TORONTO – May 2, 2013 – CivicAction is encouraged by the Government of Ontario’s introduction of a new dedicated revenue source for regional transportation infrastructure and service improvements in today’s budget. The move towards dedicated revenue is a positive sign to Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) municipal governments and residents that the provincial government is prepared to act on the recommendations Metrolinx will submit by June 1st.
CivicAction applauds the commitment from the province to ensure that new funds are dedicated to transportation, applied fairly and regionally, and allocated in a transparent manner to achieve measurable results for taxpayers. These principles, along with efficiency, are the conditions of support in CivicAction’s Your32 campaign pledge. The campaign, which calls for elected officials and residents to pledge support for better transportation and the need for new sustainable ways to pay for it, is attracting a broad cross-section of support from residents and business, labour, academic, and community leaders.
“For the first time in a very long time, we’re seeing our elected officials actually commit to new sources of revenue for transportation expansion in a provincial budget,” said Mitzie Hunter, Chief Executive Officer of CivicAction.
There is a $34 billion funding gap to implement the rest of The Big Move and an increasing traffic congestion crisis. CivicAction looks forward to more action to build on this important milestone in the debate on how to fund road, transit, and active transportation improvements, and to see how governments will earn the public’s trust on how their money is spent. This is a critical moment for governments at all levels to show leadership as political and public attention to the need for new revenue sources for transportation has never been higher.
The budget outlines a number of measures that show a commitment to the GTHA, building physical and social infrastructure that will contribute to a more prosperous region and province with thriving people and places.
The budget also announced $295 million over two years to boost employment prospects for young people. The two-year investment is encouraging, while governments and partners need to continue to look at long-term, sustained efforts to enable the success of young people, particularly those facing multiple barriers to employment.
Economic Development and Attracting Foreign Direct Investment
A strong economy is key to the Toronto region’s prosperity. The budget recommended taking advantage of key opportunities for growth, such as Ontario and the GTHA’s status as a top destination for foreign direct investment (FDI). Foreign direct investment brings many benefits: it creates jobs, brings new expertise and technology, and supports innovation. However, competition for FDI is growing globally. To continue attracting investment as effectively as possible, it is important to maintain a competitive business environment and ensure coordination within the GTHA, in partnership with all levels of government.
CivicAction is pleased to see the government taking initial steps to modernize Ontario’s social safety net, such as a $200 monthly earnings exemption for Ontario Works and ODSP recipients. These steps respond in part to recommendations by the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario. CivicAction and United Way Toronto supported the work of the Commission by convening a panel of senior business leaders to provide strategic insights, advice, and support.
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About CivicAction’s Your32 campaign
CivicAction and its 50+ team of civic Champions and Regional Co-Captains aim to build support for a better regional transportation system and the need for new sustainable ways to pay for it. For more information, visit www.your32.com.
For the past 10 years, the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance (CivicAction) has brought together senior executives and rising leaders from all sectors to tackle some of our region’s toughest social, economic and environmental challenges. CivicAction sets a non-partisan agenda, builds strategic partnerships with organizations, and launches campaigns, programs and organizations that transform our region. For more information, visit: www.ca.cmohr.ca, @CivicActionGTA
Julia Lo, Project Officer
Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance