Provincial budget includes ambitious investments in highways, transit, hospital construction and skilled trades training

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Ontario Construction Report staff writer

The 2022 provincial budget tabled in the Legislature as the provincial government gears up for an election campaign is being labelled Ontario’s Plan to Build.

“It’s a budget that says yes to building highways, building transit and building key infrastructure around the province,” Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy said as he introduced the budget.

Ontario budget gets thumbs up from construction industry

“The people of our province deserve a government that has a real plan to build.”

Budget highlights that will impact the construction industry include:

Housing

  • Building 1.5 million new homes over the next 10 years

Roads and Highways – $25 billion for highway construction including:

  • Highway 413 construction
  • Bradford Bypass construction
  • Highway 401 widening from Brock Road in Pickering to Brockville
  • Restoring the QEW’s Garden City Skyway in Niagara Region
  • Construction of new Highway 7 between Kitchener and Guelph
  • Improvements to Highway 101 through Timmins

“We need to be ambitious,” Bethlenfalvy said. “Our plan includes trains, subways and highways. The Opposition would rather pretend we don’t live in a province where millions still drive a car to get to work. You cannot fight gridlock without building highways.”

Transit – $60 billion over 10 years

  • Expanding GO Transit service from Oshawa into Bowmanville and from London to Union Station
  • $75 million to bring passenger rail service back to Northern Ontario
  • Complete Ontario Line subway in Toronto
  • Continued support or the largest subway expansion in history including the Eglinton Crosstown West extension to Pearson Airport
  • Build Sheppard Subway extension to connect the Scarborough Subway line to Don Mills Terminal

Skilled trades training

  • $114 million over three years to break the stigma against skilled trades careers
  • $67 million over three years to connect well-trained immigrants with in-demand jobs
  • Additional $268.5 million over three years through Employment Ontario to strengthen skills training and employment programs
  • $9 million for Indigenous workers by investing in Indigenous operated training institutes
  • $6.9 million over three years to enhance the Investing in Women’s Futures program

“A four-year university degree is not the only path to a successful career,” the finance minister said in the Legislature.

Also, to improve opportunities for construction workers and make it easier to recruit skilled workers from other provinces, the government will direct Skilled Trades Ontario to harmonize trading standards with other provinces for about a dozen trades.

Skills Ontario responded to the budget quickly, applauding the government for the continued focus on providing opportunities for women and Indigenous peoples.

“We are thrilled to continue our strong partnership with the Ontario government, and we support the budget announced today,” says Ian Howcroft, CEO of Skills Ontario.

“Working together and inspiring the next generation of skilled trade and technology leaders is crucial to our success as a province, and we are looking forward to continuing to provide learning opportunities to Ontarians.”

With Premier Doug Ford expected to call a provincial election next week, there will be no debate or vote on the budget. Instead, Ontarians will go to the polls on June 2, the budget is expected to be a large chunk of the Conservative’s election platform.

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