Ontario supports improvements at Picton's town hill through Connecting Links Program



PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY – Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, announced today that the Province is providing Prince Edward County $266,848 through the Connecting Links Program for improvements to the intersection of Picton’s Main and Bridge streets, commonly referred to locally as the town hill.

Running through Prince Edward County’s largest urban area, the municipal route connects two portions of the provincial Hwy 33, making it eligible to receive up to 90 per cent of design and construction costs to renew and replace road and bridge infrastructure.  The municipality’s submission was approved following a review of technical need, safety considerations, and cost effectiveness.

“Picton’s town hill has become a very busy place and you often hear stories about drivers who are uncertain about the traffic rules when approaching it,” said Smith. “Our government listened to the County’s concerns about safety and I’m pleased to see them addressed through Connecting Links.”

The improvements will include updated signage, traffic control infrastructure, pedestrian crossings and line painting.  Two retaining walls, one on Bridge and one on Main, currently obstruct proper lines of sight for vehicles and pedestrians. They will be replaced as part of this project.

Steve Ferguson, the Mayor of Prince Edward County, was pleased to receive the provincial funding.

“Our County delegation met with Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney, and her staff at the AMO conference in 2020 to explain our concerns with the intersection,” said Ferguson. “Since that meeting, County staff have sought the advice of the local OPP and worked closely with the Ministry of Transportation to identify issues and possible solutions. With Connecting Links funding secured, we look forward to moving ahead with the improvements at the intersection and addressing the longstanding safety concerns for both pedestrian and vehicle traffic.”

In 2021-2022, the Ontario government is investing $30 million through the Connecting Links Program to support projects in 14 municipalities. The maximum funding amount for road projects is $3 million, while the Province has increased maximum funding for bridge projects to $5 million to reflect the higher costs of maintaining and repairing bridges in comparison to roads. 

“By investing in our roads and bridges, we’re connecting people to jobs, supporting the movement of goods and creating economic growth in local communities” said Mulroney. “This funding not only helps municipalities maintain local infrastructure, but also supports projects that make roads safer, such as improvements to pedestrian crossings.”


  • The town hill project is the second Connecting Links project in Bay of Quinte in the past three years as the City of Belleville’s Sagonaska Bridge replacement project was approved for up to $3 million in 2019-2020.
  • Eligible municipalities with road or bridge infrastructure connecting two ends of a provincial highway are encouraged to apply for 2022-2023 Connecting Links funding later this year. To learn more about the program, visit www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/highway-bridges/connecting-links.shtml.
  • In Ontario, there are a total of 352 kilometres of Connecting Links, with 70 bridges in 77 municipalities.


Ontario invests in workforce development initiatives to help Quinte manufacturing sector grow



BAY OF QUINTE – The Ontario government is supporting new research to find out what skills employers need now and in the future to provide good local jobs in the Quinte region.  This investment will position the local economy for long-term success, while aiding recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, announced that the Quinte Economic Development Commission (QEDC) will receive $577,500 to assist local manufacturers in identifying specific needs and creating sector-specific awareness to fill an anticipated 2,100 job openings this year. They will also create a human resources guide to assist with attraction, ongoing, retention and training in a workplace changed by increasing automation.  The work builds on previous QEDC efforts to survey employers about labour force challenges in the region.

“We know manufacturers are a driving economic force in the Quinte region and across Ontario. They create stable, well-paying jobs that support other businesses,” said Smith. “This announcement is good news for people and businesses right here. Investing in this research will help us to monitor employment trends to ensure we have the right mix of skilled workers to meet our needs for years to come.”

The project is part of Ontario’s Labour Market Partnerships program, which funds ongoing research into regional economic needs and employment pressures, so that municipalities, employment services and training partners have more information to conduct long-term planning.

“Hope is on the horizon and it’s essential we start thinking about the next stage of the economic recovery”, said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “That’s why our government continues to invest in research to help employers find workers with the training and skills needed for well-paying manufacturing jobs available today, and in the future.”

Chris King, the Chief Executive Officer of the QEDC, was pleased to receive the support.

“The manufacturing sector is a dominant economic driver in the Bay of Quinte region, providing over $500 million in annual payroll, as well as economic spin-off across the economy,” said King. “This funding will help address workforce needs in the sector, allowing companies to continue to grow, invest, and provide good-paying jobs in our community.”

Chandy Davis, the Chair of the Quinte Manufacturers Association also applauded the funding, noting it aligns well with the sector’s own planning.

“Manufacturers in the Bay of Quinte are proud of the products we produce and the jobs we create for the region. This funding is in direct response to the needs we identified and is a plan for continued growth and expansion in the manufacturing sector here in the Bay of Quinte Region.  The Quinte Manufacturers Association greatly appreciates this support from the Ontario government.”

Ontario’s 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy, includes measures to help workers and families recover from COVID-19 by investing an additional $614.3 million during 2020–21 and 2021–22 for employment and training supports, and proposing the new Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit, a one-time credit that would provide up to $2,000 for workers who enroll in an eligible course or training program in 2021.


  • In 2020-21, Ontario is investing $25.9 million into Labour Market Partnerships. There are currently 69 projects active across the province
  • The Employment Ontario network includes more than 300 partner organizations across Ontario that offer a range of free services and supports that help businesses find workers and connect jobseekers to training and job opportunities.


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Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy

2021 Budget brings Province’s COVID-19 response to $51 billion, including support for Bay of Quinte



 BAY OF QUINTE  - Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, welcomed the new and ongoing support for local families and businesses delivered through the Province’s 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy.

“With a doubling of support grants for businesses, additional funding to support families with childcare and remote learning, significant supports for children with special needs, a substantial investment in broadband infrastructure and targeted funding for our tourism and beverage industries, this is a good budget for Bay of Quinte,” said Smith.  “These commitments build upon the work we are already undertaking to address safety and health-care capacity in our hospitals, in long-term care, and within our communities.”

Tabled in the Ontario Legislature at Queen’s Park today by Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy, the 2021 Budget is the next phase of Ontario's response to COVID-19 and is the second Budget the government has delivered during the pandemic.

“You can’t have a healthy economy without healthy people,” said Bethlenfalvy. “For the past year, we have been focused on protecting people from COVID-19. Many challenges lie ahead. But with vaccines being distributed in every corner of the province, hope is on the horizon. We are ready to finish the job we started one year ago.”

The 2021 Budget builds on the government’s record investments in response to the global pandemic, bringing total investments to $16.3 billion to protect people’s health and $23.3 billion to protect our economy. Ontario’s COVID-19 action plan support now totals $51 billion. 

It includes investments to support people and jobs in Bay of Quinte, including:

  • Expanding and renewing hospital infrastructure, including redevelopment projects at Quinte Health Care’s Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital (creating a new full-service hospital on the existing site) and the Kingston Health Sciences Centre (creating 80 new inpatient beds and improving surgical capacity, waiting times, and mental health and addictions supports).
  • Creating a one-time $10-million grant to help wineries and cideries impacted by lockdown measures, increasing funding for the Small Distillery Support Program by an additional $1.2 million, and extending existing support programs for wineries, breweries, cideries, and distilleries until 2022-2023.
  • Expanding the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program across Hastings and Prince Edward counties, including Belleville and Quinte West.
  • Proposing to temporarily double the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit rate from 10 per cent to 20 per cent, which would double the available tax credit support for regional investment from a maximum of $45,000 to a maximum of $90,000 a year.


“The hard work and sacrifice of people of Bay of Quinte is helping us reach the day when the pandemic is behind us,” said Smith. “Our government will continue to be there every step of the way to protect people's health and jobs. Working together, we will unleash the economic growth that is necessary for job creation, prosperity and a stronger province."

Protecting People’s Health is the first pillar of the 2021 Budget. It includes measures for defeating COVID-19, fixing long-term care and caring for people.

“Vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel, and boots are on the ground to get vaccines into arms as they arrive in the province,” said Bethlenfalvy. “We will continue to invest in our health care system today and for the long term, building on record investments since the start of the pandemic to create more hospital beds, build and improve hospitals, increase testing, and fix long-term care.”

Highlights of Ontario’s plan to defeat COVID-19:

  • To vaccinate every person in the province who wants to be vaccinated, Ontario has made more than $1 billion available for a province-wide vaccination plan. Ontario is also making it safer to re-engage with workplaces, businesses and communities with $2.3 billion for testing and contact tracing.
  • To protect the frontline heroes and vulnerable people, Ontario has made available
    $1.4 billion for personal protective equipment, including more than 315 million masks and more than 1.2 billion gloves.
  • To ensure that every person who requires care in a hospital can access a bed, even during the worst of the pandemic, the government is investing an additional $5.1 billion to support hospitals since the pandemic began, creating more than 3,100 additional hospital beds. This includes $1.8 billion in 2021–22 to continue providing care for COVID-19 patients, address surgical backlogs and keep pace with patient needs.


Highlights of Ontario’s plan to fix long-term care:

  • To address decades of neglect and help those waiting to get into long-term care, Ontario is investing an additional $933 million over four years, for a total of $2.6 billion, to support building 30,000 new long-term care beds. Ontario is also investing $246 million over the next four years to improve living conditions in existing homes, including ensuring that homes have air conditioning for residents, so loved ones can live in comfort and with safety, dignity and respect.
  • To protect loved ones in long-term care from the deadly COVID-19 virus, Ontario is investing an additional $650 million in 2021–22, bringing the total resources invested since the beginning of the pandemic to protect the most vulnerable to over $2 billion.
  • To ensure loved ones receive the best quality care in Canada, Ontario is investing
    $4.9 billion over four years to increase the average direct daily care to four hours a day in long-term care and hiring more than 27,000 new positions, including personal support workers (PSWs) and nurses.


Highlights of Ontario’s plan to care for people:

  • To address the need for more health care services, Ontario is making investments to support historic hospital expansion and construction projects, including a new inpatient wing at William Osler Health System’s Peel Memorial, and ongoing planning of a new regional hospital in Windsor-Essex.
  • To help the thousands of people struggling with mental health and addictions issues, Ontario is providing additional funding of $175 million in 2021–22 as part of a historic investment of $3.8 billion over 10 years, to provide more and better care for everyone who needs it.

Protecting Our Economy is the second pillar of the 2021 Budget. It outlines Ontario’s plan to support families, workers and employers.

“The necessary public health measures have come at a cost for workers, families and business owners, but there is no question that they have saved lives,” said Bethlenfalvy. “We recognize the sacrifices that have been made. We are taking further steps to provide additional relief and support to those who have been most impacted by the pandemic, including providing a third round of direct payments to parents, doubling the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, and helping workers with their training expenses.”


Highlights of Ontario’s plan to support workers and families:

  • To help workers with their training expenses, the government is proposing a new Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit for 2021. It would provide up to $2,000 per recipient for 50 per cent of eligible expenses, for an estimated $260 million in support to about 230,000 people in 2021.
  • To help families — who have faced new pressures and expenses due to the pandemic — keep more money in their pockets, the government is providing a third round of payments to support parents through the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit, totaling $1.8 billion since last March. The payment will be doubled to $400 per child for this round and $500 for each child with special needs, which means a family with three young children, one of whom has special needs, will receive $2,600 in total after the third round of payments.
  • To support parents with the cost of child care and help them get back to the workforce, the government is proposing a 20 per cent enhancement of the CARE tax credit for 2021. This would increase support from $1,250 to $1,500, on average, providing about $75 million in additional support for the child care expenses of over 300,000 families.


Highlights of Ontario’s plan to support jobs:

  • To help small businesses that have been most affected by the necessary restrictions to protect people from COVID-19, Ontario is providing a second round of Ontario Small Business Support Grant payments to eligible recipients. Approximately 120,000 small businesses will automatically benefit from an additional $1.7 billion in relief through this second round of support in the form of grants of a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 — bringing the estimated total support provided through this grant to $3.4 billion.
  • To support Ontario’s tourism, hospitality and culture industries that have been among the most heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario is investing an additional
    $400 million over the next three years in new initiatives to support these sectors. This builds on previously announced investments of $225 million, bringing the total to more than
    $625 million since the pandemic began.
  • To connect homes, businesses and communities to broadband — which COVID-19 has demonstrated is a necessity, not a luxury — Ontario is investing $2.8 billion, bringing the Province’s total investment to nearly $4 billion over six years beginning 2019–20.


Highlights of Ontario’s plan to support communities:

  • To support faith-based and cultural organizations that are struggling due to the additional costs caused by COVID-19, Ontario will be making up to $50 million available for grants to eligible organizations.
  • To support Ontario’s 444 municipalities, the Province’s key partners in the fight against COVID-19, the government is providing almost $1 billion in additional financial relief in 2021 to help preserve vital public services and support economic recovery.


Learn more about Ontario’s 2021 Budget at budget.ontario.ca.