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Speech from the Throne

Open Ontario Plan - March 8, 2010

March 08, 2010

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Address Of The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor Of Ontario, On The Opening Of The Second Session Of The Thirty-Ninth Parliament Of The Province Of Ontario

Mr. Speaker, Members of the Legislative Assembly, people of Ontario.

Since the global recession struck, things have been difficult for many Ontario families.

In the manufacturing sector, the last two years have been particularly hard.

Many of us know someone who has lost a job.

Perhaps even in our own families.

Some say the worst has passed and the recession is ending.

Yet the damage remains.

Companies have downsized, some have moved, some have closed their doors for good — not just here in Ontario, but in neighbouring states and provinces, and places all around the world.

No place has escaped the Great Recession unscathed.

That is why your government is responding to the extraordinary challenge of the global recession with two extraordinary measures.

First: it plans to invest over $32 billion in roads, bridges, public transit and energy retrofits for our schools.

This is creating and sustaining over 300,000 jobs and puts money into the hands of families, where it is needed — and it is stimulating our economy while we emerge from the recession.

Second: your government is supporting Ontarians in their choice to go back to school so they can get a good job — not just any job.

Ontario's Second Career Program is a first for Canada because it supports up to two years of long-term training.

For people like Jason Boylan — one of the first participants in the program — Second Career has made a real, positive difference.

When he was laid off from an auto parts manufacturing job, he enrolled in Culinary Management at Fleming College.

Jason graduates in a few weeks and has several good job offers on the table.

Your government congratulates him — and over 26,000 other Ontarians who have entered the program.

The Open Ontario Plan

Helping people and communities hurt by the recession is an important responsibility your government takes seriously.

But it is also laying a new foundation for growth.

Because — even in tough times — Ontarians have always looked to their future.

Where others see a world that threatens, Ontarians see opportunity that beckons.

We carved our province out of a harsh northern land.

Our people endured, and they thrived.

They began to mine the land, and harvest the forests.

Our people built farms and schools and towns and cities.

We gave the world great artists, poets and novelists.

We invented medicines that have saved millions of lives.

We laid down our lives on the battlefields of history's bloodiest wars.

We built the cars, trains and planes that moved the world into the 20th century.

We built an economy supporting a quality of life for our families that is the envy of the world.

And as we begin the second decade of the 21st century — as our world faces unprecedented economic, environmental and social challenges — one thing remains clear.

The world needs Ontario.

The world needs what we have to offer.

It needs our schools — to educate the best and brightest citizens of the world who will go on to solve the problems of our world.

It needs our innovators — who have invented tools such as the Blackberry that keep our world connected.

It needs our skilled workers — who continue to build the advanced products the world needs.

It needs our diversity — because nowhere else do more people come together from more places to live so well, together.

It needs our compassion — because not only do we lift one another up through our health care system and our public services, but when disaster strikes as it did in Haiti and Chile, Ontarians open their hearts to the world.

And when duty calls — as it has in Afghanistan — our people are there to serve. And when our people return from service, we honour them.

Ontarians have always been citizens of Canada and citizens of the world.

At the start of the 20th century, Ontario was there for the transition from buggy whip to the automobile, helping our country compete and our world move faster.

At the start of the 21st century, Ontario will be there for the transition to a new, clean economy, to help our nation and our world move more efficiently.

We will continue to build the world's cars — but they will be the more efficient cars the world needs.

We will continue to have a strong manufacturing sector — but increasingly, it will be advanced manufacturing that builds on the skills and education of our people.

Yes, our world has changed.

But one thing remains.

Our world needs Ontario — more than ever.

The world presents us with more opportunity than ever.

And we need to be ready.

The next five years will be decisive for Ontario.

That's why your government is launching a new, five-year Open Ontario Plan.

Because growing our economy, and growing stronger, requires that Ontario be open to change, open to opportunities, open to our new world.

The Open Ontario Plan will create an Ontario even more open to new ideas, new people, new investment — not only to replace old jobs that have gone — but to create the new jobs that are coming.

Not only to build the things that made us great in the last century — but to build the things that will make us great in this one.

Your government is launching that plan today.

A plan for our economy

The Open Ontario Plan begins with creating a climate where business can thrive, create jobs and build innovative new products to sell to the world.

Creating that climate has begun through a package of tax reforms that modernize our tax system to make us more competitive and create more jobs.

Income taxes for Ontarians were cut on January 1.

Your government is also cutting corporate income taxes and eliminating the capital tax this year.

And in lockstep with the federal government, Ontario is introducing a harmonized sales tax.

Independent economists say these changes will create nearly 600,000 more Ontario jobs over the next 10 years — including over 100,000 in manufacturing alone.

So these improvements to the tax system benefit all Ontarians.

They mean that Ontario businesses — from factories to small businesses — will have more money to invest in their future. And more time and resources to focus on their business instead of dealing with red tape.

This will allow them to keep or hire more people and create a workforce that can take on the world.

Another part of your government's Open Ontario Plan that is already underway is the Green Energy Act.

It provides a stable price for clean energy producers so they will invest here, and create up to 50,000 Ontario jobs in new, clean industries that did not exist a few years ago.

It is already paying dividends.

In January, Samsung announced the biggest investment of its kind in the world: $7 billion to create 2,500 megawatts of clean power and some 16,000 Ontario jobs.

Your government will soon welcome hundreds of new, clean energy investments in Ontario through its feed-in tariff program — which is attracting the interest of the world's investors and entrepreneurs.

Those projects will need solar panels and wind turbines.

Ontarians will build them.

And we will sell them all over North America.

Your government is also doing its part to streamline services for business through its Open for Busi

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