170 new cases of coronavirus in Ontario, total reaches 837 active cases

Andrew Cummings
March 26, 2020

According to the province's dedicated coronavirus webpage, where updates are provided twice daily, there are now 837 active cases, eight resolved and 13 deaths linked to the virus.

Healthcare investments include more equipment to front-line workers, more beds, a contingency fund, testing, and assessment centres.

The new funding is included in the province's one-year fiscal outlook introduced today in the legislature, which includes a total of $3.3 billion in new health care spending for 2020-2021. The moves will contribute to a major hit to Ontario's bottom line, pushing the deficit from $9 billion to a projected $20.5 billion for 2020-21 - a level not seen since the aftermath of the 2008 recession. "Long after we defeat COVID-19, the Ontario spirit, at home in Ajax and across Ontario, will remain".

Ontario will also offer families with children locked out of school and daycares $200 per child, hike payments for low-income seniors and reduce hydro bills.

Meanwhile, private-sector firms with annual remuneration of less than $5 million will see an exemption to an employer health tax double this year to $1 million of payroll, cutting approximately $355 million in tax.

The document contains no multiyear outlook, something Mr. Phillips says will be included in a budget now scheduled for November 15.

Providing six months of Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan and interest accrual relief, leaving more money in people's pockets.

It will allow businesses to defer paying most provincial taxes for six months, leaving them with $6-billion in temporary relief.

Ontario scrapped its initial plans to release its budget on Wednesday because of the virus outbreak and instead provided an economic update.

A commitment of a dedicated $1-billion COVID-19 contingency fund for emergency needs related to the pandemic response.

Deferring the upcoming June 30 quarterly municipal remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days, which provides municipalities the flexibility to, in turn, provide property tax deferrals to residents and businesses while ensuring school boards continue to receive their funding.

The March 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update provides planning assumptions for the year ahead.

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.

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