Message From Tony
Last week I had the opportunity to engage with youth council members from across Ontario. The meeting included members of my own youth council as well and I deeply appreciate their commitment to having their voices heard.
The Government of Canada is taking steps to build a national school food policy. This policy will help guide the expansion of school food programs in Canada. When more children have healthy meals at school, it helps set them up to reach their full potential. Canada is the only G7 country without a national school food program, and the creation of such a program is a key priority of the Government of Canada. In fact, a national school food program is key to fulfilling Canada’s first ever Poverty Reduction Strategy – a strategy built on the same pillars that enable our middle class to succeed:
- Living in dignity
- Providing opportunity and inclusion; and
- Enhancing resilience and security.
Beginning in early 2022, the Government of Canada began consulting and engaging with Canadians and key stakeholders on the development of a framework to create a national school food program.
We have heard from school communities, service delivery organizations, health organizations, community advocacy organizations, and northern, remote, urban, rural and Indigenous peoples who expressed their support for a national program.
The Breakfast Club of Canada and the Coalition for Healthy School Food have been instrumental in conducting these consultations. I deeply appreciate their insight and support.
Bill C-322, An Act to develop a national framework to establish a school food program recently passed second reading in The House of Commons. It will now be studied by the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Person with Disabilities, of which I am a member. I look forward to studying this important program as it moves through committee.
Women Entrepreneur Roundtable
Last week, it was a pleasure to welcome the Minister of Small Business, Rechie Valdez, to Newmarket for a roundtable discussion with local entrepreneurs.
We were joined by MP Leah Taylor Roy, members from Abuse Hurts, and members from the Business Women’s Network of York Region (BWNYR) to discuss how our government can work to continue supporting women entrepreneurs and promoting equity and inclusiveness.
In 2018, our government launched the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, which represents nearly $7 billion in investments and commitments to increase women-owned businesses’ access to the financing, networks, and expertise they need to start up, scale up, and access new markets.
Abuse Hurts is a charity based in Newmarket that provides hope through accessible support, healing, and individual empowerment for adult survivors, their families, and caregivers. Anyone who needs assistance can visit their website and submit a request.
The BWNYR provides women entrepreneurs with the resources and the space to start their careers, meet like-minded businesswomen, and stay current on local and community issues.
The full and equal participation of women in the economy is not just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do. Thank you to everyone for joining us and for organizing!
Taking Steps to Ensure the Integrity of Canada's International Student Program
International students who choose to come to Canada bring immense social, cultural, and economic benefits with them. As such, we have an obligation to ensure that they have access to the resources they need for an enriching academic experience in Canada.
However, for far too long, bad actors have taken advantage of them, increasing their intake without ensuring that students have the support they need to thrive.
That’s why we are implementing a temporary two-year cap on new study permit applications. This will stabilize growth and decrease the number of new international study permits to roughly 360,000 for 2024.
Provinces will receive an allocation that they will be responsible for distributing among the designated learning institutions that they regulate. We will work closely with provinces and territories, who will have until March 31st, 2024, to put these measures in place.
As of yesterday, January 22, 2024, every study permit application submitted to IRCC will require an attestation letter from a province or territory.
Study permit renewals will not be impacted. Those pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees, and elementary and secondary education are not included in the cap. Current study permit holders will not be affected.
We are determined to improve program integrity and set international students up for success as they arrive in Canada, while ensuring sustainable population growth.
Investing in Main Streets and Neighbourhoods Across Southern Ontario
Southern Ontario’s main streets are lined with small businesses that bring tourists and locals together to enjoy the best our communities have to offer. Our government is committed to making strategic investments to ensure these businesses and communities can thrive,
We’re investing $15 million into the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) so that they can continue the recovery and revitalization of main streets across southern Ontario through My Main Street (MMS).
Through this investment, CUI will launch two new programs through MMS to provide funding and support for up to 325 businesses on main streets across 100 communities, along with 75 community projects promoting high-impact placemaking activities.
The Business Sustainability Program, opening on February 15, will provide non-repayable contributions for businesses located on main streets across southern Ontario that have demonstrated revenue growth, and provide a business case that will strengthen their existing capacity and support their growth. Learn more about the program here.
The Community Activator, also opening on February 15, will support local community placemaking projects, including events, activities, enhancements, and policy and capacity building designed to draw visitors and increase local vibrancy.
To date, MMS has supported nearly 4,000 businesses and organizations, over 6,000 jobs, and leveraged over $16 million in additional investment.
We know the importance of continuing to support the people, businesses, and organizations that call our main streets home, including in Newmarket-Aurora.
What’s most important to you? What challenges do you see ahead? Let our government know by participating in the 2024 pre-budget consultations.
These consultations are an opportunity for Canadians in Newmarket-Aurora and across the nation to share their ideas and priorities on how the government can build an economy that works for everyone.
The feedback received will help inform measures and investments in Budget 2024 that will help build an economy that works for everyone – such as how we can support you and your family, build more housing faster, and create more good jobs for workers.
You can share your thoughts at LetsTalkBudget24.ca until February 9, 2024.