2011 Ontario Budget: Chapter I: Ontario's Plan for Jobs and Growth
Section C: The Record

A Smarter Ontario: Excellence in Education

Ontario’s economic success depends on a strong, publicly funded education system. That means investing in skills and education and helping students reach their full potential, starting as early as kindergarten.

The Plan:

Since 2003, the government has made record investments in education. In 2011–12, Grants for Student Needs funding to school boards will be $21 billion — per-pupil funding will be $11,207, a 4.6 per cent increase from 2010–11.

Investments in education since 2003 have yielded measurable results in terms of improved literacy and numeracy test scores, lower primary class sizes and higher graduation rates. Beyond the numbers, the quality of education is on the rise.

Chart 9: Bar Graph: Grants for Student Needs Per-Pupil Funding, Excluding Capital

The Results:

Literacy and Numeracy

Since 2002–03, the government has invested in programs to help students improve their reading, writing and math skills. The results are clear: more students are achieving the provincial standard in provincewide tests — in 2009–10, 68 per cent of Grade 3 and 6 students met or exceeded the standard in reading, writing and math. This is a 14 percentage point increase since 2002–03. As well, 77 per cent of students in French-language school boards met or exceeded the provincial standard, a 21 per cent increase since 2003.

The government has implemented a number of initiatives to help students excel in reading, writing and math. These include:

  • 11,430 additional teaching positions funded since 2002–03, including over 9,000 more elementary teaching positions, to help reduce class sizes and improve literacy and numeracy skills;
  • 69 Student Achievement Officers to work with principals, teachers and board leaders to improve student reading, writing and math skills;
  • the Schools on the Move program, which supports schools that are succeeding in challenging circumstances, such as high levels of student mobility or communities struggling with poverty, and encourages them to share their literacy and numeracy strategies with other schools. Since the initiative began in 2006, over 170 schools have been helped and 33 new schools joined in May 2010;
  • the Schools in the Middle initiative, which supports over 1,400 schools where 50 to 74 per cent of Grade 3 and 6 students are meeting or exceeding the provincial standard. It helps teachers, principals and board leaders implement effective practices to further increase student achievement;
  • the Ontario Focused Intervention Partnership initiative, which provides school boards with resources to help reduce gaps in student learning and achievement, from kindergarten to Grade 6. In 2010–11, 111 schools are being assisted, down from 137 in 2009–10; and
  • 74 School Effectiveness Leads to help create and monitor board and school achievement improvement plans and work with schools to promote success.

Ontario Students Excel Internationally

Ontario's 15-year-old students are among the best readers in the world. That was the finding of the 2009 international education study of industrialized nations by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The study measured reading literacy levels among 15-year-olds in 65 jurisdictions. It lists Ontario's students in the top 10 in the world for reading. Ontario students also outperformed those in other Canadian provinces in reading. While the report focused on reading, it also found Ontario students did well in math and science.

Primary Class Sizes

Students in junior kindergarten to Grade 3 are receiving more individual attention from their teachers. The government’s goal to reduce the size of primary classes was achieved in 2008–09:

  • 90 per cent of primary classes had 20 or fewer students compared to 31 per cent in 2003–04; and
  • 100 per cent had 23 or fewer students compared to 64 per cent in 2003–04.

Students in smaller classes get more attention, do better in literacy and numeracy, and are more likely to succeed.

Chart 10: Line Graph: Primary Classes (JK-3) by Class Size

Graduation Rates

Since 2005, the government’s Student Success Strategy has been helping students in Grades 7 to 12 customize their education to their individual strengths, goals and interests. Graduation rates increased from 68 per cent in 2003–04 to 81 per cent in 2009–10. That means more than 72,000 additional students have graduated since 2003–04.

Chart 11: Line Graph: Graduation Rates in Ontario

Many programs have been established for students pursuing university, college, apprenticeships or the workplace after graduation.

  • Specialist High Skills Majors allow students to focus on a future career through a bundle of classroom courses, workplace experiences and sector certifications. In 2010–11, approximately 28,000 Grade 11 and 12 students are participating in these programs.
  • E-Learning provides students with online courses and allows teachers to share resources across the province.
  • School-College Work Initiatives and Dual Credits count towards a student’s high school diploma as well as a college certificate, diploma or apprenticeship certification. In 2010–11, an estimated 10,000 students are participating in dual credit programs.
  • Expansion of Cooperative Education allows students to count hands-on learning towards two compulsory high school credits.

The government is also providing support to struggling high school students so they can get back on track to graduate. It invested over $300 million in 2009–10 to help students graduate and move on to college, university, apprenticeships or the workplace. In the 2010–11 school year, the government is providing over $275 million for student support and for additional secondary school teaching positions.

  • Every school board has a Student Success Leader who works directly with principals to facilitate implementation of the Student Success Initiative, which focuses on improving graduation rates.
  • Student Success Teams (which include the principal, Student Success Teachers, guidance counsellors, special education teachers and other educators) provide extra attention and support in every high school to students who need it.
  • Funding has been provided for 1,900 additional secondary school teachers to support improved student achievement, including 800 Student Success Teachers — on average, one per school.
  • During the 2010–11 school year, 85 schools across the province are participating in the School Support Initiative, which centres on building the leadership capacity of staff to improve student achievement.

Communities and Schools

As part of the Poverty Reduction Strategy, the government has made investments to ensure that schools are an integral part of the communities they serve. It has:

  • invested $39.9 million during the 2010–11 school year to make it easier and more affordable for people to use schools after hours. For example, 175 priority schools in 32 school boards offer free space to not-for-profit groups. The government has invested $191 million in the Community Use of Schools initiative since its inception
    in 2004–05;
  • established 145 Parenting and Family Literacy Centres across the province. The centres help prepare children for starting school and encourage families to be part of their children’s learning. The government invested $9.4 million in the program in the 2010–11 school year, for a total of $32.4 million since inception in 2007–08;
  • reached out to schools in disadvantaged communities to help support parents through Parents Reaching Out Grants. Since 2006, the government has awarded over 7,000 grants to school councils and over 200 regional grants — a total investment of nearly $12 million;
  • invested over $18 million since 2005 in funding to school boards for school councils, Parent Involvement Committees and initiatives led by provincial parent associations; and
  • supported local organizations through the student nutrition program in delivering nutritious meals and snacks for children and youth, particularly those in high-need neighbourhoods; through breakfast programs in approximately 1,000 communities across Ontario, served an estimated 600,000 children in 2010.

Capital Investments

The government launched the Good Places to Learn program in 2005 to address renewal and the need for new schools across the province. Key initiatives include:

  • $2.25 billion for renewal projects that are completed or underway in over 3,000 schools;
  • $2.5 billion for new schools and school additions to address primary class size, school condition, growth, expanding access to French-language education and other capital priority projects.

The government also announced $550 million to make more than 2,000 publicly funded schools more energy efficient and $50 million to support investments in renewable energy at schools.

Postsecondary Education and Training

Over the last seven years, Ontario has made unprecedented investments in colleges, universities and training institutions, which play a critical role in equipping people for the jobs that will ensure future prosperity. The Province’s investments have included the $6.2 billion Reaching Higher plan for postsecondary education and about $1 billion annually in Employment Ontario, the government’s employment and training network. These investments have led to increased participation in higher education, skills training and apprenticeship programs. They are laying the foundation for future economic growth and social well-being by ensuring that Ontario’s workforce remains among the most skilled in the world.

To continue the progress Ontarians have made in building knowledge and skills and a competitive workforce, it is important to ensure that all government programs and services are delivered as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Examples of Ontario’s Investments in Postsecondary Education

Expanding Access for Students

  • The 2010 Budget announced additional operating grants to build on the unprecedented expansion of access through Reaching Higher.
  • Between 2002–03 and 2010–11, postsecondary operating grants rose by about 73 per cent.
  • In 2011, the Ontario government committed $73.7 million over five years to enhance access and improve students’ ability to move between postsecondary institutions by supporting a provincewide credit transfer system.

Expanding and Modernizing Learning Facilities

The Province has made significant investments to expand and renew facilities at colleges and universities, including:

  • $35 million to support the creation of 100 additional medical school spaces;
  • a $190 million investment in 12 skills training facilities at colleges;
  • $289 million for 22 major capital projects at universities;
  • one-time investments of $200 million in 2004–05 and $400 million in 2007–08 to support facility renewal at colleges and universities; and
  • $1.5 billion in joint federal–provincial stimulus investments for 49 projects through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program.

Enhancements to Student Assistance

  • Ontario has one of the most generous student assistance programs in the country. For example, dependent university students from middle-income families can receive up to $12,300 in financial support in 2010–11, up from $4,300 in 2003–04. Dependent university students from lower-income families can receive up to $12,900 in 2010–11, up from $9,400 in 2003–04.
  • Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) enhancements introduced in 2010–11 include increasing student loan limits to $360 per week for single students and doubling the income exemption, so students keep up to $103 per week in earnings from part-time jobs, indexed to inflation.
  • The number of grants available to students has more than tripled — over one in four students, or 143,000, receive non-repayable grants.
  • Grants make up 61 cents of every provincial dollar provided to students — up from 44 cents in 2003–04.
  • For loans issued in 2010–11, the Ontario Student Opportunity Grant (OSOG) will limit annual repayable debt to $7,300 for a two-term academic year.
As a result of investments in student assistance, the number of Ontario college and university students qualifying for OSAP increased by 56 per cent from 2003–04 to 2009–10, while college and university enrolment increased by 19 per cent.

Examples of Ontario’s Investments in Employment and Training

Employment Ontario

  • Employment Ontario invests about $1 billion each year in employment and training services. In the last two years, additional funding was provided in response to rising demand for services caused by the global recession.
  • The Second Career program, part of the Employment Ontario network, offers laid-off workers up to two years of training to help them find jobs in growing sectors of the economy.

Expansion of Workplace Training

  • The Province introduced the Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit (ATTC) in 2004 to encourage employers to hire and train apprentices.
  • The 2009 Budget enhanced the Co-operative Education Tax Credit (CETC) and the ATTC.
  • The government launched the Ontario College of Trades to help modernize the province’s apprenticeship and skilled trades system.

Support for New Canadians

  • Since 2003, the Province has invested more than $900 million in programs and services across Ontario to help newcomers settle, get language training, and become job-ready and licensed in their field, including $175 million in more than 220 bridge training programs.
  • Ontario passed the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006 to ensure a fair and transparent process for obtaining registration and licensing in regulated professions.

The Results:

A Skilled Workforce for Tomorrow

  • Employment Ontario serves more than one million clients annually.
  • About 200,000 additional students, including 60,000 more apprentices, are learning than in 2002–03.
  • 15,000 new graduate spaces will be created by 2011–12.
  • College and university enrolment growth in the past decade was over five times the amount of growth in the 1990s.
  • 260 new first-year medical student spaces will be created by 2011–12, a 38 per cent increase since 2003.
  • Universities increased their degree completion rates from 73 per cent in 2002–03 to 79 per cent in 2009–10. Colleges increased their rates from 57 per cent to 65 per cent.
  • Since 2003, about 41,000 internationally trained individuals have been served through bridge training programs to help them get work in their field of expertise.

Support for Students and Workers

  • About 210,000 students in 2010–11 are benefiting from improvements to student financial assistance introduced since 2004–05, including more access to grants and relief for students who need help managing and repaying their loans.
  • University per-student operating funding is 28 per cent higher in 2010–11 than in 2002–03 and college per-student operating funding is 41 per cent higher.
  • Second Career has served about 41,000 clients since June 2008. About 74 per cent of surveyed participants found employment within one year of completing their skills training.
  • Rapid Re-Employment and Training Service has provided counselling for more than 137,000 workers affected by layoffs and plant closures since 2007.
  • Nearly 130,000 young people benefited from support for summer employment opportunities in 2010.

Improving Accountability and Modernizing Delivery

The government is dedicated to transforming and modernizing the services it provides. It has implemented a number of measures to ensure that the postsecondary education and training system responds to the needs of students, job seekers, employers and communities. These include:

  • transforming Employment Ontario into an efficient, integrated training network, removing duplication;
  • implementing a new website and smartphone application to transform access to OSAP. Students can now apply three months earlier for OSAP, gain a better understanding of the different types of financial assistance available and better plan for their school year; and
  • a decline in the OSAP default rate to 8.0 per cent in 2009, its lowest since default measurement began in 1997.


Since 2003, the McGuinty government has taken significant steps to strengthen Ontario’s public health care system. The investments made over the past seven years have focused on rebuilding and transforming the health care system to give Ontarians better access to primary care and shorter wait times, while promoting health and preventing illness.

Better Access to Primary Care

Before 2003, many communities across Ontario were experiencing a shortage of doctors and nurses.

The Plan:

The government has made improving access to health care for all Ontarians a priority. Significant investments in the health care system have created a patient-centred approach that is delivering better care for families where and when they need it.

The Results:

Since 2003, the government has helped over one million more Ontarians have access to a family doctor and there are now more ways than ever for Ontarians to access the care they need.

Chart 12: Bar Graph: More Ontarians With a Regular Family Physician Since 2003
  • The government created 200 Family Health Teams (FHTs) composed of a range of health care professionals who work collaboratively to provide comprehensive primary health care to over three million Ontarians. More than $300 million is invested annually to support Ontario’s FHTs.
  • Ontario was the first Canadian province to introduce nurse practitioner-led clinics to its communities. Twenty-five clinics will be operational by 2011–12 and will be supported by an investment of over $20 million per year. These clinics will help improve access to primary care for more than 40,000 Ontarians.
  • The Province launched Health Care Connect in 2009 to help Ontarians without a family health care provider find family physicians and nurse practitioners who are accepting new patients in their community. So far, over 50,000 Ontarians have been referred to a family physician or nurse practitioner through this service. For more information on Health Care Connect, visit www.ontario.ca/healthcareconnect.

The Province has increased the supply of health care professionals practising in Ontario to help provide all Ontarians with access to care.

  • Since 2003, the government has invested over $770 million for nursing initiatives, including support for the creation of more than 10,000 nursing positions and to guarantee a full-time job opportunity to every new nursing graduate. Ontario is one of the few jurisdictions in the world to provide this opportunity for new nurses.
  • Since 2003, funding to support the retraining of international medical graduates has increased from $16 million to $83 million, resulting in an additional 2,000 international medical graduates practising in Ontario. The Province currently offers more training positions and assessments for international medical graduates than all other provinces combined.
  • By 2011–12, the government will have added 260 more first-year medical school spaces — a 38 per cent increase since 2003. By 2013, twice as many doctors will be graduating from Ontario’s medical schools.
  • In 2005, the government opened the Northern Ontario School of Medicine — the first new medical school in Canada in 30 years — with main campuses in Thunder Bay and Sudbury and research sites across northern Ontario. The school has graduated 107 new doctors since the spring of 2009.
  • Three new undergraduate medical education campuses have been established in Kitchener-Waterloo, St. Catharines and Windsor. In September 2011, a fourth campus is scheduled to open in Mississauga.

Shorter Wait Times

In 2003, Ontarians were waiting longer than medically recommended to obtain needed surgical and diagnostic services. This can contribute to diminished health outcomes, deteriorating health status and reduced quality of life.

The Plan:

To address this issue, in 2004 the government launched a Wait Time Strategy to build additional capacity for surgical procedures and diagnostic services. In 2008, the Strategy was expanded to address emergency room wait times and associated Alternative Level of Care (ALC) pressures, where patients occupy acute care beds in hospitals while waiting for services to open up in a community care setting.

The Results:

To date, the government has invested approximately $1.5 billion to fund more than two million additional medical procedures; redesign system processes; reduce bottlenecks to improve patient flow; measure progress; and publicly track results. As a result, Ontario now has the shortest wait times in Canada.

According to the Fraser Institute’s “Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2010 Report,” patients in Ontario experience the shortest wait (14 weeks) from general practitioner referral to elective treatment for surgical and other therapeutic treatments in Canada.

Bacchus Barua, Mark Rovere and Brent Skinner, “Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2010 Report.” Fraser Institute, 2010.

Since implementation of the Wait Time Strategy, Ontarians are getting:

  • cataract surgeries 191 days earlier;
  • hip and knee replacements 160 and 243 days earlier, respectively;
  • cardiac procedures up to 22 days earlier;
  • cancer surgeries 19 days earlier; and
  • general surgeries (since 2008) 14 days earlier.

Since 2008, patients with complex conditions are spending 10.6 per cent less time waiting in emergency rooms and patients with minor, uncomplicated conditions are spending 8.3 per cent less time.

However, the sustainability of wait time achievements will also depend on adequate federal support. The federal government needs to renew its commitment to the reduction in health care wait times beyond when current agreements expire in 2013–14.

Key investments have also been made in the community to help reduce wait times and ALC pressures while providing more choice to Ontarians, preventing hospitalization and ensuring that the appropriate type of care is available when needed.

These investments include:

  • $1.1 billion over four years, beginning in 2007, for different community programs under the Aging at Home Strategy, which provide support to seniors and their caregivers to help seniors stay healthy and live with dignity and independence in the comfort of their own homes;
    • there are 58 per cent more clients receiving home care since 2003;
  • an additional $1.4 billion in long-term care homes since 2003, adding about 9,000 more beds and increasing staff in the homes by 7,000;
  • an increase of $826 million in funding since 2003 for community care access centres to assess clients’ needs and manage the delivery of home care for Ontarians who require it; and
  • a 73 per cent increase in funding since 2003, representing an additional investment of $97 million, for assisted living services in supportive housing, giving seniors more options for staying in their community.

The government is proposing an amendment to the Community Care Access Corporations Act, 2001 to ensure the public has the right to communicate in French with, and receive available services in French from, community care access centres across the province.

The government is proposing an amendment to the Assessment Act to provide a property tax exemption for non-profit hospices offering end-of-life care. Eligibility criteria would be prescribed in regulation.

Promoting Health and Preventing Illness

Healthy people enjoy a higher quality of life and cost the health care sector less.

The Plan:

The government is committed to active and healthy living, health promotion and illness prevention. Over the long term, investments in these areas help Ontarians live longer and healthier lives and support efforts to manage costs in the health care system.

The Results:

  • In 2008, the government launched the Ontario Diabetes Strategy, a $741 million investment to prevent diabetes for those at risk, improve care across the health care system and provide a better quality of life for those living with diabetes.
  • Ontario is also the first province in Canada to fully fund insulin pumps for children and adults with Type 1 diabetes, saving families up to $18,300 per person in the first five years.

“An estimated 1.169 million people in Ontario have been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes in 2010, representing 8.3 per cent of the population. Health issues associated with diabetes accounted for $4.9 billion in estimated direct and indirect costs to the health system in 2010.

By 2020, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes is expected to increase by another 734,000 to reach 1.9 million people and $7 billion in estimated health costs (direct and indirect), representing a 42 per cent increase.”

Canadian Diabetes Association, “The Economic Burden of Diabetes in Ontario,” September 2010.

“eHealth Ontario has turned around and is on track, rolling out Electronic Health Records to meet the government’s commitment to provide them for all Ontarians by 2015.”

Greg A. Reed, President and CEO, eHealth Ontario.
  • The investment the government has made in the development of Electronic Health Records will benefit the health care system through the ongoing implementation of:
    • an electronic Diabetes Registry, to consolidate information on Ontarians living with diabetes, including clinical information and lab results. It will support health care professionals in treating Ontarians with diabetes and encourage best practices by providing access to decision support tools, and tools for monitoring patient progress and adherence;
    • the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) program, which supports development and use of electronic versions of individual patient information;
      • as of December 31, 2010, nearly 6,000 physicians were enrolled in the EMR program. These physicians provide care for more than five million Ontarians;
      • by 2012, it is projected that more than 9,000 physicians will be using EMRs to care for more than 10 million Ontarians;
    • the ConnectingGTA (cGTA) project to give health care providers streamlined access to patients’ health information as they work to provide high-quality care; and
    • a Medication Management System, which uses technology to generate, authorize and transmit prescriptions from doctors and other prescribers to pharmacists and other dispensers. The goal is to eliminate errors arising from handwritten prescriptions and facilitate electronic delivery of prescriptions to pharmacies.
  • Before 2003, there was no provincial program to screen Ontarians for colorectal cancer — the second deadliest form of cancer in Canada. In 2007, the government invested more than $193 million over five years to support a provincewide colorectal cancer screening program. The program has now funded 115,000 colonoscopy procedures and processed nearly 1.3 million fecal occult blood tests since inception.
  • Before 2003, Ontario screened for two rare genetic disorders in newborns. Since then, the government has expanded the newborn screening program and is now investing more than $10 million per year to screen for 28 rare genetic disorders — making it the most comprehensive program in Canada.
  • Since 2003, Ontario has expanded its publicly funded vaccine program for children under age two, saving families up to $790 per child. At school, students can also receive immunizations through the program to protect against hepatitis B, meningococcal disease, influenza and the human papillomavirus (HPV), saving families up to $600 per school-aged child.
  • The government has enhanced dental services for low-income Ontarians.
    • In 2009, the government expanded the Children in Need of Treatment program to include children 17 years of age or under. The program provides access to urgent or emergency dental care for children and youth who cannot afford treatment. In 2010, the program provided services to over 50,000 children and youth with serious oral health problems that might otherwise have gone untreated.
    • Healthy Smiles Ontario, introduced in 2010, provides a range of preventive and early treatment dental services to children and youth from low-income families who have no access to dental coverage. Services include checkups, cleaning, fillings and X-rays. This program is expected to serve up to 130,000 children 17 years of age or under.
  • In 2005, the government created the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport, which is responsible for promoting health and wellness through nutrition, healthy eating, sports and recreation, and preventing disease, injury and addiction through investments in public health and initiatives to support a smoke-free Ontario.
  • To protect people from tobacco-related illnesses, the government has encouraged more Ontarians to quit smoking and has toughened tobacco laws.
    • In May 2006, smoking was banned in workplaces including work vehicles and enclosed public places.
    • In May 2008, the retail display of tobacco products was banned.
    • In January 2009, the smoking ban was extended to include motor vehicles when children under 16 are present.
    • In July 2010, the government restricted the sale of certain flavoured cigarillos to youth and young adults.
    • The prevalence rate of smokers in Ontario between 2000 and 2009 has been reduced by 24 per cent.
  • In 2005, the government mandated 20 minutes of physical activity every day for students in Ontario’s elementary schools to help young people lead healthy, more active lives.
  • In addition to banning trans fat from food and beverages sold at schools in 2008, Ontario announced a new School Food and Beverage Policy in January 2010 that comes into effect on September 1, 2011.
    • The policy includes nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold in schools — making it easier for schools to determine which foods they can and cannot sell. This policy will give students healthier places to learn and help them perform better in school.
  • Ontario is continuing to implement the Working Together for Kids’ Mental Health initiative. The program has been rolled out in four communities by partnering with schools and service providers. This gives front-line workers, such as teachers and child and youth workers, training and tools for risk screening and needs assessment. The goal is to identify issues sooner so that children and youth can be linked with appropriate services.

Managing Health Care Costs

Ontario has made significant investments to rebuild the health care system to ensure its sustainability for generations to come. Health sector funding in 2011–12 is $18.2 billion higher than it was in 2003–04. The Province’s investments in health care are generating the results Ontarians deserve and are benefiting from today — better access to primary care, shorter wait times, promoting health and preventing illness. The government’s focus now is to manage the rate of growth in health spending to a sustainable level, while protecting front-line service delivery of quality care.

In the 2010 Budget, the government set a goal of holding annual health sector spending increases to three per cent by 2012–13. The government is on track to meet this target and to maintain this rate of growth into 2013–14 after accounting for time-limited investments. It is doing so by introducing reforms that focus on providing services supported by evidence, improving quality and accountability in the sector, and increasing the value of investments in the health care system.

Ontario Drug Strategy

Ontario spends more on generic drugs than most developed countries and has been paying some of the highest prices for generic drugs. High drug prices prevent money from being invested in front-line services.

Since 2006, the government has made changes under the Ontario Drug Strategy to improve the value for money that Ontarians pay for prescription drugs, increase access to more effective drugs, and enhance governance, transparency and accountability in the public drug system.

The government’s reforms are saving about $500 million per year that is being reinvested back into the health care system.

Key elements of the Ontario Drug Strategy include:

  • expediting the approval and funding processes for new and more effective drugs covered under the Ontario Public Drug Program; and
  • reducing the prices of most generic drugs to 25 per cent of the cost of the comparable brand-name product.

Investments in Efficiencies and Cost Prevention

The government is committed to reducing Alternative Level of Care (ALC) pressures, where patients occupy acute care beds in hospitals while waiting for services to open up in a community care setting. The government is building on previous investments through its Wait Time Strategy and Aging at Home Strategy by increasing funding to the community services sector by approximately three per cent per year over the next three years. These investments will go to long-term care homes, home care and other community supports, assisted living services, and mental health and addiction services.

These investments will strengthen access to care in the home and the community where people want it; improve the health system’s capacity and ability to care for individuals after hospital discharge; and, where possible, avoid costly hospitalization or a visit to the emergency room. This in turn will help manage down acute care pressures.

Excellent Care for All Strategy

Ontario’s Excellent Care for All Strategy focuses on the delivery of quality, evidence-based services that provide real patient benefits.

In June 2010, the Excellent Care for All Act, 2010 received Royal Assent. As a result:

  • hospitals will now be required to develop and post annual quality improvement plans; and
  • the compensation of health care executives will be tied to the achievement of performance improvement targets under these plans, making them more accountable for the quality of patient care.

The government will propose an amendment to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to support the development of quality improvement plans by hospitals.

As part of the Excellent Care for All Strategy, the government has been modernizing the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) to ensure funding is being directed where evidence shows the greatest value, without compromising access to services deemed medically necessary by health care experts. Measures include:

  • curbing unnecessary testing based on the best available medical evidence, which is expected to save over $120 million annually. This includes changes implemented since July 2010 to vitamin D and sleep-study testing, as well as proposed changes to pre-operative testing that are expected in 2011, if passed;
  • changes to the Out-of-Country program to expand bariatric surgeries and reduce the need for patients to go out of country, which is expected to save an estimated $21 million in 2011–12; and
  • further proposed changes to the Out-of-Country program to better align funding for out-of-country services with services delivered in Ontario, including laboratory tests and drug therapies. These proposed changes are expected to save $29 million annually, if passed.

More Integrated Local Health Services

Before 2003, there was limited local involvement in health care decision-making. District Health Councils conducted health care planning but had no authority to implement plans.

In 2006, the government created 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) to facilitate the delivery of health care services in Ontario. Local Health Integration Networks have a mandate to engage their communities and local health care providers on how health dollars are spent in their regions.

Local communities now have a say in how Ontario’s health care budget is spent. Working with their health systems and community partners, LHINs are well positioned to better integrate services and strengthen continuity of care. This is critical to reducing the kinds of pressures on the acute care system that are reflected in the high number of ALC days in hospitals.

The formation of LHINs has led to additional efficiencies to create better value for investment in health services. For example, as part of LHIN implementation, the Province reduced and reorganized 42 community care access centres into 14 to align with LHIN boundaries.

Electronic Health Records

Electronic Health Records will enable better sharing of health information that will improve patient care and create a more effective and cost-efficient health care system. For more information on Electronic Health Records, see earlier in this chapter.

Helping Ontario Families

Since 2003, the government has consistently supported children and families with a range of investments, social system improvements and new programs.

Poverty Reduction Strategy

Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, announced in December 2008, is a long-term comprehensive plan that aims to reduce child poverty. This would ensure that low-income Ontarians, especially children, have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Reducing poverty narrows Ontario’s prosperity gap and strengthens the economy. As the economy strengthens, these investments will help ensure that every Ontarian has the opportunity to participate in it.

Ontario Child Benefit

The Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) is the cornerstone of the Poverty Reduction Strategy. It provides up to $1,100 annually per child and benefits over one million children in about 530,000 families.

The OCB is a non-taxable, income-tested monthly benefit paid to low- to moderate-income families with children under age 18. It has transformed the children’s benefit system by providing support to all low- to moderate-income families with children, regardless of the source of their income. The OCB treats all children in these families equally and makes it easier for parents to transition from social assistance to employment.

The Plan:

The government remains committed to supporting children and families by increasing the OCB to a maximum of $1,310 per child annually.

The Results:

  • In July 2009, the OCB was increased from a maximum of $600 to $1,100 annually per child, two full years ahead of schedule.
  • Starting in July 2011, OCB payments will be divided equally between parents in shared custody arrangements each month. As the Ontario Child Care Supplement for Working Families (OCCS) is consolidated with the OCB, the government proposes to apply the same payment rule for shared custody cases to the OCCS program. These changes would provide a steady flow of benefits to each parent in shared custody arrangements throughout the year.
  • The Ontario Child Benefit Equivalent is a related program that helps children and youth in the care of children’s aid societies reach their full potential by supporting their participation in learning and recreational programs and by providing savings they can use when they reach age 18.

Protecting Workers

The Plan:

The government continues to provide opportunities to workers and their families, which will help to ensure the province’s long-term prosperity.

In response to recommendations provided by the Expert Panel on Occupational Health and Safety, chaired by Tony Dean (former Secretary of the Cabinet), in December 2010, the government is proposing amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997. These proposed amendments would improve the province’s workplace safety system, help prevent injuries and increase protection for workers.

In its Poverty Reduction Strategy, the McGuinty government encouraged the federal government to double the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) from the original $1,000 level. The federal government increased the maximum WITB for families from $1,044 to $1,680 for 2009. The WITB is indexed for inflation each subsequent year to preserve the value of the benefit. The increase was a step in the right direction but fell short of what low-income working families need to succeed. Ontario continues to call on the federal government to increase the annual benefit significantly to provide greater support for working families.

The Results:

  • The government has increased Ontario’s minimum wage by 50 per cent since 2003, helping many low-income working families and individuals. These increases outpaced inflation and helped make up for a nine-year freeze in Ontario’s minimum wage from 1995 through 2003. The Ontario minimum wage will remain at $10.25 per hour in 2011, following seven consecutive annual increases, and fulfilling the government’s 2007 commitment to raise the minimum wage to that amount.
    • In the fall of 2011, the government will appoint a committee representing both business and workers to provide advice on the minimum wage in advance of the 2012 Budget.
  • Since 2009, the government has invested an additional $4.5 million annually to increase the number of employment standards officers in the province. The government has also invested an additional $6 million over two years to help reduce the backlog of employment standards claims and improve the protection of Ontario’s employees, thereby reducing hardship for workers and their families.
  • As part of Ontario’s Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth, the government is providing about $1.4 billion annually in additional assistance to low- to moderate-income people through the Ontario Sales Tax Credit, Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit, and Northern Ontario Energy Credit.

To help low- to moderate-income families and single people better manage their household budgets, the government is proposing to combine the payments of these three credits, which appear in Table 4 and are currently paid quarterly, and deliver them monthly through the new Ontario Trillium Benefit, starting in July 2012.

TABLE 4.     2011 Ontario Benefits Payment Schedule
Payment Date1 Payment Type Payment Amount
January 2011 Ontario Child Benefit Up to $91.66 per child monthly
Ontario Clean Energy Benefit About $12.80 per month for a typical residential consumer using 800 kWh per month2
February 2011 Ontario Child Benefit Up to $91.66 per child monthly
Northern Ontario Energy Credit Up to $65 for individuals, or up to $100 for families (second of two payments)
Ontario Sales Tax Credit Up to $65 quarterly for each adult and child
Ontario Clean Energy Benefit About $12.80 per month for a typical residential consumer using 800 kWh per month2
March 2011 Ontario Child Benefit Up to $91.66 per child monthly
Ontario Clean Energy Benefit About $12.80 per month for a typical residential consumer using 800 kWh per month2
April 2011 Ontario Child Benefit Up to $91.66 per child monthly
Ontario Clean Energy Benefit About $12.80 per month for a typical residential consumer using 800 kWh per month2
2010 Children's Activity Tax Credit Up to $50 per child (up to $100 for a child with a disability) annually, paid as part of 2010 income tax assessment
2010 Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit Up to $900 for non-seniors, or up to $1,025 for seniors, annually, paid as part of 2010 income tax assessment
Ontario Senior Homeowners' Property Tax Grant Up to $500 for eligible seniors annually, paid 4 to 8 weeks following the assessment of the 2010 income tax return
May 2011 Ontario Child Benefit Up to $91.66 per child monthly
Ontario Sales Tax Credit Up to $65 quarterly for each adult and child
Ontario Clean Energy Benefit About $12.80 per month for a typical residential consumer using 800 kWh per month2
June 2011 Ontario Child Benefit Up to $91.74 per child monthly3
Ontario Sales Tax Transition Benefit Up to $335 for families, or up to $100 for individuals (third of three payments)
Ontario Clean Energy Benefit About $12.80 per month for a typical residential consumer using 800 kWh per month2
July 2011 Ontario Child Benefit Up to $91.66 per child monthly
Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit Up to $229.25 for non-seniors, or up to $261 for seniors, the first of four payments for the year
Northern Ontario Energy Credit Up to $33 for individuals, or up to $51 for families, the first of four payments for the year
Ontario Clean Energy Benefit About $12.80 per month for a typical residential consumer using 800 kWh per month2
August 2011 Ontario Child Benefit Up to $91.66 per child monthly
Ontario Sales Tax Credit Up to $66.25 quarterly for each adult and child
Ontario Clean Energy Benefit About $12.80 per month for a typical residential consumer using 800 kWh per month2
September 2011 Ontario Child Benefit Up to $91.66 per child monthly
Ontario Clean Energy Benefit About $12.80 per month for a typical residential consumer using 800 kWh per month2
October 2011 Ontario Child Benefit Up to $91.66 per child monthly
Ontario Clean Energy Benefit About $12.80 per month for a typical residential consumer using 800 kWh per month2
November 2011 Ontario Child Benefit Up to $91.66 per child monthly
Ontario Sales Tax Credit Up to $66.25 quarterly for each adult and child
Ontario Clean Energy Benefit About $12.80 per month for a typical residential consumer using 800 kWh per month2
December 2011 Ontario Child Benefit Up to $91.66 per child monthly
Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit Up to $229.25 for non-seniors, or up to $261 for seniors, the second of four payments for the year
Northern Ontario Energy Credit Up to $33 for individuals, or up to $51 for families, the second of four payments for the year
Ontario Clean Energy Benefit About $12.80 per month for a typical residential consumer using 800 kWh per month2
1 Payment date will vary for some credits and benefits depending on when an income tax return is assessed.
2 Ontario Clean Energy Benefit (OCEB) is effective as of January 1, 2011. Due to the length of time required for implementation, these price adjustments will appear on electricity bills no later than May 2011, and will be retroactive to January 1, 2011. OCEB amount will vary based on actual price, consumption and location. Timing of payment also depends on billing cycle of each distribution company (e.g., monthly, bi-monthly), as well as amount of payment on each bill (e.g., one or two months' worth of the OCEB).
3 The June 2011 Ontario Child Benefit payment amount includes a catch-up amount of $0.08 to bring the total payment for the July 2010 to June 2011 benefit year to $1,100 per child.

Affordable Housing

Safe and affordable housing is an important component of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.

The Plan:

In November 2010, the Province released its Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy. Building on investments in the housing sector, implementing the Strategy will make the existing housing system more accountable, transparent and accessible, and will improve the lives of people who need housing.

The Province is working with the federal government on a new affordable housing initiative that would extend federal and provincial funding.

The Results:

  • As part of stimulus investments in 2009–10 and 2010–11, the Province and the federal government invested $704 million for social housing rehabilitation and energy retrofits of more than 185,000 social housing units in Ontario.
  • The Canada–Ontario Affordable Housing Program is helping create new affordable housing for low-income families. Since 2005, over 14,000 units have been completed and close to 7,500 units are under construction or in the planning stages.
  • Approximately $450 million is also invested annually in housing and homelessness services for those in need.
  • Since 2004, the government has invested over $33.8 million and more than 23,800 Ontario families have avoided eviction as a result of the government ensuring stable funding for municipal rent banks across Ontario.

Social Assistance

Social assistance provides financial and employment assistance for people in financial need. The program consists mainly of Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program. Social assistance benefits include a basic needs allowance and shelter allowance to help with the cost of housing.

The Plan:

Since taking office in 2003, the government has taken significant steps to enhance and improve social assistance programs.

The Results:

Building on the government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, the largest review of social assistance programs in Ontario in more than 20 years was launched in November 2010 and is being led by the Honourable Frances Lankin, P.C., and Dr. Munir Sheikh. The review, which will be completed by June 2012, will:

  • recommend ways to improve people’s ability to find and keep jobs and guarantee security for people who cannot work;
  • examine and determine the effectiveness of social assistance in Ontario and its role in relation to other parts of Canada’s income security system; and
  • provide for a system that is simple to understand, easy to access, financially sustainable and accountable to taxpayers.

Taking into account the increase proposed in this Budget, social assistance rates would have increased by a cumulative compounded amount of 13.7 per cent since 2003.

The government will continue to focus on measures that will increase program accountability, including the implementation of a new information technology application that will improve capacity to manage and track social assistance information.

Support for Children and Youth with Special Needs

The government provides support for children and youth with special needs and their families through a number of community-based programs.

The Plan:

The government continues to support children and youth with complex special needs and autism through programs delivered through the social services system. These programs are complemented by supports provided through the health and education systems.

The Results:

The government has increased investments for complex special needs by $50 million, or 167 per cent, between 2003–04 and 2010–11, to about $80 million annually.

The government also plans to spend over $186 million annually to support children and youth with autism spectrum disorders, as they transition into and through school; provide respite services to families; and offer intensive behavioural intervention therapy and applied behavioural analysis services and supports to over 9,000 children. Since 2003–04, the government has more than quadrupled support for children and youth with autism spectrum disorders and their families.

Child Welfare

Across Ontario, child welfare services are currently provided by 53 children’s aid societies.

The Plan:

The government has established the Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services is working with the Commission and with children’s aid societies to implement cost-containment and transformation strategies to create a more accountable and financially sustainable child welfare system that improves outcomes for children and youth.

Ontario is helping more Crown wards succeed in school and move on to postsecondary education with support such as Education Championship Teams that offer mentorship, peer support, motivation and guidance. The government continues to explore options for further enhancing its Crown Wards Success Strategy to improve educational outcomes and smooth the transition to adulthood.

The Results:

  • Ontario has been improving child welfare services through legislative changes and new investments of over $400 million since 2003, bringing the total investment in 2011–12 to $1.5 billion. As a result, fewer children are coming into care and more are living in safe, stable, permanent homes.
  • The government is acting on the recommendations of the Commission to consolidate children’s aid societies. Progress has also been achieved in bringing down the costs of some children’s aid societies through efficiency measures and service delivery redesign.
  • The development of the Child Protection Information Network will support sector transformation by allowing children’s aid societies to share relevant and timely information, lessen their administrative burden and improve ministry oversight by providing accurate data on expenditures and client services.

Safe and Secure Ontario

The Plan:

The government is committed to building stronger, safer communities in Ontario. Since 2003, the government has made significant investments to improve community safety. The government is providing over $4.4 billion annually, over the medium term, for a number of key initiatives that are improving the effectiveness of the justice system, protecting Ontario families and focusing funding where it is needed most to support the government’s public safety agenda.

This Budget provides annual funding of approximately $13 million in 2011–12 and ongoing for the Provincial Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (PAVIS) and Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS). These initiatives help address guns and gangs violence in Toronto and across Ontario. This investment also builds on the $51 million announced in 2006 to help police and prosecutors investigate and prosecute gun crimes.

This Budget is also providing approximately $31 million over three years for new victims’ programs and to enhance existing victims’ services, including support services for victims of domestic violence and initiatives to support Aboriginal victims in remote northern communities. This funding reinforces the government’s commitment to supporting victims of crime across Ontario.

The government is committed to addressing crime on Ontario’s streets and is providing approximately $1 billion annually for policing services. Since 2003, the government has provided funding for over 2,000 additional police officers on Ontario’s streets. Ontario dedicated its allocation of funding under the federal Police Officer Recruitment Fund to police officers, resulting in up to 329 new officers in Ontario communities. Since 2003, overall crime rates in Ontario have declined by 17 per cent, including an 11 per cent reduction in violent crime. Ontario’s streets are safer and Ontario’s communities are more secure thanks to the efforts of Ontario’s public safety employees.

The Results:

  • PAVIS and TAVIS: Funding has allowed police services, including those in Toronto, London, Hamilton and Sudbury, to continue to target guns and gangs, dismantle criminal gangs and seize illicit drugs, and has led to charges against those engaging in criminal activity. Since 2007, these initiatives have led to more than 1,100 arrests, 2,000 criminal charges being laid, and the removal of 200 illegal firearms. PAVIS funding has now grown to 17 communities in Ontario.
  • Justice on Target: In 2008, the government launched the Justice on Target Strategy that aims to reduce the average number of days and appearances needed to complete a criminal case by 30 per cent by 2012. The Justice on Target Strategy is helping to ensure that criminal cases are dealt with in a timely and effective manner.
  • Justice Infrastructure: Ontario’s infrastructure investments also support the government’s commitment to safe and secure communities by providing modern, effective, accessible justice services. In October 2010, the Durham Consolidated Courthouse was opened. The Courthouse successfully consolidated services previously delivered from eight different locations across Durham region. The government is also building a new Forensic Services and Coroner’s Complex, expected to be completed in 2013. This investment will enhance Ontario’s ability to meet the demands of modern forensic investigations and criminal prosecutions.
  • Human Trafficking: In February 2011, the government announced approximately $2 million over three years to fight human trafficking in Ontario. The government’s strategy focuses on prevention and enforcement and will provide services for victims of human trafficking across Ontario through supports such as help lines and outreach services.

Improving Access to Justice

The Plan:

The government continues to improve access to justice for Ontarians through a series of investments across the sector, including in legal aid, human rights transformation, Aboriginal justice, family justice and changes to small claims courts.

The Results:

  • Legal Aid Ontario: Beginning in 2009–10, the government invested an additional $150 million over four years in Legal Aid Ontario (LAO). This is the province’s largest investment in legal aid since its inception. This funding will support enhanced family law and poverty law services, instituting block fees, increasing the hourly fees for lawyers over the next seven years and increasing legal aid fees for expert defence witnesses. This will ensure ongoing high-quality services for the most vulnerable. The government provides over $300 million annually for legal aid services to low-income Ontarians.
  • Human Rights Transformation: In 2008, the government continued to assist vulnerable Ontarians by introducing changes to Ontario’s human rights system. These changes are helping to ensure the timely resolution of human rights claims, increased access to legal supports and the promotion of human rights. The changes also enable the Ontario Human Rights Commission and Tribunal to resolve human rights claims faster, provide legal support for those who need it, and promote and advance human rights.
  • Aboriginal Justice: The government is committed to working with Aboriginal communities across Ontario to improve access to justice and address Aboriginal victimization. Ontario provides approximately $25 million annually for Aboriginal legal initiatives, including specialized legal aid services for Aboriginal Peoples and funding for community-based projects to help Aboriginal victims of crime.
  • Family Justice Reform: The government has also made significant progress in transforming the family justice system and is expanding family mediation and information services provincewide to all courts by the summer of 2011 (currently available in 17 court locations). These services provide family law clients with information regarding custody, access and child/spousal support, and will help more vulnerable families avoid the courtroom with faster, more affordable, out-of-court resolutions.
  • Small Claims Court: In January 2010, the Small Claims Court limit was increased from $10,000 to $25,000. This increase is improving access to justice by allowing more individuals and businesses to resolve more claims in a simple and inexpensive way.

Better access to justice, support for the vulnerable and a strong commitment to community safety are all part of the government’s plan to provide safe communities for Ontario families. The justice sector will continue to manage responsibly by allocating resources where they are needed most and transforming service delivery to build stronger, safer communities.

Infrastructure Investments

By the end of 2010–11, Ontario will have invested $62 billion in infrastructure since 2003. This includes investments in transit and highway improvements.

The Province has also greatly improved the procurement and delivery of large infrastructure projects through Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx.

  • Infrastructure Ontario has brought more than 50 projects to the market, worth close to $21 billion in capital construction. Sixteen projects have already been completed and 24 projects are currently under construction. It is estimated that the completed projects will generate more than $400 million in value for money compared to traditional procurement.
    • For more information, visit www.infrastructureontario.ca.
  • Metrolinx introduced a systematic approach for evaluating and prioritizing major transit projects in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. These investment priorities are outlined in “The Big Move” Regional Transportation Plan (RTP).
    • Metrolinx acts as a central procurement agency for local transit-system vehicles and equipment on behalf of participating Ontario municipalities.

Key Transit Improvements

  • GO Transit has introduced 12-car trains carrying an additional 300 passengers per trip on the Lakeshore and Milton lines.
  • New grade separations and tracks are helping to reduce delays and allow more service on GO Transit. Examples include the extension of all-day weekday service to Aldershot Station on the Lakeshore West line and additional morning rush-hour service on the Lakeshore East line.
  • Work on Union Station revitalization began in June 2010. Scheduled for completion in 2015, the project involves improving overall pedestrian flow, including a tripling of GO Transit concourse space, and restoring the heritage aspects of the building. Work is also getting underway on a new Union Subway Station platform.
  • GO Georgetown South rail-corridor expansion is underway. The project will improve infrastructure to meet GO Transit ridership demand and future growth.
  • Metrolinx will deliver the Air Rail Link (ARL), an express rail link that will connect Pearson International Airport to Union Station. This also involves the purchase of Tier 4 clean diesel vehicles, which will be convertible to electric propulsion.
  • Work continues on the York VIVA Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). When complete, a network of dedicated lanes and stations along the Yonge Street and Highway 7 corridors will allow commuters throughout York Region to avoid congestion and enjoy faster, more consistent travel times.
  • Metrolinx is committed to working with the City of Toronto and the Toronto Transit Commission to develop a revised transit plan that is fiscally responsible and moves Toronto towards the regional transit objectives set out in The Big Move.
  • Provincial investments have supported municipal investments in newer and more accessible bus fleets across the province. Since 2003, the average age of municipal buses decreased from 11 years to 7 years in 2009. Accessibility increased from 39 per cent in 2003 to 85 per cent in 2009.

Key Highway Investments

  • Initial work is underway on the Windsor–Essex Parkway and full construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2011. The Parkway will help ease congestion and ensure the efficient movement of people and goods through the Windsor–Detroit gateway — Ontario’s busiest trade corridor, handling nearly $120 billion worth of goods each year.
  • The Province is extending Highway 407 East from Brock Road in Pickering to Highway 35/115. The highway will be opened to traffic in stages, beginning with a segment to Harmony Road in 2015, Taunton Road/East Durham Link in 2017, and completion in 2020. The Ministry of Transportation is working with municipalities to mitigate the impact on local traffic as the project progresses.
  • Ongoing improvements to Highway 417 in Ottawa include additional lanes and bridge improvements between Highway 416 and Anderson Road. Future work in the corridor includes widening from Nicholas Street to Regional Road 174, which will provide additional capacity and also support Ottawa’s Transit Plan.
  • Construction on the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) through St. Catharines has been in full swing since June 2007 and is expected to be completed in 2011. Six-laning and other improvements along this major economic trade route will address capacity, safety and operations for the high volumes of local, tourist and border traffic.
  • The expansion of Highway 11/17 to four lanes between Thunder Bay and Nipigon began in 2010, with construction starting on a new, twin-span bridge over the Mackenzie River. Widening the highway will result in improved traffic flow and enhanced safety on the highway.
  • In November 2010, 16 kilometres of new high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes were opened on the QEW between Trafalgar Road in Oakville and Guelph Line in Burlington — the longest stretch in the Greater Toronto Area. The HOV lanes on provincial highways are designed to ease traffic congestion by moving more people in fewer vehicles.
  • Work is continuing on the redevelopment of highway service centres on Highways 400 and 401. Seven new centres along Highway 401 were opened in 2010. Seven more sites will be fully operational by July 31, 2011, and the rest will open in phases by January 2013. The newly modernized centres will showcase Ontario’s hospitality and attractions, and provide a safe place for travellers to rest, eat and refuel, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year round.
  • The Province publishes multi-year plans on highway improvements to inform the public and help the construction industry plan for future work. For more information, visit www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/pubs/highway-construction/index.shtml.

Supporting Municipalities

The government has a very strong record of supporting and working with municipalities.

The burden of funding social assistance benefit programs is being eliminated from the property tax base. In addition, since 2004, municipalities have received a share of provincial gas tax revenues. Along with other increases in the government’s ongoing support, these uploads will ensure that municipal property tax dollars are focused on important local priorities, including modern and efficient infrastructure, economic development and job creation, which result in real benefits to all Ontarians.

By 2018, the Province will have increased ongoing annual support to municipalities to $4 billion annually, an increase of 270 per cent since 2003 (see Chart 13).

Chart 13: Bar Graph: Ongoing Support to Municipalities Is Increasing

The Province recognizes the specific challenges faced by northern and rural communities. Through the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund, the government is providing targeted funding of $453 million to rural communities and $243 million to northern communities in 2011.

The increase in the ongoing support to municipalities has positioned Ontario’s communities for a stronger economic future and higher quality of life.

TABLE 5.     Contrasting Records on Support to Municipalities
  Previous This Government's Record
Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Costs for Social Assistance Recipients Downloaded Uploaded (2008) — $181 million annual benefit
Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) Administration Costs Downloaded Uploaded (2009) — $85 million annual benefit
ODSP Benefits Costs Downloaded Uploaded (began in 2010, completed in 2011) — $652 million annual benefit
Ontario Works (OW) Benefits Costs Left municipalities with significant financial burden Eliminated burden through uploading (began in 2010) —
$29 million annual benefit, growing to over $430 million by 2018
Court Security Left municipalities with financial burden Upload begins in 2012 — up to $125 million annually at maturity
OW Administration Costs Frozen recognized costs True 50:50 (2010) — over $160 million annual benefit
Land Ambulance Frozen recognized costs True 50:50 (2006) — $407 million annual benefit1
Public Health Costs Downloaded Uploaded to 75 per cent (2007) — $530 million annual benefit1
Gas Tax Program Downloaded transit costs First government in Ontario's history to deliver gas tax dollars for public transit (2004) — $316 million annual benefit2
Municipal Infrastructure Significant infrastructure investments — over $12 billion since 2003
Province's Relationship with Municipalities Strong partnership and mutual respect (Memorandum of Understanding enshrined in 2006) — exemplified through 2008 Provincial–Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review
1 Reflects 2010 benefit.
2 Reflects 2009–10 Gas Tax Program year.
Note: Annual benefits reflect 2011 estimates unless noted otherwise.

Business Support Programs for Investment and Jobs

The government has provided significant support to encourage business investment in Ontario. Although the private sector curtailed spending with the onset of the recession, direct government support has helped to leverage significant new capital investment and job creation in growing sectors.

  • Since 2008, the Next Generation of Jobs Fund has committed about $714 million in support to 33 projects. This investment leveraged more than $3.9 billion in industry investment and secured 8,368 high-skilled jobs.
  • Between 2005 and 2010, the Advanced Manufacturing Investment Strategy made loan commitments of more than $160 million to support innovative projects in 23 communities. This investment leveraged $1.1 billion in new investments and secured more than 5,100 jobs.
  • Since its launch on June 4, 2010, the Strategic Jobs and Investment Fund has provided support of more than $83 million ($52.4 million in grants and $31 million in loans). This investment leveraged total industry investment of more than $1.4 billion and secured more than 2,200 highly skilled jobs.

Entertainment and Creative Industries

Ontario’s entertainment and creative industries include firms engaged in award-winning film and video production, music, performing arts, book and magazine publishing, and video-game development. These industries are well positioned to capitalize on global growth in new products and services and create knowledge-based jobs.

The government is providing targeted funding and tax incentives to support creative content development and help create knowledge-based jobs in dynamic new industries.

Since 2003, employment in Ontario’s entertainment and creative industries has grown faster than employment in the broader economy. The sector employed approximately 304,000 Ontarians in 2010, an increase of 15 per cent, or 39,000 well-paying jobs, from the 2003 level.

In 2010, the Province provided approximately $290 million in tax credits to support Ontario’s film and television industry through the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit ($110 million), Ontario Production Services Tax Credit ($155 million) and Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit ($25 million).

Recently announced supports to Ontario’s creative industries include:

  • providing the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) with stable, reliable funding — increasing its operating base by $7 million in 2010–11 and $15 million in 2011–12 and ongoing. This enhanced support will allow the OMDC to further grow Ontario’s entertainment and creative industries;
  • investing in the Canadian Film Centre to expand its training programs by providing $9 million over three years;
  • enhancements to various media tax credits in 2009, including an expansion of the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit from labour costs to all eligible production costs; and
  • establishing the Arts Investment Fund, which will provide $27 million over three years to non-profit arts groups through the Ontario Arts Council.

In 2007–08, the government made a $75.5 million investment to support arts organizations and libraries, including the Royal Ontario Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto Reference Library, Toronto’s Luminato Festival and Canadian Film Centre.

The government will continue to work with the industry on issues surrounding access to finance and capital.

“Programs that the [Ontario Media Development Corporation] is developing support local industries, so you have major companies … that have grown up within Ontario, taking advantage of the incentive and building and leveraging the talent that’s available here … There’s no better place to establish and grow a tech business than in Ontario.”

Gerald Pisarzowski, Vice President, Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance.


Research and innovation play key roles in Ontario’s evolution towards a knowledge-based economy for the 21st century — an economy characterized by rapid technological change, entrepreneurship, increasing levels of productivity and competition in global markets.

Statistics Canada reports that the Ontario government has spent $3.6 billion on research and development (R&D) since 2003–04 — an increase of 50 per cent in seven years over the previous eight. Nearly 80 per cent of this funding went to R&D performed by universities, colleges and hospitals.

Chart 14: Bar Graph: Total Provincial Funding of Research and Development

Since its creation in 2005, the Ministry of Research and Innovation has invested over $2.2 billion to strengthen the province’s knowledge-based economy and make Ontario a place where innovators can flourish and help create the next generation of jobs.

  • More than $600 million in operating and capital support has been provided through the Ontario Research Fund to foster world-class research at Ontario’s universities, colleges, hospitals and not-for-profit research institutes.
  • In 2010, the Ministry of Research and Innovation launched a $161 million Life Sciences Commercialization Strategy. It also committed $15 million to the Ontario Brain Institute, which was established in 2010 to help find innovative solutions for diseases of the brain. As well, the Province continues to support the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, launched in 2005, with an annual commitment of over $80 million. Such initiatives have helped Ontario become a leading life sciences hub in North America, with a strong concentration of life sciences researchers, institutions and companies.
  • Through the Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE), the Province has developed a network of 14 regional innovation centres to transform great ideas into products and services for the marketplace. In 2008–09, the centres helped 1,400 companies and entrepreneurs to create or retain more than 3,400 jobs, and bring more than 700 new products and services to market. In 2011, ONE expanded its regional innovation network to Windsor, Kingston, London, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and North Bay.
  • The government has helped to strengthen Ontario’s venture capital market, making it more attractive to institutional and other private-sector investors. In 2010, two of the top 10 disclosed venture capital investments in Ontario companies involved the Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund as a co-investor. As well, all emerging technology sectors in Ontario saw increased levels of venture capital investments in 2010.
  • In 2010, the government provided over $465 million in tax incentives to Ontario businesses undertaking research and development. This tax support helps them develop breakthrough technologies, products and services that will promote the province’s future prosperity.

The Ministry of Research and Innovation is renewing the Ontario Innovation Agenda, launched in 2008, to help ensure Ontario’s economy remains a globally competitive, innovation-driven performer.