Ontario’s provincial budget was tabled by the Ontario Finance Minister, Peter Bethlenfalvy, on April 28, 2022. The budget is titled “Ontario’s Plan to Build” and allots billions in spending while aiming to reduce the province’s current debt of $19.9 billion to less than $8 billion by 2025. This review will highlight significant changes to government funding programs that Ontario businesses need to know.
“Ontario’s Plan to Build increases spending by an annual average of over five per cent over the next three years, with investments in health care, infrastructure and other critical public services. This will be accomplished while delivering a credible recovery plan that will eliminate Ontario’s deficit two years earlier than projected in the 2021 Budget. Our government is building. More jobs. More highways. More hospitals. More opportunities. Under the leadership of Premier Ford, our government has put forward a plan. We have a plan to build. And we have a plan to get it done.”
– Peter Bethlenfalvy Ontario’s Minister of Finance
Government funding initiatives in the 2022–23 budget are placing an emphasis on growing and stimulating the economy, investing in workers, improving health care, and tackling critical infrastructure concerns.
Agriculture and Food
The following investments are intended to assist the agriculture and food industries in Ontario during the 2022 year.
- $10 million towards creating a Food Security and Supply Chain Fund that will improve Ontario’s food supply by removing barriers to recruitment, retaining domestic workers, and addressing necessary skills gaps;
- $10 million to continue the Enhanced Agri‐Food Workplace Protection Program to support mental health and safety concerns for agri‐food workers;
- 23 million for the Audit and Accountability Fund to assist municipalities in digital and operations projects that aim on improving quality of services;
- $10 million for the creation of a Food Security and Supply Chain Fund which will provide support to businesses in the food supply chain capacities. The goal is to strengthen the province’s food supply, as well as improve on efficiencies in food-product distribution across Ontario;
- $5.5 million will be allotted to the Ontario Community Support Program which helps low-income seniors secure the medicine, food, and care they need;
- $5 million for helping livestock producers in cases of emergency processing disruptions; and
- $2.6 million for improving health and safety conditions of international agricultural workers with health resources and additional vaccination clinics.
General Economic Investments
- $40 million for the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Competitiveness (AMIC) program to help small and medium-sized enterprises in Ontario manufacturing with grants and loan support to invest in capital equipment, adopt new technologies, and develop their employees;
- $3 billion will be invested for Ontario businesses to reduce supply chain challenges by creating the Building Ontario Better Initiative (BOBI). This initiative will aim to significantly reduce common problems facing supply chains, as well as ensure preference for Ontario-made products and services by awarding contracts to local businesses;
- $107 million over three years towards new critical technology initiatives that will boost Ontario’s manufacturing and technology industries to improve commercialization opportunities;
- The Ontario Capital Growth Corporation will be rebranding to Venture Ontario, which will be receiving $300 million to build new support programs for life sciences, cleantech, and more;
- $2 billion over five years (commenced in 2021) for the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund which is designed to help 424 communities in small and rural communities tackle significant infrastructure challenges, such as water management, roads, bridges, and more; and
- $10 billion over 10 years for the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) in collaboration with federal and municipal governments to address growing demand for updating critical infrastructure, addressing climate change challenges and precautions, and driving the economy.
Cost Savings for Businesses
The Ontario government will be enabling up to $8.9 billion in cost savings and support programs for businesses within the province ($4.1 billion to small businesses) to help with growth opportunities, protect employment, and create new opportunities. This initiative will be realized via a variety of programs, such as cancelling cap-and-trade carbon tax, reducing small business corporate income tax rates to 3.2%, and lowering electricity costs for medium and large-sized corporations.
Working for Workers with 2022 Ontario Budget
The Ontario 2022 Budget also places a focus on developing skilled workers and attracting foreign talent to meet the rising demands currently facing the province. Investments also address common challenges faced by Ontario workers, such as mental health and apprenticeship training.
Investing in Skilled Trades
- Rebranding the Second Career program to the Better Jobs Ontario program with an allotment of $5 million to help Ontario unemployed people looking to get the skills they need to enter the workforce;
- $114 million over three years towards the Skilled Trades Strategy which will be realized in the following initiatives:
- $73.8 million for three years to assist in-class training for apprentices in in-demand industries;
- $10 million for the Infrastructure Talent Accelerator Grant to help apprentices get involved in large-scale infrastructure projects;
- $15 million over three years for the Tools Grant which helps apprentices entering the trade pay for their new equipment and tools;
- $6.3 million over three years for the Group Sponsorship Grant which funds the collaboration of apprentices and small and medium-sized employers in skilled trades come together; and
- $3 million over three years for the Apprenticeship Capital Grant to help meet the needs of exponential innovative technology.
- New funding is expected for the creation of a new Ontario Workers’ Plan which will aim to assist in readying workers for the skilled labor shortages facing Ontario right now. This initiative will breathe new life into current programs, such as the Skills Development Fund;
- $6.9 million over three years towards the Women’s Futures program with the goal of stimulating employment training and support to women struggling through abuse or other issues who are looking to develop the skills they need to enter the labour market; and
- $15.1 million will be invested in the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program to assist in matching immigrants with skilled labour experience to in-demand trades to help meet provincial demand.
Affordability for Ontarians
The Ontario government has made a large commitment to their constituents to address the rising costs of living, economic challenges, and more. Their approach to affordability challenges looks towards introducing tax incentives and reliefs designed to save Ontario residents and businesses money.
More Government Funding Opportunities in Ontario
Ontario’s 2022 budget offers a significant insight to government funding opportunities for Ontario businesses, communities, and more. Sign up for our government funding newsletter to stay up to date throughout the year as these government funding programs come to fruition.
Moreover, Ontario businesses should visit our comprehensive Ontario Funding Directory to seamlessly filter through the top government funding programs available to Ontario businesses today.
Mentor Works is a business support organization specializing in Canadian government funding. The Ontario-based business has helped hundreds of businesses build and execute their funding strategy through a mix of federal and provincial government grants, loans, and tax credits. Mentor Works offers free online resources, funding webinars, and news via their website at www.mentorworks.ca.
Author: Nathan Chick