Doug Ford’s provincial government has revealed its next budget, a process that was interrupted for several months by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s a very large budget — $187 billion — with a projected record-breaking deficit $38.5 billion. Budget spending revolves around current and possibly on-going pandemic disruption for several years, and is split into three broad categories: protect, support, and recovery.
For agriculture, the biggest budget spends will come under the $1 billion set aside for rural broadband infrastructure development, and significant funds for skills training, too.
As previously announced, the provincial government did increase its financial commitment to the Risk Management Program a year sooner than planned.
Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, says the push for better rural internet is not a new one, but that the advent of COVID-19 pushed the need for the investment in infrastructure to the top of the priority list.
Listen below to Hardeman’s interview with RealAgriculture’s Lyndsey Smith, including a discussion on what Hardeman hopes to see happen at the upcoming Federal-Provinical-Territorial Meetings happening in late November: