Provincial Advocacy

We advocate at the provincial level to implement effective policy for Ontario’s nonprofit sector.

Ontario Budget 2022

Budget 2022 misses the mark on what the pandemic taught Ontarians, the value of nonprofits

The Ontario government’s 2022 election budget, a re-packaging of many previous announcements, promises to spend $198 billion to “Build Ontario” as the province emerges from a two-year long pandemic and battles an affordability crisis. The government’s motto translates into opening up the ring of fire, re-announcing small business supports, investing in skilled trades and manufacturing, building highways/transit/hospitals, and tackling affordability with tax credits and temporary rebates.

The average rate of annual growth for program expenses over the next couple of years is only 2.5 per cent, which is certainly not enough to keep up with inflation, population growth, and increased demand for public services. There may be a reckoning down the road (either through program cuts or tax increases) but for now, the message is clear: We can build our way out of the pandemic.

Building Ontario should include building the critical social infrastructure that enables Ontarians to work, grow, and thrive. Nonprofits and charities, as the fabric of communities, are at the centre of this infrastructure with their community connections and on-the-ground knowledge. ONN is disappointed to see a lack of recognition for how nonprofits fuel strong communities across the province, during and beyond crises.

Budget 2022 misses the opportunity for strategic investment in and partnership with the nonprofit sector. Ontario’s communities need- and the economy relies on advancing transformational community-led solutions.

Where the budget falls short:

  • No stabilization fund: All of the proposed $8.9 billion in cost savings for Ontario businesses is based on supports announced since 2018 and most would not apply to nonprofits.
  • No support for the sector’s HR crisis: Permanent pandemic pay and one-time recruitment bonuses do not address systemic issues driving a mass exodus of nonprofit workers.
  • No commitment to expanding a nonprofit-driven child care system: The Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) tax credit will not build spaces nor does the province commit any of its $395 million investment to wages.
  • No progress on taking profit out of care: Even the minimal investments proposed for public services can be up for grabs for the for-profit sector. Public funding should not go to shareholders, but to nonprofits accountable to communities.
  • No social enterprise strategy: The new entrepreneurship council, entrepreneurship strategy, and government target of $3 billion in contracts to Ontario businesses by 2026 misses the opportunity to include social enterprises and social procurement, key mechanisms of community wealth building.
  • No community benefit agreements: What if community benefit agreements were attached to the $20 million proposed spending on building physical infrastructure?
  • No home in government
  • No supports for: Black-led, -serving, or -focused organizations nor Indigenous-led, -informed, -benefitting, or partnership organizations, 2SLGBTQIA+ nonprofits, arts and culture, sports and recreation, women’s organizations.
  • No support for many of the communities our sector serves: Slight minimum-wage increases, enhancements to the Low-income Individuals and Families (LIFT) tax credit, and stagnant income security programs do not fully address the systemic poverty obstacles low-income families, individuals, and people with disabilities face.
A table showing Budget 2022 projected fiscal summary

Targeted pockets of money for the care economy and infrastructure

Although many details are missing, the following targeted investments can have a positive impact on the sector and the communities they serve:

  • $1 billion over the next three years to support home care providers to address rising costs and support recruitment and training as well as service expansion.
  • $1 billion annually in employment and training programs.
  • $204 million for mental health and addiction services to expand, implement innovative solutions, and improve access. This includes child and youth mental health, addictions services, supportive housing, mental health, justice and Indigenous mental health and addictions.
  • $100 million over the next three years to expand community care programs such as adult day programs, meal services, transportation, assisted living services, and caregiver supports.
  • New joint federal–provincial investment of $632 million to support access to transportation, housing, and homelessness supports for vulnerable populations.
  • $5.5 million for the Ontario Community Support Program to ensure low‐income seniors, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable people have access to essential items they need.
  • $2 million over two years for the province’s emergency volunteer program. This program promotes volunteerism and is supposed to enhance the capacity of communities to respond to emergencies.
  • Some investments in accessibility and capital projects for communities

We also see some opportunity to influence the newly announced Ontario Workers’ Plan, emergency management plan, and volunteer program.

What does this budget mean with an upcoming election?

The legislature will rise on April 29 and so this budget will neither be tabled nor passed. News outlets are reporting that Minister of Finance Peter Bethenfalvy has committed to tabling this same budget if they are re-elected.

Once the writ drops the week of May 1, elected MPPs and PC MPP candidates will go back to their constituencies and campaign with this budget.

What’s next for ONN?

ONN will continue to advocate and engage on the 2022 Ontario Election:

  • Advocating for parties and candidates to commitment to our four election asks, highlighting the nonprofit sector’s foundational value to Ontario communities and government as a vital partner
  • Supporting the sector to mobilize around election advocacy that supports communities
  • Amplifying election work by nonprofits and coalitions across the sector
  • Analyzing and sharing what party platforms mean for the sector

What can nonprofits do?

  • Share information and mobilize! Talk to your provincial associations, umbrella groups, subsector organizations, and local nonprofit networks about shared issues.
  • Reach out to your MPP, your ministry, and other government contacts to continue building relationships.
  • Communicate the impacts of the budget on your communities, clients, and networks.

What others are saying:

Subsector Impacts

Accessibility

  • $73.8 million over three years for in-class training for apprentices to accommodate an increase in enrolment, assist students with accessibility and accommodation needs, and support additional in-demand classes.
  • $15 million over the next three years for individuals and families to make their homes safer and more accessible.

Arts and Culture

  • New media arts centre in the City of Windsor by renovating a historic downtown church to provide more space for accessible, community-based, and comprehensive media arts programming.
  • Accessibility and efficiency upgrades to Brampton’s The Rose performing arts theatre

Child Care

  • $325 million provincial investment in child care.
  • $21 billion, $14 billion of which is in capital grants over the next 10 years, to support the renewal and expansion of school infrastructure and child care projects.
  • Increasing the Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) tax credit.
  • Improving compensation for Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) working in participating licensed child care, including RECEs providing child care for children six to 12 years old.

Climate Change and the Environment

  • $24 million for the planning and construction of the Holland Marsh Phosphorus Recycling Facility in York Region.

Employment, Training and Skills Development

  • $1 billion annually in employment and training programs.
  • $268.5 million over three years in funding through Employment Ontario to strengthen Ontario’s skills training and employment programs, including pandemic recovery initiatives.
  • $15.8 million in 2022–23 to support the development and expansion of brick-and-mortar training facilities.
  • $5 million in new funding in 2022–23 for the Second Career program, now called Better Jobs Ontario.
  • Developing a long-term Ontario Workers’ Plan to address labour shortages and to train the workers of the future. This plan will include initiatives already underway, like the expansion of the Skills Development Fund and the employment transformation project. It will also include new initiatives like real-time labour market data and partnerships with local organizations to develop better programs that match workers with jobs and jobs with workers. Consultations will begin this summer to ensure all sectors of the economy are reflected in the plan.

Emergency Preparedness

  • $3.5 million in 2022–23 to enhance the government’s coordinated approach to emergency management.

Francophone

  • $300,000, beginning in 2022–23, to support the development of educational sessions and program materials in French for long-term care services.
  • New Francophone community health centre – Centre de Santé Communautaire de Timmins –  to consolidate primary care, nursing, and mental health and addictions services in one modern facility.
  • Designating more points of service as French.

Gender Equity and 2SLGBTQI+

  • $6.9 million over three years to enhance the Investing in Women’s Futures program which delivers employment training opportunities and wrap-around supports for women facing challenges so they can develop the in‐demand skills they need to successfully participate in the labour market.

Health and Long-Term Care

  • $2.8 billion over the next three years to make the current temporary pandemic pay permanent for PSW and DSW as wage enhancement funding.
  • $1 billion over the next three years to support home care providers, address rising costs, and support recruitment and training as well as service expansion.
  • $764 million over two years to provide Ontario’s nurses with a lump sum retention incentive of up to $5,000 per person. Nurses in home and community care, mental health and addictions, and a range of other community‐based and developmental services including youth justice are eligible.
  • $142 million, starting in 2022–23, to recruit and retain health care workers in underserved communities. This includes the Community Commitment Program for Nurses and the Learn and Stay Grant.

Housing and Economic Development

  • New Entrepreneurship Council to focus on a range of key themes that will support the development of a dedicated Entrepreneurship Strategy.
  • New Entrepreneurship Strategy will set out a bold vision to harness Ontario’s entrepreneurial spirit by positioning the province as the fastest and easiest jurisdiction to start up and scale up a business.
  • New Digitization Competence Centre will provide small businesses with the training and support to understand and adopt digital technologies.
  • Government targeting to spend at least $3 billion in contracts awarded to Ontario businesses annually by 2026 through the Building Ontario Businesses Initiative.

Income Security

  • Enhancements to the Low‐income Individuals and Families Tax (LIFT) Credit.
  • New Ontario Seniors Care at Home Tax Credit to help low‐ to moderate‐income seniors 70+ and their families with eligible medical expenses.

Indigenous Programs/Reconciliation

  • $25 million in capital funding for Indigenous-owned businesses and entrepreneurs through an Indigenous Economic Development fund over the next three years. The fund will provide grants to First Nation communities, Indigenous organizations, and other key partners to better support skills enhancement, Indigenous apprentices, and economic development. An Ontario First Nations supply chain map and portal will also be developed to increase procurement opportunities for Indigenous businesses.
  • $9 million over three years to support the nine Indigenous-governed and -operated Indigenous Institutes.

Social Services

  • $204 million for mental health and addiction services to expand, implement innovative solutions, and improve access. These investments are for online cognitive behavioural therapy support, child and youth mental health, addictions services, supportive housing, mental health, justice, and Indigenous mental health and addictions.
  • $100 million in additional funding over the next three years to expand community care programs such as adult day programs, meal services, transportation, assisted living services, and caregiver supports. This investment will also stabilize and enhance sustainability for community services.
  • New joint federal–provincial investment of $632 million to support access to transportation, housing, and homelessness supports for vulnerable populations.
  • $5.5 million in the Ontario Community Support Program to ensure low‐income seniors, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable people have access to the essential items they need.

Sports and Recreation

  • Construction of a multi-use recreational complex in Prescott to provide a venue for multiple generations with access to a broad range of social and recreational activities.
  • Renovation and optimization of the Whitby Civic Recreation Complex in the Town of Whitby, to improve the quality and accessibility of aquatic programs, particularly for families with young children, seniors, and individuals with disabilities.

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