Jan 26, 2021

By Jane Brown

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Ontario is sitting on $6.4-billion in unspent emergency funding as the pandemic rages.

A new economic analysis from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives also shows the federal Trudeau Liberals in fact are paying for the bulk of the relief effort.

The study found Ontario has budgeted $6.4 billion for COVID spending with no imminent plans for what to do with it. These moneys have been budgeted through the province’s Pandemic Fund, Support for People and Jobs Fund, an economic recovery fund and a health contingency fund.

“While unallocated contingency funds aren’t unique, no province has such large ones (as Ontario),” the report reads.

Ontario is one of six provinces that have left billions on the table, money earmarked and urgently needed for health care, long term care, housing and essential workers.

Study author David Macdonald, a senior economist with the thank tank, says “it’s time for the province to go all in and actually deploy the dollars budgeted to protect long term care homes, get kids back in schools and wrestle this second wave into submission.”

“While the implications of the pandemic are very real in hospitalizations and deaths, Ontario is hedging its bets with its unallocated funds. If things get worse they may deploy those funds, but if things get better they’ll get to claim a smaller deficit at year’s end,” Macdonald goes on to explain.

The study also shows the equivalent of approximately $9,800 a person is being spent in Ontario on COVID-19 measures. Of those dollars, 94 percent comes from Ottawa and six percent from the provincial government.

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