Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario

Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario

March 25, 2010 19:37 ET

Budget Balancing Act Buys Time:

Duncan left little room to maneuver until economy returns to form

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO, PRESS RELEASE--(Marketwire - March 25, 2010) - "The Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario welcomes today's provincial budget that highlights the continued need to make investments in infrastructure, skills training and green jobs over the next decade" said Patrick Dillon, Business Manager of the Council. Improving the economy was high on the agenda for Finance Minister Dwight Duncan who announced the Open Ontario Plan for Jobs and Growth that will guide the government's efforts towards recovery.

"We are pleased that total infrastructure spending is expected to rise by 6 per cent this year, the final phase of stimulus spending, helping to create and sustain 300,000 skilled jobs as we tread towards an economic recovery," added Dillon. "We are however disappointed that the government chose to delay some important infrastructure projects that would have continued to generate jobs."

With the government facing a significant deficit, today's budget focus on infrastructure, health care and education reaffirms a commitment to maintain social services while making investments necessary for economic growth. "We recognize that the Finance Minister was severely constrained with his options and are pleased that he did not introduce any radical changes," said Dillon.

"The Minister could have used the budget as an opportunity to address a key area within the economy - worker safety", Dillon pointed out. "Each year the Ontario economy loses billions of dollars as a result of deaths and injuries in the workplace. Improving worker safety would increase productivity, reduce claims and result in billions in savings to the economy."

The budget was silent on funding for apprenticeship training programs. Employers, journeypersons and apprentices have invested nearly $200 million in training infrastructure to create one of the finest apprenticeship programs in the country. "Having a skilled, well-regulated workforce to meet the demands of the 21st century is the key challenge," noted Dillon. "The government needs to support our efforts in the organized construction sector to ensure that our labour market remains stable," he said.

Dillon concluded by observing that "this budget buys the government a bit of time. Their choices in the coming months will determine the future of our province."


The Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario is an umbrella organization that represents over 150,000 construction workers.
/For further information: Patrick J. Dillon, Business Manager 416-347-8245/ IN: ECONOMY, LABOUR, POLITICS

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