2020 Provincial Budget Overview

Ontario's Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover

Highlights from the 2020 Provincial Budget

Greetings from Queen's Park.

2020 hasn't been an easy journey for anyone, but our community has continued to pull together to flatten the curve, to keep our neighbours safe, and to support our main-street businesses. 

On Friday, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, and hundreds of health experts across the province, our government made the difficult but necessary decision to move Toronto and Peel into a Lockdown.

As a result, several new restrictions have been introduced to curb the spread of COVID-19 in order to keep schools open, safeguard health system capacity and protect our most vulnerable. Please click here to read the public health measures.

We recognize that these necessary public health measures come at an incredible cost to families, businesses, and our community.

That's why we're continuing to protect our world-class public health system with unprecedented investments to hospitals and long-term care homes; and support families and communities through this difficult time including programs to address mental health, assistance for seniors, direct financial supports to parents, and funding for community organizations.

We're also helping businesses impacted by the new public health measures. Our government announced that we are doubling our support, making $600 million available to assist businesses with costs associated with municipal and education property taxes, and energy bills. The rebates will cover the entire length of time that a business is required to temporarily close or significantly restrict services as a result of the public health measures. Businesses can expect to receive their rebate payments within a few weeks of submitting a complete application. A detailed list of eligible businesses can be found at Ontario.ca/covidsupport.

As a former small business owner, I know first-hand that running a business is difficult, even in the best of times. For almost a year, I've been talking directly with many of the small businesses that make our community vibrant and working with them to overcome some incredible challenges in the face of the pandemic. Many recognize the importance of making these sacrifices to protect their customers but they also need your support more than ever. If you can, order take-out from a local restaurant this week or do some early holiday shopping by curb-side pick-up.

Federal supports are also available for business owners and workers who are unable to work during this lockdown. To learn more, please click here.

Since March, our government has worked to help those struggling the most. On November 5th, the  Minister of Finance tabled the 2020 Ontario Budget and reiterated our promise to protect the health and safety of Ontarians at all costs. 

Ontario's Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover, is the next step in our government's response to COVID-19 and provides as much certainty as possible in this uncertain time.

This Budget includes a $45 billion plan to continue responding to COVID-19 through three pillars: Protect, Support and Recover.
  • First, we are taking steps to protect people from this deadly virus by increasing our health investments to $15.2 billion.
  • Second, we will build on our earlier relief to provide a total of $13.5 billion in direct support for families, workers and employers, in addition to the $11.3 billion in cash flow support.
  • And third, we are removing barriers to recovery and providing $4.8 billion to protect and create jobs now and in the future.
Here in Willowdale, these budget measures bring added support and relief to individuals, families, businesses, and local community organizations.
For parents in Willowdale, the government has committed to helping with added costs of school supplies during this time of online and hybrid learning by providing $200 for every child under 12 years old, or $250 for every child or youth with special needs up to 21 years old.
Our government has heard from municipalities and employers that the variation in the Business Education Tax (BET) rates leads to regional tax unfairness and reduces competitiveness in the province. That’s why we’re harmonizing and lowering the BET to 0.88%, benefitting over 200,000 businesses, or 94% of all businesses across Ontario. This means that local restaurants and shops in Willowdale can save thousands of dollars annually and use that to reinvest in their company, hire and keep more staff on the payroll, expand their services, and reach more customers now and into the future.
In March, our government doubled the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption from $490,000 to $1 million. We are now proposing to make this exemption permanent, so that small businesses in Willowdale and across Ontario can benefit from tax relief and use the money to grow and benefit local economies.
As a former Varsity Rugby player at the University of Toronto, I know that sport is key to engaging communities and bringing people together. That’s why I’m proud to announce that our government will provide $100 million over 2 years to the Community Building Fund to support local community tourism, cultural, art, and sport organizations through these challenging times.
Through the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit, seniors in Willowdale who wish to make safety and accessibility renovations to their homes can receive a 25% credit on eligible renovations up to $10,000, such as grab bars, bathroom reinforcements, wheelchair ramps, and stair lifts. This will help tens of thousands of seniors stay in the homes they love, longer. Additionally, our government is making available $2 million over the next 2 years to develop an Inclusive Community Grants program to promote healthy and active aging.
These supports are just a few highlights from the Budget. To read more, please click here.
I encourage you to visit Ontario's website (Ontario.ca/coronavirus) for more up-to-date information on the various supports and services available. The website is updated twice daily with real-time information, resources and advice. If you have any questions or need assistance please contact my constituency office (416-733-7878 / [email protected]). 

Your resiliency in these times is the bedrock of our community. We all have a role to play in keeping our families and neighbours safe. Please continue to follow public health guidelines, wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, and stay home whenever possible.

We'll get through this together.


Stan Cho
Member of Provincial Parliament for Willowdale