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Ontario projects $20.5-billion deficit in 2020-21 as it spends billions to fight COVID-19

COVID-19: Ontario introduces $17 billion rescue package, more than doubles deficit

Premier Doug Ford is scheduled to speak to reporters from Queen's Park at 1 p.m. ET, one day after his government introduced a multi-billion dollar support package meant to help ease the burden of the COVID-19 outbreak on health-care workers, businesses and families.

The one-year economic plan includes $7-billion for the province's health-care system and in job supports, as well as $10-billion in tax deferrals, plus $2.5-billion in a reserve fund in case the crisis worsens.

Providing $10 billion to support improved cash flow for people and businesses during COVID-19 outbreak.

Phillips says the funding will enhance hospital capacity, protect loved ones in long-term care and support public health's efforts to flatten the curve.

Premier Doug Ford's administration is projecting a deficit of C$20.5 billion for the 2020-2021 fiscal year in Canada's most populous province, up from a C$6.7 billion previous estimate, according to budget documents released Wednesday.

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Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) announced yesterday the region now has 21 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases with 20 in Simcoe County and one in Muskoka. Eligibility will be expanded for the Low-income Energy Assistance Program, with an additional $9 million going to breaks on energy bills.

Committing to a dedicated $1.0 billion COVID-19 contingency fund for emerging needs related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

A man in his 40s who worked at a Superstore in Oshawa has been confirmed as the latest person to die of COVID-19 in Ontario, health officials said Thursday. The aid package also incudes a $355 million tax cut for around 57,000 employers through a proposed temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax exemption.

"During this global pandemic, I want the people of Ontario to be focused on their health - not worrying about losing their job or how to make ends meet as they deal with unexpected additional expenses", said Minister Phillips.

Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath was quick to criticize what she said the budget didn't contain - help for people.

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Providing additional supports of $26 million to Indigenous peoples and communities, including emergency assistance for urban Indigenous people in financial need, and costs for health care professionals and critical supplies to reach remote First Nations. A full budget will be tabled by November 15. Phillips told reporters after the release of Wednesday's fiscal update that even zero economic growth for 2020 was "a very, very prudent projection".

The financial update came the same day many businesses that are deemed un-essential were forced to close their doors to help fight the spread of COVID-19. And two other new cases have seen people in their 20s hospitalized.

"We've had an unprecedented use of the term "unprecedented" over the last little while", Dyer said.

Ontario is now projecting 0% real Gross Domestic Product growth in 2020, a net debt-to-GDP ratio of 41.7% in 2020-21 - up from 39.9% - and an increase in net debt from $355 billion to almost $380 billion.

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