Industry associations praise manufacturing sector support in new Ontario budget
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Among other things, the budget offers a second round of grants – ranging between $10,000 and $20,000 – to small businesses hit hard by the pandemic, and has set aside $1.7 billion for the program.
Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government released its 2021 budget on March 24 – its second of the pandemic-era – with several announcements that pertain to the manufacturing sector.
“Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy” 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.
The government is offering a second round of grants – ranging between $10,000 and $20,000 – to small businesses hit hard by the pandemic; it has set aside $1.7 billion for the program.
The budget also introduces a new, temporary tax credit for people paying for jobs training or higher education expenses. The Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit provides a maximum credit of $2,000 and can be applied to expenses from occupational skills courses, trade or professional exams and post-secondary courses. Also, a grant program launched last year for manufacturing personal protective equipment and other supplies is getting a $50-million boost.
Some of Canada’s manufacturing and business trade associations say they welcome 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,” Dennis Darby, president and CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), said in a statement. The CME statement said that it supports the immediate and direct measures to support investment, which include 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,” Darby said.
The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) – which absorbed the former Canadian Plastics Industry Association as its Plastics Division last year – also came out in support of sections of the budget. “CIAC is pleased to see the government take important steps to create the conditions for long-term economic growth and prosperity,” the Ottawa-based organization said. In particular, CIAC praised the budget for its measures for fighting COVID-19 including rapid testing, contact tracing, vaccine supports and personal protective equipment supply investments; attracting business investment with $400 million over four years to create the Invest Ontario Fund; reducing taxes for job creators; and proposing the new Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit and additional funding for employment and training supports.