Media Release: Health sector spending up 10.6 per cent in first quarter of 2020-21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                      

[La version française suit le texte anglais.]


TORONTO, September 29, 2020 - Today, the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) released its review of 2020-21 first quarter spending by the Government of Ontario (the Province).

At $37.9 billion, spending in the first quarter of 2020-21 was $4.0 billion, or 11.9 per cent, higher than in the first quarter of 2019-20. The vast majority of the year-over-year spending increase occurred in the health and education sectors. The $1.5 billion (or 10.6 per cent) increase in health sector spending, compared to the first quarter of 2019-20, reflects the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The $2.3 billion increase in education sector spending is not a permanent year-over-year increase but rather a timing adjustment largely due to the temporary deferral of Education Property Tax payments from municipalities to school boards.

Compared to the government’s spending plan for 2020-21, spending in the first quarter was up $0.7 billion, or 1.9 per cent. However, only the education sector spent above plan, while all other government spending was a combined $1.5 billion less than planned in the first quarter, led by other programs ($0.8 billion), children’s and social services ($0.3 billion), and interest on debt ($0.2 billion).

The FAO also found that during the first quarter the Province transferred $2.5 billion from the COVID-19 Health Sector Response Fund (the Health Fund), the Support for People and Jobs Fund (SPJF), and the Contingency Fund to various programs. As of June 30, 2020, these three funds had a combined $2.6 billion in remaining unallocated funds.

To learn more, read the full report here.

Quick facts:

  • In the first quarter, the Province’s spending plan for 2020-21 increased by a net $759 million. This was significantly less than the $12.4 billion increase announced by the Province in the 2020-21 First Quarter Finances which will be reflected in the government’s accounts in the second quarter of 2020-21.
  • During the first quarter, the two programs with the largest 2020-21 spending plan increases were hospitals ($1.1 billion) and electricity subsidy programs ($0.6 billion).

About the FAO

Established by the Financial Accountability Officer Act, 2013, the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) provides independent analysis on the state of the Province’s finances, trends in the provincial economy and related matters important to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter at


For further information, please contact:
Jessica Martin | 647.527.2385 | |