Overhaul Province’s Land Use Planning Appeals System
This week, Minister of Municipal Affairs, Bill Mauro and Attorney General, Yasir Naqvi announced that Ontario is taking action to overhaul the province’s land use planning appeals system to give communities a stronger voice and ensure people have access to faster, fairer and more affordable hearings. In the coming weeks, legislation will be introduced to create the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, which would, if passesd replace the Ontario Municipal Board. The new tribunal would be mandated to give greater weight to the decisions of local communities, while ensuring that development and growth occurs in a way that is good for Ontario and its future.
Ontario Deposit Return Program
Three billion alcohol containers have been kept out of the province’s landfills to date, instead being recycled through the Ontario Deposit Return Program. Through the program, alcohol containers can be returned to the Beer Store locations across Ontario for a full deposit refund. Returned containers are recycled into useful new products such as new bottles and cans, carpeting, insulation and plastic lumber, generating hundreds of jobs in Ontario each year.
Stronger, Healthier Ontario Act, 2017
This week, 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 January 2018. 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.
High Speed Rail
High speed rail cuts down on travel times, gives people more low-carbon transportation options, and creates new opportunities for workers and businesses. Ontario is supporting economic growth in Southwestern Ontario and across the province by moving forward with high speed rail along the Toronto-Windsor corridor, becoming the first province to undertake a rail transformation of this magnitude. Today, Premier Wynne announced alongside Transportation Minister, Steven Del Duca that the province is moving ahead with preliminary design work on the project and investing $15 million in a comprehensive environmental assessment.
Ontario Workers’ Retirement Benefits
Ontario is moving forward with changes that will ensure workers’ retirement benefits are protected and maintained, while enabling business to grow and be more competitive. Employers will continue to be required to ensure pensions funds are appropriately funded and to pay into a reserve to protect benefits for workers and retirees. Employers will have greater flexibility in managing their pension contributions, allowing them to plan for their pension costs more easily.
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