Technology sector central to next phase of Ontario’s Action Plan

Ottawa, ON, Nov. 05, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — TECHNATION, Canada’s leading tech industry association, commends the Government of Ontario’s intention to implement policies in support of the technology industry, as noted in today’s Budget speech from Minister of Finance, Rod Phillips. By investing in digital government, rural broadband, and virtual healthcare, TECHNATION believes that Ontario’s government has taken an important step towards economic recovery in the specter of COVID-19. A number of the tech industry’s recommendations, as we outlined in our Pre-Budget Submission, were addressed in today’s Budget. The Government of Ontario’s commitments include: • $680 million to expand and improve broadband and cellular access across the province; • $594 million to the hospital sector to stabilize funding and address longstanding operational challenges; • $100 million in the COVID-19 Recovery Assistance Skills Plan to help more workers and job seekers get advice, training and other assistance to upgrade their skills; o $37 million in employment and training services including 86 projects in high demand skills like information technology; • Extend the reporting period to claim an Ontario R&D tax credit; and, • Ontario Onwards action plan targets 70 percent of services the people of Ontario use most, like virtual health care, and 50 percent of the most common ways the people of Ontario interact with government, like driver’s licenses, available digitally in two years o Ontario Onwards’ Acceleration Fund is allotted $60 million in 2020-2021 and $500 million over the following four years to achieve these goals, which also include improving government purchasing and reducing red tape. These commitments represent an investment in the legacy of the COVID-19 crisis and Premier Ford’s government. Investments in virtual healthcare, digital government, and rural broadband, once implemented, will forever change the way Ontarians engage with their government. As we look to the next three years, collaboration with Ontario’s technology sector will be essential. With over 300,000 tech workers and 23,000 firms, not to mention three of the largest start-up ecosystems in the world in Waterloo, Toronto and Ottawa, Ontario is North America’s second largest IT cluster, after California. Ontario’s government must work with industry to encourage workforce development, strategic and efficient economic stimulus, and digital government transformation. Minister Phillips’ 2020 Budget, the next phase of the Ontario Action Plan, starts to chart our collective path forward. We look forward to working with the Government of Ontario on consultations towards the Spring 2021 Budget and the real drive towards economic recovery from the COVID‑19 crisis. The tech sector will bring ideas on economic stimulus throughout Ontario, create a workforce for tomorrow, continue to improve government efficiencies and to keep Ontario safe. – 30 -Janet Gibson Eichner

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