Speaking in Hamilton on Tuesday, Premier Kathleen Wynne said her government can't and shouldn't separate social bottom lines like poverty and the environment from investing in Ontario's economy.
The message seemed right up the alley of the small business owners, academics and politicians in the room at McMaster's Innovation Park for Wynne's overview of her government's economic spending plan. (Scroll to the bottom for more details from Tuesday morning's speech.)
Life sciences and digital health are two frontiers that local innovators are exploring, said David Carter, head of the Innovation Factory.
"Of course it's about the science. But it's also about community," he said.
Poverty and hospital cuts
After the speech, Wynne told reporters that Mayor Fred Eisenberger had just told her that morning about his plan to spend $50 million combating poverty in the city.
"It's a good sign that the municipalities are pushing and they have ideas and they want us to come to the table," she said.
How does Wynne reconcile the hype about investing in digital health initiatives while local hospitals are closing services and cutting jobs?
She acknowledged the increased need, and said the province did allocate $1 billion more for healthcare this year.
But, to borrow some lingo from the innovation and co-working set, the disruption period is not always comfortable.
"The way we are delivering health care is changing. It's not all being delivered in hospitals," she said. "There's much more service being delivered in the community. And that means we're in a transition."
"So if you look overall in terms of the funding and the resources that are available, there's more available," she said. "Are there changes that are affecting particular institutions? Yes."
Highlights from Wynne's presentation
Wynne is visiting Ontario businesses, post-secondary schools and other groups across the province to speak about the government's economic plan.
Read a recap of her speech and the questions and answers that followed.