominations that have turned into a nightmare for Tories, with spurned candidates claiming that the party rigged races to exclude them. A decision about whether to unseal the recording of Patrick Brown’s campaign chair, Walied Soliman, is expected early in the New Year.

Will the NDP follow the Tories on the deficit?

In the Fall Economic Statement issued last November, the Liberals said that the next two fiscal years will see a balanced budget. The Tories say that if they win, they’ll run a modest deficit in year one of their mandate and then usher in growing surpluses. What would the NDP do?

The last election wasn’t particularly kind to the NDP (it gained zero seats on balance, and quickly lost the seat it had previously won in Sudbury), and in the 2015 federal election, after leader Thomas Mulclair promised fiscal balance, it lost badly to a Liberal party that promised to run substantial deficits.

So what lesson will the NDP take away from recent events? Will it continue to try to banish the memories of the deficit-spending Rae government of the 1990s, or will it take a chance on voters being less shy about deficits and make more expansive promises without worrying about paying the tab? It could be one of the key decisions of the coming months, both on its own merits and because an NDP that’s less concerned about deficits might be more willing to follow in the footsteps of other left-wing firebrands, like Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn, who’ve energized supporters and garnered attention (but not actual election victories) elsewhere.

 

 

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Ontario News Release: Free Prescription Medications for Everyone Under 25

Posted on 02 January 2018 by admin

 

 

January 2, 2018

Ontario Becomes First Province to Cover Prescriptions for Children and Youth

Prescription medications are now free for everyone under the age of 25 in Ontario. As of January 1, the province has made the biggest expansion to medicare in Ontario in a generation, providing drug coverage to over four million children and youth across the province. The launch of OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare is a national milestone as Ontario becomes the first province to provide prescription drug coverage to children and youth.

Premier Kathleen Wynne was in downtown Toronto to celebrate this national milestone with some of the young people and parents who now have access to over 4,400 medicines, completely free of charge. Some of the now publicly funded prescriptions include depression and anxiety medications, insulin and diabetic test strips, antibiotics, asthma inhalers and birth control pills.

This expansion of medicare marks a turning point for Ontario families, who now have access to life-saving drugs without having to worry about affordability. Coverage will be automatic for children and youth with an OHIP card and a valid prescription. There will be no upfront costs, no co-pays and no strings attached.

The launch of OHIP+ is just one of the historic ways Ontario has changed with the new year. The government's plan to build a fairer, better province also includes a raise to the minimum wage to $14 an hour, effective January 1. The minimum wage will further increase to $15 per hour as of January 1, 2019.

Ontario's plan is creating 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

  • Ontario is the first province to provide prescription medication coverage at no cost for all children and youth under 25 who are OHIP-insured.
  • An estimated 1.2 million people in Ontario without drug coverage will benefit from OHIP+. This is according to a recent report by the Conference Board of Canada that estimates a drop from 13.2 per cent to four per cent in the number of people not currently eligible for drug coverage under a public or private insurance plan in Ontario.
  • OHIP+ covers prescription medications listed on the Ontario Drug Benefit Formulary and additional medications eligible for funding through the Exceptional Access Program and prescribed by a doctor or nurse practitioner.
  • Ontario’s public drug programs already help to pay for needed prescription medications for seniors, people with high drug costs and other vulnerable populations. It marks one of the many ways the Ontario government is leading a national discussion on the future shape of pharmacare in Canada.
  • Increasing the minimum wage is part of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, which responds to the final report of the Changing Workplaces Review. The report estimated that more than 30 per cent of Ontario workers were in precarious work in 2014. Today part-time work represents nearly 20 per cent of total employment.
  • Since the global recession, more than 800,000 net new jobs have been created in Ontario. By 2020, Ontario is expected to create over 200,000 more net new jobs. The unemployment rate in Ontario is currently at a 17-year low.

 

 

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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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