2015 Ontario Budget
Chapter I: Implementing the Plan

Section B: Building Modern Infrastructure and Transportation Networks

Modern infrastructure is the basis of a well-functioning economy and prosperous society. It includes roads, bridges, public transit, hospitals, schools and water systems, all of which are important elements that together allow a strong economy and modern society to thrive. If governments fail to invest in infrastructure, economic and productivity growth slows, and quality of life suffers.

Renewing and expanding public infrastructure supports Ontario’s industries, creates jobs and positions Ontario to better compete in the 21st century economy. For example, an October 2014 “World Economic Outlook” report by the International Monetary Fund found that effective and efficient infrastructure investment can provide a much-needed boost to short- and long-term output.1 Similarly, a 2013 study by The Conference Board of Canada estimated that the Province’s infrastructure investments from 2006 to 2014 would add over $1,000 to the average annual income of Ontarians by 2014, and lower the unemployment rate by almost one percentage point relative to where it otherwise would have been.2

Investing in Transportation and Infrastructure — Benefits of Transit

The evidence is clear that the benefits of transit use are wide-ranging and significant, including personal cost savings and broader economic returns. Some examples include:

  • Congestion in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) alone costs Ontario’s economy at least $6 billion per year,3 with one estimate putting the cost at up to $11 billion per year.4
  • In the United States in 2002, the use of public transit generated up to 47 cents US in congestion savings for every passenger mile of travel.5 Similarly, other research has found that transit provides vehicle cost savings of 30 to 50 cents US (2001) per vehicle mile, based on a reduction of operating expenses, risk of car accidents, parking offences, vehicle ownership and other user fees.6

That is why investing in infrastructure is a key pillar of the government’s economic plan. In the 2014 Budget, the Province announced its plan to invest more than $130 billion in public infrastructure over the next 10 years. This included a commitment to make nearly $29 billion in dedicated funds available for Moving Ontario Forward, to invest in transit, transportation and other priority infrastructure within and outside the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).

In total, these investments would support over 110,000 jobs per year, on average, in construction and related industries, including more than 20,000 jobs from investments made as part of Moving Ontario Forward. This commitment builds on over $100 billion in infrastructure investments by the Province since 2003, which have supported an average of 100,000 jobs each year.

In implementing its plan, Ontario is projecting investments of $11.7 billion in 2014–15, with another $11.9 billion planned in 2015–16. This funding is driving key infrastructure projects such as:

  • Continuing to improve highways throughout northern Ontario. Since 2003, the Province has built or repaired over 4,600 kilometres of provincial highways in the north;
  • Widening and improving Highway 417 in eastern Ontario;
  • Building rapid transit bus lanes in both York Region and Mississauga in the GTHA; and
  • Constructing the Waterloo Rapid Transit project in southwestern Ontario.

Recognizing that infrastructure investment is critical to creating jobs and enhancing quality of life for Ontarians, this Budget announces a $2.6 billion increase in dedicated funds for Moving Ontario Forward, for a total of $31.5 billion over 10 years. The increase is a result of a higher target from asset optimization, described in Chapter I, Section C: Unlocking the Value of Provincial Assets.

Building Together: Ontario’s Plan to Invest in Public Infrastructure

Ongoing Investments in Transportation

The Province, through its ongoing and planned investments, is leading the renewal and expansion of transportation and other critical infrastructure for Ontarians. Over the last decade, the Province has made unprecedented investments in public infrastructure, including transit, supporting mobility and economic growth across Ontario.

To support Building Together, Ontario’s long-term infrastructure plan, investments of more than $100 billion over 10 years are underway, including $50 billion for transportation infrastructure. This is above the commitment to make $31.5 billion in dedicated funds available through Moving Ontario Forward.

These record investment levels have supported improved GO Transit service and major projects that are underway and planned, such as:

  • Union Pearson (UP) Express, which begins service this spring, providing a dedicated rail link connecting Toronto Pearson International Airport with Union Station in downtown Toronto in 25 minutes. By 2020, Metrolinx expects UP Express to attract approximately 2.5 million riders annually.
  • The Mississauga Transitway, the first phase of which includes four stations, which opened in November 2014. Work continues to complete the full 18-kilometre corridor of the dedicated transitway by 2017. This transitway is expected to divert thousands of riders a day from private vehicles, reducing automobile traffic significantly during
    high-volume periods.
  • Types of Rapid Transit Projects
    Metrolinx’s regional transportation plan includes different types of rapid transit:

    • Bus rapid transit — buses run predominantly on a roadway separate from regular traffic.
    • Light rail transit — electric trains run along tracks on a roadway separate from regular traffic.
    Expanding the Bus Rapid Transit (vivaNext) rapidways throughout York Region. In August 2014, a new segment was opened along Highway 7 in Markham from Highway 404 to South Town Centre Boulevard.
  • Construction on the Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit (LRT) project. The Eglinton Crosstown LRT is expected to be completed by 2020, providing fast, reliable and convenient transit, moving commuters in half the time of current transit options. Tunnelling from Black Creek Drive to Allen Road was completed in January 2015.
  • The Finch West and Sheppard East LRT projects, which will provide reliable and improved transit service on these busy corridors. The Finch West LRT will run along Finch Avenue between Humber College and Keele Street, and the Sheppard East LRT will run along Sheppard Avenue from Don Mills Station to Morningside Avenue. The procurement process for the Finch West LRT project is expected to begin later in 2015.

Green Bonds

Ontario is the first province to issue Green Bonds and is leading the way in creating a Green Bond market. Green Bonds are an important tool for Ontario to build transit and other environmentally friendly projects across the province, supporting job creation and strengthening the economy.

In October 2014, the Province launched its first Green Bond issue valued at $500 million, attracting investors from around the world. Ontario’s inaugural Green Bond was oversubscribed, with orders of $2.4 billion, far surpassing the size of the bond issue by $1.9 billion. Eight new international investors were added to Ontario’s Canadian-dollar investor base and an additional five new investors were added to Ontario’s total investor base.

The Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit was selected as the first project to receive funding through the initiative. The Province plans to issue its second Green Bond this fiscal year.

PRESTO allows customers to use a single, seamless, integrated fare payment method across participating transit systems including bus, train and subway routes. Today, PRESTO is used as a fare card to make it easier for transit riders to pay their fare with the simple tap of a card while travelling within and between participating transit systems. Users pay for their trip by tapping their PRESTO card on a PRESTO fare payment device when boarding a transit vehicle or entering a station.

The Province’s investments in PRESTO have helped make transit more convenient and integrated in Ontario. The system makes it easier for commuters to travel across different transit systems with the simple tap of a single, reloadable fare card. There are already over 1.4 million activated PRESTO cards in use, which enable transit riders to pay their fares across nine transit agencies in the GTHA, as well as in Ottawa.

PRESTO is currently available at 15 Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) subway stations, and PRESTO card implementation began on Toronto’s streetcar network in late 2014. Once fully deployed, approximately 10,000 PRESTO devices are expected to be on the TTC’s fleet of streetcars and buses and in all subway stations. At that point, more than 2.5 million customers are expected to be using PRESTO cards throughout the GTHA and in Ottawa.

The Province is supporting key municipal transit projects, including:

  • ION, the Region of Waterloo’s 36‐kilometre rapid transit project that will link Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge, and connect commuters to GO train service between the Region of Waterloo and the Greater Toronto Area. Construction is underway and is expected to be completed by 2017. The Province is investing up to $300 million towards the project.
  • The Confederation Line, Ottawa’s 12.5-kilometre LRT project, with major sections expected to be ready by the summer of 2017. Studies suggest that in the first year of service, the new line could generate 4.6 million new trips and reduce the time it takes to cross downtown Ottawa by 10 to 15 minutes, on average. The project is supported by a Provincial funding commitment of up to $600 million.
  • The renewal of Toronto’s streetcar fleet, supported by a Provincial investment of up to $416 million. In August 2014, the first of the new accessible vehicles began service on the 510 Spadina route. The new vehicles can carry almost twice as many passengers as current streetcars.
  • Toronto’s extension of the Bloor–Danforth subway through Scarborough. The Project Assessment Study is currently underway.

Ontario is supporting municipal transit systems through the Gas Tax Program, which provides ongoing funding for eligible municipalities to improve and expand their transit services. Since 2004, the Province has committed more than $3.1 billion in gas tax funding.

The government is also investing in numerous major highway projects, some of which will come into service over the next year, to support economic growth and improve mobility:

  • The Right Honourable Herb Gray Parkway in Windsor–Essex, which is partially open and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2015;
  • Widening Highway 410 in Peel Region, from south of Highway 401 in Mississauga to Queen Street in Brampton, which began in the summer of 2014. The project will add two lanes in each direction to this busy stretch of highway, including a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane and a general purpose lane;
  • The first phase of the Highway 407 East Extension, spanning from Brock Road in Pickering to Harmony Road in Oshawa, which will open to traffic later this year. Construction on the second phase, from Harmony Road to Highway 35/115 in Clarington, will begin in the fall of 2015; and
  • Four‐laning major highway corridors in northern Ontario, including widening and realigning sections of Highway 69 between Parry Sound and Sudbury and parts of Highway 11/17 between Thunder Bay and Nipigon.

Moving Ontario Forward

Modernizing infrastructure will help Ontario grow and prosper today and in the future. In the 2014 Budget, the Province announced nearly $29 billion available for investment over the next 10 years in the Moving Ontario Forward plan, to create jobs, boost productivity and revitalize communities. This Budget increases the dedicated funds by $2.6 billion, for a total of $31.5 billion to be made available over 10 years for public transit, transportation and other priority infrastructure projects across Ontario. This increase in dedicated funds will accelerate priority projects and enable new projects to come on stream.

The total dedicated funds for Moving Ontario Forward will be allocated to the GTHA and the rest of the province using census data from Statistics Canada. By allocating the dedicated funds to the GTHA and outside the GTHA based on their relative shares of the population, the Province is ensuring that the allocation is fair, accountable and transparent. This distribution would amount to an investment of about $16 billion in transit projects in the GTHA and about $15 billion in critical infrastructure projects elsewhere in Ontario.

An online portal to report publicly on construction progress will be established later this year.

Dedicated Funds to Support Moving Ontario Forward

As announced in the 2014 Budget, Ontario is taking a strong stance on the importance of investing in critical infrastructure, in part by strategically examining ways to unlock value from certain Provincial assets. Reinvesting the value of certain Provincial assets in modernizing public infrastructure is vital to Ontario’s growth and quality of life. That is why the Province established dedicated funds that will be made available for transportation and other critical infrastructure across Ontario.

As part of the establishment of dedicated funds outlined in the 2014 Budget, the government announced an asset optimization target of $3.1 billion. In this Budget, the government is announcing that it is revising its asset optimization target to $5.7 billion — a $2.6 billion increase over the 2014 Budget projection. This increase will help support the Province to:

  • Accelerate service enhancements to the GO Transit network, which will lay the foundation for Regional Express Rail (RER);
  • Launch a new Connecting Links program, which provides funding for municipal roads that connect to provincial highways;
  • Develop a new program to expand the natural gas network, which would help more communities generate economic growth; and
  • Enhance regional mobility by investing in Metrolinx’s Next Wave projects of The Big Move, such as the Hurontario–Main Light Rail Transit project in Mississauga and Brampton, and rapid transit in Hamilton.

The Trillium Trust was established to provide for the dedication of net proceeds from the sale of qualifying assets to be used for key infrastructure priorities, including roads, bridges and transit.

This revised asset optimization target will be achieved through the pursuit of a number of key opportunities, including the potential sale of a number of prime-located real estate assets, as well as the sale or optimization of Provincially owned assets that result from acting on the recommendations of the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets. All net proceeds from the sale of qualifying Provincially owned assets will be placed in the Trillium Trust, and will be used to support the infrastructure investments under the Moving Ontario Forward plan.

See Chapter I, Section C: Unlocking the Value of Provincial Assets for more details.

In addition to the government’s asset optimization target, the $31.5 billion in Moving Ontario Forward dedicated funds are supported by:

The Province continues to assess the feasibility of building new and converting select high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes in the GTHA into high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, in which carpooling drivers would continue to drive for free, but other drivers could choose to drive and pay a toll.

  • Dedicating proceeds from 7.5 cents of the existing Provincial gasoline tax to public transit and transportation infrastructure priorities, starting in 2014–15. This is above the existing gas tax funding provided to municipalities, with no increase to the current tax rate;
  • Repurposing revenues from the existing Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) charged on the current Provincial taxes on gasoline and road diesel across the province;
  • Dedicating proceeds from the following targeted revenue measures: restricting large corporations from claiming the small business deduction, increasing the aviation fuel tax rate by one cent per litre each year for four years, and proposing to restrict the fuel tax exemption for certain road-building machines;
  • Working with the federal government to secure federal funding through the Building Canada Plan for key transportation-related projects throughout the province;
  • Dedicating net revenue gains from high-occupancy toll lanes when they become available; and
  • Supplementing dedicated funds by leveraging Provincial borrowing to ensure a stable funding source available to support priority projects as they are constructed.
TABLE 1.1 Dedicated Funds for Moving Ontario Forward
($ Billions)
  2014–15* 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 10-Year
Total
2014 Budget: Dedicated Funds 3.3 3.3 3.0 3.2 28.9
Projected Asset Optimization Target (Including Contributions through the Trillium Trust) 1.1 1.0 0.5 0.5 3.1
Increase in Dedicated Funds 0.2 0.6 0.5 0.5 2.6
Change to Asset Optimization Target (Including Contributions through the Trillium Trust) 0.2 0.6 0.5 0.5 2.6
2015 Budget: Dedicated Funds 3.5 3.9 3.4 3.6 31.5
Projected Revised Asset Optimization Target (Including Contributions through the Trillium Trust) 1.3 1.6 1.0 1.0 5.7
*Includes $249 million in net proceeds resulting from the sale of General Motors shares in 2013–14.
Note: Numbers may not add due to rounding.

Investing in Transit Inside the GTHA

Regional Express Rail

Regional Express Rail (RER) will change the way people think about regional transportation. The RER vision will provide significant new travel choices including:

  • Enhanced service on rail corridors, with trains running up to every 15 minutes in core areas.
  • Two-way, all-day service on weekdays, during the evenings and on weekends in core areas.

Moving more people and goods faster and more efficiently is a key objective of Moving Ontario Forward. Working closely with Metrolinx, Ontario will make smart investments and improve GO service. The result will be Regional Express Rail (RER). It will mean more trains, more frequent trips and, most importantly, faster service.

While commuters will be able to get to and from work more easily, more drivers will be able to choose transit to move around the region and leave their cars at home. As the service steadily improves, RER will help ease congestion and gridlock across the region.

Regional Express Rail is the Province’s vision. Making it happen starts now.

To deliver this vision, Metrolinx will continue the planning, design and construction work necessary to improve services across the GO Transit network. This requires partnerships with rail companies, which own some of the corridors that GO Transit uses, to help find solutions that will allow for additional GO service. The Province is also enhancing train service on all lines, including fully electrifying the Barrie, Stouffville and Lakeshore East corridors.

Regional Express Rail will deliver electrified service, at about 15-minute frequencies, along the following routes:

  • Lakeshore East and Lakeshore West corridors, between Oshawa and Burlington;
  • Union Station to Unionville on the Stouffville corridor;
  • Union Station to Bramalea on the Kitchener corridor, including UP Express; and
  • Union Station to Aurora on the Barrie corridor.

Major infrastructure projects such as RER require intensive planning and design work prior to construction. Supported by the increase in dedicated funds announced in this Budget for Moving Ontario Forward, the Province can now move to immediately enhance GO rail service, which is the first step to phasing in RER. Beginning in 2015–16, the government will provide additional funding to Metrolinx to offer new services on all rail corridors, including:

  • New peak trips during the morning and afternoon commutes;
  • New trips during the day and in the evening; and
  • New weekend trips.

The GO system, strengthened by the Province’s investments in RER, including on the Stouffville and Kitchener lines, will provide the backbone for a regional network. This network will also be the foundation for the SmartTrack proposal in the City of Toronto. Additional funding is needed to support key elements of this proposal, such as new stations along the route and an extension along Eglinton to the busy airport area. The SmartTrack funding proposal entails contributions of about $5.2 billion in new funding from partners, including the City of Toronto and the federal government.

SmartTrack

SmartTrack is a proposal for rapid transit throughout the City of Toronto. The proposal requires electrification of the GO Transit Stouffville and Kitchener lines. The plan would result in more rapid transit options for the City and the region to help manage congestion. The SmartTrack plan would also extend to the important airport employment lands, providing easy access to the area without a car.

New partner funding would also help other RER projects move forward. For example, flood mitigation projects in the GO Richmond Hill corridor will be required to support future service enhancements along the line and could help support Toronto’s infrastructure. The Province encourages municipal partners to explore financing tools, such as asset optimization, to help ensure these projects may proceed.

In 2015–16, planned service enhancements to GO Transit rail service include the addition of up to 24 weekday rail trips. By 2020, this initiative will increase rail service on the GO Transit network by approximately 50 per cent over current levels. Additional weekend and off-peak trips will also increase opportunities for commuters to choose transit not just for getting to work, but also for getting around.

TABLE 1.2 GO Transit Rail Service Improvements
GO Transit Rail Service Current Service Levels
(# of daily trips)
Planned Service Levels by 2020*
(# of daily trips)
Weekday Peak 159 190
Weekday Off-Peak 93 160
Weekend 128 220
Total 380 570
* The Province, through Metrolinx, will work with the corridor owners, as required, to implement these planned service improvements. The final schedule for service increases and electrification will depend on negotiations between Metrolinx and Canadian National Railway or Canadian Pacific Railway, which currently own about 20 per cent of the rail corridors GO Transit uses.

GO Transit is also increasing bus service to address new demand areas, reduce overcrowding and improve reliability. Planned service enhancements include the introduction of 14 new buses and the addition of 250 weekly bus trips in 2015–16.

Other Priority Rapid Transit Projects

In addition to RER, the Province will work with related municipalities to move towards implementation of the Hurontario–Main Light Rail Transit project in Mississauga and Brampton, and rapid transit in Hamilton. These projects will help improve regional mobility and can connect to the GO Transit network. Ongoing planning and design work will continue for projects in the Next Wave of The Big Move, including:

  • Dundas Street Bus Rapid Transit, linking Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville and Burlington;
  • Durham–Scarborough Bus Rapid Transit;
  • Brampton Queen Street Rapid Transit;
  • Toronto Relief Line; and
  • Yonge North Subway Extension.

Investing in Transportation and Other Critical Infrastructure Outside the GTHA

A prosperous Ontario depends on strong, interconnected communities that serve an increasingly mobile population. Dedicated funding through Moving Ontario Forward will help connect regions, develop new economic opportunities and improve the quality of life of Ontarians by improving critical infrastructure in cities, towns, and rural and remote communities across the province. The government will work with regions and communities outside the GTHA to make targeted investments to meet local infrastructure needs and support economic development.

A number of investments are already underway and slated to begin in 2015–16. New investments will build on the success of existing programs to improve critical infrastructure. Priority will also be placed on investments that support economic development, in partnership with communities and regions.

In August 2014, the Province took steps to deliver its support for strong communities by launching the new permanent Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund and an intake process for the federal government’s Small Communities Fund.

The Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund will provide $100 million per year to help small, rural and northern municipalities build and repair critical infrastructure and create jobs across Ontario. The Fund includes $50 million in stable, predictable, formula-based funding and $50 million in application-based funding. In February 2015, the first round of funding under the application-based component was announced for 78 projects.

The Small Communities Fund will provide $272 million each from Ontario and the federal government to support community projects in municipalities with fewer than 100,000 residents. Ontario recently submitted its project nominations for the Small Communities Fund to the federal government.

The Province is also moving forward with investments in transportation networks that will help improve mobility outside the GTHA, including:

  • Expanding additional segments of Highway 11/17 between Thunder Bay and Nipigon;
  • Constructing a new alignment of Highway 7 between Kitchener and Guelph;
  • Making improvements to Highway 401 in London and Highway 417 in Ottawa;
  • Advancing an environmental assessment for a high-speed rail line that will connect Windsor, London, Kitchener–Waterloo and Toronto;
  • Supporting the Maley Drive Extension project in Sudbury. In December 2014, the Province proposed the project to the federal government for cost-sharing under the Building Canada Fund; and
  • Committing to infrastructure development, including transportation, in the Ring of Fire region.

The Ring of Fire

In the 2014 Budget, Ontario committed up to $1 billion for strategic transportation infrastructure development in the Ring of Fire region, located about 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. Ontario is calling on the federal government to match the Province’s investment to develop the necessary infrastructure.

Recently, Ontario and the federal government announced more than $785,000 for a joint study in the region. Funding is being provided to remote Matawa communities to examine the benefits of developing an all-season transportation corridor connecting First Nation communities in the area with existing roadways. The road would establish a transportation corridor connecting the area of mineral deposits and four remote First Nations (Webequie, Eabametoong, Neskantaga and Nibinamik) to Pickle Lake, Ontario, about 500 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay. The study supports Ontario’s plan to drive development in the Ring of Fire and ensure its tremendous potential can be realized for First Nations, Ontario and Canada.

In the summer of 2014, Ontario established the Ring of Fire Infrastructure Development Corporation to move forward in a smart, sustainable and collaborative way with First Nations, the private sector and communities.

See Chapter III: National Leadership — Strong Ontario, Strong Canada for more details.

Supported by the increase in dedicated funds announced in this Budget for Moving Ontario Forward, the Province will now be able to provide funding for a new Connecting Links program beginning in 2016–17, to help improve local roads that connect to the provincial highway network. These improvements will support the efficient movement of people and goods throughout the province. The Province will work with its municipal partners to design a program that addresses these projects in a systematic way.

The ability to connect to the natural gas network is an example of critical infrastructure investment that can remove a barrier to growth in many municipalities. Supported by the increase in dedicated funds for Moving Ontario Forward, the Province will develop a new program to help communities partner with utilities to extend access to natural gas supplies. Natural gas access can help stimulate the economy, particularly in smaller communities, by attracting new industry, making commercial transportation more affordable, benefiting agricultural producers and providing consumers with more energy choices.

Beginning in 2015, the Province will work with regions, communities and the private sector to design new programs and a framework to prioritize and evaluate infrastructure needs based on their economic, social and environmental returns. This framework will be used to select the next generation of infrastructure investments that improve the competitiveness of Ontario’s communities, enhance productivity, promote innovation and develop new economic opportunities. Potential projects could include investments in municipal rapid transit projects in Ottawa, Waterloo and London, and in GO Transit, including Regional Express Rail service beyond the boundaries of the GTHA.

Building Together: Modernizing Infrastructure in Communities across Ontario

Education Infrastructure

Investments in schools help provide safe and healthy learning environments so students can focus on their education and development. This funding also responds to local needs and supports Building Together, Ontario’s long-term infrastructure plan.

Over 10 years, the Province plans to provide more than $11 billion in capital grants to school boards. This funding will help build new schools in areas of high growth, improve the condition of existing school facilities, and invest in projects to reduce surplus space through school consolidations. As of the spring of 2015, nearly 100 major capital projects are either in planning or underway across the province, including:

  • New elementary schools in:
    • Collingwood — to accommodate 200 French-language students;
    • East Gwillimbury — to replace an existing school and meet growth and
      full-day kindergarten needs, accommodating 461 students;
    • Ottawa — to meet growth and full-day kindergarten needs, accommodating 412 students;
    • Severn — to accommodate 317 students as a result of the consolidation of two schools;
    • Toronto — to replace an existing elementary school and address growth pressures, accommodating 642 students; and
    • Vaughan — to help meet growing needs in the area, accommodating 615 students.
  • New secondary schools in:
    • Fort Erie — to accommodate 750 secondary school students in the area as a result of the consolidation of two schools; and
    • Peterborough — to build a new JK–Grade 12 French Catholic school with modern learning spaces, accommodating 432 French-language students.
  • Renovations and additions, such as:
    • An additional four classrooms for École Élémentaire Catholique Sainte-Marie to meet growth in Chatham;
    • Consolidation of two elementary schools into W. F. Herman Secondary School in Windsor, to help accommodate 1,395 students from JK–Grade 12;
    • An additional five classrooms and retrofit for Coronation Public School in Brantford to support consolidation with Fairview Public School;
    • The renovation and construction of 11 classrooms in Barrie North Collegiate to support the consolidation of students from Barrie Central Collegiate and to accommodate 1,360 students;
    • A retrofit of Madawaska Valley District High School in Barry’s Bay to accommodate the consolidation of students from Sherwood Public School;
    • The retrofit of Land of Lakes Senior Public School in Burk’s Falls to accommodate incoming students from M.A. Wittick Junior Public School; and
    • An addition to St. Paschal Baylon Catholic School in North York to accommodate enrolment growth in the Yonge–Sheppard community, accommodating 727 students.

Postsecondary Infrastructure

The government is committed to focusing on postsecondary capacity expansion that increases local access to education in areas of the province where enrolment demand will be strong and capacity gaps are expected to develop over time. This will support Ontario’s growing knowledge-based economy.

As outlined in the 2014 Budget, the Province launched a call for proposals in March 2014 as the first step in a formal, transparent and competitive process to evaluate decisions about future expansions. The panel that was established to conduct the evaluation process recently concluded its work and the government will communicate next steps related to the current call for proposals at a future date.

Ensuring safe and effective learning environments for Ontario’s postsecondary students remains a priority for Ontario’s ongoing investments in the sector. That is why the government will continue its investments in critical maintenance repairs and upgrades to existing postsecondary facilities. As announced in the 2014 Budget, the Province is providing additional funding of almost $500 million over the next 10 years, bringing the total planned investments to almost $900 million.

Examples of approved postsecondary infrastructure projects include:

  • Humber College — $75 million to support construction of the Learning Resource Commons, which will be the new entrance to the Humber North Campus. The six-storey, 260,000-square-foot facility will open in September 2015.
  • McMaster University — $45.5 million to support construction of L.R. Wilson Hall, which will open later in 2015 and be the new home for the Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Health and Social Infrastructure

Investments in health care and social infrastructure help support the delivery of quality services and help Ontarians lead healthier lives.

The Province plans to provide more than $11 billion in hospital capital grants over 10 years to build adequate infrastructure capacity in the health care sector. Across Ontario, approximately 40 major hospital projects are under construction or in various stages of planning, including:

  • Halton Healthcare Services’ Milton District Hospital Redevelopment. The project includes a significant addition to the existing hospital to accommodate the growing community in Milton and will start construction in 2015–16.
  • Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington — Phase I Redevelopment, which includes construction of a new seven-storey tower and renovations to existing space to accommodate expanded inpatient and ambulatory services. Construction is underway.
  • St. Joseph’s Care Group in Thunder Bay — Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Program, which will include 38 inpatient beds and related outpatient programs to serve people with serious mental illness. The new facility will enable videoconferencing to better meet the needs of clients, family members and staff who live in the region and cannot readily access specialized clinical services in their home communities. The project is in procurement.
  • St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital — Emergency, Ambulatory and Mental Health Redevelopment, which will expand the existing hospital and include an acute mental health unit with 15 inpatient beds and ambulatory services, an emergency department and a surgical suite. The project is in procurement.
  • University of Ottawa Heart Institute — Cardiac Life Support Services Redevelopment, which will add five floors for clinical and inpatient services to improve access to high-quality specialized cardiac services for residents in the Champlain Local Health Integration Network region. Construction is underway.
  • William Osler Health System — Etobicoke General Hospital Redevelopment Phase 1 Patient Tower, which includes construction of a new four-storey tower providing a larger emergency department, intensive care unit and ambulatory procedures unit. The project is in procurement.

In the 2014 Budget, the Province announced new funding of $300 million over 10 years to help shift care from hospitals to community settings and ensure adequate infrastructure capacity in the health care sector. New funding is supporting the expansion of eligibility for community-sector capital grants and implementation of innovative new approaches to health care delivery.

The Province is also investing in children’s and social services facilities, such as the new ErinoakKids Centre for Treatment and Development, Ontario’s largest children’s treatment centre, located in Brampton, Mississauga and Oakville. The new facilities will serve more than 14,500 children and youth annually, and will make it easier to access treatment such as physiotherapy, speech and language services, and occupational therapy. Construction on the three facilities is expected to begin in the spring and summer of 2015 and they are scheduled to open in 2017.

Justice Infrastructure

Investments in justice facilities help strengthen community safety and provide meaningful support to everyone involved in the justice system. The Province is modernizing the justice system to enhance service delivery, provide timely access to justice and assist vulnerable populations.

Examples of projects underway include:

  • Constructing a new trades training centre at the William E. Hay Centre in Ottawa, which will provide rehabilitation for youth in secure custody and improve access to trades training and education.
  • Moving ahead with plans to build a new courthouse in downtown Toronto to consolidate a number of Ontario Court of Justice and Superior Court of Justice operations from five locations into one. The new facility will enable more effective and responsive delivery of justice services and increase access to social justice programs in the city.
  • Continuing efforts to modernize Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) facilities across the province with the construction of several new OPP detachments.

Energy Infrastructure

A clean, reliable and affordable supply of electricity is critical to the present and future prosperity of Ontario’s people and businesses.

One megawatt (MW) of electricity is equal to one million watts (a “watt” is a measurement unit of power). One MW could power 100,000 10-watt LED light bulbs.

Since 2003, the government has made significant progress transforming the electricity system into one that Ontarians can count on. More than $30 billion has been invested in cleaner generation and Hydro One alone has invested over $13 billion in modern transmission and distribution infrastructure. Over 15,000 megawatts (MW) of new and refurbished capacity have come online, including more than 6,000 MW of wind, solar and other renewable energy supply.

Ontario is now home to North America’s largest power plant fuelled completely by biomass; converted from using coal, the Atikokan Generating Station has a capacity of over 200 MW. The station is now generating electricity and helping meet local power needs in northwestern Ontario. In addition, the Thunder Bay Generating Station is leading the electricity industry with exciting new technology that came into service as of early 2015. The station can meet changes in electricity demand using a clean and renewable fuel through its conversion to advanced biomass.

Six new generating units on the Lower Mattagami River have come online, with the last unit coming into service in December 2014. These units have added 438 MW of emission-free electricity to the previous 486 MW — or enough incremental capacity to meet twice the peak demand of Greater Sudbury.

Ontario is building on its Long-Term Energy Plan, Achieving Balance, and making smart investments in modernizing its energy infrastructure through support for renewable energy projects and refurbishment of 10 nuclear units at the Darlington and Bruce sites. These investments are made in a manner that balances each of the Long-Term Energy Plan’s principles of cost-effectiveness, reliability, clean energy, community engagement and an emphasis on conservation first.

Expanding Natural Gas Distribution

Natural gas access can help stimulate the economy, particularly in smaller communities, by attracting new industry, making commercial transportation more affordable, benefiting agricultural producers and providing consumers with more energy choices.

As a first step, the government has asked the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to examine opportunities to facilitate access to natural gas services in more communities across Ontario. The OEB has invited interested parties to propose one or more plans for natural gas expansion. If the economics of a proposed project may not be accommodated within the current regulatory framework, the OEB has invited applicants to identify options that would address any regulatory impediments to connecting the proposed projects. The OEB has indicated that it will consider these options.

The Province is also developing a new program that will help communities partner with utilities to extend access to natural gas supplies. This program is in the early stages of development and will be designed following input from stakeholders.

Cost-Effective Delivery of Infrastructure Projects

Ontario is a leading jurisdiction for Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) projects, with nearly 10 years’ experience in using the AFP model to renew hospitals, courthouses and other public assets across the province.

Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) is an innovative procurement model designed to foster infrastructure partnerships with the private sector.

Before the Province decides to deliver an infrastructure project through AFP, it assesses a project’s size, complexity and cost to ensure the model can deliver value for Ontario. Infrastructure Ontario (IO) also undertakes a value-for-money assessment during and after procurement to ensure that AFP delivery will provide better value for Ontarians than traditional procurement.

Infrastructure Ontario, on behalf of the Ontario government, is delivering over 80 AFP projects valued at about $35 billion in capital construction costs. Almost all completed AFP projects — 36 of 37 — have been delivered on budget.

Examples of AFP projects currently underway or recently completed include:

  • The Athletes’ Village, which is the largest infrastructure project associated with the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games. The Village is expected to house more than 10,000 athletes and officials participating in the Games. After the Games, the Village will be transformed into a mixed-use neighbourhood with affordable housing, a new YMCA, health services and a residence for George Brown College students. The project won Canadian Architect magazine’s Award of Excellence in 2012.
  • Consolidated courthouses built in Thunder Bay and St. Thomas, which will improve access to justice services and reduce delays in the court system. The St. Thomas Courthouse was recognized in 2014 as a Gold Award winner at the Canadian Council for Public–Private Partnerships’ National Awards for Innovation and Excellence.
  • Markham Stouffville Hospital, completed in the summer of 2014, which will help meet the needs of a growing population and enhance access to essential health care services by doubling the size of the previous facility.

Infrastructure Ontario Leading the Way

“There are many benefits that the P3 [public–private partnerships] model has brought in to the [Ontario] system…. Leveraging the expertise and project management discipline of the private sector through the judicious use of P3s, should continue to be a tool in the infrastructure procurement toolbox.”

TD Economics Special Report, “Ontario’s P3s — Cost Does Not Equal Value,” March 31, 2015.

The Auditor General of Ontario recently completed an assessment of the AFP model. The report acknowledged IO’s strong record of delivering infrastructure projects on time and on budget, and confirmed that, through AFP projects, IO is transferring risks to the private sector that could otherwise result in higher costs and delays.

The government is committed to continuous improvement and modernization of its project procurement and delivery. Infrastructure Ontario will continue to enhance the AFP model by addressing the Auditor General’s recommendations, applying lessons learned, developing best practices, and being open and transparent with the public and stakeholders.

Federal Funding for Infrastructure

Progress on the Building Canada Plan

Modern infrastructure is essential not just for Ontario’s economy, but also for the Canadian economy as a whole.

The Province is leveraging its infrastructure investments by participating in the Building Canada Plan. In December 2014, Ontario submitted a priority list of diverse and strategic projects to the federal government for funding under the Provincial–Territorial Infrastructure Component. Ontario’s submission includes:

  • Investments in GO Transit improvements;
  • Six northern highway projects;
  • Five projects that will improve the quality of Ontario Parks’ drinking water;
  • Five disaster mitigation projects that will improve the resiliency of Ontario’s dams to natural hazards and mitigate the impact of climate change; and
  • Key municipal projects, including Sudbury’s Maley Drive Extension and the Ottawa River Action Plan.

The Province shares the federal government’s interest in the Toronto Port Lands Flood Protection Project and looks forward to completion of due diligence work in support of this critical initiative in collaboration with the City of Toronto and the federal government.

Later this year, the Province will also submit a second list of projects for funding under the Building Canada Fund.

In addition, the Province recently submitted its initial list of projects under the Small Communities Fund component of the Building Canada Fund. Ontario was one of the first provinces to accept submissions from municipalities under this program and a second intake round will be announced later this year. The Province is calling on the federal government to quickly approve these priority projects so that work can begin in communities across the province.

In Canada, provinces and territories are investing three times as much as the federal government on infrastructure. Provincial and territorial spending makes up 46 per cent of total government infrastructure spending, and municipal spending represents 40 per cent. This means that federal spending represents only 14 per cent, even after taking into account federal transfers to other orders of government. However, the federal government collects roughly the same amount of revenues derived from the economic growth associated with these infrastructure investments as do provinces and territories combined. A pan-Canadian infrastructure partnership is needed to balance this misalignment between investments and benefits. Ontario calls on the federal government to participate fully in this partnership.

See Chapter III: National Leadership — Strong Ontario, Strong Canada for more details on the benefits of a Canadian infrastructure partnership.

Strengthening Land Use Planning

Ontario is holding public consultations on provincial land use plans that were put in place to protect the Greenbelt and prime agricultural land, build transit-friendly communities and support economic development. This coordinated review includes the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Niagara Escarpment Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Greenbelt Plan. Each of these plans has been forward-looking, but they can be made even stronger and more integrated. That is why the Province is encouraging Ontarians to participate in the review. The review will be completed in early 2016, with public comments being accepted until May 28, 2015.

The government has also heard from other areas of the province on the importance of developing plans to support growth and protect Ontario’s natural resources, including valuable agricultural lands. That is why the Province will consider growth planning for eastern Ontario, supported by public consultation and stakeholder input.

1 International Monetary Fund, “World Economic Outlook: Legacies, Clouds, Uncertainties,” (October 2014).

2 Pedro Antunes and Jacqueline Palladini, “The Economic Impact of Ontario’s Infrastructure Investment Program,” The Conference Board of Canada (April 2013).

3 Metrolinx, “Cost of Road Congestion in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area: Impact and Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Metrolinx Draft Regional Transportation Plan,” (2008).

4 Benjamin Dachis, “Cars, Congestion and Costs: A New Approach to Evaluating Government Infrastructure Investment,” C.D. Howe Institute (2013).

5 Jon D. Harford, “Congestion, Pollution, and Benefit-to-Cost Ratios of US Public Transit Systems,” Transportation Research Part D (2006): 45–58.

6 Todd Litman, “Evaluating Public Transit Benefits and Costs,” Victoria Transport Policy Institute (2015).

Chart Descriptions

Chart 1.6: Dedicated Funds for Moving Ontario Forward: Over 10 Years

This bar chart shows a $2.6 billion increase in dedicated funds for Moving Ontario Forward between the 2014 Budget and 2015 Document. In the 2014 Budget, total dedicated funds for Moving Ontario Forward were nearly $29 billion, including an asset optimization target of $3.1 billion. In the 2015 Document, total dedicated funds for Moving Ontario Forward have increased to $31.5 billion, including an asset optimization target of $5.7 billion.

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Chart 1.7: Regional Express Rail and Other GO Rail Service Improvements

This map shows planned GO rail improvements on the Kitchener, Milton, Lakeshore West, Lakeshore East, Barrie, Richmond Hill and Stouffville lines. Segments of lines are distinguished by type of improvement, including Regional Express Rail, additional trips and enhanced service.

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Chart 1.8: Benefits of Regional Express Rail

This chart presents an illustrative case example of Alex in Aurora and how her travel to and from Toronto will improve as a result of Regional Express Rail.

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Chart 1.9: Moving Ontario Forward — GTHA

This chart shows preliminary estimated timelines for various transit projects within the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), under the Moving Ontario Forward initiative. Projects are labelled according to funding source, including those supported by Moving Ontario Forward dedicated funds (approximately $16 billion) and those that could proceed if new partner funding is provided (about $5.2 billion).

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Chart 1.10: Moving Ontario Forward — Outside the GTHA

This chart shows preliminary estimated timelines for various investments outside the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), under the Moving Ontario Forward initiative. These investments are supported by dedicated funds of approximately $15 billion.

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Chart 1.11: Supporting Infrastructure Needs of Rural Communities

This map shows the locations of 78 approved projects under the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund across the province.

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Chart 1.12: Highlights of Alternative Financing and Procurement Projects Completed or Underway

This map shows highlights of Alternative Financing and Procurement projects completed or underway in the province of Ontario. Projects are labelled according to sector: education, health, justice, transportation or other.

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