Ontario tabled its fall economic statement Thursday that shows the province delaying its path to balance by a year and the government proposing to launch its own infrastructure bank to fund major projects. Here are the highlights:
Ontario Infrastructure Bank
- The province is launching the Ontario Infrastructure Bank, saying taxpayers cannot fund major capital projects alone. The province is contributing $3 billion in initial funding to get the arm’s-length bank up and running.
- Ontario plans to target “trusted institutional investors” such as public-sector pension plan organizations.
- Bethlenfalvy says the projects funded through the bank will initially be focused on long-term care homes, energy infrastructure, affordable housing, municipal and community infrastructure and transportation.
- The province is scrapping its portion of the harmonized sales tax on new purpose-built rental housing construction.
- Ontario had been asking the federal government to drop its goods and sales tax on purpose-built rental housing for more than a year.
- The federal government did that in September and Ontario has officially joined them in an effort to spur construction in the rental housing market.
- The province is launching what it calls a new “housing-enabling water systems fund.”
- Ontario will invest $200 million over three years into the fund that will be available for municipalities to apply to for the “repair, rehabilitation and expansion of core water, wastewater and stormwater projects that promote growth and enable housing development.”
- The province says the new fund will complement its recently announced “building faster fund,” a $1.2-billion purse over three years available to municipalities to help them reach housing targets set by the province.
Invest Ontario Fund
- The province is investing $100 million more into the Invest Ontario Fund, bringing it to a total of $500 million.
- The province says the money is used to attract companies to Ontario.
- The province cites a $3.1 million investment from the fund given to Mitsui High‐tec, a motor parts manufacturing company, which invested more than $100 million to expand its capacity to build parts for electric vehicles.
- The province is squirrelling away billions of dollars to help it respond to surprise expenses.
- The province set aside $1 billion in its March budget for the year towards the contingency fund.
- It has now added another $2.5 billion to the fund this year, which now has a balance of $5.4 billion.
Gas Tax Cut
- The province announced earlier this week it would extend its 5.7-cent gas tax cut for another six months.
- The reduction and a 5.3-cent cut to the price of diesel fuel will remain until June 30, 2024.