Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy

The 2021 Budget builds on the government’s record investments in response to the global pandemic, bringing total investments of $16.3 billion to protect people’s health and $23.3 billion to protect our economy. Ontario’s COVID-19 action plan support now totals $51 billion. 

“Our government continues to protect people by investing in our health care system, supporting the vaccine rollout plan, and fixing long-term care,” said Laurie Scott, MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock. “Making important investments in ways that will directly impact families, jobs, and small businesses is how we will get the province back on track to economic recovery and defeat the COVID-19 virus.”

“You can’t have a healthy economy without healthy people,” said Minister Bethlenfalvy. “For the past year, we have been focused on protecting people from COVID-19. Many challenges lie ahead. But with vaccines being distributed in every corner of the province, hope is on the horizon. We are ready to finish the job we started one year ago.”

The 2021 Budget includes two pillars:

  1. Protecting People’s Health

Highlights of Ontario’s plan to defeat COVID-19:

  • More than $1 billion available for a provincewide vaccination plan and $2.3 billion for testing and contact tracing.
  • Additional $5.1 billion to support hospitals since the pandemic began
    • Creating more than 3,100 additional hospital beds.
    • This includes $1.8 billion in 2021–22 to continue providing care for COVID-19 patients, address surgical backlogs and keep pace with patient needs

Highlights of Ontario’s plan to fix long-term care:

  • $933 million over four years, for a total of $2.6 billion, to support building 30,000 new long-term care beds
    • Locally, Extendicare Lindsay is being allocated 96 new spaces and 64 upgraded spaces resulting in a 160-bed home
    • $246 million over the next four years to improve living conditions in existing homes
  • Additional $650 million in 2021–22, bringing the total resources invested since the beginning of the pandemic to protect the most vulnerable to over $2 billion
  • Investing $4.9 billion over four years to increase the average direct daily care to four hours a day in long-term care and hiring more than 27,000 new positions, including personal support workers (PSWs) and nurses.

Highlights of Ontario’s plan to care for people:

  • To help seniors stay in the homes they love, longer, Ontario has introduced the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit for 2021. This new credit will provide an estimated $30 million in support for about 27,000 seniors and people who live with senior relatives.
  1. Protecting Our Economy

Highlights of Ontario’s plan to support workers and families:

  • Proposing a new Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit for 2021.
    • It would provide up to $2,000 per recipient for 50 per cent of eligible expenses, for a total of an estimated $260 million in support
  • Providing a third round of payments to support parents through the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit, totaling $1.8 billion since last March
    • The payment will be doubled to $400 per child for this round and $500 for each child with special needs
  • Proposing a 20 per cent enhancement of the CARE tax credit for 2021
    • This would increase support from $1,250 to $1,500, on average, providing about $75 million in additional support for the child care expenses of over 300,000 families

Highlights of Ontario’s plan to support jobs:

  • Ontario is providing a second round of Ontario Small Business Support Grant payments to eligible recipients
    • Approximately 120,000 small businesses will automatically benefit this second round of support in the form of grants of a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 — bringing the estimated total support provided through this grant to $3.4 billion
  • To connect homes, businesses and communities to broadband — which COVID-19 has demonstrated is a necessity, not a luxury — Ontario is investing $2.8 billion, bringing the Province’s total investment to nearly $4 billion over six years beginning 2019–20

Highlights of Ontario’s plan to support tourism industry

  • Ontario is investing an additional $400 million over the next three years in new initiatives to support the tourism, hospitality and culture industries
    • This builds on previously announced investments of $225 million, bringing the total to more than $625 million since the pandemic began

QUICK FACTS

  • Like economies around the world, Ontario has been impacted by COVID-19. The province’s real gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have declined by 5.7 per cent in 2020. As the economy recovers, Ontario’s real GDP and employment are both forecast to surpass their pre-pandemic levels in early 2022.
  • Ontario is projecting a $38.5 billion deficit in 2020–21. Over the medium term, the government projects steadily declining deficits of $33.1 billion in 2021–22, $27.7 billion in 2022–23 and $20.2 billion in 2023–24.
  • In order to provide transparency about the high degree of economic uncertainty, the 2021 Budget includes Faster Growth and Slower Growth scenarios that the economy could take over the next several years and illustrates the possible impacts on Ontario’s finances.
  • Backgrounder: Protecting People’s Health
  • Backgrounder: Protecting Our Economy