Ontario has announced plans to support more private sector investments to potentially fund and accelerate broadband expansion across the province.
On Thursday, the Government of Ontario introduced a number of legislative and policy measures that are intended to accelerate the building of key infrastructure projects, creating jobs and laying the foundation for economic recovery.
If passed, the Ontario Rebuilding and Recovery Act, 2020 would support expanded broadband networks, the construction of better-connected highways and public transit networks, transit-oriented communities, and affordable housing, said the government.
The proposed legislation would also reduce barriers in the planning, design, and construction of major infrastructure projects, and support the growth of transit-oriented communities, said Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, Caroline Mulroney.
“We need to remove barriers to broadband expansion to get more communities the Internet and the cell service they need, so they can carry on with their every day activities, including banking, shopping, and watching a movie,” said Premier Doug Ford. “It is critical we get broadband to underserved communities across Ontario.”
Ford said the COVID-19 pandemic has shown just how critical broadband service is, and said the province must work to bring more businesses online, and increase access to online learning and virtual care.
“It’s absolutely critical to lay this groundwork to ensure infrastructure projects can take off without any further delays,” said Ford. “These are projects that will create good jobs across the province, ensure communities are better connected by road and transit, and contribute to a strong economic recovery for every part of our province.”
Accelerated delivery of infrastructure projects would also boost Ontario’s economic recovery from the pandemic, getting more people back to work faster, said the government.
Ontario says they are committed to collaborating with municipal partners, Indigenous communities and organizations, and the private sector in order to accelerate project delivery for the benefit of individuals, families, and businesses.