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Building Ontario Up

Budget Talk

Budget Talk

Navigating the budget can at the best of times be frustrating and confusing, residents hear numbers thrown about and often wonder WHERE the money is actually going.  I aim here to provide some of the highlights found within the 2015 Ontario Budget:

Providing Employment:

That 7 of 10 new jobs require postsecondary education and training and that the youth unemployment rate: 14.9%, down from 18.6% during recession.  We are investing in the skills and talents of our young people and preparing them for the jobs of tomorrow.  Investing $250M over 2 years, bringing total investment to over $565M, including:

  • Experience Ontario  - pilot to help recent high school grads better identify their goals and choose an education path
  • Youth Skills Connection – funding for partnerships between postsecondary and business to develop tailor-made programs for specific jobs
  • Campus-Linked Accelerators: which are entrepreneurship programs attached to a university or College
  • $13M over 2 years for pre-apprenticeship programs
  • The Ontario Student Assistance Program, which defrays college and university tuition fees, will be adjusted to inflation this fall and there will a push to recover defaulted loans

Keeping People Moving:

Unlocking the value of provincial assets such as an initial public offering (IPO) of approximately 15 per cent of the common shares of Hydro One with additional share sales in subsequent years and introducing beer in grocery stores will help to support transit, transportation and infrastructure projects in Ontario.  The largest infrastructure investment in Ontario’s history will support over 110,000 jobs per year:

  • $131.5B over the next 10 years for public infrastructure
  • $100B includes funding for transportation, education, health and justice infrastructure
  • Beer will be sold in 450 of Ontario’s 1,500 supermarkets

Net proceeds from asset optimization will go to Trillium Trust to support Moving Ontario Forward: Accelerate service enhancements to GO transit network, which will lay the foundations of Regional Express Rail (RER)

  • This will add more trains to the existing GO schedule at peak, non-peak and weekends which is increase service by 50% by 2020
  • Launch a new Connecting Links program, which provides funding for municipal roads that connect to provincial highways
  • Develop a new program to expand natural gas network

 

Investing in Tomorrow:

That enhancing the Jobs and Prosperity Fund by a total of $200 million beginning in 2015-16 will assist with:

  • Innovation Initiatives – working with senior business leaders to help Ontario start-ups scale up; new $20M Health Technology Innovation Fund and appointment of Chief Innovation Strategist
  • Cap and trade system to tackle climate change and drive business innovation
  • Canada-Ontario Job Grant – employer-driven training initiative; program provides up to 2/3 of eligible training costs up to $10,000

No New Taxes:

All of these investments will raise the standard of living, create jobs and grow the economy in Ontario accomplished by making hard yet creative choices and NOT raising Personal Income Tax, Corporate Tax, Gas Tax, HST:

  • The deficit is projected to decline to $8.5 billion this year, $4.8 billion in 2016-17
  • Cutting 5.5% of all program expenditures except health-care and education, which are the two largest areas of spending. Health increases 1.9%, while education rises 2
  • The province will do a comprehensive review of all user fees, such as driver’s licences and hazardous waste levies, to move toward full-cost recovery.

Ontario Retirement Pension Plan:

The government has committed itself to establishing the plan by January 1st, 2017.  The retirement landscape has changed dramatically over the last few decades.  People are finding it harder and harder to save for retirement, workplace pension plan coverage is becoming increasingly rare and low interest rates have also lessened returns on investments making it more difficult to live comfortably after retirement.

Once established the ORPP will be the first of its kind in Canada. Modelled after the CPP, it will:

  • Offer a predictable stream of income in retirement for life
  • Require equal contributions to be shared between employers and employees
  • Aim to replace 15 per cent of an individual's earnings.
  • Offer portability, giving younger workers who are expected to change employers multiple times in their working lives, a single place to accumulate savings over the course of their careers.

Consultations across the Province were held with communities, not-for-profit associations, businesses, young professionals, the self-employed, technical experts and advisers.  With these consultations complete, the government is now carrying out its analysis and will giving more details about the plan in the coming months.

http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/alerts-pensions.html

 

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