Ontario’s politicians have returned to the Legislature ahead of a five-week summer session to pass Ontario’s 2022 budget at an unusual time.
The PCs released their 2022 provincial budget in April, but the passage of the piece of legislation was dependent on the party getting re-elected in June. Now, under Doug Ford’s majority government, the party is able to once again push their platform forward.
“This is a back-to-work commitment the Premier made, in response to us needing to pass the budget,” explained Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford, in an interview with the Q Morning Show.
“We introduced a budget before the election, the election was triggered thereafter, and we’re here to deliver on those promises. There’s a few tweaks and additions. We’ll debate that for the coming weeks, and hopefully pass it,” adds Rickford, Ontario’s Minister of Northern Development and Minister of Indigenous Affairs.
The 2022 Budget, Ontario’s Plan to Build, includes five pillars to success, including Rebuilding Ontario’s Economy, Working for Workers, Building Highways and Key Infrastructure, Keeping Costs Down and A Plan to Stay Open.
It includes $4 billion to bring high-speed internet to every community by 2025, an increase to the general minimum wage to $15.50 by October 1, a $1 billion investment in employment and training programs, $158 billion in infrastructure investments, a long-term plan to address Ontario’s housing crisis and further support for Ontario’s healthcare, homecare and hospitals.
The PCs add they plan to increase base program spending at an average annual rate of about five per cent over the next three years, while eliminating Ontario’s deficit two years earlier than projected in last year’s budget.
However, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees rallied at Queen’s Park today in protest of what they call Ontario’s ‘recycled’ budget. CUPE says the budget needs to be adjusted to account for skyrocketing rates of inflation and emergency room closures across the province, and allege the budget includes over $2.7 billion in cuts over the next three years.