The Ontario government says it’s taking the first step in its economic recovery plan, starting with new legislation.
On July 8 the province unveiled the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, which will aim to lay the foundation to restart jobs and development, strengthen communities, and create more opportunities for Ontario residents.
If passed, the province says the act will:
- Get key infrastructure projects built faster and cut down on red tape to assist businesses
- Ensure municipalities are equipped with the tools to continue providing critical services to their residents
- Allow municipalities and their local boards to continue to choose to hold meetings electronically at any time, and put in place a new community benefits charge to help municipalities pay for the infrastructure and services needed for growing communities
- Modernize services and improve the education system to remove barriers for young people
“Making Ontario a modern regulator — one that communicates clearly and operates effectively — will free up our people and businesses to focus on what’s important: recovering and re-emerging stronger than before,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Ontario’s Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction.
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“By improving digital access to government and incorporating best practices, we’re empowering businesses to rebuild, rehire, and return to a period where their success fuels our economic growth. A modern Ontario is better for people and smarter for business.”
The government says it’s also investing $2.6 billion this year to rehabilitate highways and bridges throughout the province.
When asked about how much funding municipalities could expect from the province to assist in their own economic recoveries, Premier Doug Ford said he was still in negotiations with the federal government.
“I’ll be very frank — when we’re on the call with the premiers I’m leading the charge for municipalities, pushing the federal government like crazy to come up with a fair deal,” Ford said.
He added that he’s not happy with how negotiations are going at this moment.
“We’re approximately 38 per cent of the population, and I want to make sure we get 38 per cent of the money,” said the premier. “I’m not even asking for more than $14 billion, even though I don’t think it’s enough. We’re all asking the same thing: Give us the flexibility and give us per capita, and we have a deal.”
Ford is also pushing for municipalities to talk to their local MPs and the federal government to try and assist with the negotiations.