Ontario announces budget, and cap-and-trade
Last week the Ontario government made two major announcements that affect consulting engineering companies who work in the industrial, energy, building and civil infrastructure sectors.
On February 25, the province introduced legislation to implement a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emitters.
The cap-and-trade program is outlined under a proposed Climate Change Mitigation and Low Carbon Economy Act. Industries that emit 25,000 tonnes or more of carbon dioxide or equivalent annually and are covered by the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Regulation (O.Reg 452/09) will have to comply. According to the environmental newsletter EcoLog, the rules will affect 27 industry sectors. It’s expected that emission credit trading will be tied into the Quebec-California market.
The same day, the province released the 2016 Ontario Budget. The government plans to spend $137 billion over the next 10 years, “the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province’s history.”
In transportation, the government will spend $31.5 billion. More than half — $16 billion — is for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
Among specific ongoing and upcoming projects named in were the following:
Hurontario LRT – a 20-km new LRT line in Mississauga and Brampton. Construction is expected to take place 2018-2022.
Hamilton LRT – from McMaster University through downtown Hamilton. The environmental assessement process is expected to be completed in 2017, with construction between 2019-2024.
Tolled HOV lanes. A pilot project to charge for travelling in high-occupancy-vehicle lanes will be implemented on 16.5 kilometres of the Queen Elizabeth Way between Oakville and Burlington this summer.
Widening Highway 400 going north from Toronto. A stretch of the major artery to Barrie and cottage country, between Major Mackenzie Drive and King Road, will be widened from eight to 10 lanes.
An extension of the 407 East project, phase 1 from Pickering to Oshawa and Highway 412, will open this spring.
Widening of Highway 410 from Highway 401 to Brampton, creating 10 lanes.
A four-lane expansion of Highway 69 south of Sudbury and Highway 11/17 east of Thunder Bay.
New Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital in York Region.
New Providence Care Hospital.
$11 billion in capital grants for new schools in areas of high growth, and consolidations of under-used schools in other areas. Currently 200 major capital school projects are under way across the province.
Markham campus for 4,000 students as a partnership between York University and Seneca College.
Confederation College in Thunder Bay.
La Cité collégiale in Ottawa.
The budget notes that according to a September 2015 report by the Broadbent Institute and the Centre for Spatial Economics, “on average, investing a dollar in public infrastructure in Canada raises gross domestic product (GDP) by $1.43 in the short term and up to $3.83 in the long term.”
To read about Ontario’s Cap and Trade program, click here.
To read the 2016 Ontario Budget: Jobs for Today and Tomorrow, click here