Ontario to spend $2 billion on ecommerce in 2018
Ontario is poised to spend a record $2.3 billion this year to expand online sales and promote the province’s ecommerce business, the province announced Friday.
“Ontario is set to become the largest marketplace for ecommerce,” Ontario’s Economic Development Minister Charles Sousa said in a release.
“As a result, we will spend an unprecedented $2,937 million this year on the expansion of online sales in Ontario.
We have committed to continue investing in the digital economy and support local businesses and the communities they serve.”
The province also announced that it will invest $2 million this month to improve Ontario’s eCommerce strategy and to expand the digital infrastructure in the province.
“It’s critical that Ontario is a place that is truly inclusive for all Canadians and we’re looking forward to working with all the partners we can,” said Sousas spokesperson Catherine Mather.
“This will provide the resources and support we need to continue to grow Ontario’s economy and create jobs and grow our businesses.”
In 2018, Ontario is set for the third consecutive year to exceed $1 billion in online sales.
This year, the government expects to spend another $800 million to $1.5 billion on online sales, according to the release.
As part of the Ontario eCommerce Strategy, the ministry will invest more than $700 million to support local business.
The government also announced a $100 million fund to support the digital growth of Ontario’s local economy.
Ontario is also set to spend an additional $250 million this fiscal year to increase access to online and online-only content in the provincial marketplace, the release said.
“We are going to continue supporting local businesses with the funding to expand and modernize our digital infrastructure,” said Mather, noting the province will also be working to increase online sales tax and expand online tax credits.
The province has invested more than half a billion dollars over the past five years to expand Ontario’s online sales market, but the province has yet to increase the online sales levy.
In 2017, the provincial government announced a tax holiday for consumers who spend $10,000 or more in online purchases, which is expected to be the largest in the country this year.
Ontario will also see a $50-per-unit increase in the PST from 6.8 per cent to 8.5 per cent, which will make online sales taxes in Ontario more competitive with those in other provinces, such as New Brunswick and Quebec.
As of June 1, 2018, the PST in Ontario will be 15.2 per cent.
Ontario’s economic development minister also announced the provincial legislature will be given a free year of online shopping for businesses with fewer than 50 employees.
Ontario also plans to add about 700 jobs to the provincial workforce in 2018.
“Over the next five years, we are committed to building a strong digital economy that supports Ontario’s competitiveness, innovation and employment opportunities for Ontarians,” Sousai said.