With more than 300,000 jobs unfilled, Ontario is facing a generational labour shortage with the lowest rate of unemployment since 1989, said Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell in her Speech from the Throne.
She also referenced disruptions in the supply chain, which is hitting businesses particularly hard. And growing inflationary pressures and attempts by the Bank of Canada to hit the breaks on further inflation by increasing its interest rates. “While the full impact of this response is currently unclear Ontario, like the rest of Canada and North America, must be prepared for the possibility of a near-term economic slowdown.”
How does the Ford government say it plans to do that?
- Building cars of the future in Ontario from start to finish
- Investing in homegrown supply chains
- Building the first two sectors of the road to the Ring of Fire
- Keeping taxes low
- Attracting foreign investment
- Increasing education opportunities to generate more skilled workers by investing $1 billion in a skilled trades strategy
- Invest $86.6 billion over the next 10 years to build and expand roads, highways, and transit infrastructure across Ontario including Hwy. 413 and the Bradford bypass, widening Hwy. 3 from two to four lanes between Essex and Leamington, rebuilding more than 21 kilometres of Hwy. 101 through Timmins and twinning the Garden City Skyway bridge along the Queen Elizabeth Way over the Welland Canal and undertaking the largest subway expansion in Canadian history, among others
- In Northeastern Ontario, bringing back the Northlander to Timmins and back home to Cochrane that will better connect the north to central and southern Ontario
Promises to help alleviate pressures in health care
- Over 3,500 new hospital beds
- Add thousands more nurses and personal support workers to help care for patients
- Eliminate requirements for Canadian work experience that disadvantage internationally trained health care professionals
- Continue working with regulatory colleges to ensure newcomers to Ontario are able to help care for patients rather than wait in limbo for years
- Rural and remote regions struggling to attract healthcare professionals to benefit from the introduction of the Learn and Stay grant which covers tuition and supply costs for high-priority healthcare professionals like nurses in exchange for their commitment to work in underserviced areas after graduation
- $1 billion investment for home and community care
- Build and expand hospitals across Ontario
- Creation of 30,000 new long-term care beds by 2028
- Invest nearly $5 billion over four years to hire more than 27,000 new staff to provide long-term home care residents an average of four hours of direct care per day by 2025
- It will ask the federal government to urgently double the number of skilled workers allowed to immigrate into Ontario each year
“It’s never been more important to get women and men trained for rewarding careers in the skilled trades,” said Dowdeswell. “To help build the most highly skilled workforce in North America. This includes expanding three-year college degrees for in-demand fields and partnering with union-led training centres to provide people with the skills they need for new and exciting job opportunities.”
- In the coming months, the Ford government plans to increase Ontario Disability Support Program rates annually tied to inflation
- Increasing minimum wage to $15.50/hour by Oct. 1, 2022
- Additional $225 million to help parents with tutoring costs to help kids catch up in their learning on top of previous investments in education
- Goal of building 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years
- Continue providing municipalities the tools they need to “break through the logjams that have historically slowed the speed of housing construction, including enhanced authorities for the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa.”
- Explore partnering with municipalities to leverage surplus lands and add new incentives to build “attainable housing that lowers costs for potential buyers and puts homeownership in reach for more families.”
You can watch the throne speech below.
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