GTHA has advocated for a comprehensive and sector-specific recovery plan to mitigate the significant losses experienced by our members as a result of the global pandemic.
Today’s Budget is a positive step and paces the way for further discussions with the Province. We will keep members apprised of progress.
Today the Hon. Minister of Finance Rod Phillips released Ontario's Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover — the next phase of a comprehensive action plan to respond to the serious health and economic impacts of COVID-19. Ontario's Action Plan now sets out a total of $45 billion in support over three years to make available the necessary health resources to continue protecting people, deliver critical programs and tax measures to support individuals, families and job creators impacted by the virus, and lay the groundwork for a robust long-term economic recovery for the province.
The minister identified some of the budget’s measurements in support for the recovery of our industry.
These are as follows:
- - The government is making available $300 million in relief for eligible businesses in regions where the Province determines modified Stage 2 public health restrictions are necessary, or going forward, in areas categorized as Control or Lockdown. This will help cover fixed costs such as property taxes and energy bills.
- - Bringing more jobs to Ontario with a comprehensive plan to address the job-killing high costs of electricity, saving medium-size and larger industrial and commercial employers about 14 and 16 per cent respectively, on average, on their electricity bills (at an additional expense of $1.3 billion over three years). Starting on January 1, 2021, a portion of the cost of the contracts entered under the previous government will be funded by the Province, not the ratepayers.
- - Reducing property taxes on job creators and levelling the playing field by lowering high Business Education Tax (BET) rates for over 200,000 employers, or 94 per cent of all business properties in Ontario, to a rate of 0.88 per cent. This is creating $450 million in immediate annual savings and representing a reduction of 30 per cent for many businesses currently subject to the highest BET rate in the province.
- - Ending a tax on jobs for an additional 30,000 employers by proposing to make permanent the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption increase from $490,000 to $1 million. With this additional relief about 90 per cent of employers would pay no EHT, saving them $360 million in 2021-22 that could be reinvested in jobs and growth.
- - Committing to provide Ontario residents with support of up to 20 per cent for eligible Ontario tourism expenses to encourage them to safely discover Ontario in 2021, the year of the Ontario staycation.
- - Connecting workers in the tourism and hospitality sector and others most affected by the pandemic to training and jobs with an investment of $180.5 million over 3 years, including a skilled trades strategy, an additional $100 million of dedicated investments through Employment Ontario for skills training, a redesigned Second Career program, and $59.5 million to acquire in-demand skills.
Read entire news release here.
Access Ontario's Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover here.
The GTHA will continue to inform its members as more information becomes available on specific details about the budget and its implications for the hotel and tourism industry.