Pettapiece praises parts of Conservative pre-election budget


  • Council   Friday, May 13, 2022   

Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy released the 2022 provincial budget, Ontario’s Plan to Build. The budget is based on five pillars: Rebuilding Ontario’s Economy; Working for Workers; Building Highways and Key Infrastructure; Keeping Costs Down; and A Plan to Stay Open. 

Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece was at Queens Park for the budget presentation. He praised the government’s plan: “This budget addresses many of the things that matter to us in Perth-Wellington,” he said. “It will help prepare us for the future, especially when it comes to job training, infrastructure, and building the healthcare capacity we need.” 

“These are major investments in our future. But at the same time, the government’s plan is responsible. It is a recovery plan that will eliminate Ontario’s deficit two years ahead of schedule,” he added. “I am confident that the people of Ontario will support these priorities, and I hope this budget will be passed.”

The budget supports creating good manufacturing jobs as Ontario becomes a North American leader in building the vehicles of the future. It also invests nearly $4 billion to support high-speed internet access to every community in Ontario by the end of 2025. 

Pettapiece praised this investment as being exceptionally important to small communities and rural Ontario. 

To support workers and help connect them to better paying jobs, the budget includes $1 billion annually in employment and training programs to help people retrain and upgrade their skills. The province will also invest an additional $114.4 million over three years in its Skilled Trades Strategy. 

“For years, local employers have told me that they cannot find enough skilled workers,” Pettapiece said. “I am pleased that the government has a meaningful plan to address this.”

The budget includes an ambitious plan to invest in highways and critical infrastructure across the province. It also includes $14 billion over the next ten years to build and renew schools and childcare spaces. 

Locally, it will also mean faster train trips from Stratford and St. Marys with track improvements for faster and more frequent GO transit service. 

To reduce costs for families the budget promises a long-term plan to address the housing crisis, informed by the Housing Affordability Task Force’s recommendations. This includes supporting the creation of all types of housing by speeding up approvals to get more shovels in the ground faster, prioritizing Ontario homebuyers. It also introduces a housing supply action plan every year for the next four years.

In its Plan to Stay Open, the budget includes historic investments in hospitals with an additional $3.3 billion in 2022-23, bringing the total additional investments in hospitals to $8.8 billion since 2018-19. 

The government is also investing $3.5 billion over three years to continue the more-than-3,000 hospital beds added during the pandemic. It also supports continuing the hundreds of new adult, pediatric and neonatal critical care beds added during COVID-19. 

To improve home care services for seniors, the budget also includes an additional $1 billion over the next three years. The government is also proposing a new, refundable Ontario Seniors Care at Home Tax Credit to help seniors aged 70 and older with eligible home care medical expenses to help people stay in their homes longer.

In supplementary documentation supplied by Mr. Pettapiece’s office, some key areas that are of interest to Southwestern Ontario were highlighted. Expanded GO Transit services, modernizing schools through $14 billion in capital grants over a 10-year period which includes $1.4 billion in the coming school year, and improving child care options by creating 86,000 ‘new, high-quality child care spaces’. Among the areas specifically noted in this section was Milverton Public School.

A commitment to more long-term care beds was also included in the budget, with Mitchell’s Ritz Lutheran Villa slated for 128 LTBs to be upgraded.

For a more comprehensive look at the provincial budget, go to https://budget.ontario.ca/2022/