Canadian Contractor

OCS releases Fall Economic Statement

November 5, 2021

Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy has released the government’s Fall Economic Statement: 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario. The stated purpose of the document is to lay out the province’s plan for economic recovery and prosperity through critical infrastructure projects, investment attraction and industrial leadership. Highlights for Ontario’s construction industry include the Building Ontario plan, updates to Ontario’s Capital Plan, and investments to support skilled trades.


Building Ontario

The Fall Economic Statement includes a Building Ontario plan, which breaks the government’s investments down into eight categories.


1-Building Ontario’s Highways Program

·     $2.6 billion in funding for 2021-22

·     Funding committed for Bradford Bypass and Highway 413

2-Building the Ring of Fire

·     Close to $1 billion committed for the construction of an all-season road network and other projects

3-Building Community Infrastructure

·     Doubling investment in the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund program for municipalities from $1 billion to nearly $2 billion over the next five years

4-Building More Long-Term Care Beds

·     An additional $3.7 billion investment in long-term care facilities beginning in 2024-25

5-Building Hospital Infrastructure

·     $30.2 billion over the next 10 years to build, expand and enhance hospitals

6-Building Transit and Transportation

·     Progress is being made on Ontario’s $28.5 billion subway expansion plan

·     Ontario is investing $1.7 billion towards a total of $3.4 billion to support the Hamilton Light Rail Transit (LRT) project

7-Building Schools and Child Care Spaces

·     $14 billion in capital grants over 10 years to build more schools, improve existing facilities and support education-related projects

8-Building High-Speed Internet Access for Everyone

·     Nearly $4 billion over six years to provide reliable high-speed internet to all regions of Ontario by the end of 2025

A backgrounder on the Building Ontario plan can be found here, while further details are available here.

Ontario’s Capital Plan

The Fall Economic Statement also provides status updates on Ontario’s Capital Plan, including a restatement of investments announced in the 2021 Budget. The Capital Plan and status updates on hospital projects can be found here. The following table summarizes the government’s infrastructure spending outlook.

Ontario’s Infrastructure Spending Outlook ($ Millions)

Source: 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review

*Total includes several smaller sector categories excluded from this table; Total also includes third-party investments primarily in hospitals, colleges and schools.

Highlights for the Skilled Trades

Working for Skilled Workers

·     The government proposes to extend the Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit to 2022. The 2022 credit extension would provide an estimated $275 million in support to about 240,000 people, or $1,150, on average.

·     Ontario is investing an additional $90.3 million over three years starting in 2021–22 in the Skilled Trades Strategy. Key new initiatives include creating a skilled trades career fair as well as enhancing the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and the Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program.

·     An additional $5 million in 2021–22 to expand the Second Career program.

Building Opportunities in the Skilled Trades

·     Based on recommendations from the Apprenticeship Youth Advisors, The Province is investing an additional $90.3 million over three years starting in 2021–22 in its Skilled Trades Strategy announced in the 2020 Budget.

Expanding the Second Career Program

·     Ontario is investing an additional $5 million in 2021–22 to expand the Second Career program to extend support to more people, including newcomers, gig workers and people with disabilities.

Supporting Quality of Life for Skilled Tradespeople

·     As part of the Skills Development Fund, Ontario has invested $475,800 to support a collaborative project between the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario and the De Novo Treatment Centre, a non-profit that specializes in the treatment of addictions and mental health challenges for workers in the building and construction trades.

Ontario’s Task Force on Women and the Economy

There are three areas the government is focusing on relating to women’s participation in economic growth:

1.  Supporting women as they enter and re-enter the workforce

2.  Supporting women’s entrepreneurship

3.  Removing barriers for women in underrepresented areas including the skilled trades and science, technology, engineering, and Math (STEM) fields

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