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Ontario budget includes supports for the manufacturing sector


Photo: xieyuliang/Getty Images

Ontario released its 2021 budget on Mar. 24 with several announcements relevant to the manufacturing sector.

“Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy” is the second budget the province released during the pandemic, and brings total investments to $23.3 billion for the economy and $16.3 billion in health spending. Ontario’s COVID-19 action plan support now totals $51 billion.

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) says it welcomes the supports for manufacturing.

“Manufacturing is the cornerstone of Ontario’s economy and we are pleased to see that the Ford government has acknowledged this by putting in place many measures to support manufacturers in productivity, investment, and skills,” says Dennis Darby, president and CEO of CME, in a statement.

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Tax credits and expansion

CME says it supports the immediate and direct measures to support investment.

Most notable are the increase of the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit from 10 per cent to 20 per cent, the new $400 million Invest Ontario Fund for manufacturers who are looking to expand and improve their overall manufacturing capabilities, and the postponement of property tax assessments.

“These measures are more than welcomed in the current context where we need to stimulate investment through direct support,” adds Darby.

Renewed commitment for Ontario Made

CME applauds the million-dollar one year commitment to support the continuation of the Ontario Made program, particularly in expanding promotion in the retail space and increasing consumer awareness of all the incredible products that are made in Ontario.

“In the first eight months of this program, we have seen over 2,100 manufacturers list over 10,000 locally manufactured products,” says Darby. “This renewed commitment will allow CME to expand our work with local manufacturers to increase their sales through local retailers, and increase consumer awareness of Ontario Made brands.”

Support for upskilling

Upskilling workers is the first step businesses must take in order to invest in automation, new machinery and equipment, the association says.

CME points to measures included in the budget, including the introduction of a temporary, refundable Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit, which would be a temporary, refundable personal income tax credit that would deliver support for upskilling careers and training for 2021, and new investments in the Ontario Skilled Trades Strategy that total $288.2 million in 2021-2022.

“As important as these measures are, we are pleased that the government has acknowledged that their work is not yet done to support an innovative, growing and globally competitive manufacturing sector in Ontario,” says Darby.

“The commitment to develop an Economic Growth Plan, which will be focused in part on advanced manufacturing, should act as a springboard for Ontario’s prosperity and growth for the next generation. We look forward to working with our members and the province on the development of this action plan.”