TORONTO, March 23, 2022 – The Toronto Region Board of Trade is pleased to see the Ontario budget tabled today by Ontario Minister of Finance, Peter Bethlenfalvy, which addresses many of the pressing challenges flagged by the Board for close to a decade. We strongly support these significant commitments to galvanize the region’s economic competitiveness and growth.
Big Steps Forward
The pace of Ontario’s economy has outpaced both Canada’s and the United States with continued projected growth for the province's GDP. This budget capitalizes on that momentum. We are pleased to see action to:
Fuel our Region’s Competitiveness and Growth
A new 10 per cent Ontario Made Manufacturing Tax Credit worth $780 million over three years will provide up to $2 million a year to Canadian owned, small and medium-sized manufacturers, investing over $20 million in new productivity enhancing plant and equipment. This is an important opportunity to improve our region’s productivity through a critical sector. We hope that the federal government will match this funding in its budget next week.
This tax credit presents a strong start, moving us in the right direction for improved business competitiveness. Nevertheless, it considerably lags what is available to US manufacturers through the Inflation Reduction Act.
This budget also invests billions to bolster our ability to lead in the climate economy, including funding to land $16 billion in EV and battery investments, and $2.5 billion in clean steel. This is in addition to large scale investment to expand our electricity grid and infrastructure, including acquiring 4000 megawatts of new electricity supply, critical to accelerating the transition to a competitive low-carbon economy.
This budget also addresses the issue of shrinking employment lands, vital to attracting new manufacturing investment with a new industrial site, high-value attraction fund to support land assembly and surfacing.
Access to Talent
The Provincial budget also addresses the number one issue keeping businesses up at night - the talent gap – with new funding to support the recently announced doubling of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program and investment to drive growth in the skilled trades.
We are pleased to see $224 million to expand bricks and mortar training centres, and $75 million in enhancements to the Skills Development Program, which we would like to see extend to the manufacturing sector.
Protecting and Maintaining Livability
With almost half a billion over three years for mental health and addiction services, this budget will help to ease the livability pressures currently plaguing the City of Toronto. Investments include $202M a year for homelessness prevention and $13.4M to enhance public safety.
Last, a critical win for our region’s mobility. This budget’s funding commitment for fare integration will finally eliminate double fares across our transit network. This is a critical step in addressing the number one issue for our members: the ability to attract and maintain talent amid growing mobility challenges across our region. The Board has advocated for a solution like this since 2014 and we are pleased to see it implemented.
There remain areas for improvement that are necessary to create the conditions for the Toronto Region to remain globally competitive in attracting investment, jobs and talent.
The City of Toronto continues to face significant fiscal challenges, exacerbated by major big-ticket items eating away at its budget. Many of these costs should fall to higher levels of government. It is critical that the Province does its part in helping to address these challenges by taking further fiscal responsibility for regional transportation infrastructure like the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway as well as other areas of provincial jurisdiction that currently require substantial spending by the City of Toronto.
“We applaud Ontario’s 2023 budget. It demonstrates that our economy and high standard of living are key priorities for the province, addressing numerous issues that have been on the Board’s agenda for years,” said Jan De Silva, President and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade. “This budget fuels our region’s competitiveness and growth and sets us on a course for continued momentum and a stronger economy.”
ABOUT THE TORONTO REGION BOARD OF TRADE
The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential business chambers in North America and is a catalyst for the region’s economic agenda. We pursue policy change to drive the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region and facilitate market opportunities with programs, partnerships and connections to help our members succeed – domestically and internationally.
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