Ontario will spend additional $17 billion to fight the coronavirus

Khanjin JO-011

Khanjin JO-011

"That will happen immediately".

Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath was quick to criticize what she said the budget didn't contain - help for people. Things like the interest-free period on the OSAP, it's literally interest-free.

"(Wednesday's) package includes $75 million for (personal protection equipment). The announcement also includes new money for testing but again, we must make sure this is rapidly deployed to have a real outcome. "COVID-19 is our moment".

"COVID-19 is an unprecedented and monumental challenge". "Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 will provide our health-care workers the tools they need, while also providing tangible relief to the people of Ontario and to our business community as well".

The specific measures included in today's action plan are as follows...

"We're taking responsible steps to lessen the burden for businesses and people", said Minister Phillips. "We're spending where we think we need to out of the gate, and we'll be re-evaluating everything as we go".

Canada's most populous province and economic engine forecast a deficit of C$20.5 billion in the fiscal year beginning on April 1, including a C$2.5 billion reserve, an economic update from the Progressive Conservative government showed.

Net debt is seen rising to C$379.2 billion in 2020-21 from an estimated C$355.2 billion in the current fiscal year, which would raise net-debt-to-GDP to 41.7%.

Ontario is projecting zero per cent real GDP growth in 2020, a net-debt-to-GDP ratio of 41.7 per cent in 2020-21 - up from 39.9 per cent - and a ballooning net debt from $355 billion to almost $380 billion.

"What we won't be doing tomorrow is providing any multi-year projections", he said Tuesday.

BC Government announces renter support, halts evictions
Horgan said he doesn't want people to fear losing their homes, which "should be a place of comfort and security". The smaller number of court-ordered evictions are up to the courts, which operate independently of government.

The new spending includes $3.3-billion for the health-care system, with $2.1-billion for "outbreak response measures" for hospitals, long-term care and public health, as well as a $1-billion COVID contingency fund.

Investing $935 million for the hospital sector, including $594 million to accelerate progress on the government's commitment to address capacity issues, as well as $341 million for an additional 1,000 acute care and 500 critical care beds and additional assessment centres.

There's another $243 million for long-term care homes - where there has already been outbreaks and deaths - to improve capacity and quality of care and also to fix and modernize facilities.

Measures also include a one-time payment for parents of $200 per child 12 years old and under, doubling payments for low-income seniors and suspending student loan payments for six months.

COVID-19 is expected to carve out $5.8 billion dollars from the province's revenue stream in 2020-21, largely due to drops in personal income and corporate tax revenue, and due to the closure of casinos operated by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming corporation.

The Ontario government also said it would provide emergency child care options to support parents working on the front lines, such as health care workers, police officers, firefighters and correctional officers.

$52 million to expanding access to the emergency assistance program administered by Ontario Works.

Enhancing funding by $148 million for charitable and non-profit social services organizations such as food banks, homeless shelters, churches, and emergency services to improve their ability to respond to COVID-19 by providing funding directly to Consolidated Municipal Service Managers and District Social Service Administrative Boards who would allocate this funding based on local needs.

As well, there will be $26 million provided to Indigenous peoples and communities, including emergency assistance for urban Indigenous people in financial need, and costs for health care professionals and critical supplies to reach remote First Nations. Of that, $6 billion in relief will go towards helping support businesses with a five-month interest and penalty-free period to pay most provincial taxes.

Municipalities will be granted a deferment on the next round of education property taxes, while $1.9 billion will be made available by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board allowing employers to defer payments for up to six months.

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