Highlights of the 2020 Ontario BudgetPublished on November 12, 2020
The November MPP column in Community Voice
On November 5th the Ontario Finance Minister delivered a Provincial Budget with a plan to help Ontarians get through the pandemic and re-energize the economy. It is a plan to provide more resources to strengthen frontline health care, support people and employers, and lay the groundwork for Ontario’s recovery.
The Government is spending on programs that protect Ontarians through the pandemic. COVID-19 related spending to date has been $33.5 billion and the Ontario Government plans to spend a total of $45 billion over three years. Education, health care and children’s and social services sector spending are up. In the next two fiscal years, deficits will total $33 billion and $28 billion. The current levels of government spending are neither sustainable nor desirable over the long-run. But as the global pandemic continues around the world, they are necessary.
Health care is the largest planned expenditure with $8.9 billion in COVID-19 related costs, and an additional $8.3 billion in health services on top of the existing $64.6-billion Provincial health budget. Part of this funding is an investment in Ontario's hospitals to support additional costs of COVID-19, including testing, assessment centres, laboratory and medical equipment, and PPE.
To protect loved ones in long-term care from a second wave of COVID-19, the Ontario Government is providing over $500 million for necessary renovations and measures to improve infection prevention and control, purchase more personal protective equipment (PPE), and build the health care workforce. The Government is addressing long-standing issues in the system, to protect Ontario's most vulnerable people.
The 2020 Budget also details $13.5 billion in direct support for families, workers and employers, in addition to the $11.3 billion in cash flow support. For families, there will be another $200 per child and $250 per child with special needs payments to help cover education costs during COVID-19. There is a new 25 per cent tax credit to help seniors pay for improvements to keep them safe in their homes longer.
For the business community, the Government will foster a stable environment to ensure the provincial economy recovers as quickly as possible. Businesses will see a series of rebates and cuts designed to deal with soaring hydro rates and property tax issues. There will also be programs aimed at supporting small- and medium-sized businesses. One specific investment is more than $1 billion towards improved broadband and mobile service for areas with poor service – something that will help West Carleton businesses.
The Ontario Government is committed to being transparent and accountable. With the budget document, you can read about the responsible financial approach taken to overcome the heath and economic challenges of COVID-19. Please access the document from my MPP website.