Canadian Consulting Engineer

Power, transit, housing investments promised in Ontario

After Dalton McGuinty's Liberal Party swept to victory in Ontario on October 2, what does the future hold for consu...

October 3, 2003   Canadian Consulting Engineer

After Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal Party swept to victory in Ontario on October 2, what does the future hold for consulting engineering firms?

The Liberal platform pretty much promised an ideal world for everyone, except corporations. The Liberals promised to raise corporate taxes to the levels they were at January 1, 2001.

However, the party also made lots of promises to invest in the environment and infrastructure, which will boost consulting engineers’ businesses. Whether the Liberals are able to fulfill all these promises is another question, since they are inheriting a deficit of at least $2 billion, if not $5 billion according to some estimates. The incoming government has also made many other big promises, including to invest in education, healthcare and policing.

Here are some of the Liberal promises that relate to engineering and infrastructure.

Power
Will shut down Ontario’s coal-burning power plants by 2007 and replace them with cleaner generation, such as by expanding generation at Niagara Falls, and investing in natural gas, hydro, wind and landfill methane. Will encourage industrial cogeneration, and have strategy to developing ethanol and biodiesel fuels.
Will work with domestic, commercial, and institutional customers, especially hospitals, schools, colleges and universities, to lower electricity use.

Water & Environment
Will implement EVERY recommendation of the Walkerton Inquiry, i.e. source to tap protection. Will build a network of water monitoring stations across the province. Will pass a law to protect lands around water sources.
Will crack down on pollution and hazardous waste (the Liberal platform document “Growing Strong Communities” notes that previous Harris-Eves government laid only 11 charges for violations of Ontario’s water pollution laws between 1995-99).
Will increase provincial and industry support for waste diversion programs.

Cities, Development and Transportation
Will invest in cities and towns.
Will give 2 cents of the existing provincial gasoline tax to municipalities for public transit.
Will match federal support to create almost 20,000 new housing units.
Will ensure the Ontario Municipal Board “plays by the rules” and prevent developers forcing unwanted municipal expansions.
Will discourage urban sprawl and protect one million new acres of greenspace on the outskirts of cities.
Will ease gridlock with a seamless transportation network across the Greater Toronto Area

Profession & Immigration
Another campaign promise could result in Professional Engineers Ontario having to revise its rules for immigrant engineers. The party’s platform included a promise to make it easier for professionals trained outside Canada to be able to practise their professions.
“Newcomers face too many barriers that prevent them from practising their trade or profession,” says the Liberal document “Growing Strong Communities. “We will require that all Ontario trades and professions accelerate the entry of qualified new Canadians. If after one year any profession or trade has not eliminated barriers to entry, we will act.”


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