2021 Budget Brings Province’s COVID-19 Response to $51 Billion
TORONTO — Today, Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board Peter Bethlenfalvy released Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy. The 2021 Budget is the next phase of Ontario’s response to COVID-19 and is the second Budget the government has delivered during the pandemic.
“You can’t have a healthy economy without healthy people,” said Minister Bethlenfalvy. “For the past year, we have been focused on protecting people from COVID-19. Many challenges lie ahead. But with vaccines being distributed in every corner of the province, hope is on the horizon. We are ready to finish the job we started one year ago.”
The 2021 Budget builds on the government’s record investments in response to the global pandemic, bringing total investments to $16.3 billion to protect people’s health and $23.3 billion to protect our economy. Ontario’s COVID-19 action plan support now totals $51 billion.
“Eventually the pandemic will be behind us. It is months, not years away,” said Minister Bethlenfalvy. “We will get to that day through the hard work and sacrifice of Team Ontario. Our government is going to be there every step of the way to make good on our commitment to protect people’s health and jobs. When this chapter is finally closed, I’m confident that the people of Ontario are going to unleash the economic growth that is necessary for job creation, prosperity and a stronger province.”
Protecting People’s Health is the first pillar of the 2021 Budget. It includes measures for defeating COVID-19, fixing long-term care and caring for people.
“Vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel, and boots are on the ground to get vaccines into arms as they arrive in the province,” said Minister Bethlenfalvy. “We will continue to invest in our health care system today and for the long term, building on record investments since the start of the pandemic to create more hospital beds, build and improve hospitals, increase testing and fix long-term care.”
Highlights of Ontario’s plan to defeat COVID-19:
- To vaccinate every person in the province who wants to be vaccinated, Ontario has made more than $1 billion available for a provincewide vaccination plan. Ontario is also making it safer to re-engage with workplaces, businesses and communities with $2.3 billion for testing and contact tracing.
- To protect the frontline heroes and vulnerable people, Ontario has made available
$1.4 billion for personal protective equipment, including more than 315 million masks and more than 1.2 billion gloves.
- To ensure that every person who requires care in a hospital can access a bed, even during the worst of the pandemic, the government is investing an additional $5.1 billion to support hospitals since the pandemic began, creating more than 3,100 additional hospital beds. This includes $1.8 billion in 2021–22 to continue providing care for COVID-19 patients, address surgical backlogs and keep pace with patient needs.
Highlights of Ontario’s plan to fix long-term care:
- To address decades of neglect and help those waiting to get into long-term care, Ontario is investing an additional $933 million over four years, for a total of $2.6 billion, to support building 30,000 new long-term care beds. Ontario is also investing $246 million over the next four years to improve living conditions in existing homes, including ensuring that homes have air conditioning for residents, so loved ones can live in comfort and with safety, dignity and respect.
- To protect loved ones in long-term care from the deadly COVID-19 virus, Ontario is investing an additional $650 million in 2021–22, bringing the total resources invested since the beginning of the pandemic to protect the most vulnerable to over $2 billion.
- To ensure loved ones receive the best quality care in Canada, Ontario is investing
$4.9 billion over four years to increase the average direct daily care to four hours a day in
long-term care and hiring more than 27,000 new positions, including personal support workers (PSWs) and nurses.
Highlights of Ontario’s plan to care for people:
- To address the need for more health care services, Ontario is making investments to support historic hospital expansion and construction projects, including a new inpatient wing at William Osler Health System’s Peel Memorial, and ongoing planning of a new regional hospital in Windsor-Essex.
- To help the thousands of people struggling with mental health and addictions issues, Ontario is providing additional funding of $175 million in 2021–22 as part of a historic investment of $3.8 billion over 10 years, to provide more and better care for everyone who needs it.