Three Prince Edward County festivals to receive $71,283 in 2019 Celebrate Ontario funding


FRIDAY, MAY 24, 2019

Wellington – Bay of Quinte MPP, Government House Leader, and Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade Todd Smith congratulated representatives from three Prince Edward County performing arts festival on $71,283 in Celebrate Ontario funding today.

The Festival Players of Prince Edward County will receive $56,750, the Prince Edward County Chamber Music Festival will receive $10,000, and Comedy Country 2019 will receive $4,533 as part of a province-wide $13-million fund to support events that drive tourism.

“Celebrate Ontario funding allows these creative people to focus on what they do best – producing high quality performances within our communities.  Their effort to bring top musical, theatrical, and comedic talent to Prince Edward County also brings tourism, jobs, and needed revenue,” Smith said. “Past Celebrate Ontario recipients have told us that for every dollar of provincial investment, visitors spend more than $20.”

Representatives of the three festivals were pleased to learn about the government’s support.

Festival Players managing director and producer Paul Flicker said the money will support the company’s 2019 season, which begins July 9 with John Patrick Shanley’s Tony Award-nominated show Outside Mullingar at Wellington’s Studio Theatre.

“We are incredibly proud and grateful that the government and people of Ontario have chosen to support Festival Players,” Flicker said. “Celebrate Ontario funding will contribute to top-notch performances in Prince Edward County. Most importantly, it will help us get the word out that along with our beautiful beaches and vineyards and our world class dining, the County is now a destination for world-class arts.”

The County’s professional theatre company will stage four productions between July and September, while also providing a concert series during the Wellington Water Week festival in August.

The Prince Edward County Chamber Music Festival has a mandate to make leading Canadian musicians accessible to a greater audience to perform music written by notable classical, contemporary, and Canadian composers. Chair Maureen Dunn said her festival was grateful for the Province’s generous support again this year in delivering that programming September 13-22.

“The Celebrate Ontario grant of $10,000 will permit us to continue to attract tourists to the County to attend the last excellent classical music concert of the season. With this funding, we are able to provide a free outdoor concert, Saturday, Sept. 7 at Macaulay Park and six fantastic chamber music concerts over two weekends in September,” Dunn said. “The Celebrate Ontario grant supports our vision of growing into one of Canada’s top destinations for excellence in chamber music.”

The Comedy Country summer comedy series, a special project of the renowned Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, aims to bring big laughs to rural areas. Its 2019 season kicked off with Saturday Night Live’s Kevin Nealon entertaining at the Regent Theatre last month.  More hilarity is planned with performances through to the end of August.  Executive director Paul Snepsts was pleased the Province recognized his festival’s work in delivering entertainment locally.

“Celebrate Ontario support for Comedy Country activities helps us deliver on our mission to present the very best comedy talent from across Canada and beyond in the distinctly rural context of Prince Edward County,” Snepsts said. “Funding from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport invests in a growing comedy culture in Eastern Ontario – cultivating new comedy markets and audiences, driving new tourism visitation and adding richness, variety, and quality to the tourism offering in our region.”

Smith encouraged Bay of Quinte residents to experience the high-quality productions.

“I implore you to learn more about their upcoming seasons and to buy tickets to enjoy these enriching, entertaining shows close to home. They’re truly something to celebrate,” he said.

Applications for the funding were scored by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport using a set criteria that measured events’ ability to attract visitors, community economic development, and business partnerships and organizations’ demonstrated viability to deliver proposed events.

Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport Michael Tibollo said the Province realizes the economic value of the tourism sector, which is driven by events like these three festivals.

“Ontario is open for business and open for jobs. By investing in festivals and events, our government is tapping into the economic potential of the tourism industry,” Tibollo said. “As we develop Ontario’s new tourism strategy, we will continue to invest in programs like Celebrate Ontario that help to maximize the growth and competitiveness of the great festivals and events that take place throughout the province.”

Quick Facts

  • The government will invest approximately $40,000 in the Telling Tales Festival as a part of the Celebrate Ontario program.
  • Tourism supports nearly 390,000 jobs and generates over $34 billion of economic activity in Ontario.
  • The tourism industry is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries.
  • The province’s tourism sector has experienced year-on-year increases in visitor spending of nearly six per cent.
  • Over 250 festivals received Celebrate Ontario funding this year.






Smith celebrates Ontario's $71-million investment in improved cellular coverage across Eastern Ontario

Bay of Quinte – Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith is applauding the Ontario government’s support for a project that aims to provide reliable cellular coverage across all of Eastern Ontario.


The Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Government House Leader was pleased with Minister of Infrastructure Monte McNaughton’s announcement this morning in Roseneath as the Province committed  $71 million to the proposed Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN)  $213-million public-private partnership to address cellular gaps.


“This project will give businesses, residents and visitors reliable access to the data applications they depend on no matter where they are in the region. It will also provide a lifeline by providing improved stability for local emergency service communications,” Smith said, noting 10 per cent of Eastern Ontario is currently without reliable service and many areas don’t have the capacity for data-rich applications.


The partnership requires contributions from the municipal and federal levels of government as well as investments from the private sector.  Projections from EORN indicate it will create 3,000 jobs over a 10-year period and generate $420 million in revenues. It will also support further economic development, enhancing visitor experiences and ensuring business people can stay connected in remote areas.


“More and more we’re seeing Ontario job creators working in a global market where they connect virtually with their clients,” Smith said. “This technology is vitally important to ensure Eastern Ontario doesn’t fall behind.  EORN is ensuring that whether you’re on the southern shore of Lake Ontario in Prince Edward County or heading north, you’ll have access to the signal you expect.”


Smith said the Province has a proven record of collaborating with EORN - a network led by the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus member municipalities and 10 separate municipalities. A previous partnership saw a 5,500-km fibre optics network installed between 2010 and 2016 through a similar public-private arrangement. The project brought broadband speeds exceeding 10 Mbps to nearly 90 per cent of the region, while offering connection points for further private investment.  That $175-million project delivered a return on investment of $15 for every public dollar spent.



McNaughton called the project “a matter of public safety and opportunity.”


"Our government has committed to help people get the broadband and cellular connections they need," said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Infrastructure. "This means there are homes, businesses and major roadways where it is difficult to access the internet from a smart phone. We all know examples where people are put in dangerous positions because of dropped calls or lost connections during emergencies." 


EORN board chair J. Murray Jones was thankful for the commitment.


“Too often, Eastern Ontario residents find themselves with no signal or dropped cell services,” he said. “EORN is building on the investment we’ve already made in broadband infrastructure across the region to close the gap in mobile services and improve economic growth, quality of life, and public safety.”


The Province is hopeful the federal government will commit to funding its share of the project cost.


"Last week, the federal Liberals said the people of Ontario's priorities were their priorities," McNaughton said. "Well, this is a huge priority in Eastern Ontario. It's about public safety, economic growth and development and convenience. We are investing in people and building our province's future.”


Quick Facts

·         The project involves all Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) members and 10 separate municipalities.

·         The goal of the project is to bring cell coverage to 99 per cent of the region where people live, work and travel. Unpopulated areas, including forests, swamps and protected lands are not included in that goal.

·         EORN was created by the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus and has already completed a major project to build a high-capacity fibre-optic backbone network in Eastern Ontario.

·         In the 2019 Ontario Budget, the provincial government committed $315 million over the next five years to regional and shovel-ready projects.



Media contact:

Adam Bramburger

Constituency Assistant

T: 613-962-1144


Bay of Quinte residents to benefit from $1,273,045 in new funding for mental health programs


MONDAY, MAY 13, 2019

Bay of Quinte – Local MPP, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and, Trade and Government House Leader Todd Smith joined with local service providers in applauding Ontario’s $1,273,045 investment in new funding for mental health and addictions services in Hastings and Prince Edward counties.

“The impacts of mental illness and addictions have been a huge concern in this riding for a long time. It’s great to see the government stepping up to meet this obvious need,” Smith said.

Stemming from the Province’s announcement to spend $174 million this year as part of a 10-year commitment to invest $3.8 billion over 10 years to develop a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions strategy, three local agencies will receive funding for eight programs.

Addictions and Mental Health Services – Hastings-Prince Edward will receive $1,084,555 for programming, as follows…

  • $359,300 for opioids addictions treatment and services
  • $275,000 for youth residential treatment and withdrawal management
  • $200,000 for mental health court support workers
  • $140,000 for community addictions services
  • $77,366 for programs for priority populations
  • $32,889 for a funding increase for a rent supplement supportive housing program

Chief executive officer Garry Laws was thrilled to receive news of the funding.

“On behalf of the clients, families and caregivers who AMHS-HPE serves and is soon to serve, we are pleased to be notified of this $1-million investment. This funding is completely dedicated to front-line addictions and mental health clinical support for people who are seeking clinical recovery from the challenges associated with opioid use and to enhance clinical case management and counselling for both addictions and mental health,” Laws said. “Many thanks to the Province for recognizing how imperative these supports are here to the citizens of Hastings and Prince Edward because this will create more opportunity to serve more clients.”

Peer Support Services of Eastern Ontario will receive $160,700 for peer support services.

Chief executive officer Terry Swift said, conservatively, he expects the funding will support an increase of 2,500 annual visits within the South East Local Health Integration Network (SE LHIN) footprint.  Locally, in Hastings and Prince Edward, the funding will support the hiring of an additional community peer support worker (one of eight to be hired across the SE LHIN footprint) to absorb some of the clients currently on a waiting list to be matched with supports.

Peer Support South East Ontario offers three streams of service: Support centres delivering services that promote wellness and recovery for those over age 16 with addictions and mental health concerns; A transitional discharge program that introduces peer supports to the hospital environment and offers continued support upon discharge to effect positive change and reduce instances of re-admittance; and community support programs that reach individuals who have transportation concerns, who live in rural or remote areas, or who will not benefit from the support centre model.

Youth Habilitation Quinte Inc. will receive $27,790 for child and youth mental health.

Executive director Cathie West says the funding will allow the agency to ensure its 24-hour transitional home for youth aged 16-18 will be double staffed at all times.  The home, located in Belleville, provides a home-like atmosphere for nine individuals. It assists youth transitioning back home or to more independent living through individualized care planning, individual and group counselling and therapy, life skills assessment and training, recreation, and skills training.

“We are thrilled to hear about this additional funding,” West said. “Youthab’s Transition Home will now have double staffing on all shifts, making the home safer for clients and staff and allowing us to provide additional programming for the clients in the home. We will also be able to house more barriered clients.”

Smith is also encouraged these monumental investments will ease pressures on Quinte Healthcare Corporation (QHC) hospital emergency rooms, improving wait times and health outcomes for all patients in the Bay of Quinte region.

QHC’s mental health program director Kerry-Lynn Wilkinson shares that optimism.

“Making additional investments in mental health in the region will strengthen services available to help individuals receive the care they need in the community, helping to reduce the number of individuals seeking mental health services at the emergency departments of QHC hospitals,” she said.

Smith indicated the investments announced by Minister of Health and Deputy Premier Christine Elliott –shaped by consultations with service providers, hospitals, advocates, and people with lived experience – are part of a long-term strategy to ensure vulnerable citizens are not left behind.

“Together, we will create a connected system of care with comprehensive wrap-around services to ensure that every Ontarian is fully supported in their journey toward mental wellness.”


  • Investments in mental health and addictions services is part of Ontario’s plan to modernize our public health care system, which relentlessly focuses on patient experience and better connected care, to reduce wait times and end hallway health care.
  • The government has held 19 consultations across the province with mental health and addictions community organizations, frontline service providers, hospitals, advocates, experts, people with lived experience and people with experience in Indigenous mental health and addictions
  • The government will invest $3.8 billion over 10 years to develop and implement a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions strategy.


Ministry of Health news release -