November 14, 2022
Today, Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy released the government’s Fall Economic Statement: Ontario’s Plan to Build: A Progress Update.
There is little in the way of new announcements, rather the statement focusses on previously announced initiatives and sets the stage for ongoing economic uncertainty. Given current economic conditions, the government is now projecting a $12.9 billion deficit in 2022–23. Over the medium term, the government projects declining deficits of $8.1 billion in 2023–24 and $0.7 billion in 2024–25.
Highlights for Ontario’s construction industry include ongoing commitment to building a skilled workforce, and an update on previously announced infrastructure projects.
Preparing Students for the Jobs of the Future and Building a Skilled Workforce
Emphasizing STEM Education Across All Grades
- Introduced in the 2022–23 school year, the new Ontario science and technology curriculum emphasizes real‐world connections between STEM across Grades 1 to 9 and includes learning on coding, emerging technology, and skilled trades.
Building a Pipeline of Job-Ready Graduates
- Ontario expanded the degrees that publicly assisted colleges in Ontario can offer, including new, three‐year applied degrees and additional four‐year degree programs in key in‐demand sectors. For example, a Bachelor of Skilled Trades Business Management and a Bachelor of Computer Science.
Encouraging More Students to Enter the Trades
- The government is providing an additional $4.8 million over two years, beginning in 2023–24, to expand the Dual Credit program.
- This Dual Credit expansion will allow an additional 800 secondary students to take apprenticeship and technological education courses that will count towards their Ontario Secondary School Diploma and a college credential, or Certificate of Apprenticeship.
Helping More People Learn a Trade in Ontario
The government of Ontario is working to address the labour shortage in the skilled trades through the Skills Development Fund. The government is providing an additional $40 million in 2022–23, including $30 million in new funding, for a total investment of $145 million this year for the latest round of funding.
The first two rounds of funding delivered 388 training projects, helping more than 393,000 workers take the next step in their careers in in‐demand industries, including carpenters, plumbers, and health care workers.
Making It Easier for Skilled Workers to Come Work and Live in Ontario
The government recognizes the importance of helping newcomers achieve success in Ontario’s labour market.
- Out of province workers in over 30 in‐demand professions such as engineers, auto mechanics, plumbers, as well as other regulated professionals and tradespeople can get their credentials processed within 30 business days.
- Ontario is the first province in Canada to introduce legislation that removes Canadian work experience for internationally trained professionals in the regulated professions.
- Ontario is supporting apprentices from other provinces to continue their training in Ontario, by working with Skilled Trades Ontario to harmonize training standards for a dozen trades.
Building Ontario – Capital Infrastructure Plan
The Fall Economic Statement provides an update on previously announced infrastructure projects.. The government’s capital plan totals $159.3 billion over the next 10 years, including $20.0 billion in 2022–23. Notable developments for each category are summarized below.
- $3.0 billion to expand and maintain highways and bridges including Highway 413, the Bradford Bypass and widening Highway 401 in Eastern Ontario.
- A new bridge as part of the QEW Garden City Skyway rehabilitation project
- New Highway 7 between Kitchener and Guelph, with utility work expected to begin in spring 2023
Major Transit Projects
- Various GO Transit projects are continuing including construction on the Confederation GO Station in Hamilton
- Preferred proponent teams for the Ontario Line have been announced
- Yonge North Subway Extension: Construction on preliminary work such as electrical system of the rails, is expected to start in Fall 2022
- Ontario is investing over $40 billion in the next 10 years to expand and create new healthcare facilities, including 31,000 new and over 28,000 upgraded long-term care (LTC) beds by 2028 (1,900 have been completed) as well as more than 50 major hospital projects which would create local jobs in construction. Major projects in the planning stages include:
- Trillium Health – Queensway Health Centre Redevelopment
- Trillium Health – Mississauga Hospital
- Niagara South Hospital
- Weeneebayko – Health Campus of Care
- Two LTC homes at Trillium Health – Mississauga and one LTC home at Humber River Hospital
Schools and Child Care
- Province is investing $14 billion in over 10 years to construct and renovate more schools; $1.4 billion will support repair of schools for 2022-23 school year.
- Additionally, the province has partnered with the federal government to create 86,000 more childcare spaces by 2026 (over 15,000 have already been created).
Redevelopment of Ontario Place
- In collaboration with the City of Toronto, the Ontario government is redeveloping Ontario Place.
The full 2022 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review can be found here.