Message From Tony
Looking Ahead to 2024
I suspect a substantial number of people were happy to see the end of 2023 – it was a year of many challenges. World conflict that touched home for Canadians, affordability issues in the face of global inflation, housing concerns, and of course the devastating effects of climate change and Canada’s record-breaking wildfire season. We have seen some of these challenges before, although I do not believe we ever get use to them.
Housing has become a major issue, but I do believe we have embraced it and within a few years will start to see the benefits of a renewed energy to build more affordable homes, particularly purpose-built rentals within high density areas close to transit.
The Housing Accelerator Fund is helping cut red tape and fast-tracks the construction of over 380,000 homes in towns, cities, and Indigenous communities across Canada over the next decade. The program asks for innovative action plans from local governments, and once approved, provides upfront funding to ensure the timely construction of new homes, as well as additional funds upon delivering results. Local governments are encouraged to think big and be bold in their approaches, which could include accelerating project timelines, allowing increased housing density, and encouraging affordable housing units.
Expectations from economists are for lower inflation numbers and the beginning of a decrease in interest rates in 2024. We can only speculate when this will happen, but the second quarter of this year seems to be the consensus. This does provide a backdrop for some degree of optimism.
Climate change and the devastating impact on our planet, is for me, the greatest challenge facing us – one that we must win. Wildfires and flooding are costing us billions of dollars annually. We may not truly realize the impact on our health and the economy, and I fully understand how this can seem a distant problem – not something that will affect me this year or that there are bigger issues today. But we can’t deny that it’s happening here and throughout the world. This is a crisis we need to continue to address. And it can be done in a manner that builds a healthier more sustainable economy, while providing a better future for generations to come.
This is our Canada, and our vast resources can be the foundation of a future driven by a green economy. We are positioned to be leaders in this global movement towards a more sustainable future, so let us capitalize on this opportunity. Why would we “axe the tax” when we should be saving our environment – and our planet. And keep in mind that axing the tax also means axing the Climate Action Incentive Payment – leaving many families with less money in their pockets. Embracing nature and living a climate action plan is the positive action we need to take.
Something to think about.
Supporting Those in Need
As we ended 2023 and begun the new year, I had the pleasure of joining the Valleyview Church and the Newmarket Food Pantry to support those in our community.
At the Valleyview Church, Roxanne and I had the pleasure of joining volunteers to serve New Year’s Eve dinner to those in need. On New Year’s Day, we dropped by the Newmarket Food Pantry to deliver groceries around town.
The Holiday Season reminded us about the importance of working together and lending a helping hand to those around us.
I am grateful for our generous community and those who continue to make a positive action like the Church, the Pantry, volunteers, and donors. I’m looking forward to the positive impact we can make in 2024.
Canada Summer Jobs
Our government is committed to supporting Canada’s youth and providing them with valuable work experience while supporting businesses and non-profit organizations.
Applications are due by tonight for the 2024 Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) period, which will provide private sector, public sector, and non-profit employers with wage subsidies to hire young individuals aged 15-30 this summer.
Employers can receive funding to cover all or up to 50%, depending on the type of organization, of the costs to hire youth and provide them with an inclusive and supportive work environment.
I encourage everyone to finalize their applications and submit them as soon as possible before the end of the day. Apply and learn more here.
Oil to Heat Pump Affordability Program
As we continue on into the colder winter months, it’s important to recognize the financial strain that this can have on families and individuals, especially for those that heat their homes with oil.
That’s why our government is helping Canadian homeowners switch over to electric heat, which can save you thousands of dollars on your heating bills every year.
After your application is approved, you will receive an upfront payment of up to $10,000 to cover the cost of:
- Necessary electrical and mechanical upgrades to your home
- The safe removal of your oil tank
- Installation of a back-up electric heating system
- Switching over other oil-using household systems, such as a water heater.
Additionally, through the Canada Greener Homes Initiative, Canadians can receive grants or loans to make energy saving retrofits on their homes.
Check your eligibility and learn about the application process here.
Summer Leadership Program
We care about providing young Canadians with valuable skills and knowledge.
Through the Summer Leadership Program (SLP), young Canadians are given the opportunity to work in the offices of Members of Parliament and Ministers, along with the Prime Minister’s Office, and more.
SLP will be returning to a primarily in-person experience. Participants must be in Ottawa for the first 8 weeks of the program (May 6 -June 28). The second half of the program (July 2 – August 23) offers flexibility with options for a virtual, in-person, or hybrid experience, according to offices’ needs.
Through SLP, young Canadians have the chance to learn, grow, and make meaningful connections that will help kick off their career. Learn about the application process here.
Applications are open until February 2, 2024.