Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy decided to join MPP Ross Romano for lunch at Georgie’s Shawarma on Elgin Street today, taking a break from a busy schedule in the Sault.
We were able to catch up with the minister for a few moments between his enjoying the fabulous food and pulling out a guitar to jam a few songs with proprietor Georgie.
After learning Romano and Bethlenfalvy toured the OLG building, which houses over 500 provincial employees, we asked him about how the provincial government could invest in more jobs that are unrelated to the steel mill.
“OLG is a big job creator here in Sault Ste. Marie and these are great jobs, those are really good jobs and that business model is expanding, so that’s number one,” said Bethlenfalvy.
“Number two, we are making investments to reduce the cost of doing business, reducing the business education, property tax, reducing the small business tax, making it easier for businesses to set set up shop,” said the Minister. “You have a lot of consumers here in Sault Ste. Marie, so the more that we can attract capital and make it easier for business to cut red tape, the better.”
He also believes that retraining and re-scaling the workforce in our area is going to be critical for development in the north. Training laid off individuals for jobs which are in demand, or are going to be in demand, including jobs in the tourism and health sectors which will help build back our economy after the pandemic.
“That’s where government can really play a role, to bridge in a way. If someone wants to work and has a passion for something, but doesn’t have the necessary skills. A job in the tourism and the hospitality sector where they need certain training, we have a number of programs that help bridge that and provide the funding,” said Bethlenfalvy.
He pointed to other investments too including the McMeekan Twin Pad arena, the historical investment in broadband technology for the north and the Indigenous cultural centre as other ways the province is trying to help Sault Ste. Marie and surrounding area.
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