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Building a Strong Ontario

2023 Budget delivers plan for a resilient economy today and in the future

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                             March 24, 2023

WATERLOO REGION — Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy has released Ontario’s 2023 Budget: Building a Strong Ontario. It is a plan that navigates ongoing global economic uncertainty with a responsible, targeted approach to help people and businesses today while laying a strong fiscal foundation for future generations.

“I am extremely pleased that Ontario has presented a budget that continues to support the building of our economy while expanding services and affordability for the residents of Waterloo Region,” said Mike Harris, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga. “Budget 2023 demonstrates a nuanced focus on ongoing, global economic uncertainty with a targeted approach towards helping Ontarians now and into the future.”

“Ontario’s economy remains resilient, but the road ahead continues to be uncertain,” said Minister Bethlenfalvy. “Our government has the right plan to navigate these challenges. We are building Ontario so we can have a strong economy for the future and the infrastructure needed to support growth across the province.”

The government’s plan is taking significant actions to drive growth by lowering costs, getting key infrastructure projects built faster, and attracting more jobs and investment to help businesses, families and workers. Highlights include:

  • This budget builds upon commitments such as investments in Conestoga College, including STRIVE OSH: Skilled Trade Research, InnoVation, and Education in Occupational Safety and Health, which will build capacity among current and future skilled trades workers while optimizing skilled trades jobs and work environments.
  • Projects include the next phase of construction for the new Highway 7 between Kitchener and Guelph, which will provide relief to the gridlocked Highway 401 and connect the fast growing urban centres of Kitchener, Waterloo and Guelph.
  • Continuing to relieve gridlock, create jobs and connect communities by investing $70.5 billion over the next 10 years for transit, including construction at Kitchener GO Rail Extension and Weston GO Station.
  • Launching the new Ontario Made Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit, which would provide a 10 per cent refundable Corporate Income Tax credit to help local manufacturers lower their costs, invest in workers, innovate and become more competitive.
  • Attracting over $16 billion in investments by global automakers and suppliers of EV batteries and battery materials to position Ontario as a global leader on the EV supply chain.
  • Providing $224 million in 2023–24 for a new capital stream of the Skills Development Fund to leverage private-sector expertise and expand training centres, including union training halls to provide more accessible, flexible training opportunities for workers.

By working for workers, keeping costs down and providing better services, everyone will have an opportunity to take part in and benefit from Ontario’s plan. Highlights include:

  • The budget continues the Ontario government’s commitment to addressing backlogs by providing more OHIP-insured cataract surgeries per year. The Ministry of Health is investing up to $8.5 million annually to support the delivery of cataract surgeries for patients at four facilities across the province including TLC Laser Eye Centres in Waterloo.
  • Investing in supportive housing with an additional $202 million each year in the Homelessness Prevention Program and Indigenous Supportive Housing Program to help those experiencing or at risk of homelessness, struggling with mental health and substance use, those escaping intimate partner violence, and support the community organizations in delivering supportive housing. This initiative builds on earlier investments in Waterloo Region’s wrap around community care services such as House of Friendship, OneRoof and the Registered Nurse Practitioner Led Clinic in Breslau.
  • Implementing the most ambitious plan for hospital expansion in Ontario’s history, investing over $48 billion over the next 10 years in hospital infrastructure.
  • Hospital projects include construction at Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s General Hospital for a new, joint acute care facility and to expand existing facilities in the Waterloo region.
  • Investing $15 billion in capital grants over 10 years to support student achievement by expanding and renewing schools and helping create 86,000 new child care spaces by December 2026, including building a new English public elementary school in Kitchener, which will serve 591 students and include 88 licensed child care spaces.
  • Implementation and construction of a multi-use trail to connect residents from the Iron Horse Trail with the future Transit hub in Kitchener and Waterloo through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
  • Providing financial support to more seniors by proposing changes to expand the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) program, starting in July 2024, to see 100,000 additional seniors be eligible for the program and the benefit adjusted annually to inflation.
  • Helping more Ontario students becoming doctors by investing an additional $33 million over three years to add 100 undergraduate seats beginning in 2023, as well as 154 postgraduate medical training seats to prioritize Ontario residents trained at home and abroad beginning in 2024 and going forward. Ontario residents will also continue to be prioritized for undergraduate spots at medical schools in the province.
  • Starting in fall 2023, expanding the program to allow pharmacists to prescribe over-the-counter medication for more common ailments, including mild to moderate acne, canker sores, diaper dermatitis, yeast infection, pinworms and threadworms, and nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.
  • Providing an additional $425 million over three years to connect more people to mental health and addictions services, including a five per cent increase in the base funding of community-based mental health and addictions services providers funded by the Ministry of Health.

The government is also providing an update on Ontario’s economic and fiscal outlook, with a plan that will balance the budget in 2024-25, three years earlier than forecast in the last Budget.


  • Ontario’s 2022–23 deficit is projected to be $2.2 billion — $17.7 billion lower than the outlook published in the 2022 Budget and $4.4 billion lower than the outlook published in the 2022–23 Third Quarter Finances.
  • The government is projecting a deficit of $1.3 billion in 2023–24 and is on track to post a surplus of $0.2 billion in 2024–25, three years earlier than forecasted in the 2022 Budget. The government is also projecting a surplus of $4.4 billion in 2025–26. While this is a positive update, significant economic and geopolitical uncertainty persists.
  • Ontario’s real GDP grew by an estimated 3.7 per cent in 2022 and is projected to increase by 0.2 per cent in 2023, 1.3 per cent in 2024, 2.5 per cent in 2025 and 2.4 per cent in 2026. For the purposes of prudent fiscal planning, these projections are slightly below the average of private-sector forecasts.
  • The net debt-to-GDP ratio is projected to be 37.8 per cent in 2022-23 – the lowest level since 2011–12. Over the medium-term outlook, Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP ratio is now forecast to be 37.8 per cent in 2023-24, 37.7 per cent in 2024–25, and declining to 36.9 per cent in 2025–26.


Read the 2023 Budget: Building a Strong Ontario

Read Highlights of the government’s plan

Read the Economic and fiscal overview

Read the 2022 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review — Ontario’s Plan to Build: A Progress Update