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Ontario launches public consultations on budget, focused on transportation, jobs

TORONTO — Ontario is asking residents for their input on the upcoming budget, and questions in a survey posted today indicate major themes will be health-care staffing, transportation, jobs and the cost of living.

The provincial government plans to table its budget by March 31, and is now starting the process of public consultations, with a legislative committee travelling the province and an online survey launching today.

The survey asks respondents what steps the government should take amid the current economic uncertainty, giving options such as infrastructure spending, tax incentives for small businesses, eliminating the deficit, and supporting families, workers and seniors through the increased cost of living.

One question says Ontario is looking for ways to build a stronger health-care system and workforce, and asks for thoughts on priorities, including building hospitals, hiring more staff, better home care supports, and upgrading long-term care beds.

The survey also indicates that transportation will continue to be a priority of Premier Doug Ford’s government, with a question asking what is most important, between areas such as “highways that cut down on commute time,” improving congestion in urban areas, and cycling infrastructure.

As well, one question says the government is working to address labour shortages, and asks what areas should be prioritized, including employer incentives, apprenticeship and skills training, improving child-care access, and supporting skilled newcomers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 11, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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