Kingston Mayor & Queen’s Principal Address New Ontario Budget

Published on: 2016/02/26 - in Featured News

Mayor Bryan Paterson and Queen’s University Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Daniel Woolf, have posted statements in response to the newly released Ontario Budget.

Mayor Paterson wrote:

Yesterday, the Ontario government tabled its 2016 budget at Queen’s Park in Toronto. The budget outlined a series of measures important to Kingston, including investment in affordable housing and a new basic income pilot project. Unfortunately, the budget did not include details on infrastructure spending for medium-sized cities

“We appreciate the government’s commitment to infrastructure investment, however this budget does not provide any detail on when medium-sized cities, like Kingston, can start accessing critically needed infrastructure dollars,” said Mayor Bryan Paterson. “As a municipality we’re doing our part to renew infrastructure with asset-management planning and investing City tax dollars, but we can’t do it alone.”

In 2015 the government announced a new $16 billion fund for cities outside the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area. Large urban municipalities, as well as small rural and northern communities, now have application-based programs in place with money already being allocated. However, there is no program designed for medium-sized cities.

“We understand different communities have different needs and a one-size-fits-all-approach doesn’t work for everyone,” said Paterson. “But we’re getting squeezed out of potential funding opportunities by not having a program to apply to.”

Other provincial budget highlights include:

• $178 million over three years to support Ontario’s Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy. This includes the construction of up to 1,500 new housing units and a new provincial funding for the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI) by $45 million over three years ($15 million per year).

• The province will work with communities to design and implement a Basic Income pilot project.

“I look forward to hearing more about the province’s new affordable housing strategy and how this funding will be allocated in the weeks to come,” said Paterson. “Municipalities need long- term predictable investment from all levels of government that recognizes the important role municipalities play in delivering this service.”

Principal Woolf wrote:

I wish to applaud the Government of Ontario for making some important changes to the student assistance program through Budget 2016. The result will be a more progressive system of financial aid for Ontario students and their families.

Changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program and the introduction of the Ontario Student Grant will mean easier access to financial aid and more grants for the students who need it most.

In the coming days we will look closely at other aspects of the budget. Queen’s looks forward to working closely with the government on the implementation of the changes to student assistance over the coming months.

Mayor’s statement & photo: City of Kingston | Principal’s statement & photo: Queen’s University