As Canada's most populated province, Ontario's economic situation is a principal component of the country's as a collective, one that's made better when businesses and individuals work as a unit to produce the quality products and services that help improve lives. In a bid to inject new life into Ontario's economy so it can grow stronger, the government is investing billions of dollars that should foster its furtherance.
In early May, the ministers for Employment, Workforce Development and Labor, along with Advanced Education Skills Development, announced Ontario's expected receipt of an estimated $6 billion through 2023 to help create more job opportunities for the province's workers. An increase of $800 million from previous funding levels, the money is expected to benefit 180,000 additional residents, or what the federal government's says is its top asset – the Canadian people.
Employment Workforce Development and Labor Minister Hajdu echoed this sentiment at United Association Local 46, where the initiative was made official May 2.
"Through investments like today's agreements with Ontario, we're ensuring our people can continue to be competitive, resilient and responsive as jobs evolve and as our economy grows," Hajdu explained. "When we give people the tools to succeed, our middle class grows stronger and our workers and their families thrive."
Household earnings up 11 percent since 2005
The typical Canadian household is doing better in terms of earnings, making more today than it did 10 years ago, based on the most recent census data available from Statistics Canada. Indeed, in 2015, the average family was earning around $70,336, a near 11 percent increase from 2005, when the total was $63,457. However, during this 10-year stretch, Ontario witnessed the slowest amount of household income growth, rising slightly less than 4 percent, a stark contrast to Nunavut, where the typical salary rose nearly 37 percent between 2005 and 2015.
As for what the Government of Canada's investments will be put toward specifically, the ministers noted it will pay for a wide variety of employment services, including training programs, work placement, job search assistance, career counseling and employer-sponsored training, among others.
Mitzie Hunter, minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, stated that with Ontario's economy changing with the times – evidenced by ever-adapting technologies and shifting workplace demographics – people must possess the skills that allow them to succeed and progress in a dynamic marketplace.
"These agreements mean we can provide programs and services that directly connect people with opportunities to get those skills," Hunter said. "I want to thank the federal government for being a partner in that. Together, we can make sure every person gets a share of Ontario's economic growth."
Government to spend $20 billion in total
Over the years, Canada has spent an estimated $3 billion annually for provincial employment and skills training. With this latest announcement, an additional $2.7 billion will be paid out between now and through 2023 through the Workforce Development Agreement and the Labor Market Development Agreement. Combined, the WDA and LMDA will provide $20 billion toward improving the economic situations of Canada's 10 provinces and three territories.
Just as Canada contributes to its provincial parts, the provinces repay the favor to the country via what they produce, evidenced by their gross domestic product. Last year, real GDP rose in every province, the first time that's happened since 2011, according to Statistics Canada. More specifically, real GDP by industry rose 3.3 percent, with Alberta experiencing the largest amount of provincial growth at 4.9 percent, followed by British Columbia (3.9 percent). GDP in Ontario rose 2.8 percent, a slight uptick from 2016. Economic experts attribute increased regulatory strictures in the housing market as part of the reason for Ontario's comparatively weak GDP growth.
These shared investments should help produce a better country for the 39 million who live and work here.