Ontario investing $765 M to build new public safety radio network

Modernization will help thousands of emergency responders save lives . . .

Thursday, Oct. 17th - On October 17, 2019, Premier Doug Ford announced a key step forward in the government’s commitment to supporting the work of frontline and first responders who keep communities safe across the province. Bell Mobility Radio / Motorola Solutions Inc. was the successful bidder to reconstruct Ontario’s Public Safety Radio Network (PSRN).

       “This historic modernization project is vital to community safety and long overdue – today we are building for the future,” said Premier Ford “This major investment will ensure our provincial frontline and emergency responders can rely on the modern communications network to do what they do best and keep our families and communities safe.”

        The contract, valued at $765 million, will involve reconstructing core infrastructure, replacing outdated equipment and maintaining the new radio network. Ontario’s Public Safety Radio Network is one of the largest and most complex public safety networks on the continent, connecting more than 38,000 frontline and emergency responders across 750,000 square kilometres of land, lakes and rivers. The PSRN was last upgraded over 20 years ago. Look at your smartphone now and think about how far mobile technology has advanced since 1998.

         “Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry’s brave frontline and emergency personnel depend on reliable and uninterrupted communication when responding to an emergency. Our government will not put the people of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry or our first responders at risk with an unreliable public safety radio network,” said Member of Provincial Parliament Jim McDonell. “This investment in public safety and emergency response will enable quick and effective responses in emergency situations right here in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.”

Under the contract, Bell Mobility Radio / Motorola Solutions will:

  •  Implement two new master communications sites

  •  Replace radio network electronics on more than 400 towers including more than 200 in the north and far north to support forest firefighters, Ontario parks and Far North communities

  •  Replace Ontario’s inventory of end-of-life radios with state-of-the-art radio equipment and consoles

  •  Provide maintenance services and repair equipment for 15 years.

Increased investments Ontario government’s plan to end hallway Health Care . . .

Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health         - photo The Star
Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health - photo The Star

Thursday, Oct. 17th - Ontario is taking further action to end hallway health care by making increased investments in the province’s hospitals. Today, Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, announced additional funding for hospitals in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry and Prescott-Russell, including:

  •  Cornwall Community Hospital - $2.05 million

  •  Winchester District Memorial Hospital - $280,000

  •  St. Joseph’s Complex Continuing Care Centre - Hotel Dieu site - $86,000

  •  Hawkesbury and District Memorial Hospital - $321,000

  •  Glengarry Memorial Hospital - $108,000

        “Our government is supporting local hospitals by ensuring they have the resources they need to meet the growing needs of our community,” said MPP McDonell. “This new investment in these invaluable hospitals is another example of how Ontario is supporting high-quality and timely access to health care, while delivering on our commitment to end hallway health care.”

        Across Ontario, the government is investing an additional $68 million to support small- and medium-sized hospitals. This new investment is on top of the $384 million more that Ontario’s hospitals received this year as part of the province’s 2019 budget.


This investment will:

  •  Help ensure that families in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry / Prescott-Russell continue to have access to high-quality care;

  •  Help put an end to hallway health care;

  •  Address sector challenges and previous funding model inequities;

  •  Promote the sustainability of hospital operations; and

  •  Protect existing core services in communities across the province.

        “Ontario has a comprehensive plan to end hallway health care,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Working with our hospital partners, we are fixing long-standing issues with how hospitals are funded that disadvantaged small- and medium-sized hospitals. We have listened to patients, frontline staff and key stakeholders to determine how we can fix historical inequities to provide financial stability and relief to hospitals, regardless of their size.”

        This funding includes a province-wide increase in funding of one per cent for 66 small-sized hospitals, 1.5 per cent for 23 medium-sized and multi-site hospitals and targeted funding to assist with unique situations and historical funding challenges.


Quick facts: 

  •  Ontario will invest $27 billion over the next 10 years in hospital infrastructure projects across Ontario,

        including adding 3,000 new hospital beds.

Queen's Park Report . . .

                          By Jim McDonell 


        Finding a good job is a primary objective for Ontarians entering the workforce for the first time or for those who are searching for a new job. The government recognizes this and has prioritized job creation since day one. The best way to create more jobs is to free the bureaucratic and tax shackles on businesses, so they can hire more workers. Here are some of the actions the government has taken to provide $5 billion in tax relief for Ontario businesses this year:

  •  Cancelling the cap and trade program - $880 million saved

  •  Keeping minimum wage at $14 per hour - $1.3 billion saved

  •  Reducing Workplace and Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) premiums - $1.4 billion saved

  •  Cutting corporate income tax and cancelling Wynne government small business tax hikes - $1.4 billion

        These moves have helped to foster a hiring spree, creating 272,400 jobs for hard-working Ontarians since June 2018. The employment success is just one component of our objective to make life more affordable for Ontarians.

        The government is committed to improving the province’s hydro system, passing the Fixing the Hydro Mess Act. Starting on November 1st, this legislation will make hydro bills more transparent by providing electricity bill relief in a single, clear line item. Ratepayers are responsible for paying their monthly hydro bill, and they deserve to see a clear and detailed accounting of the various costs that make up their bill.

        The issue of hallway healthcare has been in the media this week, and I would like to re-address it – an unfortunate and unacceptable problem leftover by the Liberal government. The Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, announced an additional $68 million to support small and medium hospitals in Ontario. This new funding is on top of the $384 million more that our hospitals are receiving this year as part of the 2019 provincial budget. For Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, this adds up to over $2.54 million in additional funding to address critical needs in the health care sector.

        Ontario’s emergency radio system was put in place over 20 years ago and has become unreliable and out of date. During last year’s devastating tornadoes in Ottawa, the system failed completely, because the previous Liberal government had failed to do the necessary updates. Currently, downtimes average about two hours per day when there is no radio access, requiring many front-line workers and first-responders to carry multiple units to stay in touch with all team members. This week, Premier Doug Ford and Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, announced a key step forward in our commitment to supporting the work of front-line and first responders who keep communities safe across the province. Bell Mobility Radio / Motorola Solutions Inc. was selected to rebuild core components of Ontario’s ageing Public Safety Radio Network (PSRN). The $765 million agreement will help keep communities safe and result in reconstructing core infrastructure, replacing outdated equipment and maintaining the new radio network. 



            Jim McDonell

        Member of Provincial Parliament

        Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry

Provincial investments help athletes . . .

Thursday, Sept. 19th - Ontario’s government is supporting tomorrow’s Olympic and Paralympic champions and coaches with over $9 million of investments in high-quality training and performance programming delivered by our sport partners, the Canadian Sport Institute of Ontario (CSIO) and the Coaches Association of Ontario (CAO).

         “Every athlete dreams of standing on the podium after winning a world-class competition,” said Jim McDonell, Member of Provincial Parliament for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. “With the recently announced investments in high-quality training and performance programming delivered by our sport partners – the Canadian Sport Institute of Ontario and the Coaches Association of Ontario – and some grit, hard work and dedication, one of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry’s athletes might find themselves living that dream. All of us will be cheering them on, like we have in recent years for our Olympians, gymnast Melanie Banville, hockey player Lori Dupuis and soccer player Christina Julien.

       An $8.2 million investment in CSIO over two years will provide top-quality training and development to emerging or existing Canadian Olympic or Paralympic Team members and many of Ontario’s provincial sport organizations. The CAO will receive $1.1 million this year to support coach education, training and professional development. These investments will support athletes competing at the highest level of international competition, in events like the Pan/Parapan American Games, the Commonwealth Games and at the professional level with athletes like tennis champion Bianca Andreescu.

        “Ontario offers the world in one province, making it one of the best places to live, train and compete as an athlete," said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “Our government will continue to support athletes in their pursuit of excellence and we look forward to celebrating their success at the 2020 Ontario Summer Games.”


Quick Facts:

   •  CSIO is one of four Canadian Sport Institutes in Canada, and provides technical, training and coaching support for Team Ontario.

   •  The 2020 Ontario Summer Games in London will welcome over 3,400 participants and their families and feature 19 events.

   •  Ontario is supporting the 2021 Canada Games by committing to a cost-shared investment of $29 million for the construction of new sport facilities, which will support athletes and bring new jobs to Niagara region.

Working to provide for every child . . .

Wednesday, Sept. 18th - Ontario wants every child and young person in care to receive the quality of support they deserve. The child welfare system is facing challenges: too many children are confronted with obstacles and barriers that prevent them from success and far too many young people are struggling once they leave care.

        Today, Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, was joined by Jeremy Roberts, Parliamentary Assistant (PA) to the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, to express her satisfaction with the high participation in the government’s engagement process with youth, families, caregivers and frontline workers to improve the child welfare system.

        “We are thrilled with the feedback and participation we have seen over the first few weeks of this engagement. I encourage everyone who has not yet participated in our online survey to visit our ministry website to have their say by sharing ideas and advice,” said Dunlop. “Ontario's most vulnerable children and youth deserve the best supports we can provide, and we look forward to continuing to receive input on how we can make a meaningful difference in their lives.”

        “Every child deserves a loving family and a safe permanent home,” said Jim McDonell, Member of Provincial Parliament.   “That's why our government is engaging with youth, families and frontline workers by asking them to participate in an online survey on child welfare and adoption in Ontario:” http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/professionals/childwelfare/engagement.aspx


        A focus of the engagement is improving Ontario’s adoption system. To facilitate feedback on this area of the system, PA Roberts is hosting roundtables on adoption and he invited all MPPs to host adoption roundtables in their communities.

        “Every child and youth deserves a loving family and a permanent home,” said Roberts. “We want to hear from adoptive parents and prospective parents and leaders in the adoption sector about how we can support more children and youth finding their forever families.”

         The government will also be engaging directly with Indigenous partners, service providers and stakeholders for their input. All participants will be asked for their insights about the gaps, barriers, and opportunities to support better outcomes for children, youth and families.

         “Our government is committed to making transformational changes to Ontario's child welfare and residential services systems. I am confident the feedback and advice we receive from our engagement activities will help us achieve our vision of better futures for our province’s most vulnerable children. Together we can build a better world for these children and youth.” said Minister Dunlop.


Quick Facts:

   •  There are more than 12,000 children and youth in care in Ontario.

   •  In 2018-19, there were 4,622 children and youth in the permanent care of children’s aid societies in Ontario who were eligible for adoption.

   •  Approximately 800 children and youth in Ontario were adopted last year.

   •  There are 50 children’s aid societies in Ontario, including 12 Indigenous and three faith-based societies. Two Indigenous agencies are currently in the process of seeking designation as children’s aid societies.

Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry farmers find new markets  . . .

Local farmers seeking new markets . . .

Tuesday, Sept. 17th, - As part of the Ontario government’s ongoing trade efforts, today Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, announced they will lead an Ontario trade mission to South Korea and Japan from October 12-24, 2019.

Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, congratulated Premier Ford and Ministers Hardeman and Fedeli on the announcement of the upcoming mission which will be focused on helping sectors affected by trade challenges to access new markets such as pork, beef, canola and soy as well as developing new opportunities in key business sectors.

        “Our riding has a strong agricultural sector, with high quality products. We are well-positioned to compete in international markets,” said McDonell.

         “This trade mission is a great opportunity to promote Ontario as a top destination for business,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “We’re sending a strong message that we’re open for business and open for jobs, and our farmers are ready to compete on the international market with their world-class products.”

         Minister Hardeman will work to connect Ontario farmers and food processors with key importers and buyers to promote the high quality of Ontario products, including pork, beef, and soybeans. Minister Fedeli will promote Ontario as a top destination to do business and invest, with a focus on aviation, aerospace and other key emerging sectors. Raymond Sung Joon Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility, will join the South Korea portion of the mission and will spearhead contact and business development with important trading partners.

         This trade mission adds to initiatives taken by the Ontario government to support key sectors impacted by trade disruption. Last month, the government began accepting applications for the Market Access Initiative, a new cost-share funding initiative open to all Ontario food and agri-product exporters to assist them in accessing new markets. The Market Access Initiative application intake will review applications as received and remain open until funding budgeted for the initiative is no longer available.

         In August, Hardeman led a conference call meeting with provincial and territorial agriculture ministers from across Canada focused on trade and market access and development to explore ways to help farmers hurt by the trade disruptions with China to find alternative markets. Hardeman has also repeatedly pressed the federal government to urgently resolve the issue. 

        “Leading this trade mission is part of my commitment to stand up for Ontario farmers affected by the trade disruption with China,” said Minister Hardeman. “For the sectors involved in our mission, namely pork, beef, and grain farmers, we see great potential to develop more business connections and access to new and growing international markets for their high-quality products.”

        “Made in Ontario means a high standard of quality that is second to none,” said Minister Fedeli. “By leveraging the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, we are providing Ontario businesses with access to some of the fastest growing markets in the world that will drive economic prosperity and create good jobs here at home.”

Canada and Ontario reach understanding on the Université de l'Ontario Français . . .

MPP Jim McDonell
MPP Jim McDonell

Tuesday, Sept. 10 - The governments of Canada and Ontario have formally committed to working together toward the establishment of the Université de l'Ontario français through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, signed on behalf of the Government of Canada. The Honourable Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation and Francophone Affairs, and the Honourable Ross Romano, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, signed on behalf of the Government of Ontario.

        “This is a major breakthrough for Franco-Ontarians and French-speaking Canadians across the country! It is the result of the hard work of generations of brave and dedicated Francophones and Francophiles who fought hard to get us to this moment. I want to thank the student movement and the proponents of this project, namely Dyane Adam and Carol Jolin. This achievement is the result of their work. I’m thrilled that, on the day of the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act, we have come to an agreement that allows the federal government to assist provincial and territorial governments meet the needs of official-language minorities across the country. On this milestone, we have an extra reason to celebrate. Congratulations everyone!” announced the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie.



        By signing this MOU, both governments are affirming their commitment to address the needs of the more than 600,000 Francophones in Ontario with respect to postsecondary education. Highlights of the MOU include the following:

An adequate due diligence process will be implemented in order to commit public funds and move forward in a trustworthy, accountable and transparent way with respect to the proposal submitted by the Governance Council of the Université de l'Ontario français.

        “We are pleased to announce Ontario has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the federal government to fund the university, this is a great first step. Our government recognizes the exceptional contribution of the Francophone community to the province’s social, cultural and economic development. We also recognize the importance of a university governed by — and for — Francophones in Ontario. We want to ensure French-speaking students can count on a high quality, modern, postsecondary education system that is aligned with labour market needs.” added the Honourable Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation and Francophone Affairs, and the Honourable Ross Romano, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.

        Funding negotiations will begin following the due diligence process, and a joint working group will be established to work together and agree on eligible expenditures, timelines and activities for the Université de l'Ontario français;

Canada and Ontario will base their agreed-upon governmental contributions on established practices of intergovernmental cooperation in education, namely that Canada's contribution will not exceed 50 percent of the total cost incurred by Ontario.

        Because it is exceptional for Canada to cover 100 percent of the expenditures for the first four years of a multi-year project, Canada will seek assurance from Ontario that it will reimburse Canada of its share should Ontario not be in a position to provide funding within the expected timeframe. 

        “Our future depends on providing the best education possible and that includes 600,000 Francophone Ontarians, many of who are in our riding," added  Jim McDonell, Member of Provincial Parliament, Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, "We are happy to reach an agreement with our federal partners for fair finding which allows us to advance this important project.” 

Ontario partners with auto industry, technology and training . . .

Program helps parts makers invest . . .

Monday, Sept. 9 - The Ontario government is partnering with auto parts companies to invest in technology and training to strengthen the auto industry and protect jobs.

        Today, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, launched the new $10 million Ontario Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP) at the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Moldmakers.

O-AMP is a key commitment of Driving Prosperity: The Future of Ontario's Automotive Sector, Ontario's 10-year vision for how industry, the research and education sector, and all three levels of government, can work together to strengthen the auto sector's competitiveness.

        “Our comprehensive, high-quality and innovative supply chain is an essential part of why Ontario is a great place to build vehicles," said Fedeli. “The launch of the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program further strengthens our close partnership with the industry to make Ontario open for business and open for jobs.”

         “This is another example of the steps are government is taking to protect current jobs and create conditions for companies to expand and hire more workers,” said Jim McDonell, Member of Provincial Parliament for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.

        The new program invests with small- and medium-sized automotive parts suppliers in projects that fall under one or both of the following categories:

Technology adoption ― includes advanced manufacturing hardware, software and/or training to improve processes and enhance competitiveness. For example, projects could include investments in production technology allowing firms to digitize their production tracking and logistical systems.

        Lean manufacturing ― includes projects that support training in lean manufacturing practices to minimize waste during the production process and optimize productivity.

         "Every day, CAMM’s member companies are striving to be at the leading edge of technology and innovation in the global moldmaking, service and supply sectors. This support for technology investments and lean training boosts the long-term competitiveness Ontario’s automated manufacturing cluster." said Jonathon Azzopardi, Chair, Canadian Association of Moldmakers.

        "O-AMP provides targeted investments - matched by the private sector - that will help small- and medium-sized auto parts makers stay at the forefront of technology and industry best-practice. With increasingly complex vehicle technologies, razor thin margins and global competition, every competitive advantage is a win for our industry and its workers." added Flavio Volpe, President of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association.