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5 Things Friday

What your government did for you this week

Affordable Legal Services

         Ontario is providing more people with affordable access to legal services by increasing the financial eligibility threshold for legal aid by another six per cent. Effective April 1, 2017, about 140,000 more people will be eligible to receive the legal services they need, regardless of their ability to pay. This has been made possible by the province’s investments in Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) to increase access to legal aid services for low-income and vulnerable people province wide. This is part of Ontario’s 2014 commitment to expand legal aid services provided by LAO to an additional one million Ontarians in ten years.

 

Ontario Student Assistance Program

         Ontario is now accepting applications for the new Ontario Student Assistance Program, which is making tuition free for more than 210,000 students. In addition to providing free tuition to hundreds of thousands of students each year, the new OSAP will also provide more generous grants. By next year, it is estimated that some 230,000 students receiving OSAP will have less debt as a result of these changes. All students are encouraged to visit Ontario.ca/osap to start their applications today.

 

Green Leaf Challenge

         Ontario launched its Green Leaf Challenge - an initiative that calls on the public to get involved in making the province a greener, cleaner place to live. The Green Leaf Challenge is supported by Forests Ontario and the province, and honours Ontario’s 150th anniversary. Each year, Ontario plants approximately three million trees under its 50 million tree program, and the government is now challenging the public to match its target of three million trees in 2017. Individuals, organizations and businesses can participate by planting a tree, participating in a community tree planting event or making a donation to have a tree planted on their behalf and can track the progress at greenleafchallenge.ca.

 

Investing in Jobs

         Premier Kathleen Wynne joined Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to announce a more than $1 billion partnership with Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd. The investment will create 300 new jobs at Ford operations in Ontario and protect hundreds more. The investment reflect Ontario’s position as a global leader in the auto industry and builds on the province’s reputation for cutting-edge automotive research and manufacturing. With this investment, Ford is establishing an advanced manufacturing program at its Windsor Operations, which will transform the site into a world-class Powertrain facility. Ford is also establishing an Ottawa Research and Engineering Centre, which will draw on the expertise of Ontario’s highly skilled workers to deliver the next generation of connected car technology. 

 

Ontario Minimum Wage Increase

         Ontario is continuing to boost income for workers across the province by increasing the general minimum wage for the fourth consecutive year, which will bring the wage up to $11.60 this fall. The increase will come into effect on October 1, 2017 and continues the government’s efforts to ensure more workers and their families are able to benefit from the province’s growing economy. As a result, fullt-ime minimum wage earners in Ontario are now  taking home $2,782 more per year than they did just four years ago. 

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