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Fedeli offers budget highlights

Nipissing’s MPP says the latest provincial budget is all about economic development and job creation. 

Vic Fedeli, who is also Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, says it’s really a plan for strong targeted support for people.

“Specifically in Nipissing, we see the Skills Development Fund there’s about another $75 million,” he says. “This going to be really good news for employers to train people to work. It’s going to be good news for Canadore College and Nipissing University.” 

Fedeli says there’s another $225 million in the capital stream, too. 

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He plans on visiting local companies this summer to get the word out on how they can get their business and staff ready for emerging opportunities.

There are four lithium plants planning to be opened in Northwestern Ontario and there are two nickel mines planning to be opened around Timmins,” Fedeli says.  “You make bits. You make machines. You make trucks. You make drill rods. Get out here and look at this potential business.” 

He also says with Volkswagen coming to St. Thomas they’re going to need billions of dollars worth of mining products and critical minerals. 

“We’re right in the pocket for that,” he says. “Seize the moment is what I’m telling them. Seize this time and start expanding your business, start hiring. We’ve got money to train your people.” 

In terms of bringing costs down at home, Fedeli says the province is providing financial support to more seniors by proposing changes to expand the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) program, starting in July 2024. 

“We’re adding another 100,000 seniors into that.  We’re lowering the threshold,” Fedeli says.  “There really are opportunities for lower costs at home.  Lower electricity rates, lower gas prices, $10 a day child care.  Those are the types of things we’re continuing to make sure that we’re putting more money into the pockets of people.”

Along with increases in healthcare and education, Fedeli says the province is putting a couple hundred million dollars each year into supportive housing and homelessness programs.

“That’s the number one thing that we’ve heard from mayors was the homelessness issue. We’ve tackled that,” he says. “We’re tackling housing affordability. All different governments at all different levels are working together to get shovels in the ground.” 

At the provincial level on Thursday, official Opposition NDP Leader, Marit Stiles called the budget a failure of leadership and accused the Ford government of shortchanging municipalities through massive cuts, funnelling public money into private healthcare facilities and more.

Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner called it a “head-in-the-sand budget” and a failure. 

He said it’s bad fiscal policy that shows the Ford government is in denial of the need to invest in Ontarians and instead is funnelling billions of dollars into super-sprawl that makes life less affordable.

**With files from the Vista Radio National Newsroom

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