Wellington Dupont's 2021 Ontario Budget Summary

March 24, 2021

This afternoon, Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy, Ontario’s Minister of Finance, delivered the 2021 Budget in the Ontario Legislature. This budget, named “Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy'', focuses on investments towards the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. This budget makes significant investments towards the province’s health care system and protecting Ontario’s economy.

The economic overview shows that Ontario’s gross domestic product (GDP) has declined by 5.7% and the province’s deficit is projected to be $33.1 billion in 2021-22. Ontario has, however, gained $829,400 new jobs since June 2020.

The 2021 Budget’s total expense outlook is $3.2 billion higher than the 2020 Budget forecast, resulting in a total of $190 billion.

This budget builds on previous actions made by the government by adding an investment of $6.1 billion, which brings the total provincial COVID-19 response to $51 billion over four years.

This budget covers investments in two pillars:

  1. $16.3 billion in Protecting People’s Health
  2. $23.3 billion in Protecting Our Economy


PILLAR 1: PROTECTING PEOPLE’S HEALTH


Ontario is investing $1 billion towards the province-wide vaccination plan and $2.3 billion for testing and contact tracing. The government’s Ontario’s Three-Phase Vaccine Distribution Plan includes:


Phase 1 (December 2020 - March 2021)

Targeting high-risk populations of about 1.8 million Ontarians including:

  • Congregate living for seniors
  • Health care workers
  • Adults aged 80 years and older
  • Adults in First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities

Phase 2 (April 2021 - July 2021)

Aiming of mass deliveries to about 9 million Ontarians including:

  • Adults aged 60-79
  • Those with high-risk conditions
  • At-risk populations

Phase 3 (July 2021 - onwards)

Aiming towards a steady state by targeting the rest of the population


The highlights of this pillar include the following investments:

  • Total of $3.7 billion over two years for a comprehensive testing strategy
  • Over $1.4 billion for personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Additional $50 million in the Ontario Together Fund to increase domestic production of PPE

Hospitals

  • Additional $5.1 billion since the beginning of the pandemic to support hospitals, including $1.8 billion in 2021-2022 to address surgical backlogs
  • Additional $3 billion to support hospital projects

Long-Term Care (LTC)

  • Additional $933 million over four years to building 30,000 LTC beds
  • Additional $650 million in 2021-2022 towards new LTC facilities
  • Over $121 million to support the training of 9,000 personal support workers (PSWs)
  • $4.9 billion over four years to increase the average direct care in LTC homes to 4 hours a day
  • $2 million over two years to attract new PSWs and nurses to work in LTC homes
  • $160 million over three years to support the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program

Mental Health and Addictions

  • Additional $175 million in 2021-2022 for mental health and addictions support
  • $7 million in 2020-2021 to increase access to these services for postsecondary students

Housing

  • $18.5 over three years for housing support for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking
  • $240 million over four years to support rehabilitation services for children and youth with special needs
  • $18.2 million to address violence against First Nations, Inuit and Metis women



PILLAR 2: PROTECTING OUR ECONOMY


This pillar outlines the province’s plan to provide additional relief and support for families, workers and employers.


The highlights of this pillar include the following investments:

  • $260 million in support through the temporary Ontario Jobs Training tax credit
  • $614.3 million towards employment and training supports
  • Additional $61 million towards the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit for northern and southern regions of Ontario
  • $980 million for the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit
  • $75 million increase in 2021 for the Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses tax credit

Schools, Colleges and Universities

  • Over $40 million over two years to improve remote learning technology
  • Additional $21.4 million over two years to the Virtual Learning Strategy for postsecondary students
  • $14 billion in grants over ten years to build more schools

Small Business

Tourism and Hospitality

  • Additional $400 million to support the tourism, hospitality and culture industries through numerous initiatives
  • $100 million in 2021-2022 for the new Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant
  • $100 million in 2021-2022 for the Ontario Tourism Recovery Program
  • Over $200 million in infrastructure funding for sports facilities

Infrastructure

  • $2.8 billion in broadband infrastructure
  • $21 billion over ten years for highway expansion and rehabilitation projects
  • $200 million in municipalities through the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund

Communities

  • $6 million annually to the Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program
  • Builds on the $4 billion federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement, the government is investing almost $1 billion in additional COVID-19 financial relief

Modern Government

  • $500 million through the Ontario Towards Acceleration Fund to bring improved delivery of government services through digital means
  • Investments to develop a legal internet gaming market called iGaming

Protecting Ontario's Environment

  • $56.4 million over the next four years to create the new Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network
  • Developing Ontario’s first‐ever critical minerals strategy

See here to access Ontario’s 2021 budget in its entirety.

See here to watch Minister Bethlenfalvy deliver the 2021 Ontario Budget.

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Wellington Dupont is a North American public affairs firm with strong talent working closely across Canada and the United States.

With offices in Washington, D.C., Ottawa, Toronto and Winnipeg, Wellington Dupont's approach ensures consistent and seamless results throughout all offices while keeping top of mind policy and regulations on both sides of the border.

Wellington Dupont’s team of trusted advisors uses their combined experience in media relations, business, politics, and government to provide sound counsel and strategic advice while helping clients achieve results.

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