Thursday, 09 April, 2020

Confirmed Ontario COVID-19 cases jump by 170; total now at 858

Unemployed Canadians anxiously awaiting federal COVID-19 help Ontario projects $20.5-billion deficit in 2020-21 as it spends billions to fight COVID-19
Ginger Lawrence | 26 March, 2020, 20:38

The Ontario government's updated economic forecast, which it said is subject to a "greater-than-usual" level of uncertainty, assumes zero growth in the province in 2020 and two per cent growth in 2021. The government is projecting a $9.2-billion deficit in 2019-2020 - an improvement of $1.1 billion relative to the 2019 budget - and, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, is planning for a $20.5-billion deficit in 2020-2021.

The healthcare systems gets $7 billion while $10 billion goes to people and businesses through taxes and other deferrals.

"The people of Ontario can have confidence that we will do whatever it takes to protect their health and well-being".

Enhancing funding by $148 million for charitable and non-profit social services organizations such as food banks, homeless shelters, churches, and emergency services to improve their ability to respond to COVID-19 by providing funding directly to Consolidated Municipal Service Managers and District Social Service Administrative Boards who would allocate this funding based on local needs. A full budget will be tabled by November 15. The government will provide regular updates of the Province's fiscal and economic outlook throughout the year.

"There are certain moments that define a generation".

The new projections appear to blow a hole in Ontario's plan to balance its books by 2023, a year after the next election, as the virus and its impact double the deficit and cost the government about $6-billion in revenue.

While the full extent of the damage from the coronavirus remains to be seen, the province's mini-budget contains a number of added measures to try to ease the pain.

Coronavirus Survives 17 Days On Cruise Ship After Passengers Left
NSW Health will assist if "there is any indication they are not responding", Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said. Of the 2,700 that entered Sydney, 130 were later tested positive for COVID-19.

More than $3 billion in funding is directed toward health care. The move matches a similar one made by the federal government.

Ontario will also offer families with children locked out of school and daycares $200 per child, hike payments for low-income seniors and reduce hydro bills.

The province will temporarily increase the Employer Health Tax exemption for 57,000 employers at a cost of $355 million.

The Province of Ontario has confirmed 170 new known cases of COVID-19, bringing the total up to 858 confirmed cases, as of Thursday morning.

"There are ample contingencies (roughly $5 billion) built into that estimate".

Businesses will be given five months of interest and penalty relief to file and make payments to most provincial taxes.