#TorontoCouncillors; #JohnTory, #affordableownershipunits
Toronto, Jul 17 (Canadian-Media): Approvals for 893 affordable rental units, 422 mid-range purpose built rental units and 300 affordable ownership units are being considered by Toronto Councillors in the final Executive Committee meeting of the 2014-2018 term, media reports said.
After the approval of these units by the Executive Committee later today and City Council next week, for the second year in a row, City Hall will have met and exceeded its annual affordable housing target.
In total this year, City Hall will be approving 1,650 affordable housing units well beyond the 1,000 unit target.
“Past administrations had set a target of approving one thousand units of affordable housing per year but only since I took office have we started meeting and even exceeding those targets,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “We are making progress but we can and we must do better so we can continue to grow as a vibrant and economically competitive city.”
Last month, Tory committed to an ambitious target to approve 40,000 units over the next 12 years. Last Council meeting,
Toronto's plan was approved by the City Council and has decided to create a standing committee on housing to make sure that City Hall has a laser-like focus on housing issues and reach this new target.
“The progress we have made over this term shows that we can hit this new, more ambitious target,” said Tory. “I am committed to making sure people of all ages, all walks of life and all income levels can afford to live in Toronto.”
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#JimWilson; #DeanFrench; #DougFord; #OntarioisOpenforBusiness; #Ontario'sautoindustry
Ottawa, Jul 16 (Canadian-Media): Today, Jim Wilson, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade issued the following statement, media reports said.
"Later this week, I will be travelling to Washington, D.C. during which time I will be vigorously advocating for the Canadian and American jobs that depend on our historic trading relationship. I will be accompanied by Mr. Dean French, Chief of Staff to the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford.
Our Government for the People stands with the Government of Canada, and we will continue to work with our provincial counterparts and Ontario's businesses and workers to protect Ontario jobs and build a stronger economy for the future. Our message has been and will continue to be: Ontario is Open for Business.
The U.S. Department of Commerce will be holding a public hearing on the section 232 national security investigation of imports of automobiles and automotive parts.
As the Government of Ontario's representative at this hearing, I look forward to speaking in defence of Ontario's auto industry and the economic benefits it delivers in both the U.S. and Canada.
The U.S. and Ontario share a unique economic relationship grounded in fair and balanced trade, integrated supply chains and complementary markets.
It is clear that Ontario is not a national security risk to the United States. In fact, the U.S. and Ontario share many of the same goals — together, we can advance our shared priorities of creating jobs on both sides of the border by developing strong, competitive business environments that spur innovation and growth.
Ontario is open for business and we look forward to working with our American neighbours to create new jobs and better jobs for us all."
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#DougFord, #Ontario, #Canada, #Cap-and-TradeCarbonTax, #Fordgovernment'sPlanForthePeople
Ottawa, Jul 3 (Canadian-Media): Doug Ford, Ontario Premier today confirmed an end of the Cap-and-Trade Carbon Tax Era in Ontario effective today, media reports said.
As the first order of business of Ontario's Government for the People, Ford had his cabinet to revoke the regulation of the wasteful cap-and-trade carbon tax regime and ordered an orderly close down of all programs funded out of cap-and-trade carbon tax revenues.
Ford also committed that a case-by-case basis of the situations would be processed in alignment with the Ford government's Plan For the People and the upcoming value-for-money audit.
"Every cent spent from the cap-and-trade slush fund is money that has been taken out of the pockets of Ontario families and businesses," said Ford. "We believe that this money belongs back in the pockets of people...will result in lower prices at the gas pump, on your home heating bills and on virtually every other product that you buy."
According to the Auditor General, who conducted an audit of the The cap-and-trade system, there would be cost of $8 billion to Ontario consumers and businesses with a negligible impact on the province's carbon emissions.
"Cap-and-trade and carbon tax schemes...do nothing for the environment, while hitting people in the wallet in order to fund big government programs," said Ford. "I promised that the party with taxpayers' dollars was over and...Today we are keeping that promise."
"We are getting Ontario out of the carbon tax business," concluded Ford. "Our focus will be to give people lower gas prices, lower energy bills and a real break in their wallets in order to get our economy going and create jobs. Help is here."
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
'We’ve noticed an incredible change both in the results and the ability to tackle the backlog,' said Carla Qualtrough, the minister of public services and procurement
Ottawa, A new federal report confirms the much-maligned Phoenix pay system has already cost taxpayers upwards of $1.1 billion and could cost up to $2.5 billion more to fix over the next five years, but the minister responsible is promising that it won’t take that long.
The federal Comptroller General Roch Huppé, responsible for government-wide financial management and internal audit, estimated Phoenix could take about five years to fix at a cost of $500 million annually.
But Carla Qualtrough, the federal minister of public services and procurement, told the National Post “it’s not going to be five years” until every public servant’s issues have been dealt with. Since the March snapshot that the report is based on, “I can tell you that things have changed operationally significantly,” she said, explaining how a new way of dividing the backlog has been rolling out over the past few months.
“We’ve noticed an incredible change both in the results and the ability to tackle the backlog, but also in the job satisfaction of the employees. Because it’s very hard. It’s kind of the weight of the world on the shoulders of those public servants who are trying to pay their fellow public servants,” said Qualtrough.
Since January there are 40,000 fewer cases in the queue, and in 18 months, based on the new approach, Qualtrough estimated that pay systems for about 25 per cent of the federal public service will be stabilized. “It’s going to happen on a rolling basis. It isn’t going to be all of a sudden tomorrow, whether that be two, three or four years from now.”
Another government official, who was not authorized to speak about the matter publicly, said there have been improvements to the current backlog of individual cases for the last 11 consecutive pay cycles. Public servants who are still waiting to have their cases reviewed should expect “constant improvement.”
The official blamed the previous Conservative government for handing their successors a “lemon” of a file — even though both governments made decisions that have contributed to what the Auditor General recently called an “incomprehensible failure.”
It was the AG, along with House and Senate committees, who requested the cost estimates, which the Treasury Board initially said would be available at the end of May but which weren’t put out until the Friday before the Canada Day long weekend.
Since its launch in February 2016 the Phoenix pay system has caused problems for the majority of Canada’s 300,000 federal public servants, from under- or over-paying them to botching their tax forms. These problems are not restricted to those working in the national capital region, but have affected workers across the country and even internationally.
The Conservative government initiated a plan to replace the old system, which was considered out-of-date and problematic, in 2009. That included consolidating management of public servants’ pay at a government office in Miramichi, N.B., instead of housing payroll specialists within individual departments. It was the Liberal government that delayed but finally went ahead with an initial rollout in February 2016 and, despite early problems, a wider implementation two months later.
The new system created by IBM was supposed to run more smoothly, and save about $70 million a year in operating costs. But today the annual costs are more than twice the $230 million per year it cost to operate the old pay system.
Last month the AG, Michael Ferguson, issued one of the most damning reports ever produced by his office. He concluded “the Phoenix project was an incomprehensible failure of project management and oversight,” blaming officials for pressing ahead despite clear problems with functionality, security and readiness. Testimony by IBM representatives at a committee this spring also revealed the company warned the government about problems well before the launch.
Ferguson’s report raised the ire of Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick, who called it an “opinion piece” during committee testimony earlier this month. He complained it unfairly painted public servants as having a “generalized broken culture” that led to the Phoenix problems.
Huppé’s report does not include the potential costs of replacing Phoenix, with $16 million towards a “transformation” initiative announced in this year’s federal budget, “because its scope has not yet been determined, and it is being developed independently of the effort to stabilize Phoenix,” he wrote.
Qualtrough wouldn’t speculate on the timing of putting in a new system, but said the government has learned its lessons. “What we’ve learned is we will not shut off the old system until the new system is up and running, and we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that people are going to get paid accurately and on time.”