|The Government of Ontario released its 2023 Budget. While energy featured prominently in the budget announcement, it was largely based on previously announced commitments. The budget does signal economic priorities that may impact the energy sector in the future.
Economic Development and Manufacturing:
- Ontario’s 2023 budget did not announce much in the way of net new spending or decisions in the energy sector.
- The government referenced clean energy throughout the announcement with commitments to continue the refurbishment of nuclear assets at Darlington and Bruce, as well as the upcoming SMR project.
- Energy related focus also included upgrades to the McMaster nuclear facility to be able to produce medicinal isotopes.
- The government announced a “voluntary” Clean Energy Credit Registry, details of which are not yet available, as well as the issuance of $500 million dollars of “Green Bonds” by Bruce Power.
- The budget briefing referenced continued support for cost subsidization for Ontario rate payers.
- During the budget speech, Minister Bethlenfalvy specifically mentioned the NRStor Battery Storage project with Six Nations as an energy success story.
- More substantial policy announcements within the energy space will likely be made after the current slate of sectoral policy consultations are finished.
Labour and Skills Development:
- A core part of the budget focus is economic development, specifically in the manufacturing sector and resource development, which may have down stream impacts on the energy sector.
- There will be new tax credits and incentives available for new manufacturing facilities in Ontario.
- Reference was made to over 16 billion dollars in investments in electric and hybrid vehicle facilities throughout Ontario, including the newly announced Volkswagen battery facility in St. Thomas.
- Tied in with the theme of economic development was capital funding covering public transit projects as and the continued delivery of broadband projects.
- Supporting economic development/manufacturing, electric vehicle adoption and broadband delivery remain priority issues with the OEA and are the subject of multiple regulatory and consultative processes.
- OEA anticipates that policy discussions will intensify particularly through the Electrification and Energy Transition Panel and through various OEB and IESO proceedings to further inform government decision making.
- Skilled labour development is a policy priority for the government given how unemployment is at a record low. Labour shortages across the economy and within the energy sector will constrain economic growth.
- The provincial government will be investing in approximately $300 million dollars towards various skilled labour initiatives, including over $70 million dollars for a skills development fund.
- Labour availability is an ongoing issue within the energy sector with short-term challenges in relation to compliance with Ontario One Call requirements and longer-term projections of an additional 40,000 skilled workers needed to facilitate the energy transition.
The OEA will provide more information as it becomes available. Members are encouraged to forward any questions you have regarding the Budget to the OEA, so that we may raise them with the government.
- Healthcare spending is expected to rise by 5.4%, approximately 6 billion dollars, including monies to increase the flow of new medical practitioners into the healthcare system.
- Increased eligibility for small business tax cuts to bring $256 million dollars in tax relief.