Currently, Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy is presenting the Ontario Government’s 2021 Budget in the Legislative Assembly. The Government is presenting the budget as a fiscal plan for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on health and the economy. Highlights from today’s Budget include the following.
Health – $16.3 billion committed, including:
- $1 billion beginning in 2020-21 to support the administration, distribution and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines;
- $1.4 billion for PPE;
- $1.8 billion in additional funding to hospitals, including to resolve surgical backlogs and address other ongoing needs;
- Over $500 million to support research at post-secondary education institutions and academic hospitals; and
- $50 million in 2021-22 to ensure that infection prevention and control resources and expertise are available across the health care system.
Economy – $23.3 billion committed, including:
- $1.7 billion for a second round of Ontario Small Business Support Grant payments, for a total of $3.4 billion spent on those grants;
- $2.8 billion for increased broadband infrastructure – bringing Ontario’s investment in that area to nearly $4 billion over six years;
- $320 million in additional Hydro relief in 2021-21 through off-peak electricity pricing;
- $10 million in 2021-22 to the Digital Main Street Program;
- $100 million in 2021-22 for a new Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant;
- $150 million dedicated to a planned 2021 tax credit to encourage residents to explore Ontario (when it is safe to do so), pending legislation to enact the credit; and
- Increasing investments by $10 million in 2021-22 in Ontario’s arts community.