COVID-19 has plunged Ontario into a recession, forcing the Ford government to nearly double the deficit to a record $38.5-billion.
Finance Minister Rod Phillips revealed the reams of red ink during a quarterly fiscal update.
Back in March at the start of the pandemic he’d projected a shortfall of $20.5-billion which was more than double last year’s $9.2-billion deficit.
Phillips says the government’s COVID-19 response action plan will now see $30-billion made available.
That includes an increase of $4.4-billion to provide ongoing support for healthcare to build hospital capacity, prevent and contain the spread in long-term care, ramp up testing … to buy PPE and medical supplies.
Premier Doug Ford announced the first phase of municipal funding, $1.6-billion, to help municipalities.
Toronto will receive $400-million for the TTC.
Given the continued uncertainty, $9.6-billion is being set aside for future pandemic scenarios.
Total revenue’s projected to be $150.6-billion — $5.7-billion lower, and program expenses are forecast to be $13.1-billion higher than in March.
The province is also extending tax deferrals by one month to October 1, increasing cash flow support to businesses to help them reopen to their employees and customers.