Earlier today, the Ontario government tabled its Fall Economic Statement today, titled 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario. The plan presents a reframing of policy heading towards the next provincial election and refocuses on post pandemic priorities. This includes increases in spending for provincial infrastructure including highways and bridges, attracting talent including raising the minimum wage and funding for learning new skills, as well as leadership in promoting auto manufacturing and other industries.
From a retail perspective, a major change is the focus on increasing wages. Today’s announcement solidifies announcements those from earlier in the week to increase the general minimum wage to $15.00 an hour (a 4.5% increase, from $14.35 an hour), effective January 1, 2022, and to eliminate the special minimum wage for liquor services (a 19.5% increase, from $12.55 an hour).
For retailers in tourism centres, the government is encouraging Ontarians to ‘discover Ontario’ through a new temporary Ontario Staycation Tax Credit for 2022. While the credit is focused on reducing the cost of eligible accommodations (up to 20% off of accommodation expenses in Ontario of up to $1,000 for an individual or $2,000 for a family), RCC anticipates a positive impact on retailers from increased intra-provincial travel.
Movement of goods continues to be a major focus of the province, with an estimated $2.6 billion in 2021-2022 funding for highway construction, expansion and rehabilitation. This includes a commitment to build the Bradford Bypass and Highway 413.
For more information, please contact:
Director, Government Relations (Ontario)