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Throne Speech: Ontario Budget Focusing on More Funding for Roads, Transit, Healthcare, & Working with Municipal Leaders

Ontario-government-outlines-priorities-in-throne-speech-–-October-4-2021-YouTube

Yesterday, Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell read the Throne Speech outlining the provincial government’s legislative objectives for the remainder of its mandate. The provincial government is seeking to deliver on ongoing and new priority actions, particularly in the health and long-term care sectors.

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario has summarized the priorities of interest to municipal governments, which include:

  • building Ontario’s roads and highways and expanding transit across the province to support post-COVID-19 recovery in the province and create the conditions for long-term economic growth
  • tackling issues that challenge the social and economic fabric of Ontario in cooperation with municipal leaders
  • joining with other provinces and territories to call for an increase of the Canada Health Transfer to 35% of provincial-territorial health care spending
  • strengthening relationships with Indigenous peoples and playing an active role in supporting healing and reconciliation.

For full highlights from the Throne Speech, please head further down.

MY TAKE:

We support investments in health care, transit and roads — all are priorities for the people we serve. We have also seen how critical reconciliation is with Indigenous peoples, including Urban Indigenous Peoples of Burlington who sponsored the very moving Sept. 30 ceremony in Spencer Smith Park to mark the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. We also welcome greater cooperation between municipalities and the provincial government and I look forward to continued collaboration with the three MPPs who serve Burlington.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE THRONE SPEECH:

Protecting Ontario’s Progress – Speech from the Throne

  • The speech highlighted the government’s COVID-19 response efforts and also outlined the province’s recent commitments in health and long-term care:
    • investing $2.68 billion to build 30,000 new and modern long-term care home beds in a decade, as thousands more are upgraded to 21st-century design standards
    • investing $5 billion over four years to hire more than 27,000 long-term care staff, including nurses and personal support workers, to provide long-term care home residents with four hours of direct care per day
    • adding 16,200 more personal support workers to the health care system, including the long-term care sector
    • introducing legislation to protect residents through better accountability, enforcement, and transparency.
  • The speech called on the federal government to pay “its fair share” for health care. Ontario along with every other province and territory is calling on the federal government to increase the Canada Health Transfer to 35 per cent of provincial-territorial health-care spending.
  • The government remains committed to economic and fiscal recovery. This will be accomplished through “economic growth, not painful tax hikes or spending cuts.”
  • They government will also strengthen relationships with Indigenous peoples and play an active role in supporting healing and reconciliation.

Priorities of interest to municipal governments include:

  • building Ontario’s roads and highways and expanding transit across the province to support post-COVID-19 recovery in the province and create the conditions for long-term economic growth (no details)
  • tackling issues that challenge the social and economic fabric of Ontario in cooperation with municipal leaders

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Marianne Meed Ward

Marianne Meed Ward

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

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