Ontarians are celebrating the start of a new year with more opportunities than ever before. More people are working in Ontario, which means more people are thriving.

With our Open for Business and Open for Jobs strategy, our government is cutting red tape, encouraging innovation, growing small businesses, and creating quality jobs in Milton and across the province. In fact, Ontario is leading the nation in job creation, with 271,600 new jobs since June 2018.

This strategy, known as our Plan to Build Ontario Together Act, is designed to create a competitive business environment by lowering costs and reducing regulatory burdens. We are lowering costs by cutting the small business corporate income tax rate and allowing for accelerated writeoffs on capital investments, not to mention our red tape reduction, which will save businesses $400 million annually by 2020.

These actions allow businesses in Milton and across the province to reinvest these savings so they can grow, expand, and create new jobs.

Another important focus is making sure young people have the skills they need to succeed in a highly competitive, global economy. We have implemented a plan that will help the province become a global leader in science, engineering and math, as well as accessing careers in the skilled trades.

To support this plan, we have invested $200 million for a new math strategy, while also modernizing Ontario’s apprenticeship system.

I have heard loud and clear from employers around Milton — they could hire dozens more skilled trades people, tomorrow. Many of these employers are delaying planned growth, simply because they cannot find enough skilled workers.

In September, our government announced the appointment of two advisers, tasked with meeting industry leaders and stakeholders, in order to improve the skilled trades and the apprenticeship system. We are committed to providing training opportunities that match the needs of employers.

There is more work to do, but our plan is working, and it is improving the quality of life in our province that individuals and families deserve.