This afternoon, The Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance, released 2022 Ontario Budget: Ontario’s Plan to Build. The document focuses on a plan for better jobs, building highways, transit and hospitals, and lower costs for families.

In summary, Ontario’s real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 4.3 percent in 2021, and employment rose by 344,800 net jobs in 2021 or 4.9 percent, the strongest annual pace of job growth on record.

According to the Minister, Ontario is projected to return to a surplus position by 2027–28, two years earlier than forecast in the 2021 Budget. Over the medium term, the government is projecting steadily declining deficits of $19.9 billion in 2022–23, $12.3 billion in 2023–24, and $7.6 billion in 2024–25.

The net debt-to-GDP ratio is projected to be 40.7 percent in 2021–22, 8.1 percentage points lower than the 48.8 percent forecast presented in the 2021 Budget. Over the medium-term outlook, Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP ratio is now forecast to be 41.4 percent in 2022–23 and 2023–24 and declining to 41.3 percent in 2024–25.
Ontario’s Plan to Build has five Pillars:

  1. Rebuilding Ontario’s Economy
  2. Working for Workers
  3. Building Highways and Key infrastructure
  4. Keeping Costs Down
  5. A Plan to Stay Open

Key elements of interest to Ontario’s construction industry include:
Rebuilding Ontario’s Economy

  • Ontario has committed close to $1 billion to support critical legacy infrastructure such as all‐season roads to the Ring of Fire.

  • Re-announcement of up to $500 million in support for ArcelorMittal Dofasco’s $1.8 billion investment to replace its coal‐fed coke ovens and blast furnaces with new, low‐emission technology by 2028.

  • Re-announcement of the government’s commitment to Phase 2 of Driving Prosperity: The Future of Ontario’s Automotive Sector, to build the next generation of vehicles in Ontario. The government will also help transform the supply chain by supporting the exploration, mining and production of critical minerals to create a domestic battery ecosystem and encourage research and development.  

  • Re-announcement of $1.5 million to support an $18.5 million investment by auto parts manufacturer Ventra Group to create the Flex‐Ion Battery Innovation Centre in Windsor.
Working for Workers

The Skills Development Fund, announced in the 2020 Budget, supported innovative, market‐driven solutions to address challenges to hiring, training, or retaining workers, including apprentices, during the COVID‐19 pandemic. Building on the success of the program, Ontario is providing an additional $15.8 million in 2022–23 to support the development and expansion of brick‐and‐mortar training facilities, which could include union training halls, to help more workers get the skills they need to find good, well‐paying jobs and ensure employers can find the talent they need to build and grow their businesses.

The government is relaunching the Second Career program as Better Jobs Ontario, which will now support a larger, more diverse range of Ontario workers, with $5 million in new funding in 2022–23.

Ontario is investing an additional $114.4 million over three years in its Skilled Trades Strategy to break the stigma associated with the skilled trades, simplify the system, and encourage employer participation. These investments include:
  • $73.8 million over three years for in‐class training for apprentices to accommodate an increase in enrolment, assist students with accessibility and accommodation needs and support additional in‐demand classes.

  • $10 million in 2022–23 to maintain the Infrastructure Talent Accelerator grant, which helps apprentices participating in the in‐demand trades train to help build historic infrastructure projects, such as the Ontario Line Subway Project and Scarborough Subway Extension.

  • $15 million over three years for the Tools Grant, which provides increased financial support for apprentices completing their apprenticeship program and receiving certification by helping apprentices pay for their tools and equipment.

  • $6.3 million over three years for the Achievement Incentive program, which encourages and supports skilled trades employers, including those in group sponsor arrangements, when apprentices meet training and certification milestones.

  • $6 million over three years for the Group Sponsorship Grant, which improves apprentice progression and completion by supporting small‐ to medium‐sized employers to come together to train apprentices in the full scope of their trade.

  • $3.3 million over three years for the Apprenticeship Capital Grant to provide supports for Training Delivery Agents to meet the evolving needs of the workplace with innovative technology.
The Ontario government is investing $1 billion annually in employment and training programs to help people retrain and upgrade their skills and is providing $268.5 million over three years in additional funding through Employment Ontario to strengthen the government’s skills training and employment programs.

The Ontario government is increasing the general minimum wage to $15.50 per hour on October 1, 2022 and investing $15.1 million over three years in the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), which nominates applicants for permanent residence who have the skills and experience to match Ontario’s labour market needs.
Building Highways and Key Infrastructure

Over the next 10 years, the government plans to invest a total of $158.8 billion, including $20.0 billion in 2022–23. Highlights of the capital plan follow below.

Ontario is investing $25.1 billion over 10 years to support the planning and/or construction of highway expansion and rehabilitation projects across the province.

The government is investing $61.6 billion over 10 years for public transit, including Ontario’s new subway transit plan for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and transforming the GO Transit network into a modern, reliable, and fully integrated rapid transit network.

Ontario is supporting municipal transit and shelters including matching, dollar‐for‐dollar, the recent federal commitment of $316.2 million, for total provincial and federal funding of $632 million.

The government is investing about $14 billion in capital grants over 10 years to support school infrastructure. This includes $1.4 billion to renew and maintain schools for the 2022–23 school year.

$2 billion in capital grants over the next 10 years, to help colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes modernize classrooms by upgrading technology, carrying out critical repairs and improving environmental sustainability.  
A Plan to Stay Open

The government also plans to strengthen Ontario's healthcare system by investing over $40 billion in capital, over 10 years, for hospitals and other health infrastructure.

Click here to view the full budget.