2021 Ontario Budget

Stan Cho

March 24, 2021

This afternoon the Ontario Government tabled the 2021-2022 Budget in the legislature. And I wanted you to be the first to know what we’re doing to support the people of Ontario.

Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Protecting Jobs builds on the government’s record spending in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, bringing total investments to $51 billion.

You can read the full budget document online at budget.ontario.ca/2021/ but here are five things you need to know about the Ontario Budget:

The Ontario Government continues to take every necessary action to stop the spread of COVID-19, including investing $16.3 billion to help defeat the virus, fix decades of neglect and underinvestment in long-term care, and care for people and communities while strengthening our public healthcare system for future generations.

We’re making it safer to re-engage in workplaces, businesses, and communities with $2.3 billion for testing and contract tracing.

To protect front-line heroes and vulnerable people, we’re investing $1.4 billion for personal protective equipment, including more than 315 million masks and more than 1.2 billion gloves.

And to ensure the province’s hospitals can continue to deliver world-class public healthcare, we are investing an additional $5.1 billion in the hospital sector, including $1.8 billion to address the surgical backlog. In addition, we’re investing $30.2 billion over ten years to build and renew hospital infrastructure and end hallway healthcare.

The people and job-creators of Ontario have sacrificed so much to protect each other from COVID-19, even when it has impacted their livelihoods. Ontario recognizes their sacrifices and is taking additional steps to provide direct supports to families, workers, and employers and to protect jobs.

To help workers recover from the impacts of COVID-19, upskill and develop the in-demand skills needed for the future, we’re launching a new Jobs Training Tax Credit. It would provide up to $2,000 per person towards eligible expenses including training programs, tuition, and certification exams.

We’re also investing $614.3 million for employment and training supports to assist those who are facing the highest rates of unemployment such as women, racialized communities, and youth.

The pandemic further exposed long-standing challenges in the long-term care system. Residents, caregivers, and staff deserve better. That’s why we’re investing $2 billion to protect long-term care homes.

We’re moving quickly to increase long-term care capacity and access with an additional $933 million. Approvals of new and upgraded long-term care beds to date represent more than two thirds of the government’s commitment to build 30,000 new beds by 2028.

I’m incredibly proud of our announcement in this budget of a $4.9 billion investment to support our government’s commitment to increase the average daily direct care for long-term care residents from 2.75 hours to 4 hours by 2024 – a nation-leading promise to provide the best care in Canada.

Families have faced exceptional challenges as the pandemic has impacted the job market and disrupted the way we work. Students of all ages have had to adapt to new ways of learning, while parents have faced the challenge of balancing work and childcare under extraordinary circumstances.

To support families, our government is providing a third round of payments to parents through the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit, totaling $1.8 billion since last March. The payment will be doubled to $400 per child and $500 for each child with special needs.

We’re also proposing a 20% enhancement to the CARE Tax Credit, which would provide an up to 90% tax credit on eligible childcare expenses for 300,000 families in Ontario.

The approval of COVID-19 vaccines is a significant step forward in putting the pandemic behind us. Team Ontario is mobilized to get vaccines into arms as quickly as they become available.

To vaccinate every person in the province who wants to be vaccinated, Ontario has made more than $1 billion available for a province-wide vaccination plan. Including $3.7 million to provide safe, accessible transportation for people with disabilities and older adults with limited mobility to their vaccination appointments.

I believe in the resilience of Willowdalers and of Ontarians. Together we can defeat the virus and pave the way to economic recovery and prosperity.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, and your government remains focused on protecting your health and our economy. We all need to continue to do our part by following public health advice and being kind to our neighbours.

Stay safe, we are almost there!