MPP Michael Chan is pleased to announce that Finance Minister Charles Sousa today released the 2016 Ontario Budget: Jobs for Today and Tomorrow, which outlines the next phase of the government’s plan to create jobs and economic growth.
The 2016 Budget is introducing many initiatives to improve everyday life for Markham-Unionville residents and all Ontarians. These include lowering hospital parking fees for frequent users, eliminating the $30 Drive Clean emissions test fee, helping with electricity and energy costs, reducing auto insurance rates and using technology to more conveniently deliver public services.
The government has increased choice and convenience for Ontarians by responsibly expanding beer sales to grocery stores, and is now expanding wine sales. In fall 2016, up to 70 grocery stores will be authorized to sell wine, beer and cider together across Ontario. Wine will eventually be available in up to 300 grocery stores.
Markham-Unionville families will benefit as the government is making tuition more affordable by making the average college or university tuition free for students with financial need from families with incomes of $50,000 or less, and will make tuition more affordable for middle-class families. To help more students qualify for grants and access the student loan system, the government will create a single major upfront grant — the Ontario Student Grant (OSG), starting in the 2017–18 school year.
The Province is also investing $3 billion in capital grants over 10 years to postsecondary institutions to give students access to high-quality programs closer to home and contribute to building a stronger economy. In Markham-Unionville, this funding will go towards plans for a new postsecondary campus for about 4,000 students. The project will be a partnership between York University and Seneca College.
The Province is investing in High-Quality Hospital Care by increasing funding for hospitals by $345 million in response to the growing demand for highly specialized and complex services and the need to expand access in growing communities across the province.
The Ontario Government is also investing $12 billion over 10 years in capital grants to hospitals to continue building essential infrastructure. This funding includes the new Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital project, which will improve access to hospital services for York Region. The new hospital will have a state-of-the-art emergency department, modern surgical services, specialized ambulatory clinics, and advanced diagnostic imaging. The hospital will have integrated smart digital technology systems to enhance the patient care experience.
The Government is moving Ontario forward by investing $13.5 billion in the GO Regional Express Rail (RER), which will quadruple the number of weekly trips to nearly 6,000 across the GTHA.
A portion of the funding for GO RER will support planning, design and early construction on GO rail corridors, including the following projects that are currently underway;
Here in York Region, Metrolinx will also continue to implement short-term service improvements including six new trips during the morning/afternoon commutes on the Milton, Richmond Hill and Stouffville corridors and 52 new trips on each weekend day on the Barrie corridor to and from Aurora. There are also plans to improve Aurora GO Bus service which will increase the number of bus trips by 130 per week.
The Province is also creating a reliable and sustainable transportation system in York Region by widening Highway 400 from eight to 10 lanes to add a new high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane in each direction between Major Mackenzie Drive and King Road.
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