Thursday, Jan. 16th - The governments of Canada and Ontario are supporting projects that will strengthen the health of managed honey bees and Ontario's beekeeping sector. Since September 2019, the federal and provincial governments have committed more than $221,000 to support 135 projects. These projects will help beekeepers make improvements to better manage pests, diseases and other stressors and grow their bee-related business. Factoring in project funding coming from the businesses themselves, this represents a joint investment of more than $602,000 in the sector.
The funding has been provided through a targeted application intake under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership). Eligible applications are being received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available.
Some projects supported through this targeted intake include:
• Equipment to help managed honey bees survive over the winter months
• Projects to detect and manage pests such as varroa mites
• Technology to enhance production
• Equipment to prepare operations for managing Small Hive Beetle
• Market and customer research to help increase sales.
“Many of our agricultural crops depend on the health and productivity of our pollinators, and this regional approach to strengthening Ontario’s honey bee populations plays a vital role in allowing our high-value crops to succeed,” Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food points out.
“Honey bees play an essential role in Ontario's agricultural sector and in maintaining healthy ecosystems,” adds Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, “That's why it’s so important to support and sustain the health of our honey bees. This investment has helped over 135 beekeepers so far to equip themselves with better tools to prevent diseases, improve winter survival, adopt best management practices and grow their businesses.”
“The Canadian Agricultural partnership funding has been successful in other parts of Ontario,” said Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, adding, “I encourage local beekeepers to make an application up until January 29, 2020.”
Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed cost-share support to approximately 2,500 projects through the Partnership to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.
Quick Facts . . .
• The targeted application intake to support managed bee health opened on September 3, 2019. Eligible applications are being received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available. This initiative is delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA), and supports specific beekeeping activities in two project categories:
Advancing Beekeeper Business Capacity, and Honey Bee Health Management.
• OSCIA also delivers cost-share funding under the Partnership for farmers and other businesses (plant health) – the next application intake for this group is from January 8 to January 29, 2020. Program details, including how to apply, program guides, and application forms, can be found on the OSCIA website.
• The health of honey bees is complex and influenced by several factors, including diseases, pests, genetics, environmental stressors and extreme weather. In addition to producing honey, Ontario-managed honey bees pollinate a wide range of crops, including apples, apricots, asparagus, blueberries, squash and canola, both within Ontario and in other provinces.
• Managed honey bees pollinate 80 per cent of all agricultural crops requiring insect pollination. They account for $395 million in pollination services to Ontario farmers and contribute $30 million a year in honey sales.
• Examples of projects supported through the Partnership since June 2018 include: implementation of technology to enhance food safety in processing plants; improving adoption of cover crop management to help reduce phosphorous entering the Lake Erie watershed; installation of equipment to improve biosecurity; technology solutions to improve labour productivity and marketing plans to help businesses to expand their markets.
• The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion commitment by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors.
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Wednesday, Jan. 15th - Today, the Honourable Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, announced the government’s plan to offer parents up to $60 per day if current negotiations close schools or school-based child care centres.
“Our aim has always been to reach a negotiated settlement that keeps kids in class, which we have done with multiple labour partners to date,” said Minister Lecce.
A full withdrawal of services could require parents to make alternative arrangements. A strike could impact the operation of full-day child care centres located in schools — forcing closures.
To prepare for these potential situations, the province has launched an initiative to ensure that child care and other safe spaces are accessible for families impacted during negotiations. Financial support will be provided to parents for each day of school that a child misses, or each day of child care that is not available during during the same pewriod.
Eligible parents of children up to age 12 (Grade 7), or up to age 21 for children and youth with special needs, in a publicly funded school, qualify for:
• $60 per day for children aged 0-6 who are not yet enrolled in school but attend a school-based child care centre that is required to close on account of the strike.
• $40 per day for students in Junior Kindergarten (JK) and Senior Kindergarten (SK).
• $25 per day for students in Grades 1 up to and including Grade 7.
• $40 total per day for students in JK up to and including Grade 12 with a special need(s).
Funding will also be retroactive for qualifying parents to cover costs already incurred during these 2019-20 labour negotiations. More details about this financial support can be found by visiting Ontario.ca or by calling the Helpline at 888-444-3770.
Tuesday, Jan. 14th - Today, Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Francophone Affairs, issued the following statement:
“As Minister of Francophone Affairs, I am happy to learn today, from the Ombudsman Paul Dubé, that Ms. Kelly Burke has been appointed as Ontario's new French Language Services Commissioner.
Ms. Burke is a seasoned lawyer and has an in-depth understanding of the rights, obligations and responsibilities regarding the French Language Services Act. Her experience within the Ministry of Francophone Affairs gave her the opportunity to know the challenges and aspirations of the Franco-Ontarian community well.
This decision is news for all Franco-Ontarians and all those who cherish the protection of access to services in French. The new Commissioner will be independent from government and from all stakeholders, and impartial in her work. It’s a chance to conduct thorough investigations of public complaints regarding French services in Ontario.
"We are looking forward to having a fruitful collaboration with Commissioner Kelly Burke to defend the rights to Francophone services, while respecting the independence of her office.” Mulroney added.
Monday, Jan. 13th - The provincial government is providing an ideal opportunity for local festival and event organizers to apply for financial assistance, which may help to enhance their events, and encourages them to apply for a Celebrate Ontario grant.
Celebrate Ontario is accepting new application for 2020 as it aims to support programming improvements at new and existing events that attract tourists for longer stays, create great experiences for visitors and support communities across Ontario.
“Through Celebrate Ontario, we are making strategic investments to support family friendly and culturally important festivals and events across the province,” said Jim McDonell, Member of Provincial Parliament for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.
“This program enables local festivals to showcase their unique heritage, communities and community spirit. With a deadline of 5 p.m., January 21st, 2020 fast approaching, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage your organization to apply for a Celebrate Ontario grant, if you haven’t already,” McDonell added. He said local festival and event organizers have been successful in the past applying for grants, allowing them to enhance their activities and amenities.
To improve their chances of approval, applicants need to show that their event will accomplish the following:
• Improve programming to increase the number of visitors and spending,
• Create a strategy to grow the event’s attendance, showing how programming improvements will accomplish this,
• Emphasize how the community and environs will benefit economically,
• Confirm that tourism, business and community partnerships increase spending and boost accommodation use
• Show strong organizational and leadership qualities that will successfully operate the event,
• Demonstrate how the event will contribute to rural, northern, off-season, Francophone and Indigenous events.
For more details, MPP McDonell suggests potential applicants to view and follow this guide: http://www.grants.gov.on.ca/prodconsum/groups/grants_web_contents/documents/grants_web_contents/prdr020231.pdf
Friday, Jan. 10th - The government’s plan to build Ontario together is working — creating more jobs, putting more money in people’s pockets and building towards the future.
Statistics Canada announced this morning that employment in Ontario increased by 25,100 in December. Since June 2018, employment in Ontario has risen by 296,700.
“We are working to create an environment that attracts investment and encourages entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and create high-paying, good quality jobs in Ontario, and we are seeing the results of that,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
“We are also taking a proactive approach and prioritizing the province’s role in trade, ensuring Ontario markets remain open for investment given we live in a globally competitive world,” said Jim McDonell, Member of Provincial Parliament.
Last month, the Ontario Legislature officially passed the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019. The Act is part of the government's signature package to address red tape and modernize regulations to make life easier for people and business. The legislation will lower the cost of doing business by making it simpler and more cost-effective to comply with regulations — leading to more jobs, higher wages and more opportunities for hard-working families.
Throughout 2020, the government is committed to continuing to find ways to reduce regulatory burden with legislative packages and several new initiatives.
“Ontario is heading in the right direction,” said Fedeli. “By reducing small business taxes and cutting red tape, we are creating a more competitive business landscape and giving job-creators the tools they need to create more jobs and build a more prosperous Ontario.”
• Full-time employment growth in Canada driven by gains in Ontario. Employment in Ontario grew by 243,000 in 2019.
Overall, Ontario’s small businesses will save $2.3 billion in 2020 through actions the government is taking such as cancelling the cap-and-trade carbon tax, keeping the minimum wage at $14 per hour, supporting Workplace Safety & Insurance Board premium reductions and delivering Ontario Corporate Income Tax relief through the Capital Cost Allowance.
• A number of significant government actions are lowering costs for businesses in Ontario, allowing them to grow and create jobs, and creating a competitive environment to attract new investment. It is estimated that Ontario businesses could save $5.4 billion in 2020 through these actions.
• Ontario has cut the small business Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate by 8.7 per cent and reduced the rate to 3.2 per cent. Supporting small businesses is part of the government's plan to attract investment and enable entrepreneurs and risk takers to grow their businesses and create high-paying, good quality jobs.
• Small businesses have benefited from accelerated write-offs of capital investments as well as the government’s decision to not parallel a federal measure that would have increased taxes on some small businesses earning passive investment income.
• Ontario has launched the Job Site Challenge to identify shovel-ready mega sites where automakers or other advanced manufacturer could build a large plant that would create thousands of direct and supply-chain jobs.
• The government has launched a new Regional Development Program for eastern and southwestern Ontario. Businesses can get financial support through the Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) and Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) and guided access to a range of complementary services and supports.
• Ontario will create the Premier’s Advisory Council on Competitiveness to work with business leaders and workers across the province to find ways to improve competitiveness and report back with actionable recommendations.
Tuesday, Dec. 17th - Today, Associate Minister of Energy Bill Walker announced that the government is expanding access to natural gas to more families and businesses throughout rural, northern Ontario and Indigenous communities.
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) will begin the process of collecting information about natural gas expansion opportunities across Ontario and develop a report on eligible projects for the ministry in early 2020. The OEB will deliver its report to the government by August 2020, after which the government will make a final decision on future expansion projects eligible to receive support through the government's Natural Gas Expansion Program.
“Natural gas is a safe, reliable and lower-cost heating fuel that will lead to cheaper home heating costs for families and more investment by businesses throughout the province,” said Associate Minister Walker. “We're putting more money back in people’s pockets and making communities more attractive for job creation and new business growth. This sends a clear message that Ontario is open for business.”
“Our government made a commitment to reduce energy costs and expand access to natural gas to underserved parts of Ontario,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. “By expanding access to natural gas, our government is making life more affordable for businesses and families in rural, northern and Indigenous communities.”
“This is encouraging news for rural, northern and Indigenous communities throughout Ontario,” said Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell. “The average household switching to natural gas could save up to $2,500 a year in energy costs.”
The Natural Gas Expansion Program was created to help extend access to natural gas to unserved communities across the province, providing access to thousands of households and businesses to the clean and affordable fuel they deserve. Nine projects were selected under the first phase of the program, with construction well underway in Southern Bruce, Chatham-Kent and the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation.
Expanding access to natural gas to rural, northern, and Indigenous communities is part of the government's plan to create a more competitive business environment and make life more affordable for Ontarians.