QUEEN’S PARK –Norm Miller, MPP for Parry Sound – Muskoka, asked the Minister of Northern Development and Mines about the failure of the Northern Ontario Growth Plan.
“Six years after the announcement of the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, the numbers demonstrate that it is a dismal failure,” said Miller.
Statistics Canada data shows that in Northern Ontario:
- The population aged 15 and older declined by 10,000 between 2011 and 2016.
- Full time jobs fell from 284,083 in 2011 to 278,717 in 2016.
- Part time jobs dropped from 75,433 in 2011 to 68,883 in 2016.
- The total value of building permits dropped from $1.1 billion in 2011 to $813 million in 2016.
Faced with these statistics the Minister acknowledged the decrease in population and blamed the declines in Northern Ontario on national trends beyond his government’s control.
Miller followed up with a question about the Government’s 2011 promise to immediately develop a transportation strategy which Minister Mauro did not answer.
Transportation infrastructure is the single biggest challenge to businesses and life in Northern Ontario. It impacts all businesses including resource development, tourism and agriculture as well as people’s lives.
“This government doesn’t hesitate to announce $21 billion for high speed rail from Toronto to Windsor, yet they ignore the needs of Northern Ontarians,” said Miller.