- Stephen Lecce, MPP
Ontario Starts Planning for Economic Recovery
The Ontario government has launched a new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee which will focus on getting businesses up and running and people back to work after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. While the government's primary focus is on combatting the virus, supporting frontline health care workers and providing immediate relief to people and businesses, this new committee will be developing a plan to stimulate economic growth and job-creation in the weeks and months ahead. "My heart goes out to those individuals and families who have been out of work, or whose business has closed through no fault of their own," said Premier Ford. "I can assure each person affected by this crisis that we will do everything we can to support you, and get you back on the job as soon as possible. While our government battles this virus, members of our new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee will roll up their sleeves and develop a roadmap to a stronger, more prosperous economy." The membership of the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee includes:
• Rod Phillips, Chair, Minister of Finance • Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade • Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board • Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation • Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health • Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs • Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs • John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry • Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure • Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries • Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services • Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development • Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction
The Committee will be consulting with a wide variety of people to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the provincial economy and develop an action plan to move forward, including business associations, chambers of commerce, municipal leaders, corporate leaders, small business owners, and entrepreneurs. "While we focus our energy and resources on defeating COVID-19, today's job numbers highlight why we also need to plan for an economic recovery," said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance. "At Premier Ford's request, I have convened the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee. And our first order of business is to prepare for the next phase of Ontario's Action Plan, which will be ready to launch as soon as COVID-19 is contained. This team will get our economy moving again ― with a focus on job creation, opportunities for growth, and protecting our province from future threats." Today, Statistics Canada released its monthly job numbers, which showed a 402,800 decrease in employment in Ontario. To support the provincial effort to deal with this crisis, the government launched Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. This is a $17 billion package with funding targeted to help families and a variety of sectors across the province. In addition to $3.3 billion in more health care resources, the plan includes $3.7 billion to support people and jobs, and relief of $6 billion by temporarily deferring taxes for 100,000 Ontario businesses, $1.9 billion to allow employers to defer Workplace Safety and Insurance Board payments, and $1.8 billion to defer municipal education property tax payments. The government is also providing $52 million from the package to better support individuals and families in financial crisis through social assistance. This funding will support those who are not able to access federal assistance to cover needs such as food costs, rent, medicine and other essential services during this time. Individuals can easily apply online for assistance. To support small businesses, the Ontario government has also worked with the federal government to develop the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank. This new program will help businesses meet cash flow requirements through guaranteed loans. "Our government is pulling out all the stops to support our job creators and workers today, during this very difficult time," said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. "But it is incumbent upon us to look ahead and map out a plan that considers life after COVID-19, a plan that will guide us into a future filled with hope, new employment opportunities and steady economic growth." "While the health and safety of Ontarians is our top priority, we need to ensure that our province is positioned to support and facilitate economic growth when we lift the State of Emergency," said Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board. "This starts with the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, which will ensure we have a long-term, strategic vision to responsibly reopen our economy."