As part of Budget 2024, Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy announced $190.2 billion earmarked towards upgrading Ontario’s infrastructure over the next 10 years, while $26.2 will be invested in the coming year.

The budget includes a planned $27.4 billion over 10 years to support the planning and construction of highway expansion and rehabilitation, however the government has not specifically broken out how much money it plans to spend on Highway 413 or the Bradford Bypass.

There is nearly $50 billion over 10 years earmarked for health infrastructure, including close to $36 billion in capital grants, for more than 50 hospital projects that would add about 3,000 new beds.

“In the face of global economic uncertainty and high interest rates that continue to put pressure on Ontario families, our government is taking a responsible approach by investing to rebuild Ontario’s economy without raising taxes,” said Bethlenfalvy. “As we invest in key public services and infrastructure, including new roads, highways and the largest public transit expansion in North America, we refuse to offload the costs onto hardworking Ontario families or municipalities at a time when they’re counting on us to keep costs down.”

The Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO) said it welcomed the province’s renewed commitment to building transportation infrastructure projects, including Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass.

“The investments in critical infrastructure in Budget 2024 are a reflection of the priorities of the people of Ontario,” said Nadia Todorova, executive director of RCCAO. “Ontarians recognize that highways, water infrastructure capacity and housing are crucial to tackle some of the province’s biggest challenges and we are pleased that the Ontario government has answered their calls to build.”

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According to the Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (OSSGA), the investment in the highways, transit, bridges, and the infrastructure municipalities need to expedite the construction of 1.5 million homes demonstrates the government’s understanding that robust infrastructure is critical to building homes. And at the core of building infrastructure is stone, sand and gravel.

“Nothing gets built without aggregate,” said OSSGA executive director Michael McSweeney. “That applies to everything. Transportation corridors, schools, hospitals, recreational facilities – and houses. The aggregate industry is proud to provide the essential raw materials that bring infrastructure to life. We’re pleased the Ontario government recognizes the pivotal role played by local pits and quarries as the foundation of the construction process, fostering a resilient and thriving Ontario.”

Also included in Budget 2024 was the recently announced investment announcement of an additional $625 million for the Housing-Enabling Water Systems Fund bringing its total funding to $825 million.

“The funding allocated by the MOI represents a landmark commitment to addressing the urgent needs of housing-enabling infrastructure across the province,” said Steve Tamas, president of Ontario Sewer & Watermain Construction Association (OSWCA). “This substantial investment underscores the government’s dedication to modernizing infrastructure, enhancing resilience, and facilitating the construction of more homes.”

A further $100 million will be allocated towards Skills Development Fund (SDF) projects to enhance the skills of Ontario’s construction workforce.

“We are very encouraged by today’s provincial Budget commitments for continued funding of construction worker training and the building of infrastructure,” said Marc Arsenault, business manager of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, adding that “the planned financing of construction projects requires accompanying dollars towards training the skilled workforce of tomorrow, and this Budget meets those needs.”

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Ian Howcroft, CEO of Skills Ontario also welcomed a further $16.5 million annually over the next three years that will support a variety of programs focused on breaking the stigma and attracting more young people into the skilled trades, simplifying the system, and encouraging employer participation in apprenticeships.

“The province has been a leader in supporting skilled trades professionals which is why continued investment is so important. The additional $100 million funding for the Skills Development Fund will help support the economy and help keep our healthcare system, and our society operating,” said Howcroft.

Featured image: (Government of Ontario)

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