Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy
The 2021 Budget outlines Ontario’s next steps to defeat COVID‑19. It brings total investments to $16.3 billion to protect people’s health and $23.3 billion to protect our economy. Ontario’s total response to COVID‑19 is now $51 billion.
Vaccinating the people of Ontario is the government’s most urgent priority. Ontario is investing more than $1 billion in its robust provincewide vaccination plan. The government is also providing additional funding to increase access to testing, create more hospital beds and purchase additional PPE.
Fixing long-term care
To address decades of neglect and underinvestment, and help those waiting to get into long-term care, Ontario is investing $2.6 billion to support building 30,000 long-term care beds and upgrading nearly 16,000 spaces.
Ontario is also moving forward with its plan to provide the best long-term care in Canada by investing $4.9 billion over four years to increase the average daily direct care for long-term care residents from 2.75 hours to four hours.
Caring for people
Ontario is committed to supporting hospitals so that people can access high‑quality care at any hospital across the province when they need it. The government is investing over $5.1 billion to support hospitals since the start of the pandemic.
Ontario’s plan includes $1.8 billion in 2021–22 to help hospitals keep pace with patient needs and increase access to high-quality care. This includes the addition of 3,100 new beds — the equivalent of six large community hospitals — and more resources to keep operating rooms open late in the evening to reduce the backlog created by COVID‑19.
Protecting Our Economy
Ontario recognizes the sacrifices people and employers have made to protect each other. The 2021 Budget introduces additional measures that provide direct support for families, workers and small businesses.
Ontario’s plan will help workers recover from the impacts of COVID‑19 and gain the skills needed for a good-paying job. This includes a new Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit for 2021, which will provide up to $2,000 per recipient toward 50 per cent of eligible expenses, for a total estimated $260 million in support to about 230,000 people in 2021.
To help parents with the added costs created by COVID‑19, the government is providing a third round of payments to support parents through the Ontario COVID‑19 Child Benefit, totalling $1.8 billion since last March. The payment will be doubled for this round to $400 per child and $500 for each child with special needs. Parents who have not applied for the previous payments will be able to submit an application for this third payment round.
Ontario is providing an additional round of support through the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, totalling an estimated $1.7 billion, to help eligible employers impacted by necessary public health restrictions. The grant will now deliver an estimated $3.4 billion to approximately 120,000 eligible small businesses in Ontario, helping them through this difficult time and protecting jobs.
Ontario is taking steps to help communities recover from the impacts of COVID‑19 and set them up for long-term growth. This includes making record investments in infrastructure, including transit, highways, schools, hospitals and broadband. Planned infrastructure investments over the next 10 years total $145.4 billion, including $16.9 billion in 2021–22.
To support faith-based and cultural organizations that are struggling due to the additional costs caused by COVID‑19, Ontario will be making up to $50 million available for grants to eligible organizations.
Building a modern government
As the world changes, the Ontario government is taking significant steps to become a global leader in digital technology. This will enable it to deliver services people rely on each and every day much more efficiently and effectively. This includes the introduction of a new form of secure, electronic government-issued ID that could be used to conveniently access government services while protecting personal information and data privacy.