The Ontario Liberal Plan for Care and Opportunity

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Table of Contents

Download the plan

Message from Kathleen Wynne

Plan for Care

Plan for Opportunity

Plan for Affordability

Plan for a Green Ontario

Plan for Vibrant and Safe Communities

Plan for Northern Ontario

Plan for Rural Ontario

Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples

Plan for Francophone Ontario

Plan for Better Government

Fiscal Plan

Message from Kathleen Wynne

Message from Kathleen Wynne

Building Ontario Up

In 2014, you elected a Liberal government that promised to build Ontario up.

You elected a government that promised to create jobs and growth, improve retirement security for workers and build the next generation of infrastructure. We promised to help families with the cost of living, enhance education and child care, improve access to health care and support clean and sustainable communities.

We kept our promises. Over the past four years we:

  • Strengthened the economy, leading to the creation of hundreds of thousands of good jobs, the lowest unemployment rate in 17 years and economic growth that is leading the world’s strongest economic powers, including the US and Europe
  • Led the way to Canada Pension Plan enhancements for Canadian workers
  • Made historic investments in hospitals, schools, transit, roads and bridges
  • Made university and college tuition more affordable for the middle class and completely free for 235,000 students
  • Completed the implementation of Full-Day Kindergarten and increased high school graduation rates to 86.5 per cent
  • Provided free prescription drugs to children and youth under 25 and shortened wait times to see specialists
  • Increased the minimum wage to $15 an hour in January 2019
  • Expanded rent control to protect tenants from unfair rent hikes
  • Cut hydro rates by 25 per cent
  • Ended coal generation, cleaned up our air and led the fight against climate change

We also introduced ground-breaking programs to combat sexual violence and harassment, welcomed thousands of Syrian refugees to Ontario and began the journey of reconciliation with our Indigenous peoples.

There is Still More to Do

Right now, our economy is growing and our unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in almost two decades. But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. People in our province are dealing with a lot of uncertainty in their lives. Our world is changing in ways we’ve never seen before and at speeds that can make it feel hard to keep up. People are struggling to take care of themselves and their loved ones.

I believe government should be there for people who need help. It’s the reason why I entered public life. I believe the way we care for one another is our greatest strength — and government’s greatest responsibility.

That’s why, in this election, Ontario Liberals are focused on who we are fighting for. We are fighting for our children, our overworked moms and dads, our caregivers, our grandparents and our workers all across the province.

We are fighting for you.

So we’ve made a deliberate choice to invest in more care and opportunity.

We’re investing in more health care, more child care and more support for people where they tell us they are falling behind.

And we’re making sure people can take advantage of every opportunity to get a good job and get ahead during this period of economic change.

The Ontario Liberal Plan for Care and Opportunity

Our balanced plan lays out our vision for Ontario and builds on the solid foundation we’ve built over the last four years. It does not incur any additional costs that are not fully accounted for in the 2018 Ontario Budget. It includes our plan for:

  • Care: Better access to child care, health and dental care, mental health care, seniors’ care and women’s health care, support for those with disabilities and income security reforms
  • Opportunity: Helping students achieve their full potential, boosting apprenticeship and training, free college and university tuition for more students, a $15 minimum wage, record infrastructure investments, better retirement security and more jobs and opportunities to get ahead
  • Making life more affordable: Help with the costs of caring for children and seniors and with household costs
  • A green Ontario: Continuing to be a leader in the fight against climate change and protecting our water and natural spaces
  • Vibrant and safe communities: Investments in arts and culture, justice reforms and promoting equity
  • Northern Ontario: Investments in regional economic development, infrastructure and improved services
  • Rural Ontario: Supporting farmers, investments to create jobs and opportunity and better services for rural communities
  • Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples: Continuing our journey of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and working to remove the barriers they face
  • Francophone communities: Investments in French-language education and strong francophone communities
  • Better government: Easy-to-use online services and better customer service

On June 7, I hope you will choose to stand up and fight for your family, your friends, your neighbours and all the young people in Ontario who deserve a brighter future.

That’s who Ontario Liberals are fighting for. And if we stand together, we can continue to build a caring and strong province where everyone has an opportunity to succeed.

If there is any place in the world that can do it, it’s Ontario.

Right here. Right now.

 Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party

Plan for Care

Free Preschool Child Care and More Child Care

Early learning is crucial to a child’s development and helps them get the best possible start in life. And, according to the Bank of Canada, affordable and accessible child care boosts the economy by helping parents, especially mothers, return to the workforce.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, we have supported early learning by implementing Full-Day Kindergarten and improving access to child care for Ontario families. The number of licensed child care spaces in Ontario has grown by 38 per cent since 2012-13 and the Liberal government also stopped child care providers from charging fees to have their child placed on a waiting list.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. Families shouldn’t have to struggle to find or afford child care.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will make our province the first in Canada to provide free preschool child care and will continue to expand child care. Our plan will:

  • Provide free preschool child care to children aged two-and-a-half to kindergarten age, beginning in 2020 and saving families an average of $17,000 per child
  • Create 100,000 new licensed child care spaces over five years
  • Invest $1 billion over three years to increase access to licensed child care for infants and toddlers, reduce fees and reduce or eliminate fee-subsidy wait lists
  • Help children gain valuable social and learning skills that will lead to better preparedness for kindergarten
  • Help parents, especially mothers, return to work when they choose to
  • Support child care professionals through higher wages and professional development
  • Create 4,500 new, culturally relevant child care spaces in First Nations communities

Better Health Care

Publicly funded health care is a core value for Ontario Liberals. We believe that every Ontarian deserves the best care possible, when and where they need it, regardless of their ability to pay.

Our health system is a community of care providers, maintaining high-quality care for patients, clients, and residents across an integrated system, with access to team care that is available to everyone, whenever they need it.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government’s investments in health care have reduced wait times for priority procedures and access to specialists. New investments in wait times mean that patients can be assessed faster at regional assessment centres, have access to interprofessional teams to support their rehabilitation, and be discharged from hospital sooner because of increased investment in home care services.

We have created more than 300 new primary care teams across the province and have created 27 new nurse practitioner-led clinics since 2010 to connect Ontarians with a family doctor or nurse practitioner.

We have doubled services in home and community care. We have made prescription drugs free for children and youth and are building a continuum of care for seniors and their caregivers that provides new models of care that meets their changing needs so they can stay at home longer.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more to shorten wait times and improve access to health care services. Patient needs are changing. Ontario’s health care system is now caring for more frail and elderly seniors and patients with complex health conditions than ever before. We can provide more support for people living with chronic disease and for health promotion programs.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will continue to work with health care providers and make new investments to make sure you and your family receive high-quality, evidence-based care at the right time, close to home. Our plan will:

  • Increase hospital funding by $822 million in 2018-19, providing better access to care, shortening wait times and addressing hospital capacity issues
  • Support 40 major hospital building projects, including major redevelopment of SickKids in Toronto, the Ottawa Hospital, Scarborough and Rouge Hospital, Lakeridge Health, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and Trillium Health Partners
  • Make prescription drugs free for children, youth and seniors, making life more affordable for 4 million Ontarians
  • Make prescription drugs and dental care more affordable for all people and families without benefits
  • Make a historic $2.1 billion additional investment in mental health and addiction care over the next four years to reduce wait times and connect people to care in their communities faster
  • Invest an additional $650 million in home care over the next three years, which will provide 2.8 million more hours of personal support, 284,000 more nursing visits and 58,000 more therapy visits
  • Create 30,000 new long-term care beds over the next 10 years and provide more daily hours of direct care to residents in long-term care
  • Provide more community care by investing in more community supports for mental health and addictions, rehab and dementia care, palliative and end-of-life care, and expanded home care services for complex patients
  • Create a Diabetes Centre of Excellence to support those living with the disease
  • Continue to build on the success of Ontario’s Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy and expand access to publicly funded smoking cessation programs
  • Make it easier for people and families to access the care they need from their local pharmacist, such as vaccinations, and managing chronic diseases
  • Reduce health disparities among racialized and marginalized communities by collecting appropriate data and developing, with community partners, health equity indicators and local plans to ensure more culturally appropriate care is available across the province
  • Continue to invest in telemedicine and new models of care, including virtual care to reduce wait times and make accessing health care easier.
  • Create a capacity planning table to develop multi-year funding plans for hospitals and ensure Ontario has the necessary data and models of care available to meet the health care needs of our growing population.
  • Develop a health workforce planning strategy and ensure health care providers have a seat at the table
  • Maintain current nursing staffing levels and continue to hire more nurses across the health system to support direct patient care; in 2018 this will mean adding 3,500 more nurses to the health system across the continuum of care, including 2,500 in hospital settings, prioritizing Registered Nurses
  • Work with nursing and health system partners to ensure nursing vacancies are filled quickly and full-time work is prioritized
  • Continue to make health care settings safe for patients and health care providers by continuing to implement the recommendations of the Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care Leadership Table

Expanding Access to Mental Health Care

There is no health without mental health. Yet many people — including children and youth — are facing serious mental health challenges. Nearly one in three people in Ontario will experience a mental health or addictions challenge in their lifetime.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, as part of our commitment to provide better care for people with mental illness, the Ontario Liberal Government has improved access to mental health care, including free talk therapy, 17,000 new supportive housing units and Youth Wellness Hubs. We have fought the opioid overdose crisis and saved lives by funding harm reduction supports, supervised injection services and overdose prevention sites.

But we need to do more. No one in Ontario should struggle to access mental health or addictions care for themselves or their loved ones.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will make a historic $2.1 billion additional investment in mental health care to make sure that whatever your age or wherever you live in our province, you will have fast and easy access to the care that’s right for you. Our plan will:

  • Significantly reduce wait times for children and youth needing mental health and addiction care
  • Create a 24/7 provincial help line to provide fast access to help and crisis counselling
  • Double the provincial network of Youth Wellness Hubs, which provide one-stop access to mental health services and smooth the transition from the child and youth system to the adult one
  • Meet the specific needs of LGBTQ2S, racialized, immigrant and Indigenous children, youth and adults
  • Give caregivers and family members supporting a loved one with more support including family counselling and respite services
  • Hire 400 more mental health workers in high schools
  • Fund more mental health promotion workers on college and university campuses and improve connections between campuses and mental health services
  • Further expand access to supportive housing by funding 2,475 additional units
  • Enhance publicly funded addictions treatment services
  • Expand access to free psychotherapy for up to 350,000 more people with anxiety and depression
  • Reduce wait times by increasing funding by three per cent for community-based providers of adult mental illness and addictions care and adding 100 new acute mental health and addictions hospital beds across the province
  • Partner with municipalities to tackle local mental health issues such as homelessness or youth suicide by bringing partners together to better coordinate care and integrate local services
  • Continue to work with front-line health care workers and people with lived experience to combat the opioid crisis, including expanding access to publicly funded withdrawal management and addiction treatment programming across the province

More Care for Seniors

Ontario’s seniors built our province, through decades of hard work, sacrifice and achievement.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, to support our seniors as they age, the Ontario Liberal government has doubled funding of home and community care over the past 10 years. We have also created more than 10,000 new long-term care beds since 2003, allocated 5,000 new beds over the next four years and committed to building 30,000 over the next decade. We have expanded access to hospice and palliative care to support compassionate end-of-life care.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. Ontario is aging faster than ever before and, for the first time, older people in the province now outnumber younger ones. Across Ontario, there are now more than two million seniors and their families trying to navigate this next phase of life as best they can.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will provide more care for seniors that helps them to age with confidence, respect and dignity. Our plan will:

  • Provide free prescription drugs to people over 65, making life more affordable for 2.6 million seniors and their families
  • Help seniors continue to live independently at home for as long as possible, through increased access to home and community care and up to $750 per year through the Seniors Healthy Home Program to help with home maintenance costs
  • Expand community services for those living with dementia, supporting an additional 8,000 people
  • Provide more respite support for caregivers
  • Create 30,000 new long-term care beds over the next 10 years
  • Increase the number of daily hours of nursing, personal support and therapeutic care for long-term care residents to a provincial average of four hours a day by 2022
  • Invest an additional $15 million in 2018-19 to improve access to community-based palliative care
  • Provide immediate access to OHIP-insured home and palliative care for patients moving to Ontario and for Ontario patients moving out of Ontario to be with their families or caregivers
  • Ensure every long-term care home in Ontario has staff with training in behavioural supports and palliative and end-of-life care

Free Prescription Drugs for Children, Youth and Seniors

Prescription medication is an essential part of health care.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. That’s why the Ontario Liberal Government introduced OHIP+, the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation. OHIP+ made prescription drugs free to everyone aged 24 and younger as of January 1, 2018. OHIP+ is the first program of its kind in Canada and Ontario Liberals will work with like-minded governments across the country to build a comprehensive national Pharmacare plan. We won’t stop moving forward until the medications you and your family need are free for everyone in Ontario.

Under OHIP+ for children and youth:

  • More than 4,400 prescription drugs for four million OHIP-insured children and youth are free, including asthma inhalers, drugs to treat depression, anxiety, epilepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, antibiotics, insulin, diabetes test strips, birth control and many others
  • More than four million free prescriptions for more than 1.3 million children and youth have been filled

But we need to do more, especially for seniors, who are Ontario’s fastest-growing age group and have the highest incidence of multiple prescriptions.

That’s why the next phase of OHIP+ is free prescription drugs for people over 65, ensuring millions of Ontarians can stay healthy and independent and can afford the care they need. OHIP+ for seniors will:

  • Make more than 4,400 prescription drugs available free of charge to everyone 65 and over who is OHIP insured, starting on August 1, 2019
  • Remove the deductible or co-payment for seniors’ prescriptions, saving people over 65 an average of $240 every year
  • Make life more affordable for more than 2.6 million seniors and their families
  • Cover all medications on the Ontario Drug Benefit program, including drugs for cholesterol, hypertension, thyroid conditions, diabetes and asthma

Reducing Drug and Dental Costs

Prescription drugs help keep Ontarians healthy.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has helped Ontario families afford the medication they need by providing free prescription drugs to children and youth and by extending free prescription drug coverage to seniors in 2019.

But we need to do more. About one in four working-age Ontarians—including the self-employed, unemployed and precariously employed—does not have extended health benefits coverage. Six in 10 Ontario seniors don’t have dental coverage.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will introduce a new Ontario Drug and Dental Program in 2019 to make medication and dental care more affordable. Our plan:

  • Reimburses people for 80 per cent of prescription drug and dental costs, up to $400 for single people, $600 for couples and $700 for a family of four with two children

Support for People with Disabilities

Everyone deserves support to live with dignity and to achieve their full potential.

Adults with developmental disabilities need support to live as independently as possible and be welcomed in our communities.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has improved support for adults with developmental disabilities through expanded direct funding and innovative employment and housing programs.

Young people with autism spectrum disorder need services and supports as soon as possible. The Ontario Liberal government has created the Ontario Autism Program, which puts families at the heart of all decision-making and provides individualized support to help their kids thrive.

Kids with special education requirements need support to reach their full potential. The Ontario Liberal government has added over 30,000 additional teachers and staff since 2003 to support student success, including 900 more Education Assistants to support students with special needs since 2013.

Ontario Liberals are committed to a fully accessible Ontario by 2025. As the party that introduced and championed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), our record on building a better province for all people with disabilities is clear. The five accessibility standards we developed have received international recognition and have led to more inclusive communities for everyone.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. Those with special needs and their families need access to services and supports when and where they need them.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will provide more financial and residential support to people with a developmental disability and more services and support for young people with autism spectrum disorder and special education needs. We will further enhance accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities. Our plan will:

  • Help youth transition into adult services and better support people with developmental disabilities by expanding the Passport Program to provide every eligible individual with at least $5,000 in direct funding per year
  • Create a 24/7 hotline to ensure that families have quick and easy access to urgent services to prevent crises
  • Support new and innovative housing and housing options and create new residential spots for people and families
  • Continue to improve the new Ontario Autism Program by creating more services, regulating the therapy sector and working to improve access to autism services in schools
  • Add 2,000 new teachers and education workers in Ontario schools to eliminate wait lists for special education assessments and support kids with special education needs
  • Ensure all high schools have access to mental health workers to provide access to mental health supports
  • Complete the ongoing AODA review, continue to develop the two accessibility standards — health and education — and work with stakeholders to ensure they have a positive impact
  • Conduct a substantive review of the Built Environment standard, including public consultation to identify gaps that need to be filled to reach the 2025 goal
  • Strengthen enforcement of the AODA in partnership with obligated organizations

Supporting Women and their Health

Supporting women’s health strengthens Ontario communities.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has introduced ground-breaking programs to improve access-to-care issues that are unique to women’s health.

We have invested in programs to support moms and families, including the first publicly funded in-vitro fertilization program in Ontario, which has supported 27,000 families. We have also expanded access to midwifery services across the province, launched Canada’s first fetal treatment centre right here in Ontario and provided free prescription drugs to women under 25 — including birth control.

We made the abortion pill available at no charge and passed legislation to make sure Ontario women can access abortion services without fear of intimidation, harassment or interference.

We introduced a modernized health and physical education curriculum that will make sure children are taught about healthy relationships and the concept of consent.

But we need do more. Women and girls continue to face sexual violence and harassment and they have unique health needs. Women’s reproductive rights are at risk from those who don’t believe women have the right to make decisions about their own health care.

Ontario Liberals are committed to the security, equality and empowerment of Ontario women and we will continue to enhance programs and services to protect women from violence and harassment, protect reproductive health and choice and support families. Our plan will:

  • Protect and maintain the publicly funded abortion services and reproductive health programs currently available in Ontario
  • Prioritize quality care standards for women’s health including early pregnancy loss
  • Provide more home and community care to families caring for aging relatives or loved ones with a chronic disease
  • Develop a post-partum care strategy
  • Provide a welcome package for every new baby that outlines support available to families and a starter pack of necessities
  • Continue to provide free prescription drug coverage to girls and women under 25 and expand the coverage to women over 65
  • Implement It’s Never Okay: Ontario’s Gender-Based Violence Strategy

Income Security Reforms and Basic Income

Ontario’s economy is strong, but not everyone is doing well. Ontario Liberals believe that caring for one another means helping the most vulnerable in our society as they try to get ahead.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has enhanced social assistance, increased the minimum wage, made prescription drugs free for children and youth and expanded access to affordable housing. In 2017 it launched an internationally-recognized three-year pilot to examine whether a basic income is a better way to support people through a changing and dynamic labour market.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. We can make changes to the social assistance system that will treat those receiving assistance with dignity and respect and transform their lives.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will reform income security through a four-year plan focused on those living in the deepest poverty and begin work on the next Poverty Reduction Strategy. Our plan will:

  • Simplify the many rules governing our social assistance programs to make the system more respectful and less intrusive
  • Increase social assistance rates for both Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program by three per cent a year for the next three years
  • Ensure that people receiving support are able to keep more of their employment income by increasing the earnings exemption and moving toward an annual calculation
  • Move toward a system that will support homeless and vulnerably housed people by ensuring that their benefit amount is not determined by their living situation
  • Work with Indigenous partners to improve access to culturally appropriate social assistance services
  • Continue to evaluate the impact of a basic income in Hamilton and the surrounding area, Thunder Bay and Lindsay
  • Begin consultations on the next Poverty Reduction Strategy within 100 days of a Liberal government returning to office

Plan for Opportunity

Helping Kids Succeed

A strong public education is the bedrock of a fair society. It gives our kids the skills and support they need to reach their full potential and succeed in the classroom and beyond.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Today, our elementary and secondary schools are recognized as among the best in the world. The Ontario Liberal government has implemented Full-Day Kindergarten and reduced class sizes. High school five-year graduation rates increased from 68 per cent in 2004 to 86.5 per cent in 2017.

We are increasing our emphasis on math skills, creating more experiential learning opportunities, helping kids build digital skills and focusing on inclusivity and physical and mental well-being.

We have also built or rebuilt one in six schools in the province, have invested in major repairs to more than 2,900 schools since 2011 and are supporting the use of school space for community hubs.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. Our curriculum, assessment and reporting practices must focus on the skills students need to succeed. Parents and teachers have told us that students with special education requirements need more in-school supports. Students need more help planning for the future.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will modernize the system, improve special education programs and put more teachers and support staff in classrooms. Our plan will:

  • Bring new classroom emphasis on problem-solving, critical thinking, communication and collaboration
  • Modernize student learning assessment by updating the tools available to teachers to assess student program in real time and by consulting with parents and the Education Quality and Accountability Office on improvements to large-scale assessment
  • Dedicate one professional development day per year to math teaching and learning, create more math supports outside the school day and expand online math tutoring resources and homework help
  • Explore curriculum links for the Edible Gardens Program, which creates experiential learning for student in agriculture, environmental sciences and healthy living
  • Support heritage language education
  • Enhance students’ access to arts education in dance, drama, music and the visual arts, including a $3 million investment to refurbish musical instruments
  • Implement a revised curriculum in September 2018 for all students that reflects the contributions, cultures and perspectives of Indigenous peoples, including the role of treaties and the history of residential schools
  • Add 2,000 new teachers and education workers, including more Education Assistants to support kids with exceptionally high needs and more specialists, including behavioural specialists and speech language pathologists
  • Add 450 guidance teachers in elementary schools to help students transition to high school and start career planning
  • Improve access to high-speed Internet at publicly funded schools, including connecting an additional 250,000 students at 850 schools by the end of 2018 and connecting all classrooms by 2021
  • Develop an accessibility standard to address barriers that prevent students with disabilities from reaching their full potential
  • Place mental health workers in all high schools to improve access to mental health supports
  • Invest almost $16 billion over 10 years in new and improved schools
  • Double funding to school boards for locally determined well-being programs, such as breakfast programs and bullying prevention
  • Continue to expand opportunities for a delivery of 60 minutes of daily physical activity tied to the school day

Affordable, High-Quality Postsecondary Education

A postsecondary education is one of the best pathways to a rewarding career. But many students and their families struggle with the cost of a college or university education.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. That’s why the Ontario Liberal government undertook the most ambitious reform of student financial aid in North America, making tuition free for hundreds of thousands of Ontario students. In 2017-18, more than 235,000 students received free tuition, including thousands of Indigenous students, mature students and sole-support parents.

But we need to do more. Ontario Liberals believe that going to college or university should be based on the ability and desire to learn, and not the ability to pay.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals are removing financial barriers to postsecondary education and ensuring a career-relevant and high-quality experience for every student, creating opportunity for learners across Ontario no matter their age, background, or current circumstances. Our plan will:

  • Provide students from middle-income families with thousands of dollars more in aid from the Ontario Student Assistance Program by reducing the minimum parental contribution required
  • Invest $132 million over the next three years in innovative college and university programming that strengthens partnerships with employers and gives students more experiential learning opportunities
  • Use the expertise of our new Chief Scientist, develop a plan to increase the number of graduates in science, technology, engineering and math by 25 per cent and ensure they represent the diversity of our province
  • Invest in hands-on learning opportunities for more than 98,000 students
  • Create new postsecondary campuses in Markham, Brampton and Milton
  • Invest $500 million, starting in 2020-21, to help renew college and university campuses
  • Increase funding of the College Equipment and Renewal Fund over the next three years from $8 million annually to $20 million a year, to ensure college students have access to modern equipment and technologies

More Apprenticeships and Training

A highly skilled workforce is essential to Ontario’s economic competitiveness. Employers and education and training institutions must work together to make sure people can get the skills and experience they need to get good jobs.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Today, Ontario’s colleges and universities are among the best in the world. The Ontario Liberal government’s investments are creating hands-on learning opportunities for more than 70,000 postsecondary students. Our apprenticeship system has certified almost 10,000 trade professionals a year for the past three years.

The Ontario Liberal government also supports newcomers through investments in services and programs that help them and their families settle in their new lives and get ahead. It supports the Ontario Bridge Training Program, which connects skilled immigrants to the job market. It also provides language training and other settlement supports.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. We must ensure that our apprenticeship and training system meet the needs of students, job-seekers and employers in a rapidly changing economy. Many newcomers can’t find affordable training programs or face challenges when they try to continue to work in the same careers they worked in before coming to Ontario.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will modernize Ontario’s apprenticeship system by creating 15,000 more opportunities, improve our employment and training system and help maintain the strength of our workforce. We will help newcomers achieve their full potential by expanding access to training and ensuring that their experience, credentials and qualifications obtained outside Ontario are fairly assessed. Our plan will:

  • Expose more youth to trades by expanding the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, which helps grade 11 and 12 students work toward becoming certified journeypersons in a skilled trade while completing their high school diploma
  • Support regional, local and sector-specific apprenticeship pilot projects as part of a $170 million investment over three years in the new Ontario Apprenticeship Strategy
  • Create an Office of Apprenticeship Opportunity to open the door to skilled trades for visible minorities, Indigenous people, women and people with disabilities
  • Create a Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for employers to hire new apprentices, with additional incentives to hire underrepresented groups
  • Invest $63 million to create the first Ontario Training Bank, which will develop new, short-term training options for workers who want to upgrade their skills and help ensure training options meet employer needs
  • Increase investments in the Ontario Bridge Training Program, which will help 14,000 more skilled newcomers
  • Increase operating funding to public libraries by $51 million over three years, which will help to enhance their role as providers of training programs and access to the technology that job seekers need to identify and apply for job opportunities
  • Invest $132 million over the next three years in innovative college and university programming that strengthens partnerships with employers and gives students more experiential learning opportunities
  • Using the expertise of our new Chief Scientist, develop a plan to increase the number of graduates in science, technology, engineering and math by 25 per cent and ensure they represent the diversity of our province
  • Welcome more economic immigrants to Ontario through the Provincial Nominee Program, bringing the total to 6,600 in 2018
  • While respecting the autonomy of self-governing professions, task Ontario’s Fairness Commissioner with identifying ways that self-governing professions can better assign fair value to credentials and work experience acquired outside of Ontario
  • Establish Ontario’s Fairness Commissioner as an appeal body in cases where the existing rules of a self-governing profession around recognition of experience and credentials have not been properly followed; if a finding is made in favour of an applicant, the case would be referred back to the self-governing body for review
  • Help newcomers succeed, through employment supports, language training and settlement services

A $15 Minimum Wage and Fairer Workplaces

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Today, Ontario’s economy is strong, leading the world’s strongest economic powers, including the US and Europe. Unemployment is at a 17-year low.

But we need to do more. Many Ontario workers are struggling to support themselves and their families on part-time, contract or minimum-wage work. And Ontario pension plan members need protection when employer insolvency threatens their retirement security.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals passed legislation to help hardworking Ontario workers and their families by ensuring our workplaces are fair and safe. We will also increase pension security for Ontario workers and ensure that worker safety is always paramount. Our plan:

  • Increased the minimum wage to $14 on January 1, 2018 and will increase it to $15 on January 1, 2019; future annual increases will be at the rate of inflation
  • Mandates equal pay for part-time, temporary, casual or seasonal workers doing the same job as full-time employees
  • Mandates equal pay for temporary help agency employees doing the same job as employees at the agencies’ clients
  • Expands personal emergency leave to 10 days per calendar year, two of which are paid
  • Increases minimum vacation time to three weeks after five years with the same employer
  • Allows an employee to take up to 17 weeks of leave, including five paid days, when the worker or their child has experienced or is threatened with domestic or sexual violence
  • Bans employers from requiring a physician’s sick note from an employee taking personal emergency leave
  • Makes employee scheduling fairer, including requiring employees to be paid for three hours of work if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its scheduled start time
  • Establishes card-based union certification for industries with particularly vulnerable and disparate workforces
  • Creates a new Occupational Disease Response Plan
  • Guarantees injured workers’ benefits keep pace with the cost of living
  • Will review how mandatory Workplace Safety and Insurance Board coverage is determined and examine whether the current exclusions are appropriate
  • Removes secrecy in the hiring practice and the workplace with respect to gender and rates of pay
  • Enhances worker safety with new working-at-heights regulations and a new construction safety health and action plan
  • Establishes a fair wage policy, enshrined in legislation and with a robust enforcement mechanism, to ensure workers hired through government construction or building services are paid a fair wage
  • Will strike a task force to review the federal government’s second parent leave policy and identify ways to build on it to make sure that parents can benefit from time with their newborn child and are able to share the care

Better Retirement Security

After a lifetime of hard work, people deserve to have a secure retirement. But many people are worried about being able to sustain their quality of life in retirement. Workplace pension coverage is declining and people are living longer.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. That’s why the Ontario Liberal government played a leading role in achieving enhancements to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) to improve the retirement security of workers. These historic changes, which enhanced CPP benefits, are especially important to the future quality of life for the two-thirds of workers without workplace pension plans. Enhancements to the CPP include:

  • Increasing the maximum CPP retirement benefit by about 50 per cent
  • Making employees’ CPP contribution tax deductible
  • Protecting the value of retirement benefits for workers, including women who leave the work force to raise children and people who can’t work because of a disability
  • Ensuring the CPP remains funded and well managed

To improve benefit security for defined benefit pension plan members and retirees, we also passed legislation to increase Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund (PBGF) guarantee by 50 per cent, from $1,000 to $1,500 a month and to eliminate the age and service eligibility requirements for PBGF coverage. We have committed to make these changes retroactive to plans with a wind-up date on or after May 19, 2017. As a result, pension benefits from these plans would be covered under the increased $1,500 per month PBGF guarantee. This amendment is intended to apply to pension benefits provided to former employees of Sears Canada.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more to enhance retirement security. It is clear that people are able to save more, and earlier, when they have access to high-quality pension plans, rather than relying on private investment mechanisms that charge high fees.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will expand access to pensions and other high-quality retirement plans and make sure retirees receive the benefits that they are promised. We will support innovative retirement security solutions from the public, private and non-profit sectors, with a goal of giving all Ontarians access to the quality plans that have made Ontario a worldwide leader in pension innovation. Our plan will:

  • Broaden access to effective retirement savings opportunities by:
  • Supporting the creation of portable retirement plans that stay with a worker from job to job; these plans could be sponsored by unions, associations, multiple employers, or multiple stakeholders within a sector where access to high-quality retirement plans is a challenge
  • Giving the new Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario an explicit mandate to expand access to high-quality retirement plans
  • Removing barriers that prevent existing successful public-sector pension plans from offering their services to more people
  • Piloting a three-year, $65 million program to encourage Personal Support Workers who work in publicly funded home care to save for retirement through a group Tax-Free Savings Account; if successful, this approach could be expanded to other publicly funded sectors with modest-earning, precarious workforces
  • Implement a comprehensive plan to ensure that retirees receive the benefits that they are promised, including:
  • Strengthening the ability of the pension regulator to intervene in cases where pensioners are treated unfairly
  • Calling on the federal government to revise existing bankruptcy and insolvency laws to provide pension obligations with super-priority status
  • Improve the quality of existing retirement arrangements through greater consumer protection, including:
    • Working with pensions, securities, financial planners and insurance regulators to improve fee transparency and to protect the best interests of investors
    • Encouraging the development of retirement security solutions to help seniors in the post-retirement phase, including new ways for seniors to protect themselves against outliving their money

Jobs and Growth Plan

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Today, Ontario’s economy is doing well. Our unemployment rate has declined from 9.6 per cent in June 2009 to a 17-year low of 5.5 per cent in February 2018. It has remained below the national average for 34 straight months. Ontario’s economic growth is exceeding that of Canada and is leading the world’s strongest economic powers, including the US and Europe.

Since the recession, Ontario’s economy has created over 800,000 net new jobs. The majority of the jobs were full-time and were created in the private sector and in industries that pay above‐average wages.

The Ontario Liberal government has invested in regional economic growth and reduced the small business corporate income tax (CIT) rate from 4.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent. Our combined federal-Ontario CIT rate that is the lowest in Canada. We’ve helped people train for new and better jobs and made college and university more affordable.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. Companies are facing challenges as a result of rapid technological change, increased global competition and uncertainty surrounding trade negotiations. Ontario needs a highly skilled workforce to stay competitive. Businesses need support to innovate and adopt new technologies. Businesses are facing an uncertain trade environment. Newcomers to Ontario need supports to succeed. And many women still face systemic barriers to getting ahead, including the 30 per cent pay gap between men and women.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals have a plan to create jobs and growth by building the skills and talent of our people, making strategic investments so our companies can adopt game-changing technology and making historic investments in the critical infrastructure that keeps our economy moving. The Good Jobs and Growth Plan will increase funding of the Jobs and Prosperity Fund by $900 million over the next decade, for a total of $3.2 billion in support since 2014-15. Our plan will:

  • Build Ontario’s talent through improvements to postsecondary education, apprenticeship, employment and training
  • Help newcomers to Ontario get the recognition and training they need to find jobs
  • Invest in regional economic development in northern, eastern and southwestern Ontario and in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area
  • See the province partner with businesses to increase their productivity and competitiveness in key sectors, including advanced manufacturing, information and communications technology, life sciences, cleantech, forestry and food and beverages
  • Enhance supports for innovative companies as they start up and scale up, including $85 million over 10 years through the Venture Technologies Fund
  • Reduce electricity costs for businesses
  • Increase both of Ontario’s R&D tax credits to encourage investment and commercialization
  • Continue our commitment to stable media tax credits and work to further improve the sector
  • Stand up for Ontario businesses and workers on trade
  • Expand and diversify international trade
  • Build and upgrade transit, hospitals, schools and digital infrastructure, creating good jobs
  • Advance women’s economic empowerment by helping to close the gender pay gap, supporting their access to good jobs and removing barriers to women’s leadership as entrepreneurs, on boards and in senior management positions
  • Review, in consultation with the business community, the Arthur Wishart Act franchise legislation, to ensure that these businesses support their workers and thrive

Standing Up for Ontario on Trade

Trade is a key part of Ontario’s economy. Exporting supports one in five Ontario jobs.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has developed a Global Trade Strategy to help Ontario businesses boost exports and succeed in a global economy. Government trade missions have generated exports, investments and partnerships that have created nearly 3,000 jobs in Ontario.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. The outcome of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations is uncertain. Canada is part of the new Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CP-TPP) and the Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), two new free trade agreements that will result in increased opportunities in some sectors while presenting new challenges in others. US state-level actions could hurt Ontario businesses.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals are standing up for Ontario businesses and workers. We are:

  • Fighting for Ontario’s interests in the NAFTA negotiations, including meetings with US elected and non-elected officials
  • Calling on the federal government to provide transitional funding for Ontario auto and agriculture businesses and workers affected by the CP-TPP
  • During the current softwood lumber dispute, continuing to support the forestry sector’s productivity, innovation and access to new markets through the Forestry Growth Fund
  • Dealing with US states that unfairly limit Ontario companies’ ability to bid on contracts, including bringing in a regulation to level the playing field in response to New York State’s Buy American legislation

Supporting Innovation in the New Economy

Innovation is critical to global economic competitiveness and to creating good jobs.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, to support Ontario’s leadership in innovation and new technologies, the Ontario Liberal government is investing in artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous vehicles, the latest wireless communications and advanced computing technologies. It created the New Economy Fund to invest in the advanced manufacturing, information and communications technology, life sciences and cleantech sectors. It also supports the entrepreneurs and innovators in Ontario’s high-growth firms.

But we need to do more. Entrepreneurs need more help to start innovative businesses and then scale them up. Ontario needs to support R&D and advance and commercialize new technologies.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will support innovation in the new economy. Our plan will:

  • Increase investment in the New Economy Fund by an additional $500 million over 10 years
  • Create an $85 million Venture Technologies Fund to help high-growth firms scale up, creating and retaining more than 5,000 jobs
  • Create a $50 million Transformative Technology Partnerships Fund to support innovation in AI, 5G wireless communications, advanced computing and autonomous vehicles
  • Increase both of Ontario’s R&D tax credits to encourage investment and commercialization
  • Create a data strategy to ensure Ontario people and businesses benefit from publicly funded economy and protects the public interest
  • Continue to support the competitiveness of Ontario’s FinTech and Cleantech sectors
  • Continue to support research and regenerative medicine through a $25 million commitment over five years
  • Develop a strategy to help Ontario firms protect and leverage their intellectual property

Review government procurement practices to identify ways ministries and agencies devote a portion of all procurement toward innovative solutions from small businesses

Infrastructure Plan

Modern infrastructure that keeps people and goods moving, strengthens health care and education, expands access to digital services and revitalizes our communities is crucial to Ontario’s economic competitiveness and prosperity.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has made historic investments in transportation infrastructure, schools and hospitals. We were the first jurisdiction in Canada to pass legislation enabling the consideration of community economic and social benefits — such as local job creation, training and improvements to public spaces — when infrastructure projects are being planned and developed.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. Commuters and families in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and beyond want better transit. Communities across Ontario want better highways, roads and bridges. People in Northern and rural Ontario need better access to digital services. Investments in culture and recreation infrastructure will strengthen our communities.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals have a comprehensive plan to build and renew transit, highways, roads, bridges, hospitals and schools. We will expand access to digital services and build and upgrade culture and recreational facilities.

We are investing about $230 billion in infrastructure over 14 years, starting in 2014-15. These investments will support about 140,000 jobs, on average, every year and create vibrant communities where families and businesses can thrive. Our plan is:

  • Providing faster and more frequent GO service through GO Regional Express Rail projects; weekly trips across the network will quadruple to nearly 6,000 by 2024-25
  • Investing in rapid transit, including the Toronto Relief Line Subway, Yonge North Subway Extension, Toronto Waterfront LRT, Toronto-York Spadina Extension, Scarborough Subway extension, Hamilton LRT, Ottawa LRT, Durham and London Bus Rapid Transit and rapid transit in municipalities such as Brampton, Mississauga and Waterloo
  • Investing more than $11 billion to support the building of Canada’s first high-speed rail service in the Toronto-Windsor corridor; the program will begin with service from Toronto to London
  • Further reducing fares for GTHA transit users, saving regular cross-boundary transit users approximately $720 a year
  • Improving GO stations by providing services such as grocery stores, banking and dry cleaning right where they need them — when they get off the train or bus
  • Supporting green transportation through a $140 million investment to improve cycling infrastructure
  • Building and upgrading highways in Southwestern, Central, Northern and Eastern Ontario
  • Helping municipalities repair roads and bridges connecting provincial highways by increasing annual funding to the Connecting Links Program to $30 million
  • Investing $490 million over the next 10 years to repair and upgrade railway tracks, bridges and trains in Northern Ontario, through the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission
  • Investing an additional $500 million over three years to expand broadband connectivity in rural and northern communities
  • Investing in culture and recreation infrastructure, including upgrades to Variety Village, Shaw Festival theatres, a new community hub in Elliot Lake and expanding the Blackburn Arena in Ottawa
  • Committed to having major public infrastructure projects comply with a community benefits framework by 2020

Plan for Affordability

Reducing Hydro Costs

Electricity is an essential part of our daily lives, powering our homes and businesses. High electricity rates create huge pressures on household budgets and business’s bottom line.

Electricity rates have gone up because, for decades, governments of all stripes let the maintenance of our system slide. The grid became less reliable and we began to experience blackouts. Our system was long overdue for some significant and expensive upgrades.

Hydro bills have also gone up because we ended coal-fired generation. Coal was a cheaper way to generate power, but created smog, contributed to climate change and was costly in terms of environmental and health effects.

We ended dirty coal-fired generation in Ontario. And we have encouraged conservation and the development of clean energy here at home with solar and wind generation.

Over the past decade, we have invested approximately $70 billion to transform our electricity system.  We now have a clean, green, reliable system. While those investments were necessary, they came at a cost, which was being disproportionately placed on current electricity customers. By spreading out these costs over a longer period of time, they will be shared more evenly with future generations who will benefit from the investments. It is a fairer way to pay for our electricity investments.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. That’s why the Ontario Liberal government brought in the single largest electricity rate reduction in our province’s history. By spreading out the cost of modernizing, cleaning and greening our electricity system — improvements that benefit current and future generations — we have cut electricity bills for residents, farms and businesses. Our Fair Hydro Plan:

  • Cuts hydro bills by 25 per cent for residential consumers
  • Cuts hydro bills by as much as 40 per cent to 50 per cent for people with low incomes or who live in rural and Northern communities
  • Cuts electricity rates for half a million small businesses and farms
  • Ensures rates won’t rise beyond the rate of inflation for four years
  • Builds on previous Ontario Liberal action to reduce electricity costs, including removing the Debt Retirement Charge early for all residential customers, saving a typical ratepayer $70 per year.

We are also taking action to ensure that Ontario’s electricity system is efficient, clean, and reliable in the long run, to keep rates down for good. We have launched an electricity market renewal process to build more flexibility into the electricity system and ensure it operates as efficiently as possible. By designing a system that keeps ratepayer costs down and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, we expect to save up to $5.2 billion in cost savings over a 10-year period.

Affordable Housing

Everyone in Ontario deserves access to a good home that they can afford. Yet many people struggle to find stable housing. Many people find it hard to find rental housing or afford to buy a house, especially in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region (GGHR).

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. That’s why the Ontario Liberal government brought in the Fair Housing Plan, which protects tenants, addresses housing price growth and increases the supply of housing. The Fair Housing Plan:

  • Protects tenants by extending rent controls to all private rental units
  • Established a standard lease for rental housing
  • Cooled down the GGHR housing market through a Non-Resident Speculation Tax
  • Boosts the supply of rental and non-rental housing by improving the approvals processes and providing incentives to build new rental
  • Provides public land to build new affordable and rental housing in Toronto and Hamilton

We also brought in measures to protect tenants from unlawful evictions by landlords who want to move themselves or a family member into the rental unit.

We are providing more housing assistance to vulnerable Ontarians, including homeless people, Indigenous people, youth, women and children fleeing violence, people transitioning from an institution, seniors, people with disabilities, veterans and those dealing with mental health issues. We are also providing support for municipalities to build and repair social housing and built new affordable housing

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. Too many tenants continue to be unfairly treated through rent increases and unjust “renovictions” — renovation-related evictions. Both landlords and tenants say that the operation of the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) could be improved, by making its processes faster and less burdensome for both sides.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will continue to implement the Fair House Plan and will undertake a review of the LTB and Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) to ensure that renters are properly protected and that the system works better for everyone involved. Once the review is complete, we will take action to improve the system. We will also take additional steps to expand the supply of housing and ensure affordability. Our plan will:

  • Tighten rules to prevent unfair renovictions and the use of above-guideline rent increases due to capital repairs
  • Prohibit-above guideline rent increases in buildings with outstanding work orders related to pest control
  • Develop an easy-to-use legal framework to support co-housing and shared ownership of property
  • Work with developers, municipalities and other stakeholders to enable small-scale residential intensification that would allow homeowners to build multi-unit projects on their land
  • Urge the federal government to address the inequitable tax treatment of rental construction, compared to condo development
  • Develop a toolkit to support faith groups and service clubs who wish to build affordable housing on their land

Lowering Transit Costs

Affordable fares encourage people to use public transit, reducing traffic congestion and pollution.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has reduced transit costs for GTHA commuters through a fare discount for PRESTO card users who transfer between the TTC and GO Transit or the UP Express.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. Further reducing fares will help make life more affordable for Ontario workers and families.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will provide additional fare discounts and will reduce transit costs for seniors. Our plan will:

  • Introduce fare discounts to transit users transferring between the TTC and transit systems in York Region, Mississauga, Brampton and Durham — these changes could save regular commuters about $720 a year
  • Reduce all GO Transit trips within Toronto to $3 per trip for PRESTO card users
  • Reduce fares for PRESTO card users between Union Station and stations in Ajax, Malton, Markham, Pickering and Port Credit
  • Reduce the cost of all GO Transit trips under 10 kilometres to $3 per trip for PRESTO card users
  • Give seniors a refundable tax credit for 15 per cent of their public transit costs

Affordability for Drivers

Affordable auto insurance is a priority for Ontario’s drivers.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has introduced reforms that have reduced auto insurance rates and helped accident victims. We have introduced discounts for drivers who use winter tires, stopped premium increases for minor at-fault accidents and lowered the maximum interest rate charged on monthly premiums.

We have made post-accident towing and storage costs more transparent and helped accident victims get faster access to benefits.

Since 2013, rates have come down approximately 2.7 per cent across the province. When inflation is taken into account, this number is over 10 per cent.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. Auto insurance rates are still too high for many people, including those facing geographic discrimination when it comes to their rates.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will continue to build on the comprehensive Fair Auto Insurance Plan to further reduce rates and help accident victims. We know that the only way to bring rates down in the long-term is to attack the key problems that exist in the current system. Our plan will:

  • Crack down on auto insurance fraud through the creation of a Serious Fraud Office
  • Eliminate geographic discrimination in auto insurance
  • Create standard treatment plans for common injuries sustained in auto accidents so people get healthier faster
  • Protect consumers by ensuring that lawyers’ contingency fees are reasonable and transparent
  • Establish highly credible independent examination centres to assess serious injuries in a neutral manner
  • Invest in care to support people with catastrophic injuries from auto accidents
  • Mandate that insurers offer a discount to drivers who install anti-distracted driving apps on their phones
  • Removes bureaucratic hurdles so that consumers can choose to purchase innovative products, such as usage-based insurance

We also know that gasoline and diesel are vital for transporting Ontario families and goods where they need to go, particularly in the north and rural Ontario. While the price at the pump is set beyond our borders, Ontario Liberals are committed to ensuring that Ontarians in every part of the province are treated fairly. Our plan will:

  • Create an independent gasoline price watchdog to protect consumers and ensure there is no price fixing on transportation fuels anywhere in the province

CPP Enhancements

After a lifetime of hard work, people deserve to have a secure retirement. But many people are worried about being able to sustain their quality of life in retirement. Workplace pension coverage is declining and people are living longer.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. That’s why the Ontario Liberal government played a leading role in achieving enhancements to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) to improve the retirement security of workers. These enhancements are especially important to the future quality of life for the two-thirds of workers without workplace pension plans. Enhancements to the CPP include:

  • Increasing the maximum CPP retirement benefit by about 50 per cent
  • Making employees’ CPP contribution tax-deductible
  • Protecting the value of retirement benefits for workers, including women who leave the work force to raise children and people who can’t work because of a disability
  • Ensuring the CPP remains funded and well managed

Plan for a Green Ontario

Climate Change Action Plan

Clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment are essential to everything we do.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. That’s why the Ontario Liberal government has made it a priority to protect our air and water and to fight climate change. The fight against climate is a fight we can’t afford to lose — for the sake of our children, our grandchildren and our economy.

Our elimination of dirty coal generation remains the single largest climate change initiative undertaken in North America — the equivalent of taking seven million cars off the road and making our air cleaner to breathe. We passed the world-leading Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, which set science-based targets to reduce carbon pollution, established the carbon market and provided a transparent framework for reporting to the public on progress.  Our Cap and Trade program is already reducing emissions, while supporting reinvestment in programs that prepare for the future and save us money. Our Cap and Trade program means we do not have to introduce a carbon tax.

Our Climate Change Action Plan:

  • Makes Ontario part of North America’s largest carbon market, with Quebec and California, providing more choice to companies reducing emissions, at a lower cost. The carbon market will ensure we reach our goal to reduce emissions by 15 percent by 2020, 37 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.
  • Provides incentives to help increase the uptake of electric vehicles and low-carbon trucks and buses
  • Partners with municipalities to build new bike lanes and bike lockers
  • Helps homeowners and businesses reduce their carbon footprint and save money by providing energy efficiency rebates for technologies such as insulation, windows and solar panels
  • Commits to updating the building code with long-term energy efficiency targets for new net zero buildings by 2030 at the latest
  • Helps industry, including the agri-food sector, transition to low-carbon technologies through the GreenON Industries and TargetGHG programs
  • Promotes low-carbon energy supply and products
  • Increases the availability and use of lower-carbon fuels
  • Strengthens climate change policies in the municipal land-use planning process while providing funding to our municipal partners through the Municipal Challenge Fund
  • Commits to working with First Nation and Métis communities to co-create a transition to non-fossil fuel energy in a way that minimizes impact on the communities
  • Supports our clean technology sector — which has over 5,000 companies, 130,000 jobs and almost $20 billion in annual revenues — through Ontario’s Cleantech Strategy, including investments in innovation, research and development
  • Increases our understanding of how agricultural and natural land emits and stores carbon, and maximizes the amount of carbon storage from agriculture
  • Improves the energy efficiency and comfort of our schools, hospitals, colleges, universities, and social housing units

The next five-year action plan will start in 2021 to keep Ontario on a path to a prosperous low-carbon economy.

The Ontario Liberal government is also helping families and businesses adapt to climate change and extreme weather. Our climate adaptation plan:

  • Invests approximately $20 million over three years to launch Ontario’s Climate Change Resiliency Organization, which will work with communities, private businesses and governments to help them make climate-informed decisions
  • Implement new rebates to help homeowners take action to protect against basement flooding
  • Invests $2.3 billion in green infrastructure projects to help communities mitigate and adapt to climate change, such as wastewater infrastructure upgrades
  • Undertakes Ontario’s first ever province-wide risk assessment to inform a comprehensive climate adaptation strategy
  • Works with financial regulators and stakeholders to create a climate-resilient financial system

GreenON Rebates

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. That’s why a key part of the Ontario Liberal government’s fight against climate change is reinvesting the proceeds from Ontario’s carbon market to help people and businesses reduce greenhouse gas emissions while saving money.

Through GreenON, thousands of people are receiving financial support to replace insulation and windows, finance renovations, and adapt to new technology. GreenON:

  • Provides rebates to homeowners, including $7,200 off insulation, $5,000 off high-performance windows, $20,000 off ground source heat pumps, $5,800 off air source heat pumps and $100 off smart thermostats
  • Supports energy-efficient retrofits for social housing
  • Helps farmers, food and beverage processors reduce pollution and adopt low-carbon technologies
  • Supports large companies that are reducing their emissions
  • Provides an easy-to-use, one-stop-shop website (www.GreenON.ca) where families and businesses can find all cost saving rebates available to them
  • Provides expert advice on how to save energy

Protecting Our Water

An adequate supply of clean water is essential to our health, environment and economy.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has introduced measures to protect our lakes and rivers, including investing over $200 million in comprehensive source water protection and a plan to sustain the Great Lakes, which are the source of drinking water for most people in the province. We have also increased the fee for water taking and imposed a two-year moratorium on new or expanded water bottling operations. And we have helped reduce municipal sewage outflows by investing in wastewater infrastructure, requiring pollution control plans for key facilities and supporting wastewater optimization programs.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will invest in the health of our Great Lakes and other water systems. Our plan will:

  • Invest in technologies to remove excessive algae, microplastics, road salt and toxic chemicals
  • Protect Lake Erie by continuing to work with partners to reduce phosphorous from agricultural sources and to enhance storm water and wastewater management
  • Better manage the effects that population growth and development are having on Lake Ontario
  • Enhancing monitoring and research to protect the Great Lakes
  • Extend the moratorium on new and expanded water bottling if, by the end of 2018, the science shows that is the best approach to protecting our water resources
  • Work with Grassy Narrows and partners to identify all contaminated sites and develop and implement a comprehensive remediation plan to clean up mercury contamination in the English-Wabigoon River system, including the immediate provision of $85 million in dedicated funding
  • Work with municipalities to standardize sewage bypass reporting to the province, support municipalities on how to best notify local communities of bypasses and complete low-impact development guidelines to reduce water flows entering sewers

Protecting Nature

Ontario’s forests, wetlands, parks and green spaces are among the most beautiful in the world. Our wetlands are biodiversity hotspots, serving as an important habitat to an array of plants, birds, insects, amphibians, fish and other animals, including many species at risk. Wetlands also provide Ontarians with clean and abundant water, flood and erosion mitigation, climate moderation, recreational opportunities and other important benefits.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has taken steps to protect our natural spaces, including establishing and growing the Greenbelt and updating land use plans that help grow communities while protecting green spaces, farmland and lands and water at risk. It has also taken steps to protect species at risk and promote their recovery.

But we need to do more. Climate change, pollution, habitat loss, unsustainable use of our natural resources and invasive species are threatening our natural spaces and the species that live in them.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will bring in new measures to protect Ontario’s natural environment and biodiversity. Our plan will:

  • Work with the federal government and key stakeholders to make progress towards achieving the Aichi biodiversity target of 17% of Ontario’s lands and waters, including an initial investment of $15 million to preserve our forests, wetlands and lakes
  • By 2025, halt the net loss of wetland areas where wetland loss has been the greatest
  • By 2030, achieve a net gain in wetland area where wetland loss has been the greatest
  • Reduce plastic pollution from single-use bottles by requiring that at least 85 per cent of all bottles be recycled
  • Continue to grow the Greenbelt, which permanently protects over 810,000 hectares of green space, farmland, vibrant communities, forests, wetlands and watersheds, into proposed areas such as the Waterloo and Paris/Galt moraine complex, the Orangeville Moraine, the Oro Moraine, the Nottawasaga River corridor and additional catchment areas, wetlands and small moraines in Dufferin and Simcoe counties
  • Ensure the relocation of excess soil is undertaken properly and sustainably
  • Divert food and organic waste from landfills
  • Require online and on-label disclosure of toxic substances and chemicals in key consumer products, such as household cleaning products, baby products and cosmetics, starting in 2020

Plan for Vibrant and Safe Communities

Investing in Vibrant Communities

Our communities and neighbourhoods — where we live, work, go to school and raise our families — are the lifeblood of Ontario.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has revitalized communities across the province through investments in culture and recreation, transportation and by creating community hubs.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. Boosting arts and culture and renewing cultural institutions is good for our communities and for the economy. Public libraries provide programs and services that support early learning, job training and that help newcomers settle. Vibrant downtown areas and tourist attractions boost economic growth. Community hubs create one-stop, local access to programs and services.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will continue to invest in music, libraries, museums, theatres and other culture centres. We will support live music, preserve our heritage and invest in our creative industries, including publishing, digital media and our thriving film and TV industry. We are renewing downtown areas and helping people who want to establish community hubs. Our plan is:

  • Investing an additional $50 million in the Ontario Arts Council, which provides grants to arts organizations throughout the province, bringing provincial funding to $80 million annually by 2020-21 and working to further enhance funding beyond that date
  • Investing up to $26 million in a Main Street Revitalization Initiative to help communities boost jobs and growth
  • Promoting more engagement for seniors in the arts
  • Investing $28 million over three years to create a provincial Digital Public Library to enhance access to digital content across all communities
  • Increasing operating funding to public libraries by $51 million over three years
  • Supporting the development of community hubs by better utilizing provincially owned properties, a new capital grant program and providing useful resources, such as an online portal to connect groups and provide facilitation and mediation support
  • Transforming Ontario Place into an all-season waterfront attraction, including a 20-acre green space to host open-air events in Toronto
  • Supporting Indigenous culture
  • Helping Toronto save key cultural and social purpose institutions by creating a new property tax class to lower the cost of operating these properties

Safe Communities

Every person in Ontario deserves to live and work in a safe and secure community, free from the threat of violence and sexual harassment.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. That’s why the Ontario Liberal government is building a modern justice system that addresses the root causes of violence, holds people accountable, and creates healthier and safer communities. It is also a leader in taking action on violence against women and girls. Our programs have challenged attitudes and behaviours that lead to violence, enhanced services and supports for survivors and improved how the justice system responds to gender-based violence.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more.  That’s why the Ontario Liberals are investing in the transformation and modernization of the criminal justice system to improve outcomes and will continue to build on our ground-breaking measures to end violence and sexual harassment. Our plan is:

  • Keeping Ontario’s communities safe with a modern policing framework that is community focused, fair, accountable and responsible to community priorities
  • Proposing a province-wide strategy to reduce gun violence
  • Establishing Community Justice Centres to improve the delivery and quality of justice and program supports for marginalized and Indigenous offenders, through targeted and culturally appropriate services that will better address the complex factors that contribute to chronic offending
  • Making the Ontario criminal justice system faster and fairer
  • Removing unnecessary complexities in the family court process and getting better results for families during this difficult period by providing timely, case-specific advice through a triage type assessment process and by engaging the judiciary in a review of the rules of family law to make them more streamlined and less confusing
  • Improving the representation on our juries by using a broader OHIP source list, through further consultation with Indigenous communities and a review of the compensation jurors receive
  • Improving the justice system’s response to and community supports for survivors of sexual violence and those experiencing domestic violence
  • Working to prevent human trafficking and supporting survivors
  • Working with Indigenous communities to end violence against Indigenous women
  • Transforming our correctional system through historic investments in diversion, modern capital improvements and hundreds of additional staff to enhance safety, improve mental health supports, facilitate reintegration and expand rehabilitative programming

Supporting Multicultural Communities

Ontario’s multicultural communities benefit from the work that not-for-profit organizations and ethno-cultural groups do to promote diversity and inclusion.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has supported the Multicultural Community Capacity Grant, which helps newcomers and ethno-cultural groups participate fully in Ontario society.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. Multicultural organizations need support to plan long-term initiatives. Ethno-cultural groups want news and other content about their communities available online and on their mobile devices.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will increase support for multicultural groups and media. Our plan will:

  • Add a $2 million capital stream to the Multicultural Community Capacity Grant
  • Create a new $6 million multicultural media fund to help content producers better reach their audiences and increase capacity in the sector
  • Continue to support multicultural festivals and celebrations through the Celebrate Ontario program

Promoting Equity

Ontario’s diverse population is one of its greatest strengths.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has promoted diversity, equity and inclusion, to ensure that the province is a safe and welcoming place for everyone. It has worked with Ontario public schools to welcome newcomer students, including thousands of Syrian refugees. It has taken steps to make sure that Ontario’s curriculum, teaching and assessment practices and learning resources are culturally appropriate.

The Ontario Liberal government has also created the Anti-Racism Directorate to increase public education and awareness of racism and to identify, address and prevent systemic racism in government policies and programs. It has launched the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan to improve outcomes for Black children and youth.

But we need to do more. Systemic racism continues to exist and racialized people face barriers in schools, workplaces and communities. Racialized, Black and Indigenous people continue to be over-represented in our jails and children’s aid system.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will continue to promote diversity and inclusion and to fight racism in all its forms. Our plan will:

  • Continue the important work of data collection, integration and analysis to ensure we know the makeup of Ontario students and school staff and can address barriers to student success
  • Build on the work of the Anti-Racism Directorate in the justice, education and child welfare sectors by examining disparities in the health sector and determining how we can better provide services to all Ontarians
  • Work with government partners to explore the collection and publication of data from police services on reported incidences of anti-black racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of racial prejudice
  • Ensure diverse perspectives and experiences are reflected in public schools and provide support to teachers to fight racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism
  • Support groups promoting anti-racism
  • Continue to improve outcomes for Black youth
  • Improve the quality and delivery of justice to marginalized people
  • Increase diversity on government agencies, boards and commissions
  • Reduce health disparities among racialized and marginalized communities by developing health equity indicators and local plans, working with community partners, to ensure more culturally appropriate care is available across the province

Plan for Northern Ontario

Northern Economic Development

Northern Ontario’s diverse communities and businesses play a critical role in Ontario’s economic prosperity. It is a unique region of our province, with distinct needs.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has made significant investments in Northern Ontario’s economic development through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) and support for forestry, mining and manufacturing. Over the past five years, NOHFC investments have created and retained more than 15,000 jobs.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. While unemployment has declined in all regions of Ontario, some parts of the province need additional support to create jobs and growth.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will support Northern Ontario families and businesses with increased investment in economic development. Our plan will:

  • Increase NOHFC funding to a total of $150 million in the next three years and expand its programs to better support infrastructure projects and large-scale investment opportunities
  • As part of its $1 billion commitment, build the year-round access road to the Ring of Fire, working with First Nations communities and building on progress to date which includes Environmental Assessment work, baseline studies and the upgrading of existing highways and bridges; road construction is set to begin in 2019
  • During the trade uncertainty caused by the current softwood lumber dispute, continue to support the forestry sector’s productivity, innovation and access to new markets through the Forestry Growth Fund
  • Continue the permanent Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program to ensure stable, low electricity costs for northern industries

Complete the Wataynikaneyap Power Grid Connection Project, which will be the largest Indigenous-led and -owned infrastructure project in Ontario history, connecting 16 remote northern First Nation communities to the electricity grid

Northern Infrastructure Investments

Modern and efficient highways, roads, bridges and transit are essential for Northern Ontario families and businesses.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has supported the four-laning of Highway 69 to Sudbury and of Highway 11/17 between Nipigon and Thunder Bay. We introduced intercommunity bus service, which is providing affordable public transit, enhancing access to essential services. We have built and redeveloped northern hospitals and schools and improved broadband connectivity.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. An integrated transportation network and more broadband is needed to connect people and businesses across the north. Northern Ontario families will benefit from investments in hospitals and schools.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will make further investments infrastructure and move forward with a comprehensive plan for northern transportation that addresses the region’s unique needs. Our plan will:

  • Commit to permanent annual funding to four-lane the TransCanada highway from the Manitoba border to the Quebec border until the project is fully completed and call on the federal government to match the investment
  • Invest an additional $500 million over three years to expand broadband and seek proposals from the northeastern, northwestern and rural parts of the province to improve access where it will have the most impact
  • Expand the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission motor coach services into Northwestern Ontario to connect more northerners to the places where they can get the care and services they need; once fully implemented this year, travellers will be able to travel from Ottawa to Winnipeg with a single reservation
  • Advance the approval process for new facilities in Sudbury and North Bay as part of our ongoing capital investments in correctional facilities across Ontario
  • Continue to make improvements to the Thunder Bay Expressway
  • Increase investments to build and improve northern schools and hospitals
  • Continue investments to upgrade water and wastewater infrastructure, including increasing Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund funding to $300 million by 2018-19
  • Invest $490 million over the next 10 years in the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission to repair and refurbish railway tracks, bridges and trains
  • Invest an additional $206 million over 10 years in infrastructure in northern and rural Ontario, as part of our bilateral agreement with the federal government
  • Continue to expand access to natural gas to communities that are not currently served in Northern Ontario, which can save families up to $1,100 per year
  • Finalize and implement the Northern Ontario Multimodal Transportation Strategy and Action Plan, which is based on consultations with northern communities and covers air, rail, road and marine transportation

Strong Northern Communities

Located across a huge geographical area, Northern Ontario communities in Northern Ontario are diverse and creative.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has supported strong and healthy northern communities through investments in regional economic development, education, health care and infrastructure.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. Northern communities are often underserved, lacking easy access to critical programs and services. The north is home to many Indigenous peoples, who face many barriers to fairness and opportunity.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will help northern communities by enhancing access to child care, health care, home care and community services and by increasing investments in critical infrastructure. Our plan:

  • Creates an independent gasoline price watchdog to protect consumers and ensure there is fairness in gasoline and diesel prices at the pumps anywhere in the province
  • Increases investments in northern hospitals, schools and transportation
  • Reduces wait times for mental health and addiction services
  • Builds more long-term care beds and increases the number of daily hours of nursing, personal support and therapeutic care for long-term care residents to a provincial average of four hours a day by 2022
  • Adds 5,500 personal support workers to Ontario’s workforce to provide more home care, prioritizing northern and remote communities
  • Expands regional health services that support Northern Ontario families, such as NEO Kids and cardiovascular services
  • Will bring the provision of northern highway maintenance services back into the public sector as contracts expire to ensure that these highways are cleared safely, quickly and regularly
  • Invests an additional $500 million over three years to expand broadband and seek proposals from the northeastern, northwestern and rural parts of the province to improve access where it will have the most impact
  • Builds on the $10 million expansion of the Northern Health Travel Grant, which helps people in Northern Ontario cover their travel costs
  • Invests $20 million in the Rural and Northern Education Fund to improve education programming in small communities
  • Improves access to mental health care services for Indigenous youth and those in remote communities
  • Expands access to child care in remote communities
  • Reduces electricity rates in eligible remote communities by up to 50 per cent, through the Fair Hydro Plan
  • Promotes public safety and the protection of private property through the Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services program, which provides protection to 90 million hectares of Crown land

Plan for Rural Ontario

Supporting Farmers

Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food sector is a key part of our province’s prosperous economy, employing more than 800,000 workers.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Over the past five years, the Ontario Liberal government has helped create nearly 58,000 new jobs in the agri-food sector. It supports farmers through a timely, predictable and effective Risk Management Program and supports research and innovation in the agri-food sector.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. The new Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CP-TPP) will affect Ontario’s agriculture sector. Modern technologies and techniques are needed to keep our agri-food sector competitive and on the cutting edge of research on food safety and animal welfare.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will support farmers and the agri-food sector by supporting research, creating jobs and protecting global competitiveness. Our plan:

  • Renews a 10-year agreement with the University of Guelph that will see $700 million invested in agri-food education, research and innovation
  • Reiterates our full and continued support for our supply management system, its producers and its processors
  • Calls on the federal government to provide transitional assistance for agriculture businesses and worker affected by the CP-TPP and to support them to seize new opportunities that trade agreements present
  • Supports expanded access to international markets for agricultural products while ensuring that a modernized NAFTA does not place any new restrictions on the movement of agricultural goods across North America
  • Will continue to find ways to improve the Risk Management Program, including working with the federal government to improve their risk management programs
  • Invests $120 million over the next three years in the food and beverage sector, the largest purchasers of farm products
  • Will work with wine, cider, spirits and beer producers to develop a new strategy to grow the beverage alcohol sector
  • Cuts farm electricity rates in half, through the Fair Hydro Plan
  • Helps farmers and agri-food businesses improve energy efficiency and save money, while fighting climate change
  • Protects farmland, green spaces and water

Rural Economic Development

Ontario’s rural communities are important to Ontario’s economic prosperity.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has invested in regional economic development to boost growth and create and retain good jobs in rural Ontario. It has made historic investments in roads, bridges, water systems and other critical infrastructure. It has also invested in broadband connectivity to help families stay in touch, connect businesses and help rural communities attract investment.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. While Ontario’s economy is doing well, regional variations continue to exist. Too many rural communities still lack high-speed broadband service.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will increase investments in rural Ontario economies and enhance digital and other infrastructure. Our plan:

  • Will invest an additional $100 million in the Eastern Ontario Development Fund and the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund over the next 10 years, creating and retaining nearly 20,000 jobs and attracting more than $800 million in investments
  • Invests up to $26 million in a Main Street Revitalization Initiative to help rural communities attract tourism and other job-creating businesses
  • Will increase Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund investments to $300 million by 2018-19 to build and renew road, bridge, water and wastewater infrastructure
  • Invests an additional $500 million over three years to expand broadband and seek proposals from the northeastern, northwestern and rural parts of the province to improve access where it will have the most impact
  • Expands access to natural gas
  • Reduces electricity rates in eligible rural communities by up to 50 per cent, through the Fair Hydro Plan

Vibrant Rural Communities

Ontario’s rural communities are the bedrock of our province.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has supported strong and healthy communities through investments in education, child care, health care and economic growth.

But we need to do more. Rural and remote communities often lack access to important services close to home.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will help strengthen rural communities by enhancing access to child care, health care, home care and community services, exploring ways to retain financial services in communities and by increasing investments in critical infrastructure. Our plan:

  • Will work with banks, credit unions and municipalities to ensure that banking solutions are available across rural Ontario
  • Invests $206 million over 10 years in infrastructure in northern and rural Ontario, as part of our bilateral agreement with the federal government
  • Is building and renewing hospitals in all parts of the province
  • Improves access to mental health care services and for rural youth
  • Adds 5,500 personal support workers to Ontario’s workforce to provide more home care, prioritizing northern and remote communities
  • Expands access to child care in rural communities
  • Improves access to services and supports for survivors of sexual and domestic violence in rural communities
  • Overhaul the consultation process school boards use when considering school closures
  • Invests $20 million in the Rural and Northern Education Fund to improve education programming in small communities
  • Is building and renewing schools across the province
  • Invests an additional $100 million in the Eastern Ontario Development Fund and Southwestern Ontario Development Fund over the next 10 years, creating and retaining 19,000 jobs
  • Supports farmers and a strong agri-food sector
  • Reduces electricity rates in eligible rural communities by up to 50 per cent, through the Fair Hydro Plan
  • Improves roads, bridges, highways and other transportation infrastructure in rural Ontario
  • Will increase Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund investments to $300 million by 2018-19 to build and renew road, bridge, water and wastewater infrastructure
  • Expands broadband connectivity in rural communities

Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples

Supporting Indigenous Children and Youth

Children and youth need support to achieve their full potential.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has introduced programs and services to help Indigenous children and youth facing barriers get a better start in life.

We have responded to the high incidence of youth suicides and helped communities in crisis by establishing a dedicated Indigenous Youth and Wellness Secretariat to coordinate services. We have expanded culturally relevant child and family programs in 40 First Nation Communities and launched the First Nations Health Action Plan. Through Indigenous Institutes, we have given Indigenous peoples control over their postsecondary institutions and created new ways for Indigenous students to complete postsecondary education.

But we need to do more. Indigenous children and youth need better on-reserve and off-reserve supports to improve their well-being.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals are working in partnership with Indigenous peoples to strengthen health care, child care and education. Our plan:

  • Supports Indigenous children and youth wellness through coordinated services
  • Invests more than $80 million over four years to expand mental health care for Indigenous children and youth at risk
  • Provides $40 million over three years to support culturally relevant child care programs on-reserve and $290 million to double the number of child care spaces on reserve.
  • Provides $70 million over two years for off-reserve projects for Indigenous children and families
  • Improves access to health care, including primary care, mental health and addiction care and palliative care, through an investment of more than $220 million over three years
  • Supports an expanded and stronger role for Indigenous Institutes

Supporting Strong and Healthy Indigenous Communities

Strong and healthy communities will support Indigenous peoples at every stage of life.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has worked with Indigenous partners to support their communities, both on-reserve and off-reserve.

We have worked to address critical health inequities and improve access to culturally appropriate health care services. We have developed an Urban Indigenous Action Plan to address the low socio-economic outcomes of urban Indigenous populations. We are working to end violence against Indigenous women.

To increase Indigenous representation in the provincial legislature, we have also created two new ridings in Northern Ontario, including one with a majority Indigenous population.

But we need to do more. Indigenous communities continue to lack access to health care and programs to improve outcomes.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will continue to work with Indigenous partners to enhance health care, housing and support culturally appropriate programs and services to strengthen Indigenous communities. Our plan:

  • Improves access to health care, including primary care, mental health and addiction care and palliative care, through an investment of more than $220 million over three years
  • Supports Indigenous leadership to design, implement and control the delivery of health care in their communities
  • Includes the Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women, which sees Ontario and Indigenous communities working together to stop violence
  • Works with urban Indigenous communities to develop effective programs for Indigenous people living off-reserve
  • Increases funding for the Indigenous Supportive Housing Program to create culturally-appropriate supportive housing
  • Enhances access to culturally safe and responsive social assistance services
  • Supports the revitalization of Indigenous languages and invests in new and expanded youth cultural camps in Indigenous communities.
  • Will work with Grassy Narrows and partners to identify all contaminated sites and develop and implement a comprehensive remediation plan to clean up mercury contamination in the English-Wabigoon River system, including the immediate provision of $85 million in dedicated fund

Promoting Economic Development

Improving economic opportunities for Ontario’s Indigenous peoples is key to their future prosperity. When Indigenous peoples have the opportunity to participate in the workforce and the economy, all of Ontario prospers.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government created the Indigenous Economic Development Fund and the Métis Voyageur Development Fund, which have provided financing, jobs and training.

We have enhanced access to postsecondary education for Indigenous peoples, through Indigenous Institutes and by making tuition free for low- to middle-income families. Our transformation of student assistance increased funding for 7,800 Indigenous students between 2016-17 and 2017-18—an increase of 34 per cent.

We have supported the connection of 22 remote First Nation communities to the electricity transmission grid, creating economic growth and jobs. When completed, Wataynikaneyap Power Grid Connection Project will be the largest Indigenous-led and owned infrastructure project in Ontario history, connecting 16 remote Northern FN communities to the electricity grid. We have also resolved 24 land claim settlements, addressing historic injustices and renewing our treaty relationship.

But we need to do more. Indigenous peoples deserve to share equally in Ontario’s economic prosperity.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will work with Indigenous partners to enhance access to education and training, boost economic growth and jobs and invest in infrastructure. Our plan:

  • Invests $30 million over two years to expand and enhance the SkillsAdvance Ontario program, which provides training for Indigenous peoples and other underrepresented groups
  • Supports an expanded and stronger role for Indigenous Institutes
  • As part of our $1 billion commitment, will build a year-round access road to the Ring of Fire, working with First Nations communities
  • Continues to work with First Nation and Métis partners on sharing the benefits of resource development
  • Will continue to work with Canada and First Nations to resolve land claims

A Fairer Justice System

Access to a fair and effective justice system is a cornerstone of our province.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has worked to modernize the criminal justice system to improve outcomes for vulnerable and marginalized people, including Indigenous people.

We are developing an integrated strategy to help divert vulnerable people away from the justice system through early intervention, and to help those in the system with rehabilitation and reintegration into the community.

We have invested in First Nations police services and are enhancing access to mental health and addiction care. We are investing in programs that will help reduce incarceration rates and increase access to justice for Indigenous people. We are working to end violence against Indigenous women and to improve the justice system’s response to survivors of sexual violence.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. Indigenous people continue to be overrepresented in our prisons. Indigenous women and girls continue to experience violence.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals are reducing barriers faced by Indigenous people across the justice system. Our plan:

  • Establishes a bicultural community justice centre in Kenora, with satellite locations in Sioux Lookout and Timmins, to improve the delivery and quality of justice and program supports for marginalized and Indigenous offenders, through targeted and culturally appropriate services that will better address the complex factors that contribute to chronic offending
  • Will provide culturally responsive supports to Indigenous people going through the bail and remand process.
  • Will improve the representation on our juries by using a broader OHIP source list, through further consultation with Indigenous communities and a review of the compensation jurors receive
  • Is implementing Walking Together: Ontario’s Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women

Plan for Francophone Ontario

Investing in French-Language Education

Access to francophone education is key to preserving and strengthening French language and culture.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has invested more than $500 million over the past five years to build and upgrade more than 60 French-language schools across the province. It is investing more than $80 million in 2018-19 to support five new French-language schools, acquire one and upgrade an additional three. These projects will include new licensed child care spaces.

We are creating l’Université de l’Ontario français, which will be governed by and for francophones in Toronto.

But we need to do more. We must take the next steps to make Ontario’s first French-language university a reality. We must address the shortage of French-language teachers in our province.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will continue to invest in francophone education. Our plan will:

  • Take the next steps to establish l’Université de l’Ontario français as a legal entity, ready to develop programs and accept students
  • Create new programs at existing bilingual and French postsecondary institutions
  • Develop a provincial, national, and international strategy to promote how to become qualified to teach in French-language school boards in Ontario
  • Encourage non-Canadians to seek out employment opportunities in French-language education in Ontario
  • Work with stakeholders in the education community to better align recruitment efforts with teaching needs

Supporting Strong and Healthy Francophone Communities

Ontario has the second-largest francophone community in Canada outside of Quebec.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government has consistently supported Franco-Ontarians’ rights and access to services in French.

We brought in the French-Language Services Act to guarantee access to French services in designated regions and created the position of French-Language Services Commissioner. We created a standalone Ministry of Francophone Affairs and have taken steps to improve access to justice in French.

We established the Francophone Community Grants Program to support the vitality and growth of francophone communities and. We created six French-Language Health Planning Entities to improve French-language health services.

We passed legislation to recognize the City of Ottawa’s bilingual character. We are also promoting Ontario’s Francophonie around the world through Observer Member status in the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. As the number of francophones grows in our province, they have a right to receive services in French where and when they need them. Investments in culture, education and health care will strengthen our francophone communities and promote the French language and culture in Ontario and around the world.

That’s why the Ontario Liberals will continue to invest in strong and healthy francophone communities. Our plan will:

  • Review and improve the French Language Services Act to continue to strengthen Ontario’s Francophonie’s access to quality government services in French
  • Double the Francophone Community Grant amount and make the program permanent
  • Build a new facility for the Mouvement d’implication francophone d’Orléans to improve access to French-language recreational services
  • Continue to promote Ontario’s Francophonie through active participation in the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie
  • Create a new French-language university and enhance French and bilingual postsecondary schools
  • Strengthening and expanding the role of Ontario’s French-Language Health Planning Entities
  • Expand mental health supports and access to long-term care for underserved populations, including francophone communities
  • Launch Route Champlain, a 1,500 km tourist route that showcases Ontario’s francophone history, culture and heritage

Plan for Better Government

Improving Oversight of Political Nominations

Ontarians deserve modern political and electoral systems that ensure fair representation, engage people in the democratic process and meet the highest standards of integrity.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario government has passed legislation to increase the number of ridings in Ontario, promoting fairer representation in the legislature to reflect our growing population. It has engaged more young people earlier in the democratic process by allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote with Elections Ontario and permitted the use of electronic vote tabulators at voting stations to ensure votes can be counted faster and more accurately.

We also brought in legislation to make Ontario’s election financing system among the strongest and most transparent in Canada, including rules about who can make contributions and how much they can donate. It also placed restrictions on attendance at fundraisers for politicians and their staff.

But we need to do more. The allegations surrounding the nominations of several Conservative candidates in this election are serious and disturbing. That’s why the Ontario Liberals will make sure there is independent oversight of the process. Our plan will:

  • Introduce legislation to strengthen the enforcement and investigative powers of Elections Ontario, including the oversight of nomination meetings

Easy-to-Use Online Services

In a world where people bank online, show proof of ticket purchase through their phone, log their fitness and get advice from their watch, they need and deserve government services that are fast and easy to access.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government’s digital government investments have built better online services, set minimum response times and encouraged people to participate in provincial budget decisions.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. That’s why the Ontario Liberal Plan for Better Government strives to make online government services available, fast and easy to use. Our plan will:

  • Introduce an online driver’s licence that will let you access all the services online that your physical driver’s licence lets you access in person
  • Launch online appointment booking, appointments by webcam, real-time service centre wait-times information and automatic driver’s licence renewal
  • Introduce MobileOntario — service vans to bring ServiceOntario to underserved people across the province
  • Help parents find and secure available child care spaces quickly
  • Help families and caregivers find and secure available long-term care spaces in regulated facilities
  • Create a government-wide performance dashboard for services, increasing accountability and allowing people to see whether government services are being delivered effectively

Better Customer Service

For too many people, government information is hard to find. The Ontario Liberal government has modernized ServiceOntario to improve customer service.

But we are hearing from people that we need to do more. That’s why the Ontario Liberal Plan for Better Government focuses on great customer service, including prompt responses when you need information or have questions. Our plan will:

  • Create an Office of Customer Service, a 24/7 operation dedicated to helping you get the services you need when you don’t know where to find them
  • Establish a Quick Response Commitment that will track your questions and make sure you receive answers quickly

Expanding Broadband and Digital Inclusion

Everyone in Ontario should be able to benefit from digital technologies and access modern public services.

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberal government created a digital inclusion strategy as part of its commitment to fairness and opportunity.

But we need to do more. That’s why the Ontario Liberal Plan for Better Government will improve access to the Internet, build people’s digital skills and empower them to design, create and use digital technologies in their communities. Our plan will:

  • Invest an additional $500 million over three years to expand broadband and seek proposals from the northeastern, northwestern and rural parts of the province to improve access where it will have the most impact
  • Improve cellular coverage and capacity gaps in eastern Ontario
  • Increase broadband speeds in communities lacking service
  • Test new approaches to teaching digital literacy skills to people of all ages

Protecting Your Data and Privacy

Technology is becoming a bigger part of our lives, through social networks, online shopping platforms, and other digital tools that make our day-to-day lives easier. But this progress has created new challenges for citizens and society, including concerns about how personal data is used and protected.

We can do more to protect data and privacy. That’s why the Ontario Liberal Plan for Better government will create new rules and policies to give people control over their data. Our plan will:

  • Introduce a Citizens’ Digital Privacy and Consent Charter to give people the appropriate protections, ownership and control of their data as they use technology and social media platforms; this would apply to areas falling under provincial jurisdiction
  • Develop new government purchasing rules for technology and digital services to make it easier for digital suppliers to do business with government, including finding ways to devote a portion of procurement toward innovative solutions from small businesses
  • Create an Open Data Market to increase transparency and support social and economic innovation

Fiscal Plan

Fiscal Plan

In 2014, you elected us to build Ontario up. Since then, the Ontario Liberals have been implementing a plan that is about investing in people, creating jobs and growing the economy. At the same time, we worked toward balancing the budget.

This year we delivered on that promise. We balanced the budget and expect to post a $600 million surplus for the 2017–2018 year.

We did it without cutting services and jobs. We did it by investing in people, creating economic growth and carefully managing spending.

As a result, Ontario’s economy has been growing faster than Canada and is leading the world’s strongest economic powers, including the US and Europe. We created over 800,000 net new jobs since the recession, and our unemployment rate is at a 17-year low.

But while our economy is doing well, not everyone is feeling the benefits of it equally. It’s getting harder and harder for people in our province to get ahead.

That’s why Ontario Liberals have made the deliberate choice to invest in the services and supports families in Ontario need right now. The deliberate choice to invest in mental health care, health care, home care, child care and more. As a result, we have chosen to run a small deficit of less than one per cent of GDP and have charted a responsible path back to balance.

Ontario continues to be the leanest government in Canada; our per-capita program spending the lowest in the country. Our interest-paid-on-debt expense is now eight cents on every dollar of revenue — almost half of what it was in 2000, meaning we’re able to borrow at the lowest rates in 25 years.

With Ontario back on a solid fiscal track and families still struggling to make ends meet, we cannot afford to pull back. We have to decide if government is going to help people with the challenges they are facing — or look only at its own balance sheet as the marker of how people are doing.

Doug Ford’s Conservatives’ plan to balance the budget goes hand-in-hand with their plan to pay for tax breaks that help only the wealthiest few. Their plan would cut public service jobs and slash services that working families need.

The NDP has built its platform and entire economic plan on a significant error. Their incompetence would remove billions of dollars from valued programs.

Ontario Liberals believe in investing in the care and opportunity that people need and that help to build a strong economy, while managing the province’s budget responsibly. We cannot choose one over the other — both are priorities.

Our budgets invest in care and opportunity for people. And they are built on prudent assumptions about growth — one-tenth of a point more conservative than average private-sector growth projections and prudent assumptions about expenditures, including appropriate contingency and reserve funds.

Since 2013, using this approach, the government has improved on its budget projections by $13.9 billion, or an average of almost $2.8 billion per year. Every penny of that improvement has been used to reduce the debt and deficit.

To support ongoing fiscal sustainability, a re-elected Ontario Liberal government will introduce legislation to mandate that 100 per cent of funds available due to improvement on fiscal projections at the end of a fiscal year go to reducing the debt.

There’s a lot at stake for the people of Ontario in this election. This is a choice between a government that invests in the care and opportunity people need and one that will protect big business at the expense of working families.

The choice is clear: care over cuts.