By Bill Mauro, Minister of Northern Development and Mines.
Four years ago our government promised to bring the province’s finances back to balance. The balanced budget we tabled last week represents the progress Ontarians have made together to ensure a stronger, healthier Ontario.
It’s clear from his comments that Vic Fedeli doesn’t have the facts about our budget and its positive impact on Northern Ontario.
Our government remains committed to full funding of the $100 million Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation to help create jobs and grow the Northern economy. We also remain committed to the development of the Ring of Fire, including our commitment to invest up to $1 billion in strategic transportation infrastructure in the Ring of Fire.
In addition to maintaining these commitments, funding of some of our most important programs at the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines saw an increase over last year. We are making travel safer and travel for health care more affordable for Northern Ontarians. Northerners will benefit from substantial improvements in their roadways this summer as highway funding in this year’s Budget is almost $650 million, up from $540 million last year. The change seen in this year’s overall budget is due to the fact that the Ministry undertook $100 million worth of one-time, unanticipated mine site rehabilitation last year to help protect the environment.
We also continue to expand the Northern Health Travel Program through a further $10 million investment that will help northern patients with the costs associated with receiving care outside their communities. Northern Ontarians will also benefit with an increase in funding of at least 2% for hospitals in every community across Northern Ontario and free access to prescription drugs for everyone 24 years old and younger.
Budget 2017 delivers on our government’s commitment to build a stronger, more prosperous Northern Ontario and it’s about time that Mr. Fedeli shares facts with Northerners.
- Bill Mauro, Minister of Northern Development and Mines.