Prime Minister Harper and Premier McGuinty announce three new federal-provincial initiatives



    OTTAWA, March 27 /CNW/ - Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Ontario
Premier Dalton McGuinty today announced three important initiatives that will
support provincial programs that provide assistance for workers and
communities who have been negatively affected by the rapid appreciation in the
Canadian dollar, softening in the US economy, high oil prices, and intense
competition from emerging economies, as well as support for public transit and
policing.
    "Our Government is committed to the federalism of openness, an approach
to federal-provincial relations that relies on respect for jurisdiction and
productive collaboration to get things done for Canadians," Prime Minister
Harper said. "These three initiatives contribute to Ontario's competitive
strengths and support the Ontario Government's efforts by investing in workers
and communities. Our Governments have collaborated on a number of projects
that have delivered real, direct benefits to Ontarians during the last two
years."
    "Ontario has a five-point economic plan that will grow the economy by
investing in our people, communities and infrastructure and further strengthen
Ontario's international competitiveness. Our plan will continue to reduce
taxes while investing in innovation and forming key economic partnerships,
stimulating investment and job growth," said Premier McGuinty. "These federal
initiatives will provide support for our efforts as the Ontario economy
adjusts to new challenges in the global economy."
    The Community Development Trust will provide Ontario with $358 million to
support programs that improve productivity and competitiveness, technology
development and training for workers and communities facing challenges in
industries such as agriculture, forestry, and manufacturing, including
automotive manufacturers.
    The Police Officers Recruitment Fund allocated to Ontario is its share of
the national Fund. Over the next five years, the province will receive $156
million to improve public safety and security by putting more officers on the
streets of Ontario's cities and towns.
    The Public Transit Capital Trust expands on existing federal support for
public transit in Ontario by providing $195 million in new funding. The
province will direct the funds into its ambitious plans for expanding public
transit, including its MoveOntario 2020 transit plan.
    "I want to congratulate Premier McGuinty and his Government for
developing programs that will use these federal funds to strengthen the
Ontario economy, improve public safety, and expand the public transit system,"
said Prime Minister Harper. "Working together, our governments are getting
things done for all Ontarians."

    This document is also available at http://pm.gc.ca

    Backgrounder

    COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT TRUST

    This Community Development Trust Fund will support a three-year plan for
transition, skills training and new job opportunities for workers who are
being negatively impacted by the collapse of the U.S. housing market, the
lower U.S. dollar, increasing foreign competition and other circumstances that
are now challenging certain sectors of the Ontario economy.
    Ontario's $358-million share of the Trust will be used for programs to
support improved productivity and competitiveness, technology development, and
training for affected workers and communities in agriculture, forestry, and
manufacturing (including the automotive sector). Initiatives will include new
skills training centres to provide up-to-date training for Ontario students
and unemployed workers who require skills upgrading. Specific measures will be
undertaken to help communities in northwestern Ontario which have been hard
hit by layoffs in the forestry sector.
    The Province will consult on the best ways to apply and leverage the new
funding for maximum benefit to Ontario workers. The new federal funding is
intended to support these specific priorities over several years.

    PUBLIC TRANSIT CAPITAL TRUST 2008

    Public transit plays an important role in easing traffic congestion in
urban areas and contributing to cleaner air and lower greenhouse gas
emissions. In Budget 2006, the Government of Canada set aside $1.3 billion in
support of public transit infrastructure and introduced a new tax credit for
public transit passes.
    Budget 2008 set aside up to $500 million in 2007-08 to be paid into a
third-party trust, allocated on a per capita basis, for public transit
infrastructure such as rapid transit, rail, transit buses, and high occupancy
vehicle and bicycle lanes. Provinces and territories are encouraged to report
publicly on the expenditures financed and outcomes achieved.
    Between 2005 and 2010, the Ontario government and its partners will
invest more than $30 billion in public infrastructure. Ontario is expected to
announce further progress on this goal by making additional significant
investments in public transit infrastructure supported, in part, by $195
million from the federal Public Transit Capital Trust. Among these will be a
commitment to initiate a joint study for a Peterborough commuter rail line,
accelerate the extension of the GO Transit line from Lakeshore East to
Bowmanville, and to launch a regular GO bus service to Peterborough.

    POLICE OFFICERS RECRUITMENT FUND

    A paramount responsibility of government is to protect its citizens'
rights to safety and security. The Government of Canada takes this
responsibility seriously, and in Budget 2008 provided funding to provinces and
territories to support them in recruiting 2,500 new front-line police
officers.
    Under the federal government's national effort to recruit 2,500 police
officers across the country over the next five years, Ontario will receive
$156 million from the new Police Officers Recruitment Fund. This funding will
help the Province increase the number of police officers in Ontario and is a
first step to help build on the Province's strategies to address top public
safety priorities.
    Provincial and territorial governments are encouraged to report directly
to their residents on the expenditures financed and outcomes achieved with the
funding provided through the Police Officers Recruitment Fund.

    PMO Press Office: (613) 957-5555
    This document is also available at http://pm.gc.ca
    Ontario Premier's Media Office: (416) 314-8975





For further information:

For further information: PMO Press Office: (613) 957-5555; Ontario
Premier's Media Office: (416) 314-8975

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