On Thursday, November 5, 2020, the Ontario Minister of Finance, Rod Phillips, released the 2020 Budget titled Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support and Recover.
The Budget contains some initiatives and spending plans that are of interest to Local 793 and OETIO:
- Retraining and Skilled Trades: The Province is planning to invest an additional $180.5 million, to help people retrain and upgrade their skills, over three years in micro-credentials, employment services and training programs, including apprenticeships.
- COVID-19 Recovery Assistance Skills Plan: Through Employment Ontario, the Province committed to fund $100 million in 2020-21 for skills training programs for workers most affected by COVID-19. This dedicated funding will help more workers receive the guidance and assistance they need to upgrade their skills and find good jobs.
- Ontario’s Skilled Trades Strategy: The province came out with 3 pillars of Ontario’s Skilled Trades Strategy, designed to modernize Ontario’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system, and help enable the province’s economic recovery.
The 3 Pillars of Ontario’s Skilled Trades Strategy
1) Break the stigma attached to a career in the skilled trades and attract and train youth by:
- $17 million increase in awareness of careers in the skilled trades through Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program
- $6 million boost in funding through Skills Ontario
- Investing $21 million in Ontario’s Pre-Apprenticeship Training program
- Providing an additional $500,000 to pre-apprenticeship training service providers
- Appointing three Youth Advisors
- Investing $42 million in Specialist High Skills Major programs
2) Make it easier for people to be part of the skilled trades with an investment of $75 million over the next two years by:
- Appointing a five-member Skilled Trades Panel to provide recommendations on ways to modernize the system
- Investing $2.5 million this year and $7.5 million next year to launch the new non-repayable Tools Grant
- Investing $5.8 million in the Apprentice Development Benefit, including a $1.3 million boost this year and next
- Investing $24 million in the Apprentice Development Benefit to supplement EI benefits, including a $4 million boost this year and next
- Investing $4.7 million in 2021-22 in multi-year commitment to develop new digital portal to support skilled trades and apprenticeship system in Ontario
- Committing a total of $211.9 million to the In-class Enhancement Fund in 2020-21 and 2021-22, including a boost of $11.8 million this year and $22.3 million next year
- Investing an additional $10 million in 2021-22 in the Apprenticeship Capital Grant for a total investment of $24 million
- Investing $5.4 million to assist training delivery agents with implementing COVID-19 health and safety measures
3) Increase employer participation in sponsoring and hiring trained apprentices by:
- Establishing a new Skills Development Fund which will provide $30 million over two years beginning in 2020-21
- Investing $21 million in 2020-21 to support a new Achievement Incentive Grant for employers
- Supporting business participation by investing $20 million in 2020-21 for a new Group Sponsorship Grant to encourage small to medium sized employers to provide full scope training
- Working with industry on workforce planning for major infrastructure projects
Ontario’s Infrastructure Plan
The “Recover” component of the government’s action plan includes $4.8 billion in new spending. Highlights include an additional $680 million over four years for broadband infrastructure, and an extra $1.3 billion over three years to reduce electricity costs to industrial and commercial employers.
In addition to the new $680 million broadband infrastructure funding, Ontario’s capital plan currently includes:
- $62.7 billion over ten years for public transit projects including the Ontario Line, the Scarborough Subway Extension, the Yonge North Subway Extension, and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension. The Province indicated that it is accelerating the delivery of its subway expansion projects and calling on the federal government to put up 40% of the total costs.
- $27.2 billion over ten years for hospital projects including the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority New Replacement Hospital, Unity Health — St. Joseph’s Health Centre Redevelopment project, the Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital, and the South Bruce Grey Health Centre — Kincardine Site Phase 1 Redevelopment project.
- $1 billion for the newly established COVID-19 Resilience stream, which provides for the accelerated delivery of priority municipal infrastructure projects, school retrofits, and long-term care facilities.
Ontario’s Infrastructure Spending Outlook ($ Millions)
Source: 2020 Ontario Budget
*Total includes several smaller sector categories excluded from this table; Total also includes third-party investments primarily in hospitals, colleges and schools.
For a complete copy of the Ontario Budget, visit https://budget.ontario.ca/2020/pdf/2020-ontario-budget-en.pdf