The Ontario Liberal Plan for Northern Ontario

The Ontario Liberal Northern Platform will deliver on long-standing demands from Northern Mayors for an immigration plan that attracts New Canadians to cities and regions across Northern Ontario and ensure skilled labour matches the jobs needed to build and grow the Northern economy.

Our new Ontario Liberal team will be the partner Northern Ontarians deserve. We will grow essential services like healthcare and education, build critical infrastructure, and create good jobs in the region.

Making Northern Ontario a Place to Grow

✅ Bring internationally-trained professionals with the skills we need
✅ Ensuring everyone can access healthcare, regardless of postal code
✅ Affordable, high-speed internet by 2025
✅ New roads to open up Ring of Fire access
✅ Slashing Ontario Northland fares to a buck-a-ride
✅ $150 million for economic development and tourism
✅ Better infrastructure and winter road maintenance

“For Ontario to be a Place to Grow, the provincial government needs to have a say in ensuring the nurses, the engineers, and the heavy equipment operators we need and who want to come to Canada are allowed to live in Northern Ontario. That is how we get the Ring of Fire built, get nurses who will provide care in the north, and keep your populations growing.”
— Steven Del Duca

Promote the wellbeing and success of Northern communities

Ontario Liberals will:

  • Ensure access to a family doctor or nurse practitioner
  • Get more health services in Northern Ontario
  • Cover tuition costs for medical and nursing students working in the North
  • Fund and equip Northern schools

As part of ensuring access to a family doctor or nurse practitioner within 24 hours regardless of where you live in Ontario, we’ll expand the number of Community Health Centres and Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics so all communities have access to primary care. We’ll also cover tuition costs for any medical and nursing students in Ontario who commits to working long-term in a rural or remote community – and we’ll increase the admission cap on the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, providing more tuition subsidies for students committed to staying in the North long-term. We’ll also work to bring a midwifery program back to the North. When taken together, these measures will reduce wait times for and quality of care in the North. 

We’ll annually review the Northern Health Travel Grant to ensure it keeps up with rising costs – and we’ll lift the arbitrary cap on new Consumption and Treatment Services sites, which includes safe injection programs, expediting applications in rural and Northern Ontario. 

In education, we’ll review the school funding formula from top-to-bottom to ensure it meets the needs of rural and Northern students, parents and educators. We’ll invest in the sustainability of Northern post-secondary institutions including Laurentian University, the Université de Sudbury and Indigenous Institutes, as well as equip these institutions with digital teaching tools so that students needing to complete assessments can do so without travelling long distances.

Expand internet access by 2025

Ontario Liberals will:

  • Get affordable, high-speed internet to everyone by 2025
  • Generate more competition for internet providers

Internet has become an essential good for people, especially during two years of physical distancing. We need to improve access to internet while driving down costs through greater competition – leveraging existing public fibre assets to expand small, municipal or community-owned networks. Expanding these and other networks, along with investing in low Earth orbit satellites, will get affordable, high-speed internet to every Ontario household and business by 2025, including First Nations reserves.

Build up Northern Ontario

Ontario Liberals will:

  • Reverse the Ford Conservatives’ cuts to Northern projects
  • Develop the Ring of Fire
  • Support a growing economy in Northern Ontario
  • Provide Northern municipalities with a mining tax rebate

We’ll update the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario and invest in the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) by reversing the Ford Conservatives’ cuts and increasing annual funding to $150 million. We’ll introduce representation thresholds for the NOHFC Board of Directors to ensure regional and diverse perspectives, providing opportunities to elect members and take out political influence by removing the Minister as a voting member.

We’ll also ensure the Ring of Fire is developed in a sustainable, inclusive and environmentally-conscious way – fully funding road access, facilitating the connection of First Nations communities to the provincial power grid and entering into revenue sharing agreements with Indigenous communities. We’ll also support and empower Northern municipalities by rebating 5% of the provincial mining tax.

Finally, we’ll commit to moving multiple government offices to Northern Ontario, extend the waiver of crown resource fees for resource-based tourism businesses through 2022 and work with federal partners to ensure settlement of more skilled newcomers in Northern Ontario.

Make it easier to move throughout Northern Ontario

Ontario Liberals will:

  • Improve transportation options by making the Community Transportation Grants permanent for small and rural communities – working to close gaps in the network and improve connectivity 
  • Work with northern municipalities and Ontario Northland to improve bus connections between northern communities
  • Restore service on the Ontario Northlander from Toronto to North Bay within two years and plan for passenger rail further north, including extending the Polar Bear Express southward to Timmins
  • Implement a proven 2+1 highway model to support safe passing on major Northern Ontario highways
  • Complete the four-laning of Highway 69 and Highway 11/17 between Thunder Bay and Nipigon by 2025
  • Advance the widening of Highway 17 from Kenora to Manitoba and the reconstruction of Highway 101 in Timmins
  • Move forward with the Cochrane by-pass from Highway 11 to Highway 652
  • Ensure the highest level of winter maintenance standards to protect travellers on Northern highways by designating Highways 11 and 17 as class 1 highways so they’re maintained and plowed more often
  • To encourage safer winter driving, we’ll introduce a refundable tax credit of $75 per winter tire and $100 per studded tire in Northern Ontario

Take control of Ontario’s immigration and bring newcomers with the skills we need

Ontario Liberals will:

  • Put Ontario in control of its immigration, like in Québec
  • Bring internationally-trained professionals with the skills we need
  • Support newcomers who want to become business owners

Ontario’s workforce is in desperate need of specific skills. For instance, as we build 1.5 million new homes, as well as building and repairing dozens of new hospitals and schools, we need a lot more people in the skilled trades who can be those builders. Immigration to Ontario is currently a federal issue, but it’s time Ontario take over its own immigration and gain control over who we welcome to our province, just as Québec has. Ontario knows best what skills it needs, so Ontario should be in the driver’s seat. We’ll also ensure a dedicated Immigration Minister supports these newcomers to work in their field of expertise and develops a new generation of entrepreneurs – including by creating a pathway to permanent residency for international graduates of Ontario’s universities and colleges who invest in or purchase a local business.

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