Plan for Rural Progress

Dec 05, 19

Many of Ontario’s rural communities have not experienced the economic growth seen in other parts of the province. 

 

We need a Plan for Rural Progress that will empower rural communities to succeed, fund critical infrastructure projects, and spur economic development through targeted investments. 

 

All policies developed by a Del Duca Government will respect the unique challenges of rural Ontario, and the unique values and traditions of rural Ontario. 

 

The different needs of residents of small urban centres in rural regions, and farmers and growers in rural regions, must be acknowledged and addressed.

 

We will: 

 

  1. Restore the provincial gas tax funding increase that was cut in Ontario Budget 2019. This will provide 107 municipalities representing more than 90% of our province’s population with approximately $360M annually to support public transit. 
  2. Work in consultation with local elected officials to develop and implement a strategy to upload higher-volume roads and bridges to the province that were previously downloaded by the Harris government. 
  3. Decentralize government when possible to spur job creation where the cost of housing is low and quality of life is high. Where possible, situate agencies and ministry functions in regions outside the GTHA. 
  4. Commit to high-speed broadband internet coverage for all Ontarians. Work with rural community leaders and the telecom companies to ensure complete coverage. 
  5. Empower existing regional leadership and planning groups in Eastern,  Southwestern and Northern Ontario to coordinate regional transit planning and funding in these regions. Support these groups with initial planning funding and expertise in transit building. This will provide much-needed transit planning coordination in regions of Ontario outside the GTHA. 
  6. Guarantee access to a family doctor or nurse practitioner within 24 hours regardless of where you live in Ontario. Launch a comprehensive health human resources strategy to get practitioners where they are needed, consult with rural and northern communities to identify and address gaps in access to services, and invest in emerging technologies like virtual care.
  7. In partnership with Ontario’s postsecondary sector, make Ontario a global leader in food processing and agriculture research and innovation. Ontario is uniquely positioned because of the province’s strong academic and innovation record in this sector.
  8. Establish two new Ontario Food Terminals, for the wholesale distribution of fruit and produce. One of the terminals will be in Eastern Ontario and one in Southwestern Ontario. 
  9. Establish the Ontario Rural Growth Strategy, which will establish Community Economic Development Credits and Opportunity Zones in rural Ontario. 
  10. Expand the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, the Eastern Ontario Development Fund, and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund to help farms and businesses in these regions maintain their competitiveness in the context of increasing globalization. Investments made by these funds will focus on encouraging export sales from rural Ontario companies, ensuring that rural Ontario businesses participate in Ontario’s major supply chains, and deploying new technologies within rural Ontario companies that will improve productivity.