FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
[La version française suit le texte anglais.]
FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL COVID-19 MEASURES TO PROVIDE $105.6 BILLION IN
DIRECT SUPPORT IN ONTARIO
TORONTO, September 10, 2020 – The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO), at the request of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, has prepared a summary of the measures implemented in Ontario by the Government of Ontario (the Province) and the Government of Canada (the federal government) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overall, the FAO has identified 68 federal government measures and 70 provincial measures for a total of 138 COVID-19 response measures, categorized as direct support measures (spending and reduced revenue) and liquidity measures (tax deferrals and interest-free loans).
A total of 126 federal and provincial direct support measures will provide Ontario with a net total of $105.6 billion in support in 2019-20 and 2020-21, including 61 federal measures totalling $102.0 billion and 65 provincial measures totalling $10.8 billion. Although the FAO identified $10.8 billion in provincial measures, the net cost to the Province is only $3.6 billion after accounting for federal cash transfers to the Ontario government of $7.2 billion.
Most of the direct support will benefit individuals ($51.5 billion) and businesses ($42.1 billion), with the remaining support allocated to the health sector ($4.0 billion), municipalities ($3.9 billion), schools and child care ($1.3 billion), and other sectors ($2.7 billion).
A total of 18 federal and provincial liquidity measures will provide Ontario with a net total of $76.9 billion in support, including 11 federal measures totalling $66.2 billion and seven provincial measures totalling $10.7 billion. Of the federal and provincial liquidity measures, $18.2 billion will benefit individuals and $58.6 billion will support businesses.
The FAO also reviewed the Province’s $30 billion Updated Action Plan, announced in the 2020-21 First Quarter Finances, and found only $28.1 billion in support related to the COVID-19 outbreak (includes direct support measures, liquidity measures and unallocated funds). The main reason for the $1.9 billion difference is that the Province’s Updated Action Plan includes spending in the health sector and for electricity subsidy programs that is not related to the COVID-19 outbreak response.
- After accounting for federal cash transfers to the Province, the federal government’s share of the cost of direct support measures in Ontario is 97 per cent and the Province’s share is 3 per cent.
- The FAO identified 10 direct support measures with an estimated cost of over $1.0 billion.
- The FAO estimates that $72.4 billion, or 69 per cent, of total direct support will be provided to Ontario through the two largest federal measures, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). In total, over four million Ontarians have received the CERB benefit or had their wages subsidized through the CEWS program. This represents approximately one third of the 12 million working age Ontarians.
- Although the FAO has identified $10.8 billion in provincial direct support measures, the FAO estimates that the Province still has an additional $6.7 billion in unallocated funds that are available to be directed to new measures. The unallocated funds are included in the Province’s COVID-19 Health Sector Response Fund and the Support for People and Jobs Fund.
- The $6.7 billion in remaining unallocated provincial funds includes $3.5 billion in cash transfers from the federal government that have yet to be allocated by the Province to specific measures.
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 http://www.fao-on.org/en/ and follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/InfoFAO.