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:
$16.3 billion in Protecting People’s Health
$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
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)
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