New Initiatives to Modernize Apprenticeship, Continuing Investment in Infrastructure
Province Extends Infrastructure Expenditure Timeline, Adding $40 Billion
The Province has extended its infrastructure investment plan into 2028, allocating an additional $40 billion. Previously, the Ontario government had planned to spend $190 billion between 2014-15 and 2026-27, but the Province now intends to invest $230 billion between 2014-15 and 2027-28.
$21 Billion Infrastructure Spending Planned for 2018-19
Ontario plans to spend over $21 billion on infrastructure in 2018-19, after spending more than $17 billion in 2017-18. Transit expenditure will account for over a third of the Province’s infrastructure investment in 2018-19, with $7.5 billion budgeted for the year (see Table 1).
Province Underspent on Infrastructure in 2017-18
According to the 2018 Ontario Budget, Province spent $3.1 billion less on infrastructure in 2017-18 than they planned to in the 2017 budget. In the 2017 Ontario Budget, the government planned $20.3 billion in infrastructure spending, but only spent $17.2 billion. For the most part, the spending shortfall came in transit, where $5.1 billion was spent rather than the $7.2 billion that was planned. Expenditure in the other major infrastructure categories (Highways, Hospitals, Education, Postsecondary) were close to the target set out in Budget 2017.
Table 1: Total Infrastructure Expenditure 2017-18 & 2018-19
Total Infrastructure Expenditures ($ Billions)
Source: 2018 Ontario Budget Includes third-party investment in hospitals, colleges and schools, and federal contributions to provincial infrastructure investments *Total includes several smaller sector categories not included in this table
5.0% Increases in Non-Residential Construction Projected for 2018 and 2019
The Province in the 2018 Ontario Budget is projecting that non-residential construction will grow by 5.0% in 2018 and 2019, after only increasing by an estimated 1.3% 2017 (see Table 2). Residential construction in Ontario is estimated to have increased by 4.4% in 2017, but is only projected to grow by 1.6% and 0.3% in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Ontario Projects 2.2% GDP Growth in 2018
Ontario’s GDP is estimated to have grown by 2.7% in 2017, beating the forecast set by the Province last year (2.3% Real GDP growth forecasted in the 2017 Ontario Budget). Growth is expected to slow to 2.2% in 2018, and fluctuate between 1.7-1.9% between 2019 and 2021.
Table 2: Ontario’s Economic Forecast (% Change)
Source: 2018 Ontario Budget
New Initiatives to Modernize Ontario’s Apprenticeship System and Create New Training Opportunities
The Province revealed several initiatives in the 2018 Ontario Budget intended to modernize Ontario’s apprenticeship system and create new opportunities for training. These initiatives include launching an Office of Apprenticeship Opportunity, investing in a new Ontario Apprenticeship Strategy, and establishing the Ontario Training Bank.
Office of Apprenticeship Opportunity
The 2018 Ontario Budget launched Ontario’s new Office of Apprenticeship Opportunity, but did not reveal details about the budget or size of the office, or when it will become active.
“Ontario is launching a new Office of Apprenticeship Opportunity to support apprentices from underrepresented groups and to build an inclusive, diverse apprenticeship system. The Office will be informed by best practices from other jurisdictions.
The Office’s actions will support changes in workplace culture that will create a welcoming, supportive environment for all apprentices by partnering with employers and unions to improve entry pathways into the apprenticeship system, support retention, and increase completion rates for apprentices from underrepresented groups.”
Source: 2018 Ontario Budget
Ontario Apprenticeship Strategy
The Province revealed in the 2018 Ontario Budget that it will invest $170 million over three years on the new Ontario Apprenticeship Strategy. Investments will include: expanding the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP); providing more information on local labour markets to students, parents and educators; establishing a new grant to promote pooled group sponsorship models for apprentices; and a Local Apprenticeship Innovation Fund to increase opportunities for apprentices and support pilot projects where market needs have been demonstrated Ontario Training Bank
The 2018 Ontario Budget includes an investment of $63 million over three years to create a new Ontario Training Bank: “a one-stop shop for employers, job seekers and workers to access the skills training that meets their needs”. Services and programs provided by the Ontario Training Bank will include: an investment of $30 million over two years to expand and enhance SkillsAdvance Ontario (SAO); bringing employers, industry associations and training providers together to develop skills programs that are tailored to the needs of the local economy; a new Employer Partnership Training Fund (replacing the Canada-Ontario Job Grant), which will simplify contribution requirements, and incentivize employers to team up to deliver training.