2015 Budget Commitment
Ontario is fostering a more innovative and dynamic environment for businesses to grow and succeed by helping innovative small businesses access capital, reducing the cost of doing business, leveraging strategic investments and promoting global trade opportunities.
Helping Ontario businesses grow and succeed creates rewarding, high-paying jobs and contributes to economic prosperity.
The government is committed to accelerating Ontario’s economic growth by helping successful firms scale up into leaders, using the entrepreneurial drive and know-how of people and businesses, and modernizing the regulatory system so that it keeps pace with innovation and technological change.
Reducing the Cost of Doing Business
- Ontario is well ahead of its annual targets for reducing the cost of doing business. Ontario’s first annual report on reducing red tape for business, released in June, showed savings of $50 million and 2.4 million hours for businesses in the last four years.
- The government expanded eligible participation in the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI), which encourages reduced electricity use during peak hours, saving money for the entire electricity system. Since July 1, the expanded ICI program has helped nearly 280 of Ontario’s largest energy consumers save an average of about 25 per cent on their electricity bills.
- The government has introduced legislation that, if passed, would remove the Debt Retirement Charge for commercial, industrial and other non-residential electricity users on April 1, 2018, nine months earlier than previously estimated. This will save a typical large industrial company about seven per cent, a large northern industrial company more than eight per cent, and a small business about four per cent on their electricity bills.
Accelerating Ontario’s Economic Growth
Ontario’s growth agenda is based on fostering an innovative and dynamic business climate. To that end, the government is launching the Business Growth Initiative, a bold new plan that will focus on:
- Promoting the scaling up and growth of successful Ontario firms to become global leaders in key markets.
- Advancing an innovation-driven, knowledge-based economy, to enhance Ontario’s competitive advantage.
- Modernizing the regulatory system to reduce administrative burden and lower the cost of doing business.
Leveraging Business Investment through Strategic Partnerships
- Project commitments by the Jobs and Prosperity Fund to date will support the creation and retention of more than 14,000 jobs, attracting business investment of more than $900 million to the province.
Helping Innovative Small Businesses Succeed and Grow
- In July, the Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund announced that it had met its fundraising target, reaching the maximum size of $300 million, with two-thirds of the fund’s commitments coming from private partners.
- The government announced in April that it will invest in Scale Up Ventures, a new venture capital fund targeting early-stage Ontario companies. The new $50 million fund will include up to $25 million from the Province, which will be matched by private-sector partners.
Providing Support for Research and Innovation
- Ontario is providing up to $209 million to support 280 world-class research and critical research infrastructure projects in universities and health institutions across the province.
- The government is helping Ontario’s automotive sector become a global leader in innovation by pledging $500,000 to the Ontario Centres of Excellence Connected Vehicle/Automated Vehicle Program, in addition to the $2.45 million in recently provided funding.
- In October, the government announced a new pilot program that will enable Ontario to become the first province to allow the testing of automated vehicles and related technology on-road. Starting on January 1, 2016, the pilot will enable the nearly 100 companies and institutions involved in Ontario’s connected and automated vehicle industry to conduct research and development in Ontario and help bring automated vehicles to market.
Helping Business Go Global
The government’s Going Global Trade Strategy helps Ontario firms compete and become more productive by learning about foreign opportunities and changing markets.
- In September, Minister of Finance Charles Sousa travelled to China and Japan to meet with leaders in the financial services, banking and manufacturing sectors to promote Ontario as a favourable investment destination.
- Premier Kathleen Wynne led trade missions to California and China in November. The Premier and delegations signed more than 100 agreements and Memoranda of Understanding, with an estimated total value of $2.5 billion. The agreements are expected to create 1,700 jobs in Ontario.
- Ontario is working with the federal government to negotiate and implement important new trade agreements to open and grow export markets, while addressing the sensitivities of key Ontario sectors such as agriculture and auto.
- Ontario is committed to supporting the sharing economy, to harness the opportunities it presents, while protecting Ontario consumers and workers. This is an emerging sector that has immense potential to foster economic growth and innovation.
- In October, the Province established a Sharing Economy Advisory Committee to oversee the government’s approach to this emerging sector and harness the opportunities it presents.
For more information, refer to the 2015 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review
Chapter I, Section A: Fostering a More Innovative and Dynamic Business Environment