Economic Development Sector

With the Ontario elections fast approaching, this post aims to serve you as your ultimate ‘one-stop shop’ guide to finding where the three political parties of Ontario stand on key First Nations-specific economic development concerns and priorities. Kindly re-visit this post regularly as we will be updating it throughout the campaign as new pieces of information become available. To view other sectors, please go back to the main page.

The New Democratic Party released their full party election platform. The Liberal Party have pointed to their 2018 Ontario Budget and the Journey Together for specific commitments to First Nations. The Progressive Conservatives (under the new leadership of Doug Ford) have now released their full election platform too. To view a working summary of the parties’ election platforms, please click here.

*Disclaimer: All wording choices have come directly from the political parties themselves. Chiefs of Ontario is a non-partisan organization and does not endorse any political party

New Democratic Party

  • Committed to Resource Revenue Sharing with First Nations, in particular, in mining whereby 100% tax revenue directly to First Nations communities.
  • RRS: clarify the Duty to Consult and provide the appropriate supports so that First Nations, investors, and northern communities can get clarity on
    whether projects will move ahead or not
  • Committed to creating 65,000 affordable housing spaces across 10 years and 30,000 supportive housing spaces with primary focus on underrepresented populations so that First Nations gain greater access to housing supports and readily available resources.
  • Will make sure the federal government pays its fair share for infrastructure projects
  • Committed to having community benefits programs for all public infrastructure projects. Such programs will provide First Nations and youth in skills job training and actual experience.
  • $1B commitment to ensuring that everyone has access to broadband internet services no matter where they live. Will increase access to broadband particularly in rural and northern areas; Commitment includes $100M for natural gas expansion to the North, remote communities
  • Ring of fire: A New Democrat government will work with First Nations, mining and exploration companies, refiners and northerners to get the project moving; A total investment of $1B will be committed to the Ring of Fire, recognizing that it’s a trilateral process to address the lack of access to resources, roads, healthier services, and more.
  • Ring of Fire: look to the many First Nations ideas on how infrastructure to the future Ring of Fire development can be built, including, but not limited to, First Nations proposals on the refurbishment of the northeastern and Algoma rail lines
  • Committed to continue ensuring First Nations are exempted from delivery credits and that First Nations have access to investment funds and be able to leverage their equity in the share ownership.

Liberal Party of Ontario

  • In May 2018, Ontario and First Nations partners, represented by Grand Council Treaty #3, Wabun Tribal Council and Mushkegowuk Council, have signed historic resource revenue sharing agreements in mining and forestry – the first of their kind in the province. Ontario is committed to sharing 45 per cent of government revenues from forestry stumpage, 40 per cent of the annual mining tax and royalties from active mines at the time the agreements were signed, and 45 per cent from future mines in the areas covered by the agreements. We are open to entering discussions with any interested communities.
  • From Leaders in the Legislature 2017, Ontario will honour its commitments to share resource revenues. Will change how the government thinks about resources, by taking a careful, environmentally sound way of developing them. In addition, Ontario will work to live up to its constitutional obligations and complete a consultation protocol to achieve this.
  • Additionally, the province has launched a Community Transportation Grant Program that will provide $40M over five years to help municipalities, Indigenous communities, and Indigenous led organizations to improve travel options in areas that are not serviced or are underserved by public transit and intercommunity bus service – while expanding the eligibility for the Remote Communities Allowance to more First Nation communities, including those that are north of the 47th parallel or do not have year round road access, starting in fall 2018.
  • From Leaders in the Legislature 2017, commitment made to meet with First Nations leadership on specific projects, including eliminating 407 tolls for First Nations, construction projects on Highway 400 and Highway 69, and the left-turn lane near Biinjitiw
  • The Indigenous Economic Development Fund (introduced in 2014 Budget) invested $25 million over three years. It is continuing for another seven years beginning in 2017/18 with an additional investment of $70 million, for a total combined investment of $95 million over 10 years. Since 2014, the Indigenous Economic Development Fund has helped create and retain approximately 846 jobs and attract $13.6 million in investment. Ontario launched the Aboriginal Procurement Program in June 2015 following a successful two-year pilot. The program is supporting Indigenous businesses and communities by increasing the opportunities for Indigenous companies to do business with the Ontario government. To date, the program has directly created nearly $20 million in new Indigenous procurements.
  • The Ontario government is also providing tools to help finance economic development projects that involve Indigenous people, including the $650 million Aboriginal Loan Guarantee Program, and the First Nations Gaming Revenue Sharing Agreement. We are supporting community economic development by providing consultation and engagement capacity through the New Relationship Fund, so that Indigenous communities and organizations can better engage with government and the private sector on lands and resources issues, including economic development activities.
  • The 2017 Long Term Energy Plan recognizes that many First Nation and Métis communities across Ontario face energy-related challenges including the need for reliable and affordable power, energy-efficient housing and adequate infrastructure. As well, the Ontario government has taken major steps to make power more affordable through the Ontario Fair Hydro Plan, including the development and implementation of the First Nation Delivery Credit for all on-reserve residential customers of licensed distributors reducing electricity rates in eligible remote communities by up to 50 per cent. The NDP will cancel the fair hydro plan.
  • The province announced on January 2, 2018, that 14,391,012 common shares of Hydro One Limited, representing 2.4 per cent of the outstanding common shares, have been sold to OFN Power Holdings LP, a limited partnership wholly-owned by Ontario First Nations Sovereign Wealth LP, which is in turn owned by 129 First Nations in Ontario. The shares were sold at a price of $18 per share for a total purchase price of $259 million.

Progressive Conservative Party

*not all are First Nation Specific*

  • “Bring jobs back to Ontario” by lowering taxes, cutting red tape, reducing hydro bills for everyone, and cutting corporate income taxes from 11.5% to 10.5%. – not First Nation specific
  • Will establish resource revenue sharing from mining, forestry, and aggregates to help Northern and Indigenous communities share in the benefits of resource development. Accordingly, a PC government will direct the province to take a portion of provincial revenues collected from aggregate licenses, stumpage fees, and the mining tax.
    • These revenues will go back to the local, host Northern and Indigenous communities. These revenues ensure that local Northern and Indigenous communities experience a direct financial benefit – on top of the employment benefits – from these projects, helping to fund needed services, projects, and other community improvements.
  • Small businesses represent 95 per cent of all employers in Ontario. However, Ontario’s small businesses are struggling because of the increased cost of doing business in the province. A PC Government will help small businesses by reducing the small business tax rate by 8.7%. This is the same percentage by which the Ontario PCs will reduce the corporate tax rate. – not First Nation specific
  • A PC government will reduce the provincial fuel tax for both gasoline and diesel to 9 cents per litre from the current 14.7 cents per litre for gasoline, and 14.3 cents per litre for diesel. – not First Nation specific
  • When the savings from the reduced provincial fuel tax are combined with the savings from scrapping the cap and trade carbon tax, Ontarians will save an extra 10 cents per litre at the pump. – not First Nation specific
  • Will perform a line item-by-line item external audit to locate efficiencies for the purpose of reducing wasteful government spending. – not First Nation specific
  • Will help small businesses by reducing the small business tax rate by 8.7 per cent. This is the same percentage by which a PC government will reduce the corporate tax rate. This tax cut will apply to the first $500,000 of profits, and will cost the government just over $60 million annually once implemented. We will include this measure in our first budget. This means, under a PC Government, the small business tax rate will be reduced to 3.2 per cent from the current 3.5 per cent. – not First Nation specific
  • Our Class B industrial rates (most medium sized business) are the worst in Canada and noncompetitive with most of our American neighbours and our Class A industrial rates (large manufacturers) are not much better. A PC Government will:
    Stabilize industrial hydro rates through a package of aggressive reforms;
  • Cut red tape and stifling regulations to enable investment and good job growth.  not First Nation specific
  • Will remove several buried expenses from Ontario hydro bills, while ensuring that Ontario families are the principle beneficiaries of improved efficiencies in the hydro system. In particular, we will: (not First Nation specific)
    • Return all Hydro one dividends to hydro customers — saving the average family $70 on their hydro bills;
    • Stop the practice of burying the cost of conservation programs on hydro bills and instead move those programs to the tax base — saving the average family $43 on their hydro bills; and
    • Place an immediate moratorium on any new energy contracts while walking back and re-negotiating existing contracts where possible — saving the average family $60 on their hydro bills.
    • Together, these three measures will save an average family $173 per year on their hydro bills – a 12 per cent savings on the average family’s hydro bill.