The Ontario government plans to spend on basic infrastructure to fuel economic growth coming out of the pandemic, it signalled in a speech from the throne delivered this morning that contained no significant new programs.
The speech, representing government priorities for the fall session of the 42nd Parliament, was read by Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell in the provincial legislature.
“Your government remains steadfast in its commitment to an economic and fiscal recovery that is fuelled by economic growth, not painful tax rates or spending cuts,” stated the speech. “To do so, your government will build Ontario, build roads and highways, build and expand transit to communities across the province, build an economy that makes Ontario the best place in the world to do business, work and raise a family no matter where you live in the province.”
The government also highlighted its plans to rebuild the province’s stock of long-term-care facilities and continue to expand hospital capacity.
“Your government is 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.
“Ontario is making good progress against this ambitious goal. In total, there are more than 20,000 new and 15,000 upgraded beds in development representing more than 60 per cent of the province’s goal.”
The government noted that it recently commissioned Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital and will continue to redevelop Peel Memorial hospital and move ahead on a new facility for Windsor Essex.
“The Ford government has pursued the most cautious reopening in Canada including mandating some of the highest vaccine thresholds for easing restrictions, and it has maintained effective public health measures like indoor masking, vaccine certificates and other measures,” the speech stated.
The certificate plan was a difficult decision, the government said, but “as we have seen elsewhere in Canada and North America, the COVID-19 pandemic remains an urgent public health emergency.
“Ontario cannot go backwards,” the government said. “After 18 months of fighting this pandemic, we owe our businesses stability and certainty.”
Vaccine certificates are a temporary measure that will be lifted when it’s safe to do so, in consultation with the chief medical officer, the speech stated.
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