Ontario Budget 2023-24 Highlights
Today, the provincial government released 2023 Ontario Budget: Building a Strong Ontario. The $204.7-billion Budget supports many of the Ford government’s ongoing goals,
Ford government’s ongoing goals, include:
- Attracting new manufacturing jobs to Ontario (especially in the electric vehicle and battery manufacturing);
- Investing in critical minerals and the Ring of Fire;
- Skilled trades/training;
- Investing in infrastructure; and
- Supporting the health workforce.
In his address at Queen’s Park, Finance Minister, Peter Bethlenfalvy, stated that this Budget represents a responsible, targeted approach to help people and businesses today, while laying a strong fiscal foundation for future generations. He also revealed that the province is forecasting a deficit of $1.3 billion this fiscal year, but starting next year Ontario will balance its budget, with a modest surplus of $200 million. The Finance Minister dedicated a large portion of his speech to highlighting investments that are making Ontario the heartland of Canada’s electric vehicle (EV) revolution.
The initiatives in Budget were divided into two broad sections “Building Ontario” and “Working
Section 1: Building Ontario
- Capital Plan – $184.4 billion over the next 10 years, including $20.6 billion in 2023–24.
- $27.9 billion over 10 years to support the planning and/or construction of highway expansion and rehabilitation projects across the province; and
- $70.5 billion over 10 years for public transit with a variety of projects underway. This includes making investments to expand GO Transit rail service to Bowmanville and the Niagara Region.
- Ontario Made Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit – provide a 10% refundable Corporate Income Tax credit on qualifying investments in buildings, machinery and equipment for use in manufacturing or processing in the province. A corporation could receive a tax credit of up to $2 million a year.
- Urban Mobility Vehicle Pilot Program – The government is exploring the introduction these vehicles as a new, affordable and green transportation option. Local communities willing to participate would be able to opt into these pilots by passing municipal bylaws that would allow these vehicles on their roads.
- Voluntary clean energy credit (CEC) registry to boost competitiveness and attract jobs. As environmental and sustainability goals increasingly influence corporate decisions, the registry will make Ontario a more attractive place to do business. Funds generated through the purchases of CECs could be returned to ratepayers, to help lower electricity costs and support future clean energy generation.
- Additional $2 million in 2023–24 to Futurpreneur Canada. Investment will also help address some of the unique economic barriers facing youth and women, as well as racialized and Indigenous entrepreneurs.
- Additional $15 million over three years for the Racialized and Indigenous Supports for Entrepreneurs (RAISE) Grant Program that includes support for Indigenous, Black and other racialized people, as well as an additional $3 million in the Black Youth Action Plan.
- Ontario creating an industry‐led Life Science Council to provide proactive advice on the complex challenges facing the sector, along with opportunities for increasing competitiveness and advancing made‐in‐Ontario solutions.
- Investing $107 million in new critical technology initiatives to provide access to and drive commercialization of technologies that will propel the next generation of innovation, fuel job growth, and ensure businesses remain competitive. In December 2022, the government launched a Request for Information (RFI) for initiatives focused on six critical technologies: 5G/Next Generation Networks, artificial intelligence (AI), quantum, robotics, blockchain and cybersecurity. The submissions that were received will inform the design of the Call for Proposals to be launched this spring to ensure the funding will be used to strengthen Ontario’s capacity and leadership in the development and adoption of these six critical technologies
- Ontario is centralizing procurement, enhancing the rules and making significant investments in government adoption of Ontario-made solutions. Procurement must be a key lever to driving Ontario’s economic development, innovation and supply chain stability. Entrepreneurs and local businesses looking to scale up will have more opportunity to participate in government procurement, increasing demand for made-in-Ontario products, creating well-paying jobs in communities across the province, and leading to lower prices for Ontario consumers.
Digital Tax Platform
- Ontario is making improvements to simplify tax administration by creating a more convenient, modern and digital platform. The government is also using its digital, agile and lean resources for a better customer service experience and to ensure tax and benefit services are delivered simply and quickly to save money for businesses and the people of Ontario. Continued investments in information technology (IT) infrastructure will bring more digital options to clients, and the collection of client feedback will guide the improvements to programs, services and the overall client experience.
Section 2: Working for You
- Additional $3 million in 2023–24 and $3 million in Junior Exploration Program. Helps junior mining companies finance early exploration projects by covering up to $200,000 in eligible costs for critical and precious mineral exploration and development.
Skills and Jobs
- Additional $75 million over the next three years Skills Development Fund.
- $224 million in 2023–24 in a new capital stream of the Skills Development Fund to expand crucial access to brick‐and‐mortar training centres, including union training halls.
- $15 million over the next three years for Better Jobs Ontario.
- Additional $5 million to launch a second round of the Ontario Micro‐credentials Challenge Fund to support the creation of more micro‐credential projects.
- Additional $25 million over three years for Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program to attract more skilled workers, including in‐demand professionals in the skilled trades.
- $3 million in 2023–24 to expand the Ontario Bridge Training Program to help internationally trained immigrants find employment in their fields and get faster access to training and supports towards a licence or certificate.
- Additional $32.4 million over the next three years to support about 6,500 high‐quality research internships through Mitacs.
- Additional $3.3 million over the next three years, beginning in 2023–24, to expand access to dual credit opportunities in health care‐related courses for an additional 1,400 secondary students.
- Expanding the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant to add more health care professionals in underserved and growing communities. Grant applications will open this spring for the 2023–24 academic year, targeting up to 2,500 postsecondary students, including:
- Nursing programs in Northern, Eastern and Southwestern Ontario; and
- Medical laboratory technologist/medical laboratory sciences programs in Northern and Southwestern Ontario.
- Expand the credit card payment system used by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and to introduce debit tapping payment capability to all transit systems in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).
- Government is proposing to make changes to expand the eligibility for Guaranteed Annual Income System, starting in July 2024, which would see about 100,000 more low‐income seniors receive payments, for a 50% increase in recipients.
- $24 million over three years for the Ontario Land Tribunal and Landlord and Tenant Board to clear long‐standing backlogs, streamline processes to resolve disputes faster and help address housing needs.
- Additional $202 million each year in the Homelessness Prevention Program and Indigenous Supportive Housing Program.
Healthcare and Mental Health
- 2022 Budget announced $1 billion over three years in home care, province is now accelerating investments to bring funding in 2023–24 up to $569 million, including nearly $300 million to support contract rate increases to stabilize the home and community care workforce.
- Additional $425 million over three years for a variety of mental health programs, including: community-led and delivered programs, addiction services; Youth Wellness Hubs; supporting youth suffering from eating disorders; supportive housing and services as people transition from hospital to the community and working with Indigenous partners and communities to maintain co‐developed programs and services that support Indigenous people’s access to high‐quality, culturally appropriate care.
- Additional $72 million in 2023–24 to make more surgeries available at community surgical and diagnostic centres to connect people to care faster.
- $22 million to hire up to 200 hospital preceptors to provide mentorship, supervision and training to newly graduated nurses;
- $15 million to keep 100 mid‐to‐late career nurses in the workforce; and
- $4.3 million to help at least 50 internationally trained physicians get licensed in Ontario.
- Additional $51 million over three years to support the Dedicated Offload Nurses Program to support timely 9‐1‐1 response in Ontario communities.
- The government is moving forward with a multi‐year Claims Modernization plan to upgrade the business processes and IT infrastructure that manage claims for Ontario’s health plans. This plan will include a market sounding so companies can bring forward solutions to make these processes and systems more effective, efficient and responsive to patients and health care providers. The government is also exploring a new Innovation Pathway that, in collaboration with Supply Ontario, would review promising new innovations and provide funding to health service providers so they can procure the innovations across the health system. The Innovation Pathway could also help remove barriers to earlier adoption of new technologies by funding clinical assessments.
- Ontario continues to expand undergraduate and postgraduate medical training seats across the province. Additional $100.8 million over the next three years to expand and accelerate the rollout of undergraduate and postgraduate seats. This will result in an additional 160 undergraduate positions and 295 more postgraduate positions by 2028. Ontario is also investing an additional $33 million over three years to add 100 undergraduate seats beginning in 2023, as well as 154 postgraduate medical training seats to prioritize Ontario residents trained at home and abroad beginning in 2024 and going forward. Ontario residents will also continue to be prioritized for undergraduate spots at medical schools in the province.
$13.4 million in 2023–24 to fight gun‐ and gang‐related crime. This additional funding will continue effective gang prevention and intervention strategies that are known to work.
$2.5 million in 2023–24 to continue to support the Youth Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention Program.
$110 million over three years to fund, train, coordinate, and improve Ontario Corp and the province’s emergency preparedness.