Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks at the daily briefing in Toronto on February 8, 2021. Ontario will unveil a budget Wednesday that’s expected to focus on recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, although it remains unclear if it will chart a path to balance. (Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press)
TORONTO—Ontario will deliver its 2021-22 budget today, its second spending package during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier Doug Ford says the budget will focus on economic recovery and fighting the pandemic.
Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy says the package will contain measures to bolster Ontario’s vaccine rollout.
He says it will also not raise taxes or cut any provincial services.
Ontario delivered its last spending package in November after delaying its planned March 2020 release because of the pandemic.
That document had record spending of $187 billion, and a record deficit of $38.5 billion.
Bethlenfalvy says the budget will focus on “defeating” the pandemic.
“The best stimulus for reopening the economy is a vaccination and keeping people safe,” he said. “That job is not done yet.”
The province has already revealed some measures that will be contained in the budget, including new funding for hospitals, long-term care construction, and to help seniors receive their COVID-19 shot.
On Tuesday, Ford called the spending package a “recovery budget,” but stressed that it will also help protect people from COVID-19.
“There’s two aspects: protecting lives and protecting livelihoods,” he said. “Making sure that we think of the future when we open up the economy and get things moving, and get people back to work.”