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Ontario budget boasts $5,000 apprenticeship tax credit, $1.7 billion for highways

TORONTO, Ont. -- The new Ontario budget will allow carriers participating in the voluntary truck driver apprentices...

TORONTO, Ont. — The new Ontario budget will allow carriers participating in the voluntary truck driver apprenticeship to be eligible for a refundable Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit of up to $5,000 per apprenticeship.

The Ontario Trucking Association is calling the governments move a big step forward for the program.

The tax credit will definitely encourage more carriers to participate in the program and Im very glad that the government recognizes the importance of providing new truck drivers with better training, said OTA president, David Bradley.

Carriers participating in the program provide mentoring services to new drivers and a prescribed regime of progressive skills development. The Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities was responsible for recognizing the program, but Ministry of Finance approval was required before participating carriers could be eligible for the tax credit. OTA had been lobbying the Ministry of Finance for inclusion of truck drivers in the tax credit regulations.

On the infrastructure side, the budget contained a significant commitment of $1.7 billion in construction on the provincial highway system. Bradley congratulated the government on making such a major investment in Ontarios transportation system saying, While public transit has been attracting a lot of headlines, its worth noting that the government continues to make significant investments in our highway system. This is exactly the kind of balanced growth in transportation infrastructure we advocate and I want to congratulate both the Minister of Transportation, Donna Cansfield and the Minister of Finance, Greg Sorbara, for making highway system expansion a priority.

Major Highway projects slated for next year include:

-extending Highway 404 by 13 km northwards
-adding new high occupancy vehicle lanes on sections of Highways 400 and 427
-widening Highway 401 through Kingston, Highway 10 in Caledon, and Highway 417 in Ottawa
-improving Highway 17 between Thunder Bay and Kenora
-proceeding with a new alignment of Highway 26 between Collingwood and Wasaga Beach.

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