Ontario introduces $17 billion COVID-19 aid package
The plan includes $3.7 billion in direct support for people and job protection measures, $3.3 billion in additional health-care spending, and $10 billion in deferred taxes and other measures largely designed to keep businesses afloat.
Ontario introduced a $17-billion package designed to support the province through the COVID-19 outbreak, including tax breaks for businesses.
Announced on March 25, the plan includes $3.7 billion in direct support for people and job protection measures, along with the $3.3 billion in additional health-care spending.
It also outlines $10 billion in deferred taxes and other measures largely designed to keep businesses afloat while the economy likely contracts sharply. Businesses will get five months of interest and penalty relief to file and make payments for provincially administered taxes, at an estimated cost of $6 billion, employers will be allowed to defer Workplace Safety and Insurance Board payments, at a cost of $1.9 billion, and about $1.8 billion will be used to defer municipal remittance of education property tax to school boards, allowing municipalities to provide property tax deferrals to residents and businesses.
The relief funding marks the end of the Progressive Conservative government’s cost-cutting agenda, with a planned deficit of $9.2 billion in 2019-20 now expected to swell to $20.5 billion in 2020-21.
As of March 26, at least nine people have now died in Ontario due to COVID-19, with about 670 active cases and more than 10,000 people awaiting test results.