• Martin Benson posted an article
    Fall Economic Statement see more

    On the afternoon of Thursday, November 15th, Finance Minister Vic Fidelli rose in the Legislature to present the government’s Fall Economic Statement.  Features of this financial and legislative roadmap that will be of interest to contractors are as follows:

    • GDP is expected to grow by 2% in 2018, 1.8% in 2019, 1.7% in 2010 and 1.5% in 2021
    • To maintain business tax competitiveness for with the US, the provincial government will introduce accelerated depreciation measures, will maintain the lower small business corporate income tax rate and will increase the Employer Health Tax exemption threshold from $450,000 in payroll to $490,000
    • The provincial deficit was pegged at $14.5B, down $500M from the time when the Tories assumed office little more than five months ago; this is the result of $3.2B in savings already implemented and $2.7B in new spending or foregone revenue (tax spending)
    • The Fall Economic Statement did not prescribe the journey to budget balance (look for that in the March 2019 budget)
    • The government will introduce the Low-Income Individuals and Families Tax (LIFT) Credit, effective January 1, 2019, which will exempt low-income earners from paying provincial income tax; this measure is estimated to benefit 1.1 million people and cost the government $495 million in foregone revenue
    • The government will conduct a review of the workers compensation system to ensure it remains sustainable in the future
    • There will be a review of Metrolinx and possible amendments to the Metrolinx Act
    • Work will resume on the GTA West highway corridor
    • An Open for Business Action Plan will be initiated to reduce the burden of red tape and unnecessary regulation by 25% by 2022
    • The government will conduct a review of power prices for industrial power consumers with public input
    • The government will introduce an environmental plan to fight climate change
    • The government will launch a Housing Supply Action Plan to address housing affordability and grow supply
    • New rental units built after the date of the Fall Economic Statement will be exempted from rent control

    The full document is available at the following link  https://www.fin.gov.on.ca/fallstatement/2018/fes2018-en.pdf:


  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Ontario Releases 2016-17 Public Accounts see more

    Treasury Board Secretariat - Today the province released the Public Accounts of Ontario, showing that Ontario's deficit for last year was $991 million--$3.3 billion lower than projected in the 2016 Budget and $0.5 billion lower than the interim projection in the 2017 Budget.

    This is a result of growth in revenue that exceeded growth in program expense, and lower than forecast interest on debt.

    Ontario is on track to balance the budget this year, in 2017-18, while making investments in the programs and services people and families rely on most.

    Other highlights from this year's Public Accounts include:

    • Economic growth, with a 2.7 per cent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP), up from 2.2 per cent projected in the 2016 Budget
    • Total revenue of $140.7 billion, up $2.2 billion from the 2016 Budget projection
    • Total spending of $141.7 billion, down $0.1 billion from the 2016 Budget projection
    • Interest on debt of $11.7 billion, down $0.7 billion from the 2016 Budget projection

    Read more.

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Optimistic Revenue Projection Underpins Government’s Balanced Budget Plan see more

    Financial Accountability Office of Ontario  - The 2017 Ontario Budget projects balanced budgets beginning in 2017-18 and continuing over the next two years. Given the government’s spending plans, maintaining a balanced budget relies critically on an optimistic revenue forecast – and in particular, on very strong growth in tax revenues.  However, when compared to either recent historical experience or the FAO’s projections, there appears to be significant downside risk to the government’s forecast. As a result, the FAO expects that staying in balance after 2017-18 will require additional fiscal policy measures – that is, new revenues or lower than projected spending.

    Read more.​​​​​​​

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Province Passes Balanced Budget to Support a Stronger, Healthier Ontario see more

    Ministry of Finance - Today Ontario passed the Stronger, Healthier Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017, which includes significant investments in health care and education, including free prescription medications for everyone aged 24 and under through OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare, starting in January 2018.

    The 2017 Budget will help strengthen Ontario's economy by investing in people, communities and businesses across the province. The government is increasing health care funding by $11.5 billion over three years to reduce wait times, improve access to care and enhance the experience and recovery of patients. The government is also investing an additional $6.4 billion over three years to help learners reach their full potential by supporting them from full-day kindergarten to postsecondary education and beyond.

    Read more.

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    2017 Provincial Budget Highlights see more

    On April 27th, 2017 Finance Minister Charles Sousa delivered the Wynne Government’s budget for the fiscal year 2017/2018. The $141 billion spending plan is the first balanced budget since 2008 and is expected to remain balanced for the next two years. The budget plan will add $10 billon to the province’s net debt bringing the total debt to $312 billion, which is higher than $302 billion projected in the 2016 Fall Economic Statement. By 2019-2020 the Province’s debt is projected to increase to $336 billion.

    The budget projects $141.7 billion in revenue, with $100.1 billion from tax revenue, $25.7 billion from Federal transfers, $4.9 billion from government enterprises (OLG, LCBO) and $11.0 billion from other non-tax revenue. Corporate and personal income tax revenue is up from projections in the last budget. The $141 billion spending plan includes $53.8 for the health care sector, $26.5 billion for the education sector, $16.9 billion on Children & Social Services and $11.6 billion on debt service.

    Read more

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Ontario Budget Notebook: Province moves forward on Ontario high-speed rail see more

    Daily Commercial News -  The following are some highlights from the provincial budget as well as some industry feedback on various items mentioned by Finance Minister Charles Sousa on April 27.

    High-speed rail from Windsor to Toronto continues to loom on the Ontario government radar.

    In 2015, the government appointed former federal cabinet minister David Collenette as a special advisor to work on the file. The 2017 budget from Finance Minister Charles Sousa indicated the province will undertake environmental assessment and design and planning work for the corridor. The province is also considering the development of a governing body that would provide oversight for the design and implementation of the project.

    High‐speed rail could cut travel times between Toronto and Windsor from four hours to just over two, notes the budget document.

    Read more.

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Constructors pleased with infrastructure spending increase in 2017 Ontario budget see more

    Daily Commercial News - The Ontario provincial budget delivered by Finance Minister Charles Sousa April 27 was heavy on new social spending but stakeholders in the province’s construction sector also found nuggets of good news including a sizable increase in infrastructure spending.

    Sousa announced Ontario's first balanced budget in 10 years, with a $600-million surplus projected for the 2017-2018 fiscal year and similar small surpluses the following two years. Document headlines focused first on pharmacare, housing regulatory reform, health care spending and a boost to child care but construction stakeholders digging deeper welcomed the hike of almost $2 billion extra per year in infrastructure allocations over the next 10 years.

    In the next fiscal year the annual infrastructure spend will escalate from $13.54 billion to $15.57 billion. The province's 10-year infrastructure plan now projects total spending of $156 billion including $56 billion on public transit, $26 billion on highways, more than $20 billion in capital grants to hospitals and almost $16 billion in capital grants to school boards.

    Read more.

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Premier talks budget, lien act at OGCA symposium see more

    Daily Commercial News - Premier Kathleen Wynne gave her take on Ontario’s Construction Lien Act and provided a preview of the upcoming budget during the recent Ontario General Contractors Association’s (OGCA) 10th Construction Symposium.

    "We heard about your concerns about Ontario's Construction Lien Act — about issues with payment timelines and dispute resolution and that the law needed to be modernized but that it needed to be done in the right way," said Wynne.

    She spoke on the opening night of the symposium to a packed house at the Village Conference Centre in Blue Mountain, kicking off the event.

    Read more

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    2017 Federal Budget Highlights see more

    On March 22, 2017 Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivered the Liberal Government’s second federal budget. The major focus of this year’s budget was Skills and Development, Infrastructure, Tax Fairness and a Strong Canada.

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  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Infrastructure funding road map still needed, say stakeholders see more

    Daily Commercial News -  The federal government’s 2017 budget wasn’t filled with any surprises, but rather assurances it is still committed to infrastructure funding and boosting Canada’s economy one way or another, stated several national construction industry stakeholders.

    "Not a heck of a lot new in this budget from an infrastructure point of view," Canadian Construction Association (CCA) president Michael Atkinson pointed out while attending the CCA's 99th annual conference in Mexico. The event happened to correspond with Finance Minister Bill Morneau's budget speech March 22. "Frankly the economic statement last fall was more of a budget for us in terms of infrastructure."

    Atkinson stated the government's continued commitment to spend a total of $180 billion for projects rolling out through to 2027-28 was encouraging but light on the details.

    John Gamble, president, and CEO of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Canada, echoed his comments.Atkinson stated the government's continued commitment to spend a total of $180 billion for projects rolling out through to 2027-28 was encouraging but light on the details.

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  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Canadian Construction Association 2017 Federal Budget Reaction see more

    CCA  - The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) sees the federal government’s Budget 2017 announcement today as a reiteration of previous commitments made to the renewal of Canada infrastructure.

    “While we expected to see greater detail regarding the Canada Infrastructure Bank and Phase II of the Federal program, CCA is pleased with the high priority it continues to attach to the renewal of Canada’s critical infrastructure,” said Michael Atkinson, president of the Canadian Construction Association. “We look forward to receiving additional details in the coming months and working with the government on a seamless transition from Phase I to the next phase of the Federal infrastructure plan.”

    Also included in this year’s budget were some positive proposed changes to enhance the Federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program, as well as changes to Canada’s building codes to improve energy efficiency and reduce building emissions by promoting retrofits and net-zero construction.

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  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Ontario Wraps Up Pre-Budget Consultations see more

    Ministry of Finance - This year, more than 81,400 people participated in consultations to help shape policies and programs that will be part of the 2017 Ontario Budget - breaking a previous record set last year.

    Through 13 weeks of engagement, people participated in a number of ways including:

    • 12 in-person pre-budget consultations held in 11 cities across Ontario, including Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Mississauga, Hamilton, London and Windsor, with more than 480 attendees, including more than 380 speakers
    • Four telephone town halls, which included more than 70,000 participants
    • More than 680 written submissions mailed or e-mailed to the government
    • Budget Talks, an innovative online consultation, resulting in more than 10,300 registered users, which includes more than 400 project idea submissions, and 19,229 votes for ideas people would like to see implemented in the Budget

    Engaging the people of Ontario in the budget process is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.


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  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Building a Stronger, More Inclusive and Sustainable Economy in Northern Ontario see more

    Ministry of Financeb - Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, spoke today at the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce about the government's plan to grow the economy, create jobs and help more people benefit from the province's strong economic growth.

    The Minister met with business leaders from the Thunder Bay area to discuss how the government is implementing its plan to balance the budget next year and the year after.  Minister Sousa outlined the strategic investments the province has made - and continues to make - to build a stronger, more inclusive and sustainable economy in Northern Ontario. 

    The Minister of Finance also hosted a pre-budget consultation today at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay as part of a province-wide engagement process for the 2017 Budget.

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  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Assessing Ontario's Fiscal Outlook see more

    Financial Accountability Office (FAO) - In the 2016 Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review - commonly referred to as the Fall Economic Statement (FES) - the Ontario government (the Province) reaffirmed its commitment to eliminate the budget deficit by 2017-18 and maintain a balanced budget going forward. By comparison, the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) projected budget deficits of $5.2 billion in 2016-17, $2.6 billion in 2017-18 and a steady deterioration to $3.7 billion by 2020-21.[1]

    Based on the FAO’s analysis of the FES, the Province’s plan to balance the budget continues to rely on optimistic assumptions for revenue growth and program spending restraint. As a result, there is significant risk that the government may not be able to eliminate the deficit in 2017-18, nor maintain a balanced budget going forward. However, the government has a variety of tools that it could use to temporarily improve the budget balance in 2017-18.[2] Beyond 2017-18, maintaining a balanced budget will likely require additional measures to raise revenues or reduce expenses.

    Read more.

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Province projected to balance budget next year see more

    Ministry of Finance - Ontario will help more people purchase their first home through a proposal to double the maximum Land Transfer Tax refund for eligible first-time homebuyers to $4,000. The proposed increase is detailed in the 2016 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review presented today by Finance Minister Charles Sousa. The increase would be effective January 1, 2017 and mean that eligible homebuyers in Ontario would pay no Land Transfer Tax on the first $368,000 of the cost of their first home.

    The 2016 Review highlighted how the government is making new investments in programs, services and supports that help people in their everyday lives. These include $140 million in new funding that will help patients and their families receive better care and quicker access to services at every hospital across Ontario. As well, more families will benefit from an expansion of licensed child care with an investment of $65.5 million this school year to support the creation of about 3,400 new spaces.

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