FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 2019
Bay of Quinte – Today, MPP Todd Smith, also Ontario’s Government House Leader and Minister of Economic Development and Trade, joined with his colleagues in government to celebrate an accomplishment-filled first year on the anniversary of their election.
Since taking office, the Ontario PC team has shown its commitment to respecting taxpayers, encouraging job creation, and putting people first through the implementation of over 250 initiatives. Those actions chart a reasonable and responsible path to a balanced budget protecting core services the people of Ontario depend on every day.
“It has been an unbelievable year in Ontario. We have accomplished so many things,” said Smith. “We’ve passed 20 pieces of legislation, putting money back into the pockets of the people of Ontario, something that we promised we would do. We’re continuing to fulfill our promises. As of this week, we will have either fulfilled or are on the way to fulfilling 50 of the 59 election promises that we made – and we’re not done yet.”
Smith stated the government has worked hard to reduce red tape, undo the job-killing policies of the previous government, invest in health-care and education, and make Ontario more attractive to businesses and job creators. He also was pleased to share news that Ontario has seen over 190,000 jobs created in the past year.
Hastings-Lennox and Addington MPP and Government Caucus Chair Daryl Kramp added that by a conducting a line-by-line review of expenditures and seeking responsible efficiencies, the government has begun to restore the public’s faith in the Province’s finances.
“The positive indicators are clear: employment is up, the deficit has been shrinking and Ontario is again open for business,” said Kramp. “Our Government for the People has been both active and impatient. We want to put Ontario back on track as fast as possible and we are working hard to do so.”
Just last month, the government received a favourable credit outlook upgrade from Fitch which illustrated the ratings agency’s confidence in the government’s five-year path to balance and the early steps it has taken toward fiscal sustainability.
Steve Clark, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP, echoed Smith and Kramp in their assessments and in a commitment to continue the course.
“I’m proud of the accomplishments we have made as a government over the past year for the people of Ontario and those I represent. We have kept our promises to make life more affordable, create good-paying jobs and put our province on a responsible path to balance to protect vital public services like health care and education,” said Clark. “But we know the job is not finished and if there’s one thing this government has province, it’s that we’ll work hard on behalf of all Ontarians until it’s done.”
Over the past year, the government has delivered on campaign commitments to put more money back in people’s pockets, including:
- Cancelling the punishing cap-and-trade carbon tax, saving the average family $260 a year and 4.3-cents-a-litre at the gas pumps;
- Ensuring minimum wage workers pay no personal income tax in Ontario, saving them up to $800 a year;
- Introducing one of the most flexible childcare tax credits for low- and middle-income families in Ontario’s history;
- Scrapping the outdated Drive Clean program and freezing driver and vehicle fees.
- Improving choice and convenience for consumers by expanding the sale of beer and wine to corner stores, big-box stores, and more grocery stores, and;
- Scrapping the Green Energy Act, which ignored the voices of local communities and cancelling expensive future renewable energy projects that would create excess power.
The government continues to work on delivering effective patient-focused health care. It has committed to $17 billion in investments over 10 years to modernize and increase capacities in Ontario’s hospitals and has allocated 7,000 new long-term care spaces in the past year – fulfilling nearly half of its commitment to add 15,000 beds in five years. It also will be investing $3.8 billion in a comprehensive mental health strategy with the first $174 million flowing this year. The provision of publicly funded dental care for low-income seniors will also ease emergency room visits, while treating 100 million seniors with the respect and dignity they deserve. In Bay of Quinte alone, $1.2 million will go toward a new residential hospice facility in Bayside.
After consulting with over 72,000 stakeholders – the largest such consultation in the Province’s history – the government created a new vision that puts students and parents first and prepares students for the new economy. The vision priorities skilled trades and STEM education, while broadening career education that identifies transferrable skills and introduces financial literacy training. It has increased overall education funding and committed to invest a further $13 billion over the next decade to repair and build schools. The government will continue to ensure a bright future for Ontario students.
In support of job growth and public safety in Eastern Ontario, the government has also announced it will be committing $71 million to the Eastern Ontario Regional Network project to strengthen cellular communications networks across the region. Through a $213-million public-private partnership, it is expected 3,000 new jobs will be created over the next decade.
The government has also announced it will create a new hotline to help military families moving to Ontario connect with community services and resources.
- Since taking office, the government has implemented over 250 initiatives to date.
- The government is implementing a plan to achieve a balanced budget by 2023–2024.
- Ontario’s economy is expected to grow at a steady pace from 2019 to 2024.
- Ontario’s employment is forecast to rise at an average annual pace of 1.1 per cent over the same period.
2019 Ontario budget – budget.ontario.ca/2019/
Nearly 300 new beverage alcohol retail outlets planned
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, JUNE 6, 2019
Bay of Quinte – Todd Smith, Bay of Quinte MPP and Ontario’s Government House Leader and Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade announced that rural communities in and near his riding will benefit from the Province’s effort to expand choice and convenience in beverage alcohol sales.
Today, Smith revealed that Bay of Quinte communities Bayside and Carrying Place, as well as neighbouring areas like Foxboro, Roslin, Shannonville, and Wooler, have been named eligible to host some of the nearly 300 new retail locations planned across the province.
“This is good news for consumers looking to purchase their favourite drinks closer to home,” Smith said. “It also provides an opportunity for economic development in our rural communities and greater reach and visibility for craft beer, wine and cider producers across Ontario and right in our backyard.”
Smith said the government’s Open for Business, Open for Jobs approach focuses on promoting competition and establishing fairness for everyone from those small craft producers to large beer and wine producers.
The communities are among approximately 200 underserviced communities identified by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) as it expands its agency store program. The programs stores have been rebranded as LCBO Convenience Outlets. Under the process, the LCBO will release a request for proposals in each new community and all businesses applicants that meet requirements for authorization will be entered into a lottery to win the local authorization. Up to 60 stores are expected to open in August, up to 150 are expected to open by December and the additional stores are slated to open in spring 2020.
Also today, Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli announced that 87 more grocery stores will also be authorized to sell wine, beer, and cider, bringing the total number to 450. Interested grocers can apply to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to enter a lottery process for authorization. Successful grocers entering into a wholesale supply agreement with the LCBO will be expected to start selling beverage alcohol in September.
Fedeli said today’s announcements are the first step in expanding the range of choices available to adult consumers, allowing them to make the responsible choices that work for them.
“Whether driving to the cottage or running errands, consumers across Ontario will now have more places to pick up beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages,” Fedeli said. “Our government is committed to delivering greater choice and convenience to individuals and families, and this expansion is just the beginning.”
- Ken Hughes, Special Advisor for the Beverage Alcohol Review, recently released a report detailing the inconvenience and unfairness of the current system for everyday Ontario consumers. A key recommendation was to allow more businesses to provide choice and convenience by expanding the number of LCBO agency stores and allowing alcohol to be sold in more grocery stores.
- Ontario has fewer stores that can sell alcohol than any other province when compared against population size. There are over 8,000 retail stores in Quebec selling alcohol, but less than 3,000 in Ontario.
- To date, the government has increased choice and convenience and saved consumers money by:
o Letting sports fans drink alcohol at tailgating parties at eligible sporting events.
o Enabling municipalities to make rules about alcohol consumption in public spaces like parks.
o Extending hours of alcohol service at licensed establishments, allowing them to start serving alcohol at 9 a.m.
o Letting the Beer Store, LCBO and other authorized retailers, such as grocery stores and agency stores, sell alcohol from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.
o Changing advertising rules to allow for “happy hour” in Ontario.
o Providing flexibility for wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries to promote their products at manufacturing sites by removing the prescribed serving sizes for “by the glass” licences.
o Pausing beer and wine tax hikes initiated by the previous government.
o Lowering the price floor to allow brewers to sell beer for $1 (Buck-a-beer).
List of new communities eligible to host LCBO Convenience Outlets:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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.”
- 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.
- Festival Players of Prince Edward County, www.festivalplayers.ca
- Prince Edward County Chamber Music Festival, www.pecmusicfestival.com
- Comedy Country, www.comedycountry.ca