Yesterday, Peter Bethlenfalvy, Ontario’s Minister of Finance tabled Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy. Priorities for the 2021 Budget include investing in health care and the economy, providing direct support to Ontarians, and improving cash flow for businesses. In total, the Government of Ontario is investing $51 Billion in supports over the next four years. This is the government’s second budget delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic; it focuses on rebuilding the foundation of the economy without imposing tax hikes.
- Premier Ford and his government likely saw no other option but to spend heavily on an ailing economy and those Ontarians who have been impacted by the pandemic
- The COVID pandemic exposed serious under investments in the long-term care sector and broadband infrastructure; the government responded by making historic investments in these and other areas.
- Commitments to investing in provincial infrastructure like roads and highways were made but whether they will have the desired short-term impact on the economy remains to be seen.
- Finally, watch for the rating agencies to comment on the provincial finances given that there was no clear path to financial sustainability in the budget; a downgrade could be in the province’s near future.
Bliss is former chief of staff to the northern development and mines minister in addition to being an advisor to two Prime Ministers and various elected officials. Bliss also has extensive private sector experience as Vice President of the Canadian Bankers Association, public relations experience in the pipeline industry, President of a national industry association, and various leadership positions in the public affairs arena.