TORONTO, Canada – On Tuesday, November 21, 2023, Peter Bethlenfalvy, minister of finance, issued the following statement in response to the federal government’s 2023 Fall Economic Statement:
“Ontario stands ready to work with our federal partners on shared priorities such as building homes and critical infrastructure while making life easier and more affordable for Ontario families. While several of the measures contained in today’s federal Fall Economic Statement help support these shared priorities, we firmly believe the federal government must do more to encourage Ontario’s long-term economic success and provide relief for Ontario workers and taxpayers.
Our government supports the federal government’s new measures to encourage increased housing supply. These policies, including $15 billion in new funding under the Apartment Construction Loan Program, build on the recent decision to remove the HST from purpose-built rental housing, making it cheaper and easier to build badly needed rental homes.
However, we were disappointed by the federal government’s failure to provide significant new funding for the critical infrastructure our growing communities need. Ontario continues to call on the federal government for a next-generation infrastructure program that aligns with provincial infrastructure priorities and is flexible, predictable and fair. We’re also asking the federal government to provide funding that builds on our recently announced $200-million Housing-Enabling Water Systems Fund to repair, rehabilitate and expand critical water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure that will bring us one step closer to our government’s goal to build at least 1.5 million homes by 2031.
We are also disappointed that the federal government has ignored calls from governments across Canada to treat all Canadians fairly by removing its carbon tax from all forms of home heating. We know the federal carbon tax is increasing the cost of everything, from home heating to gasoline to groceries, and that the most effective way to offer relief to families and support economic growth is to remove the tax completely. In the meantime, we continue to call on the federal government to do the right thing, treat all Canadians fairly and remove its carbon tax on all forms of home heating.
Finally, in addition to funding the critical infrastructure our communities need, the federal government must meet its obligation to support Ontario municipalities that are struggling to cope with the record number of asylum claimants that have come to Ontario over the past year.
Earlier this year, our government provided an additional $42 million through the Canada-Ontario Housing Benefit program to help impacted municipalities move more asylum claimants and other at-risk populations into stable, long-term housing. Ottawa must step up by providing its fair share of support for municipalities and people at risk.
“With ongoing economic and geopolitical challenges, our government will continue our responsible, targeted approach to build a strong Ontario. Canada and Ontario have worked together over the years to tackle pressing issues amid this uncertainty, and we must continue to do so.”