Ontario's Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover

Published on November 06, 2020
[HURON-BRUCE] — The provincial government has released its 2020 budget titled Ontario's Action Plan...


For immediate release:

NEWS                                                               November 6, 2020

 
[Huron-Bruce] The provincial government has released its 2020 budget titled Ontario's Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover. Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson said the document is “the next phase of a comprehensive action plan to respond to the serious health and economic impacts of COVID-19”.

Ontario's Action Plan sets out a total of $45 billion in support over three years to make available the necessary health resources to continue protecting people, deliver critical programs and tax measures to support individuals, families and job creators impacted by the virus, and lay the groundwork for a robust long-term economic recovery for the province.

Thompson said the budget is “a very thorough and vital plan for going forward. We are all facing serious challenges today due to the pandemic, but we are prepared to meet those challenges together.”

The budget is separated into three sections – Protect, Support, and Recover.

Protect

Ontario's COVID-19 health response is now a projected $15.2 billion. The government is making available $6 billion in over the next three years to ensure the Province can remain responsive to evolving needs in the fight against the pandemic.

Thompson said the 2020-21 spending includes “the most comprehensive and robust plan in the country” to respond to the second wave of COVID-19. It also includes additional funding to support hospital beds, address the surgical backlog and purchase additional influenza vaccines.

The Province is investing more than $18 billion in capital grants over 10 years to build new and expanded hospital infrastructure and address urgent upgrades, including repairs and maintenance to help modernize hospitals across Ontario.

To protect loved ones in long-term care from a second wave of COVID-19, and to address long-standing issues in the system, Ontario is providing more than $500 million to enable necessary renovations and measures to improve infection prevention and control, allow for the purchase of more personal protective equipment (PPE), and to build a strong health care workforce. The Province plans to increase the average daily direct care of long-term care residents from a nurse or personal support worker (PSW), to four hours a day. This additional care will be phased in over the next four years and will make Ontario the leader among Canadian provinces.

Support

The government is now delivering an estimated $13.5 billion in total support for people and job creators as part of Ontario's Action Plan. This additional relief will ensure families, seniors, businesses and workers are supported through the second wave of COVID-19 and beyond.

To help offset some of the additional costs of COVID-19, parents will once again receive $200 per child under age 12 and $250 for children and youth with special needs age 21 and under. This means a family with three young children, one of whom has special needs, would receive $1,300 in 2020.

The government is taking significant steps to protect seniors and allow them to stay in their homes longer. The Province is proposing a new Seniors' Home Safety Tax Credit for the 2021 taxation year, which would provide a 25 per cent credit on eligible renovations of up to $10,000. Seniors would be eligible regardless of their incomes and whether they owe income tax for 2021. Family members who have a senior living with them would also be eligible.

Recover

While COVID-19 will impact Ontario and the entire world for the foreseeable future, the 2020 Budget begins to build the foundation for a strong economic recovery fueled by growth. Among the major initiatives proposed by the government are a reduction of job-killing electricity prices, reducing taxes on jobs, connecting unserved and underserved communities with a historic investment in broadband infrastructure, and providing workers with skills training — including those impacted by the pandemic, such as tourism and hospitality workers — to help them connect to jobs needing high-demand skills.

The government is also acting immediately to reduce taxes for job creators and level the playing field by lowering high provincial business property tax rates to a rate of 0.88 per cent for over 200,000 properties — or 94 per cent of all business properties in the province. This would create $450 million in annual savings in 2021, representing a 30 per cent reduction for many employers.

Ontario is responding to requests from local governments by proposing to provide municipalities with the ability to cut property tax for small businesses and a provincial commitment to consider matching these reductions. This would provide small businesses as much as $385 million in total municipal and provincial property tax relief by 2022-23, depending on municipal adoption.

The province is also ending a tax on jobs for an additional 30,000 employers by proposing to make permanent the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption increase from $490,000 to $1 million. This would save private-sector employers $360 million in 2021-22 that could be reinvested in jobs and growth. About 90 per cent of employers would pay no EHT with this additional relief.

The 2020 Budget outlines a plan to reduce the burden on employers of Ontario's high-cost contracts with non-hydro renewable energy producers, which will be wound down once and for all. Starting on January 1, 2021, a portion of the cost of these contracts, entered under the previous government, will be funded by the Province, not the ratepayers. This electricity cost relief would free up money that could be better spent creating jobs. Medium-size and larger industrial and commercial employers would save about 14 and 16 per cent respectively, on average, on their bills starting in 2021. This means Ontario will go from having some of the least competitive electricity prices to prices that are more competitive than the average in the United States.

“Because of the pandemic, this budget is much more important than budgets in previous years,” Thompson said. “That is why we have taken major steps to ensure that we will protect and support our citizens and we have a solid plan to help our economy recover.”

The government is projecting a deficit of $38.5 billion for 2020-21, which is unchanged from the deficit forecast at the time of the 2020-21 First Quarter Finances and reflects urgent spending necessary for the fight against COVID-19. Over the medium term, the government is forecasting steadily declining deficits of $33.1 billion in 2021-22 and $28.2 billion in 2022-23. Acknowledging the continued uncertainty of the global pandemic, the government plans to table a multi-year plan including a path to balance in the 2021 Budget by March 31, 2021.


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Media contact:
Linsey Lim
linsey.lim@ontario.ca