Ontario government unveils budget date amid COVID-19 second wave

Oct 26 2020, 5:44 pm

The Government of Ontario plans to release its 2020 budget on November 5 as the province continues to face the second wave of COVID-19.

According to the government, it will be providing a three-year outlook for the province.

The budget will focus on protecting the health and safety of Ontarians during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, providing much-needed supports to families, workers, and employers, and laying the foundation for future growth, renewal and economic recovery, the government says.

The budget will build on Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, which was released in March and updated this summer to make available a projected $30 billion in response to the global pandemic.

The details of the budget were announced by Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Finance Rod Phillips, and Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott at a press conference.

“To start us down the road to recovery, we need a healthy workforce. That’s why we have put the health and safety of every Ontarian first during this pandemic,” said Ford. “Getting people back to work, creating more jobs and attracting investment are also important priorities for our government.”

The budget will make every necessary resource available in order to continue protecting people’s health during the second wave, said Phillips, while expanding support for those facing financial hardships.

Since March, the government has put forth a number of initiatives to support families, workers, and businesses, including providing relief to over 63,000 small business tenants through the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program, doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System payment from April to September, which provided $75 million to 194,000 seniors, and reducing red tape and eliminating unnecessary paperwork, which has saved businesses over $330 million.

The government has also committed to providing small businesses in modified Stage 2 areas — currently Toronto, Ottawa, and Peel and York regions — with up to $300 million to cover costs associated with property taxes, electricity, and natural gas bills.

Minister Phillips said Ontario will return to the traditional budget calendar at the end of March 2021 with another multi-year update.

The Government of Ontario confirmed 851 new COVID-19 cases on Monday morning, a decrease from Sunday’s recorded 1,042, the highest count to date in the pandemic.

There are a total of 71,224 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario reported to date with 60,839 recovered and 3,099 deaths.

Zoe DemarcoZoe Demarco

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