Ontario Election: Digital Implications

Ontario made history with the 2018 general election. Electronic voting machines usher in a new era of digital politics. However, what does the result of the election have in store for our digital landscape?

For the first time in the province’s history, Ontario used electronic voting machines for the general election on June 7. The change is a sign of the times - Ontario is more digital than ever. With this in mind, what does the result of the 2018 election mean for digital?

The Ontario Progressive Conservative party was elected as our next government. A PC majority means that we will likely see sweeping change, as the party will be largely unopposed at Queen’s Park. With Doug Ford being sworn in as Premier of Ontario on June 29, 2018, it is important to understand the impact this will have on our digital landscape, in Ontario and nationwide.

Corporate Taxes

The first significant change promised by the incoming PC government is a reduction in the corporate tax rate from 11.5% to 10.5%. For many organizations, this represents a cost savings of millions. In theory, this tax savings will attract business to the province, as well as freeing up cash for existing businesses to reinvest in their growth.

Outcome: Expect to see an increase in corporate spending on digital properties as a result of the increased cash flow. We can also anticipate that corporations will invest in good talent to further develop their digital strategies.

Skilled Trades

While skilled trades don’t seem relevant to the digital landscape at face value, these two areas are becoming increasingly intertwined. The PC government wants to increase support for colleges and universities, so that they can emphasize skilled trades, particularly in the area of innovation. For example, they are focusing on innovations in manufacturing using technology.

Outcome: Through the increased support for innovation in skilled trades, we will begin to see cohorts of graduates that are educated in trades and technology. This will be the catalyst for a culture shift in industries such as manufacturing and construction, where technology and digital properties will be at the forefront.

Broadband Expansion

The new government wants to invest $100 million in the expansion of broadband networks across Southern Ontario. This is particularly relevant to the digital space as living costs continue to skyrocket in metropolitan areas. The improved infrastructure will allow businesses and talent alike to operate in previously unpopular areas.

Outcome: This will lead to the development of new technology hubs in more affordable locales across Southern Ontario. Many digital nomads will be able to leverage the opportunity to live and work in this region as well. Expect to see new digital-focused businesses pop up across the region.

Breaking Even on Funding

Doug Ford and the PC party have promised to scrap the Jobs and Prosperity Fund. The eliminated funding will be a blow to businesses that would leverage it to work on innovation, competitiveness, and global expansion. However, the new government has promised to add Regional Development Funds that will allow businesses to grow and prosper across the province. In theory, the new funds would replace the old and continue to build an environment where businesses can thrive.

Outcome: The regions that receive more funding will grow faster and outpace competitors in other regions. The scrapped Jobs and Prosperity Fund will be most damaging to businesses in the Food and Beverage industry as well as Forestry. These verticals received the most funding and now will have their growth slowed.

While the incoming government has been vague about the specifics of their promises, we can extrapolate the outcomes of the changes we will see in the coming years. These predictions will help us set expectations and benchmark how the new government’s decisions will impact our digital landscape.

 

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