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TORONTO – What do we take away from the Ontario financial update? Despite an economic recovery since last spring, the province is far from coming out of the tunnel into which the pandemic plunged it. Gross domestic product and employment have certainly increased, but the government has had to invest an additional $ 2.6 billion since the publication of the 2020 budget, mainly to support hospitals in their fight against COVID-19.
The provincial deficit of $ 38.5 billion in 2020-2021 remains in line with projections, in particular thanks to tax increases and federal transfers. The province also significantly cut its reserve of $ 2.5 billion intended to protect its financial forecasts, reduced to $ 0.5 billion.
“Our number one priority is to beat the virus,” Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy said on Wednesday during the quarterly budget update 2020-2021. “All of the decisions that have been made have been made taking into account that lives are at stake. That’s why we spent $ 25 billion more this year, compared to the previous year. “
Encouraging economic indicators
Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 9.4% in the third quarter of 2020, reaching 5.7%, although it was lower than it was in 2019 during the same period. It follows two catastrophic quarters that saw GDP tumble 1.8% and 12.2%. On the employment front, here too, the trend is reassuring with nearly 730,000 jobs won between May 2020 and January 2021.
For its part, the Department of Francophone Affairs is forecasting a decrease in expenses of $ 500,000. The budget plan of $ 7.1 million has been revised down to $ 6.6 million. At the time of writing, the ministry has not followed up on this variation.
More details to come …