Chair Bradley’s statement on the 2023 provincial budget
Regional Chair Jim Bradley provided the following statement on the 2023 Provincial budget:
“After having reviewed the 2023 provincial budget I am pleased to see that our advocacy on a number of critical issues has helped to motivate the provincial government to provide much needed increases in funding.
Starting with the ongoing challenge of EMS offload delays, I am encouraged to see the provincial government investing $51 million over the next three years to fund the highly successful offload nurse program. Here in Niagara, we are starting to see these specialized positions make a measurable difference in reducing offload delays, ensuring our paramedics can serve our residents instead of waiting at the hospital.
Regional Council has been tenacious in their advocacy on offload delays and it is heartening to see meaningful investments be made to address these challenges.
We are also pleased to see the provincial government commit to investing more in homelessness prevention and community mental health programs. Niagara, like many places across Ontario, continues to see the growing impacts of these challenges across our community and any new funding will be put to good use in the region.
This provincial budget also committed to ensuring high speed internet will be made available in every community by 2025. Niagara Region Council, through its representation on SWIFT, has advocated for this needed service expansion for years and it is encouraging to see such a commitment in the budget.
Since 2015 the Niagara Region has been working tirelessly to secure dependable full-day GO train service to and from Union Station in Toronto. It is encouraging to hear Niagara be singled out by Minister Bethlenfalvy as a priority area for service expansion and we remain committed to working with our partners at Metrolinx to ensure this expansion becomes a reality as soon as possible.
While we await the final details on these programs and announcements, we are pleased to see our advocacy efforts paying off in terms of meaningful investments and policy decisions by the provincial government.
Finally, we join with our colleagues across the Province and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario to express our concern that the budget was silent on any additional funding to help shore up the impacts of Bill 23 on our budget. Here in Niagara, the More Homes Built Faster Act will have an estimated impact of over $215 million and we continue to seek support from the provincial government to ensure we can continue to offer the programs and services our residents and businesses rely on without having to further increase property taxes on homeowners across the region.”