Provincial Budget Statement 2024

Apr 10, 2024

Provincial Budget Statement 

On March 26th, the provincial government released the 2024 Budget: Building a Better Ontario. While the 2024 Budget brought investment into areas impacting the success of business, the Guelph Chamber of Commerce urges the provincial government to make more bold action to ensure we are enabling the success of businesses in Guelph and across the province.  

Fiscal Outlook  

Budget 2024 introduced a spending plan of $214.5 billion. The deficit for the fiscal year (2023-24) has improved from the projected $5.6 billion in Ontario’s 2023 Fall Economic Statement, to $3 billion. The provincial government is now expecting to see a balanced budget in 2026-27, a year later than the projected 2025-26, as noted in Ontario’s 2023 Fall Economic Statement.  


We are encouraged by the $1.6 billion in new funding to address the housing crisis in Ontario, including support for Guelph’s 10 Shelldale permanent supportive housing project. The project received $9 million over three years and is a huge win for our community and the development of supportive housing options locally. The Budget also gives municipalities new tools to address the housing crisis. Specifically, it encourages municipalities to lower property taxes on purpose-built rental properties and to apply a higher tax on foreign-owned vacant homes used for speculation. We are optimistic that the combination of these measures will enable and incentivize municipalities to step-up housing starts. 

While this funding is a key step in addressing the housing crisis, we want to see the provincial government take further action, including dedicated funding streams, tax credits, leveraging surplus public lands, and the ending of exclusionary zoning policies.  

Workforce Development 

Budget 2024 adds $100 million to the existing Skills Development Fund and $16.5 million annually for the next three years into the Skilled Trades Strategy. This funding will support the development of workers, job seekers, and apprentices advancing in their career while increasing the number of those working in skilled trades. 

It is more important than ever to prioritize skills development, including robust reskilling and upskilling initiatives, to ensure Ontario’s workers remain agile in a rapidly evolving landscape. 


Budget 2024 focuses on improving access to primary health care. This includes $546 million over three years to help connect 600,000 people to primary health teams. Additionally, to target challenges in Health Human Resources, the budget invests $743 million over three years to grow the talent of future doctors, nurses and healthcare workers. Importantly, the 2024 Budget included $965 million to improve the delivery of care in hospitals, and $155 million to support the construction of long-term care facilities. 

Guelph, like much of the province, is experiencing a shortage of access to family doctors. We are encouraged by a commitment to address the need for access to a primary care team, and we encourage the government to continue to invest in Ontario’s broader eco-system (including Life Sciences, and the implementation of an integrated health data strategy). 

Mental Health, Addictions, and Homelessness  

The additional $396 million over the next three years will help ensure the delivery of stable, accessible and suitable services. There was a further $152 million over three years announced to help with the building of supportive housing initiatives across the province. 

The growing number of those struggling with mental health, addictions, and homelessness in Guelph has made this a critical issue for the Guelph Chamber. We are encouraged to see improved investment in service delivery, especially during a time when the need for wrap-around care is increasing. We encourage the provincial government to continue to prioritize this issue, especially through a whole-of-government approach. 

Post-Secondary Institutions 

While $1.2 billion in funding was announced for Ontario’s post-secondary institutions earlier this year, Budget 2024 measures to address the funding shortfall of our post-secondary institutions were notably absent. 

In Guelph, our post-secondary institutions are a vital component of our community. They attract young people, help with the development of our workforce, and contribute to our local economy. Obstacles caused by tuition freezes and limitations to international students have led to hardships for these vital organizations. We urge the government to take more action to help support these institutions as they will continue to be a tool for the development of our workforce and innovation moving forward.  

For more information on the budget, and to read the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s analysis on issues such as small business and entrepreneurship, cannabis, and investment attraction click here.