Few mentions of Windsor-Essex in Ontario Budget 2019

When you search the budget using the word "Windsor," there is only one specific mention.

Union leaders don’t see anything to help save the third shift at Windsor Assembly Plant

Highway 401 between Tilbury and London will be expanded and concrete barriers will be added. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Windsor is only specifically mentioned once in the PC government's first budget, where it talks about reopening the Canadian Club Heritage Centre. 

In Essex County, the Brouillette Manor in Tecumseh is one of the proposed spots to see an additional 36 long-term care beds.

Other than those items, critics find it hard to see how money spent will trickle down to Windsor-Essex.

"I think we should be concerned about the transit aspect of this budget," said Lydia Miljan, political science professor at the University of Windsor.

The government will be pausing capital funding on the high speed rail project. On the other hand, it will expand rapid transit networks in the Greater Toronto Area, as well as continuing to commit funding to light rail transit for Ottawa.

"They've completely forgotten about Windsor," said Michael Coteau, Liberal MPP for Don Valley East.

The government isn't expecting to balance the budget until 2023. (Rob Easton/CBC)

However, the government does plan on widening 128 kilometres of Highway 401 from four to six lanes between Tilbury and London.

As part of that widening process of the "carnage alley area," concrete barriers will be put in, explained Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek.

He also mentioned that Highway 3 will be expanded.

Auto jobs

After a look at the budget, union leaders don't believe there's anything in the budget to help save the 1,500 Fiat Chrysler jobs that will be lost in September.

The PCs have launched a 10-year plan for the sector, which includes committing $40 million over the next three years.

However, according to the budget, that money seems to only be for research and development, modernizing regulations and promoting careers in manufacturing.

"It won't help us directly at the plant," said Manny Cardoso, first vice-president for Unifor Local 444.

Affordable housing

Ontario mentions boosting affordable housing supply in the budget, but gives no details as to what funds it will provide.

It does mention a Housing Supply Action Plan, which it hopes to introduce to legislation by spring, in order to make it easier and faster to build housing.

About 1,500 employees will lose their jobs as of Sept. 30 due to the cancellation of the third shift at Windsor Assembly Plant. (Colin Cote-Paulette/Radio-Canada)

There's also the Community Housing Renewal Strategy with goals to make it easier to house families in affordable homes.

Ron Dunn, executive director of Downtown Mission, said he would have liked to have seen more of a direct mention of Windsor-Essex when it comes to addressing affordable housing.

Changes to casinos

Ontario also plans to partner with the private sector to get investments to upgrade casinos in places like Chatham and Innisfil.

Other than that, the PCs say they will allow casinos to advertise complimentary alcohol.

CBC News has reached out to Caesars Windsor for comment on how that might affect their operations.

With files from Afternoon Drive, Arms Bumanlag, Chris Ensing and Katerina Georgieva


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