Ontario released its throne speech today, titled A Balanced Plan to Build Ontario Up for Everyone.  The speech attempts to reset the government’s agenda by providing direction for the next 20 months before the spring 2018 election.  The Government plans to mitigate consumer hydro prices to improve affordability while continuing to invest in infrastructure improvements.

Effective January 1, 2017, small businesses and consumers and will receive an 8% savings – an amount equal to the provincial portion of the Harmonized Sales Tax - on their electricity bills. Consumers will have about an extra $1Billion per year to spend on purchases that could benefit retailers.  This amounts to about $130 a year for a typical household. 

The government also intends to implement new measures (as yet unspecified) to ensure that Ontario commercial ratepayers can also benefit from lower electricity costs.  Retail Council of Canada (RCC) will follow up and work with the government to help shape the new initiatives.
In addition, conservation programs delivered by Local Distribution Companies (LDCs), supported by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), will continue to provide significant programs tailored to specific business classes and needs.  RCC will continue to work with the LDCs and IESO to ensure retail opportunities are maximized.

The Throne Speech reinforced the government’s priorities of job creation and economic growth.  The government still intends to balance the budget for 2017/18.  Legislation that was on the order paper when the legislature was prorogued last week will be reintroduced in the Fall session. None of this legislation will have direct retailer impact.

If you have any questions, please contact: Gary Rygus, Director, Government Relations at: grygus@retailcouncil.org or 416-467-3744.