In an address to the 10th annual Leeds and Grenville Economic Development Summit, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark spoke about the progress he believes his government has made in creating economic opportunities, and jobs, for the people of this region.
“I’m so proud of the hard work we have done locally to make Leeds and Grenville investment ready and position ourselves for economic prosperity. And I’m excited to be part of a government that’s committed to making Ontario Open for Business so that regions like ours can take the next step.”
Steve said that the government’s Plan for the People will restore trust, transparency and accountability to the province’s finances, while making life more affordable for individuals, families and businesses. To give businesses the confidence they need to invest, Clark said the government will cut job-killing red tape by 25 per cent by 2022, while stopping $308 million in planned tax hikes by the previous government to save 7,900 small businesses up to $40,000 per year.
“Leaving more money in the pockets of our job creators will allow them to reinvest in their businesses to create more jobs and grow our local economy,” he explained. “I’ve toured the riding from corner to corner and met with businesses large and small. I know they are struggling under the burden they’re facing in the form of higher taxes and increasing regulations.”
The government’s focus on modernizing the province’s apprenticeship program and winding down the College of Trades is also good news for employers desperate to find skilled workers and those looking for good-paying jobs, he said.
“This is vital to our economic future. The last two plants I toured told me they have a combined 40 good-paying jobs they can’t fill because of a shortage of skilled workers.”
As Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve said he was pleased the Fall Economic Statement included his Ministry’s Housing Supply Action Plan to address Ontario’s housing crisis. He stressed that housing is a local economic development issue as well, pointing out that a local firm has approached him with concerns about finding accommodation for the new employees they’re looking to hire.
“We can’t afford to lose that investment because we don’t have a place to house people who want to move into our region. We want to build more housing, more quickly and lower housing costs.”
Minister Clark told the audience that Ontario is projecting a 2018-19 deficit of $14.5 billion, down $500 million in a matter of weeks through measures to make the provincial government work more efficiently.
“We have done so while providing $2.7 billion in tax relief to individuals, families and businesses across the province. It’s a balanced approach, it’s a reasonable approach that won’t raise taxes, makes life more affordable and protects the public services we all value,” he said.