Ontario Urges Ottawa To Support Manufacturing Workers

    Ontario Seeks Job Security and Increased Competitiveness

    MEECH LAKE, QC, June 20 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is calling on the
federal government to help address economic issues in central Canada -
particularly those hurting the manufacturing sector - at today's meeting of
federal, provincial and territorial finance ministers.
    "Ontario manufacturers are experiencing serious economic pressure,"
Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara said. "Job losses in the manufacturing
sector are having an impact both in central Canada and across the nation,
particularly in light of the recent jump in the value of the Canadian dollar."
    Sorbara is raising these concerns at the meeting of
Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers of Finance and is calling upon the
federal government to take further steps to support the manufacturing sector.
    Among other things, Sorbara is calling for a redesign of the Employment
Insurance (EI) system to better assist individuals working in the
manufacturing sector and to provide them with the support they need.
    "Ontario has been on the short end of the EI system for years. In 2006,
the average regular benefit per unemployed person was $5,110 in Ontario and
$9,070 in the other provinces," Sorbara said. "We need to build better bridges
for workers from sectors where jobs are in short supply to areas where new
skills are in high demand. That is what EI is supposed to do."
    "We know that Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is aware of the
challenges facing Ontario manufacturers and has started to respond by
accelerating capital cost allowances in his 2007 budget. We paralleled these
changes because they were positive," Sorbara said. "However, we now need the
undivided attention of Prime Minister Harper for more resolute and immediate
action. He should start with reforms to the EI program that will provide real
support for Ontario workers."
    Since taking office, the Ontario government has invested heavily in the
manufacturing sector with strategic initiatives to help increase
competitiveness, including:

    -   The $500-million Ontario Automotive Investment Strategy (OAIS), which
        has helped in generating over $7 billion in total investments
        supporting high-skill, high-paying jobs;
    -   The $500-million Advanced Manufacturing Investment Strategy (AMIS)
        helps Ontario companies develop and introduce leading technologies
        and innovations. So far, the AMIS strategy will generate nearly
        $394 million in new investments and support the creation or retention
        of about 3,000 jobs;
    -   The acceleration of the elimination of the capital tax to
        July 1, 2010; and
    -   The $540 million cut to high Business Education Taxes over the next
        seven years, benefiting more than 500,000 businesses in 321
        municipalities across the province.

    Yesterday, the McGuinty government launched a new five-year $650 million
fund to encourage manufacturers to build fuel-efficient cars, generate clean
energy and produce cleaner fuels among other products to curb climate change.

    Disponible en français

                 For more information visit www.fin.gov.on.ca

For further information:

For further information: Michael Arbour, Minister's Office, (416)
435-4031; Scott Blodgett, Ministry of Finance, (416) 325-0324

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