Today, Finance Minister Charles Sousa released the 2016 Ontario Budget: Jobs for Today and Tomorrow, which outlines the next phase of the government’s plan to create jobs and economic growth. This budget has a number of improvements for York Region including funding in post-secondary education, health care, and transit.
The 2016 Budget is introducing many initiatives to improve everyday life for Ontarians. These include lowering hospital parking fees for frequent users, eliminating the $30 Drive Clean emissions test fee, helping with electricity and energy costs, reducing auto insurance rates and using technology to more conveniently deliver public services.
The government has increased choice and convenience for Ontarians by responsibly expanding beer sales to grocery stores, and is now expanding wine sales. In fall 2016, up to 70 grocery stores will be authorized to sell wine, beer and cider together across Ontario. Wine will eventually be available in up to 300 grocery stores.
Many York Region families will benefit as the government is making tuition more affordable by making the average college or university tuition free for students with financial need from families with incomes of $50,000 or less, and will make tuition more affordable for middle-class families. To help more students qualify for grants and access the student loan system, the government will create a single major upfront grant — the Ontario Student Grant (OSG), starting in the 2017–18 school year.
The Province is also investing $3 billion in capital grants over 10 years to postsecondary institutions to give students access to high-quality programs closer to home and contribute to building a stronger economy. In York Region, this funding will go towards plans for a new postsecondary campus in Markham for about 4,000 students. The project will be a partnership between York University and Seneca College
The Province is investing in High-Quality Hospital Care by increasing funding for hospitals by $345 million in response to the growing demand for highly specialized and complex services and the need to expand access in growing communities across the province.
The Ontario Government is also investing $12 billion over 10 years in capital grants to hospitals to continue building essential infrastructure. This funding includes the new Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital project, which will improve access to hospital services for York Region. The new hospital will have a state-of-the-art emergency department, modern surgical services, specialized ambulatory clinics, and advanced diagnostic imaging. The hospital will have integrated smart digital technology systems to enhance the patient care experience.
The Government is moving Ontario forward by investing $13.5 billion in the GO Regional Express Rail (RER), which will quadruple the number of weekly trips to nearly 6,000.
Here in York Region we will get where we need to go faster with six new trips during the morning/ and afternoon commutes on the Milton, Richmond Hill and Stouffville corridors, and 52 new trips on each weekend day on the Barrie corridor to and from Aurora. There are also plans to improve Aurora GO Bus service which will increase the number of bus trips by 130 per week.
The Province is also creating a reliable and sustainable transportation system in York Region by widening Highway 400 from eight to 10 lanes, and adding a new high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane in each direction between Major Mackenzie Drive and King Road.
“The historic modernization of student financial assistance in the 2016 Budget is tremendous news for students and their families across the province. By making tuition free for tens of thousands of low-and middle-income students and increasing eligibility for support to so many more, our government is demonstrating how firmly we believe in the importance of investing in Ontario’s people.”
— Reza Moridi, M.P.P., Richmond Hill
“Today’s budget has real benefits for residents in Newmarket-Aurora and across Ontario. The government is investing $160 billion in infrastructure projects like schools, hospitals, roads and transit. I’m delighted that we are making large investments in education, as seen by the Ontario Student Grant which would pay for average college or university tuition for students whose families make $50,000 or less. Our government is also investing in health care by investing $345 million in hospitals. There’s good news for Newmarket-Aurora GO Bus and GO Train riders with 52 new train trips on the Barrie Corridor announced and 130 new bus trips. I believe this budget helps ensure middle class families will have a more secure future, as we create new, good jobs, ensure retirement security and invest in health care.”
— Chris Ballard, M.P.P., Newmarket-Aurora
"I am excited about the additional investment of $30 million in our Going Global Export Strategy. This is great news for Ontario, including Markham-Unionville. We will fuel continued growth by increasing Ontario's exports, growing the number of exporters, and diversifying export markets to help deliver on our number one priority: growing the economy and creating jobs."
— Michael Chan, M.P.P., Markham-Unionville
“This Budget is about making everyday life easier for families in the York Region by lowering costs and making important investments in health care, transportation and post-secondary education. Our government is making the largest infrastructure investment in Ontario’s history which will help people spend more time with their families, move goods more efficiently, and support the creation of 110,000 jobs per year.”
— Steven Del Duca, M.P.P., Vaughan
“As a physician, I am proud that our government is making a significant investment of more than half a billion dollars in hospitals, cancer care, palliative care and home care. Ontarians, including those in my riding of Oak Ridges-Markham, can be confident that we are continuing to improve the essential services they need when they are sick or injured.”
— Dr. Helena Jaczek, M.P.P., Oak-Ridges Markham
The government’s plan is on track to balance the budget in 2017–18
Ontario’s real GDP increased by 2.5 per cent in 2015, outpacing the national average
Ontario’s highly educated workforce is one of its greatest strengths. In 2014, 66 per cent of adults in Ontario had a postsecondary credential, up from 56 per cent in 2002 — higher than the rates for any country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
To receive public input for the 2016 Ontario Budget, the government conducted pre-budget consultations across the province. This included 20 in-person pre-budget sessions in 13 cities with more than 700 people, two telephone town halls reaching more than 52,000 Ontarians, nearly 500 written submissions received and online consultations with more than 6,500 users through the Budget Talks website
For more information, please contact:
Chris Ballard, M.P.P., Newmarket-Aurora 905-750-0019
Michael Chan, M.P.P., Markham-Unionville 905-305-1935
Steven Del Duca, M.P.P., Vaughan 905-832-6630
Dr. Helena Jaczek, M.P.P., Oak Ridges-Markham 905-294-4931
Reza Moridi, M.P.P., Richmond Hill 905-884-8080
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