Over the past two years, the hospitality and tourism sector has been significantly hurt by measures required to protect the health of Ontarians. To support a robust economic recovery, our government is putting money back into the pockets of families to boost main streets in our communities and across the province through the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit. Ontario residents can use the credit to claim 20 percent of eligible 2022 accommodation expenses for a return of up to $200 as an individual or $400 as a family. The tax credit is another part of the government’s plan to drive economic recovery and long-term growth so that the province can emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever. Ontario offers the world in one province, and these savings will encourage our residents to discover all that we offer. If you live in Ontario, you can apply for this refundable credit when filing your personal 2022 Income Tax and Benefit Return – and receive the credit even if you don’t owe income tax.
Earlier this month, Solicitor General Jones announced that our government is improving public safety and support for people in crisis by investing more than $4 million over two years to expand Mobile Crisis Response Teams. Police services in 28 communities will receive funding to increase their capacity to respond to calls from individuals experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, including $150,000 for the Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry OPP detachment. The investment will enable police services to add mental health and addictions crisis workers to existing Mobile Crisis Response Teams and help ensure that these specialized resources are available where and when needed.
I hosted several important meetings for Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Lisa Thompson. First, we met with a group of agri-food representatives and farmers to discuss the challenges they face, including workforce shortages, red tape, supply chain shortfalls, and increased input costs. Minister Thompson also delivered great news with a new $25-million Strategic Agri-Food Processing Fund. It will assist businesses to overcome our processing capacity shortage, bolster the sector’s competitiveness, and help avoid future disruptions. The Minister and I also met with local farmers, industry, and municipal representatives to discuss a multifaceted regional project.
The Ontario government is expanding its investment in pre-apprenticeship training to a record $28 million, providing more young people with the training they need to launch rewarding careers in the skilled trades. Between July and September 2021, Ontario had more than 330,000 unfilled jobs, many in the skilled trades. Pre-apprenticeship training programs are free for participants, combine classroom training with on-the-job learning, and play a crucial role in reducing Ontario’s skilled labour shortage. Over the coming weeks, Ontario will also be finalizing the second round of projects under the Skills Development Fund. This $200 million initiative supports innovative programs that connect job seekers with the skills and training to find well-paying careers close to home. Last year, the first round of the fund supported almost 150 projects, including many focused on the skilled trades, and helped 280,000 people around the province take the next step in their careers. These are the kind of positive initiatives that will build on the government’s ongoing efforts to attract, support, and protect workers, making Ontario the top place in the world to work, live and raise a family.
Remember to stay safe and enjoy the spring weather.
MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry