Ontario government sees jobs, opportunity in water expertise, higher education

Ontario will create jobs and strengthen the economy by exporting clean-water technology and strengthening postsecondary education for all Ontarians.

The government’s five-year Open Ontario Plan was unveiled in a Speech from the Throne delivered by The Honourable David Onley, Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor. The speech opened the second session of the province’s 39th parliament.

The government will introduce a new Water Opportunities Act, designed to take advantage of the province’s expertise in clean-water technology. Ontario companies already employ 22,000 in a growing sector that’s worth $400 billion (US) annually.

Ontario’s colleges and universities will also play a key role in the five-year Open Ontario Plan, starting with the addition of 20,000 students this year. The plan also targets e-learning with a new Ontario Online Institute, which will give students access to the best professors in top university programs from their home computers.

The plan also looks to capitalize on northwestern Ontario’s deposit of chromite — said to be one of the largest deposits in the world and a key ingredient in stainless steel. The government will work with northerners and Aboriginal communities to take advantage of the find and continue to protect half of the northern Boreal Forest.

And as health care costs continue to rise, Ontario will introduce new legislation to improve accountability in our publicly funded health care system. The government will improve services for patients by encouraging health care professionals to work together.

The five-year plan includes several initiatives already underway:

*A tax reform package, which will create nearly 600,000 new Ontario jobs.
*The Green Energy Act, which will create up to 50,000 jobs.
*A $32-billion investment in roads, bridges, public transit and energy retrofits for schools that is creating and sustaining over 300,000 jobs.
*Full-day learning for four- and five-year olds, starting at schools across the province this September.
*A strategy to make Toronto one of the world’s leading financial centres.

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