On Wednesday, March 24 the Ontario government announced its 2021 budget. OFA was thrilled to see an additional investment of $2.8 billion in funding for broadband expansion, as well as a commitment to providing 100% coverage of reliable internet access to all Ontarians and businesses by 2025.
The pandemic has exacerbated ongoing challenges with rural broadband, while exposing the issue to many who were forced to adapt to working from home. Reliable internet is vital to run businesses, sell products, educate children and connect socially.
We’ve continued to advocate that affordable, reliable internet is an essential service. We appreciate and applaud the government’s recognition that everyone deserves equal access.
OFA looks forward to working with the government on the roll-out and delivering broadband infrastructure to meet intended targets to better serve and support Ontario farmers and rural communities
KEY HIGHLIGHTS FOR AGRICULTURE FROM THE 2021 BUDGET:
- A $10 million extension to the Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program in 2021-22 will help to protect agri-food employees with the intention of reducing the spread of COVID-19 on farms.
- $10 million for wineries and cideries and $1.2 million for small distillers.
- Investing $200 million into OCIF this year – The Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) provides funding for small, rural and northern communities to develop and renew their infrastructure.
- Implementing a further postponement of the next property tax reassessment to enable municipalities to focus on responding to COVID-19.
For more information about Ontario’s 2021 budget, click here.