BACKGROUNDER — November 14, 2016
The government is making the largest infrastructure investment in Ontario’s history, spending more than $160 billion over 12 years, beginning in 2014–15, on child care spaces, schools, hospitals, public transit, highways and roads, and other projects.
Building and revitalizing public infrastructure supports more than 110,000 jobs per year on average, spurs economic growth and helps reduce congestion to make everyday life easier for Ontarians.
Ontario is supporting infrastructure projects that are creating jobs, keeping people and goods moving, strengthening connections to families and customers, and improving people’s lives.
$65.5 million this school year to support the creation of about 3,400 additional child care spaces so that families receive affordable child care sooner.
The government is choosing to invest in schools and child care facilities by:
- Creating 100,000 new licensed child care spaces for infants, toddlers and preschoolers within the next five years.
- Enhancing existing school infrastructure across Ontario over the next two school years, which will benefit more than 2,100 schools with repair and renewal projects.
- Improving postsecondary infrastructure and expanding access to high-quality college and university education over the next 10 years.
- Creating new postsecondary sites in Milton and Brampton, focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics to support students with new learning options in their communities.
The government is choosing to invest in hospitals by:
- Providing $12 billion over 10 years for health care infrastructure projects. Over the next five years, 18 hospitals across Ontario will complete major renovations or rebuilds that will expand hospital services in communities, helping to reduce patient wait times. Planning is underway for 19 more major hospital projects.
- Supporting crucial infrastructure projects at 135 hospitals across Ontario that will extend the useful life or improve the quality of their facilities.
The government is taking action on infrastructure projects in communities by:
- Launching an interest-free, $200 million Natural Gas Access Loan program in fall 2016 to build new natural gas infrastructure and ease the costs of converting to natural gas.
- Providing funding for small, rural and northern communities to build and repair roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure through the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF). The government will be increasing OCIF funding to $300 million per year by 2018–19.
- Making grants available to municipalities under the new Clean Water and Wastewater Fund, which will support the rehabilitation of water treatment and distribution infrastructure, as well as wastewater and stormwater treatment systems.
- Planning to improve traffic flow on Highway 6 between Freelton and Guelph by providing an improved connection to Highway 401 and the Hanlon Expressway in Guelph and the widening of Highway 401 to 10 lanes from six and featuring high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.
Government action on transit projects includes:
- Progressing with plans to provide two-way, all-day service with 15-minute frequencies during weekdays, evenings and weekends on the Barrie, Stouffville, Lakeshore East, Lakeshore West and Kitchener rail lines as part of the GO Regional Express Rail, one of the largest infrastructure projects in North America.
- Investing more than $1 billion in Stage 2 of the Ottawa Light Rail Transit (LRT) project to add about 30 kilometres of new rail and 19 new stations to extend the LRT network to the east, west and south. Funding will also support the capital costs of a connection to the Ottawa airport.
- Providing provincial funding of up to $43 million for a proposed transit hub in downtown Kitchener that will connect to GO rail and bus services, the future LRT line in Waterloo Region, VIA Rail services and local and intercommunity bus service.
- Launching the Connecting Links program and providing funding to improve road safety for 23 municipalities in 2016–17, including Cornwall, North Bay and Chatham-Kent.
- Continuing construction on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT in Toronto, which will have 25 stations and stops along Eglinton Avenue between Weston Road and Kennedy Station and will link to 54 bus routes, three TTC interchange subway stations and GO Transit.
The government continues to maximize government assets by:
- Dedicating $3.2 billion to the Trillium Trust in net revenue gains from the sale of Hydro One shares in 2015 and $246 million in net revenue gains from the sale of the LCBO head office lands.
- Completing a secondary share offering in April of Hydro One common shares, raising close to $2 billion in total gross proceeds that will be used for critical transit and infrastructure investments throughout Ontario and to reduce debt.
Ontario is preparing for future infrastructure projects by:
- Taking a long-term approach to infrastructure investments to ensure they are aligned with the needs of Ontarians, which includes releasing a 10-year infrastructure plan.
- Investing $12 billion over the next 10 years in the education sector to build infrastructure and create contemporary learning environments for students.
- Collaborating with the federal government, colleges and universities to implement the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, which will lead to investments of more than $1.9 billion in research, innovation and training infrastructure at Ontario postsecondary institutions.