Federal and Provincial COVID-19 Response Measures: 2021 Update

Highlights

  • This report provides an updated summary of the measures implemented in Ontario by the Government of Ontario (the Province) and the Government of Canada (the federal government) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[1] The report also provides information on the sources of funding for provincial measures and estimates the timing of provincial spending.
  • Overall, the FAO has identified 128 federal government measures and 118 provincial measures for a total of 246 COVID-19 response measures.
    • A complete list of the COVID-19 response measures is available on the FAO’s website at https://bit.ly/39u0kRS.
  • Combined, federal and provincial direct support measures[2] will provide Ontario with a net total of $170.3 billion in support from 2019-20 to 2022-23.
    • Federal measures will provide Ontario with $144.7 billion in support and provincial measures will provide $35.4 billion. After accounting for $9.8 billion in federal cash transfers to the Province, the federal government’s share of direct support measures is 85 per cent ($144.7 billion) and the provincial government’s share is 15 per cent ($25.6 billion).[3]
  • Most of the direct support measures will benefit businesses ($66.4 billion, 39 per cent) and individuals ($65.0 billion, 38 per cent), with the remaining support allocated to the health sector ($25.3 billion, 15 per cent), municipalities ($5.1 billion, three per cent), schools and child care ($3.5 billion, two per cent), and ‘other’ areas ($5.0 billion, three per cent).
  • The net total of $170.3 billion in direct support measures has increased by $64.7 billion (61.2 per cent) since September 2020, with the federal government contributing nearly two-thirds of the increase ($42.6 billion) and the Province contributing over one-third ($22.0 billion).
    • By category, support for businesses had the largest increase since last year ($24.3 billion), followed by health sector measures ($18.1 billion) and support for individuals ($15.0 billion).
  • The FAO estimates that of the $35.4 billion in total provincial direct support measures, $18.5 billion (52 per cent) is new provincial spending, $9.8 billion (28 per cent) will be funded by cash transfers from the federal government, while $7.1 billion (20 per cent) is reallocated spending and savings from non-COVID-19-related provincial programs.
    • This means that, when compared against the Province’s spending plan before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the net cost to the Province from its direct support measures is an estimated $18.5 billion over four years, as the remaining measures were either funded by the federal government or from reallocations and savings from other provincial program budgets.
  • The FAO estimates that of the $35.4 billion in provincial direct support measures, $0.2 billion (0.6 per cent) was spent in 2019-20 and $20.6 billion (58.2 per cent) was spent in 2020-21. Of the remaining $14.6 billion in measures, the FAO estimates that $12.5 billion (35.3 per cent) will be spent this fiscal year, while $2.1 billion (5.9 per cent) will be spent in 2022-23.
    • In 2020-21, spending levels increased each quarter, with spending in the fourth quarter reaching an estimated $10.5 billion or 51.2 per cent of total provincial spending on direct support measures in 2020-21.[4]
    • In the health sector, 70 per cent ($5.6 billion) of 2020-21 provincial spending on COVID-19-related measures occurred in the last six months of the fiscal year, reflecting the timing of health sector activity, such as hospitalizations, COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

Introduction

This report provides an updated summary of the measures implemented in Ontario by the Government of Ontario (the Province) and the Government of Canada (the federal government) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[5] A complete list of the COVID-19 response measures identified by the FAO is available on the FAO’s website at https://bit.ly/39u0kRS. The FAO’s list of measures includes:

  • for provincial measures: an estimate of the cost of each measure;
  • for federal government measures: an estimate of the cost of the support provided to Ontario;
  • a description of each measure; and
  • the target of support for each measure, either individuals, businesses, municipalities, the health sector, schools and child care, or ‘other’.

This report also provides information on the sources of funding for provincial measures and estimates the timing of provincial spending.

More information on the development of this report, including data sources and methodology, is available at the end of the report.

Overview of Federal and Provincial Measures

Overall, the FAO has identified 128 federal government measures and 118 provincial measures for a total of 246 COVID-19 response measures. The FAO has categorized the measures into direct support measures and liquidity measures.

Direct support measures have a direct impact on the respective government’s budget balance through either increased spending (spending measures) or reduced revenue (revenue measures). Liquidity measures provide short-term cash flow support for people and businesses by deferring certain tax payments or providing interest-free loans. Unlike direct support measures, the support provided through liquidity measures must be paid back. Therefore, the cost to the two governments to provide liquidity supports, which includes the cost of borrowing or foregone interest income, will have a relatively minor impact on budget balances.[6]

Direct Support Measures

As of the writing of this report, the FAO estimates that there are 238 federal and provincial direct support measures[7] that will provide Ontario with a net total of $170.3 billion in support from 2019-20 to 2022-23. This includes 124 federal measures, which will provide Ontario with $144.7 billion in support, and 114 provincial measures, which will provide $35.4 billion.[8] [9]

However, included in the federal government’s measures are cash transfers to the Province worth an estimated $9.8 billion. After accounting for federal cash transfers, the federal government’s share of direct support measures is 85 per cent ($144.7 billion) and the provincial government’s share is 15 per cent ($25.6 billion).[10]

The vast majority of the direct support measures are spending measures, rather than revenue measures. In total, 224 spending measures will provide estimated net support of $166.1 billion, while 14 revenue measures will provide an estimated $4.2 billion in support.

Table 1: Cost of federal and provincial COVID-19 direct support measures in Ontario, 2019-20 to 2022-23 FAO analysis of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the Parliamentary Budget Office’s Costing of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, and information provided by the Ministries of Health, Long-Term Care and Education, and Treasury Board Secretariat.
Estimated Cost of Support in Ontario ($ millions) Number of Measures
Federal Measures:
Spending Measures 141,797 117
Revenue Measures 2,886 7
Total Federal Direct Support Measures 144,683 124
Provincial Measures:
Spending Measures 34,098 107
Revenue Measures 1,279 7
Total Provincial Direct Support Measures 35,376 114
Less: federal government cash transfers to the Government of Ontario to support provincial measures -9,787
Net Total Direct Support Measures 170,272 238

Target of Support: Federal and Provincial Measures[11]

The FAO reviewed the 238 federal and provincial direct support measures to determine the target of support based on six categories: individuals, businesses, municipalities (including public transit operations and social services), health sector, schools and child care, and ‘other’.[12] Of the $170.3 billion in net total direct support measures, the FAO estimates that:

  • Businesses will receive $66.4 billion (39 per cent) of the total, mostly through wage subsidies, forgivable loans and grants to small businesses and not-for-profit organizations, and rent and mortgage-related support.
  • Individuals will receive $65.0 billion (38 per cent) primarily through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and other employment supports, an enhanced HST credit, and payments to families with children.
  • The health sector will receive $25.3 billion (15 per cent) for a variety of measures, including vaccines, testing and contact tracing, funding for hospitals and long-term care homes, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Municipalities in Ontario are expected to receive $5.1 billion (three per cent) to support operations, social services and public transit.
  • Schools and child care providers will receive $3.5 billion in funding (two per cent) to support public health measures, maintain pre-pandemic funding levels for school boards, and provide stabilization funding for child care centres.
  • $5.0 billion (three per cent) will be provided for ‘other’ measures, which includes funding for Metrolinx and other provincial transit agencies, the Canada Revenue Agency, support for First Nations and Indigenous communities, temporary pandemic pay for eligible workers outside of the health sector, and support for tourism, culture and sport organizations.

Chart 1: Cost of federal and provincial COVID-19 direct support measures in Ontario by target of support, $ billions and per cent

Source: FAO analysis of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the Parliamentary Budget Office’s Costing of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, and information provided by the Ministries of Health, Long-Term Care and Education, and Treasury Board Secretariat.

What Has Changed since September 2020?[13]

Since the FAO’s last report on COVID-19 response measures in September 2020, the estimated cost of direct support measures has increased by $64.7 billion or 61.2 per cent. The federal government has increased direct support to Ontario by $42.6 billion (nearly two-thirds of the increase) and the Province has increased support by $22.0 billion (over one-third of the increase).

Table 2: Increase in COVID-19 direct support measures in Ontario by target of support Note: The FAO has reclassified the targets of support for two measures since its September 2020 report. Source: FAO analysis of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the Parliamentary Budget Office’s Costing of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, and information provided by the Ministries of Health, Long-Term Care and Education, and Treasury Board Secretariat.
Support as of Sept 2020 ($ millions) Support as of Sept 2021 ($ millions) Increase since Sept 2020 ($ millions) Increase since Sept 2020 (%)
Businesses 42,108 66,398 24,290 57.7
Individuals 49,995 65,006 15,011 30.0
Health Sector 7,208 25,321 18,113 251.3
Municipalities 3,925 5,116 1,191 30.3
Other 1,037 4,957 3,921 378.2
Schools & Child Care 1,344 3,474 2,130 158.5
Net Total Measures 105,617 170,272 64,655 61.2

Of the $64.7 billion increase in direct support measures since September 2020, the FAO estimates that:

  • Support for businesses increased by $24.3 billion (57.7 per cent), mostly from the extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, expansion of the Canada Emergency Business Account, and the introduction of the Ontario Small Business Support Grant.
  • Support for individuals increased by $15.0 billion (30.0 per cent), mostly from enhancements to Employment Insurance (EI) and the introduction of the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, and the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit.
  • Health sector support increased by $18.1 billion (251.3 per cent) through a variety of measures, including $8.9 billion in new spending for vaccines, testing and contact tracing, $2.3 billion in additional support for hospital and long-term care homes operations, $1.6 billion for additional PPE, $1.1 billion for additional hospital capacity, $0.7 billion for pandemic pay extensions, $0.6 billion for quarantine facilities and COVID-19 border measures, and an estimated $0.6 billion to address the surgery backlog through 2022-23.[14]
  • Support to municipalities increased by $1.2 billion (30.3 per cent), due to additional provincial transfers for transit, municipal operations and social supports, including $0.5 billion in additional funding for homelessness supports over two years.
  • Support to schools and child care providers increased by $2.1 billion (158.5 per cent), due in part to the use of an estimated $0.6 billion in school board reserves, provincial stabilization funding of $0.5 billion for child care providers and $0.4 billion for school boards, and additional allocations of $0.4 billion through the Safe Return to Class Fund.
  • ‘Other’ support measures increased by $3.9 billion (378.2 per cent), due in part to $1.3 billion in stabilization funding for Metrolinx and other provincial transit operators, $0.6 billion in additional funding for Indigenous communities, $0.3 billion in operational support for the Canada Revenue Agency, and $0.2 billion in additional supports for tourism, cultural and sport organizations.

Status of Federal Cash Transfers to Ontario

As previously mentioned, the Province’s COVID-19 response measures are partly funded through cash transfers from the federal government. As of the writing of this report, the FAO has identified nine streams of federal transfers that will provide a total of $9.8 billion to the Province by the end of 2022-23.[15] All nine streams have been fully allocated by the Province to provincial direct support measures.

Table 3: Federal cash transfers to Ontario to fund provincial COVID-19-related direct support measures, 2019-20 to 2022-23, $ millions Note: Excludes the federal Safe Long-term Care Fund, which would provide $388 million to Ontario. As of the writing of this report, the Province and federal government have not reached an agreement on this potential funding. The FAO has also excluded two federal government infrastructure transfers from its analysis of COVID-19 response measures: the COVID-19 Resilience Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and the Canada Community-Building Fund (previously called the Gas Tax Fund). Source: FAO analysis of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the Parliamentary Budget Office’s Costing of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, and information provided by the Ministries of Health, Long-Term Care and Education, and Treasury Board Secretariat.
Federal Transfer Description Funds Provided to Ontario
Safe Restart Agreement Funding is provided for testing, contact tracing and data management, health care system capacity, vulnerable populations, municipalities and transit, PPE, and child care for returning workers. 5,095
Canada Health Transfer One-time top-up to the Canada Health Transfer to help provinces and territories address immediate health care system pressures. 1,551
Essential Workers Wage Top-up To support wage increases for essential workers. 1,129
Safe Return to Class Funding for provinces and territories to support a safe return to class and to protect students and staff. 763
Workforce Development Agreement (WDA) Additional funding for the Workforce Development Agreements with provinces and territories to offer Canadians skills and employment training. 614
Canada’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan To support provinces and territories with vaccine rollout campaigns. 388
COVID-19 Response Fund for Provinces and Territories Support to provinces and territories for critical health care system needs. 194
Virtual Care Agreement Funding to develop, expand and launch virtual care and mental health tools. 46
Culture and Sport Emergency Funding Provides additional temporary relief to support cultural, heritage and sport organizations. 8
Total 9,787

Sources of Funding for Provincial Direct Support Measures

The FAO estimates that of the $35.4 billion in total provincial direct support measures, $18.5 billion (52 per cent) is new provincial spending,[16] $9.8 billion (28 per cent) will be funded by cash transfers from the federal government, while $7.1 billion (20 per cent) is reallocated spending and savings from non-COVID-19-related programs.[17] This means that, when compared against the Province’s spending plan before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the net cost to the Province from its direct support measures is an estimated $18.5 billion, as the remaining measures were either funded by the federal government or from reallocations and savings from other program budgets.

Chart 2: Sources of funding for the $35.4 billion in provincial COVID-19 direct support measures, $ billions and per cent

Note: Provincial Spending Reallocations and Savings include decisions by the Province to repurpose funds from non-COVID-19-related programs and also the use of savings from non-COVID-19-related program budgets that resulted from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e., changes in behaviour, such as lower demand for physician services, that resulted in program savings).

Source: FAO analysis of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the Parliamentary Budget Office’s Costing of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, and information provided by the Ministries of Health, Long-Term Care and Education, and Treasury Board Secretariat.

The FAO estimates that the $7.1 billion in provincial spending reallocations and savings used to fund direct support measures is from the following sources:

  • $2.0 billion from hospital base operating budgets, including the reallocation of funding for delayed elective surgeries and non-emergent diagnostic procedures to COVID-19 direct support measures;
  • $1.3 billion from lower than planned payments to physicians, as the COVID-19 pandemic led to a drop in the demand for physician services in 2020-21;
  • $0.6 billion from the use of school board reserve funds;
  • $0.5 billion in stabilization funding for child care centres, which maintained pre-pandemic funding levels;
  • $0.4 billion from the School Board Stabilization fund, which maintained pre-pandemic school board funding in the 2020-21 school year despite the 1.2 per cent decline in elementary and secondary school enrolment due to the pandemic;
  • $0.5 billion from lower than planned student financial aid payments;
  • $0.5 billion from lower than planned social assistance payments (Ontario Works (OW), the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan);[18] and
  • $1.3 billion from all other program spending reallocations and savings, including lower than planned capital spending ($0.6 billion) and program savings from various tax credits.[19]

The Timing of Provincial Spending

The FAO estimates that of the $35.4 billion in provincial direct support measures, $0.2 billion (0.6 per cent) was spent in 2019-20 and $20.6 billion (58.2 per cent) was spent in 2020-21.[20] Of the remaining $14.6 billion in measures, the FAO estimates that $12.5 billion (35.3 per cent) will be spent this fiscal year, while $2.1 billion (5.9 per cent) will be spent in 2022-23.

Chart 3: The timing of provincial COVID-19 direct support measures spending, 2019-20 to 2022-23, $ millions

Source: FAO analysis of information provided by the Ministries of Health, Long-Term Care and Education, and Treasury Board Secretariat.

Spending by Quarter in 2020-21

Of the $20.6 billion in spending on provincial direct support measures in 2020-21, the FAO estimates that the Province spent approximately $5.2 billion (25 per cent) over the first six months of the fiscal year and $15.4 billion (75 per cent) over the last six months of the fiscal year. Spending increased each quarter, with spending in the fourth quarter reaching an estimated $10.5 billion or 51.2 per cent of total provincial spending in 2020-21 on direct support measures. 

Table 4: Estimated timing of provincial spending on COVID-19 direct support measures in 2020-21 by quarter Source: FAO analysis of information provided by the Ministries of Health, Long-Term Care and Education, and Treasury Board Secretariat.
$ millions Q1
Apr–Jun 2020
Q2
Jul–Sept 2020
Q3
Oct–Dec 2020
Q4
Jan–Mar 2021
Total 2020-21 Spending
Health Sector 1,184 1,167 2,297 3,269 7,917
Municipalities 196 666 1,003 2,965 4,830
Businesses 245 174 262 1,768 2,449
Schools & Child Care 121 72 868 1,035 2,095
Individuals 582 67 117 891 1,657
Other 45 660 316 612 1,633
Total 2,373 2,805 4,863 10,539 20,581
Per Cent 11.5% 13.6% 23.6% 51.2% 100.0%
  • Health sector: 70 per cent ($5.6 billion) of 2020-21 provincial spending on COVID-19-related health sector measures occurred in the last six months of the fiscal year, reflecting the timing of health sector activity, such as hospitalizations, COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. For example:
    • 66 per cent of all hospital days occupied by COVID-19 patients in 2020-21 and 69 per cent of all tests completed in 2020-21 occurred during the second half of the fiscal year;[21]
    • 60 per cent of 2020-21 temporary pandemic pay for eligible workers in the health sector was spent in the last six months of the fiscal year; and
    • 99 per cent of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in 2020-21 occurred during the fourth quarter.
  • Municipalities: 82 per cent ($4.0 billion) of provincial support to municipalities occurred in the third and fourth quarters, due to the timing of provincial support for municipal operations and transit agencies announced in the Safe Restart Agreement and the 2021 Ontario Budget.
  • Businesses: 72 per cent ($1.8 billion) of provincial support to businesses occurred in the fourth quarter, largely due to an estimated $1.3 billion in spending on the Ontario Small Business Support Grant.[22]
  • Schools & child care: 91 per cent ($1.9 billion) of provincial support for schools and child care occurred in the third and fourth quarters, including $0.7 billion to support the safe reopening of schools, $0.6 billion in funding for child care, $0.2 billion from school board reserves and $0.3 billion for stabilization funding for school boards.
  • Individuals: 89 per cent ($1.5 billion) of provincial support for individuals occurred in the first and fourth quarters, largely due to the Support for Families program ($0.3 billion paid in the first quarter), the Support for Learners program (an estimated $0.4 billion paid in the fourth quarter), employment and training supports ($0.3 billion in the fourth quarter), and adjustments to time-of-use electricity pricing ($0.2 billion in the first quarter and $0.2 billion in the fourth quarter).
  • ‘Other’: 78 per cent ($1.3 billion) of provincial spending in this category occurred in the second and fourth quarters, partly due to the timing of stabilization funding for Metrolinx and other provincial transit operators.

Spending in 2021-22 and 2022-23

The FAO estimates that the Province will spend $14.6 billion on direct support measures in 2021-22 and 2022-23.

Table 5: Provincial COVID-19 direct support measures in 2021-22 and 2022-23 by target of support and per cent of total, $ millions Source: FAO analysis of information provided by the Ministries of Health, Long-Term Care and Education, and Treasury Board Secretariat.
Estimated Provincial Spending in 2021-22 and 2022-23 ($ millions) Portion of Total Provincial Spending in 2021-22 and 2022-23 (per cent)
Health Sector 6,695 45.9
Businesses 3,055 20.9
Individuals 2,031 13.9
Schools & Child Care 1,260 8.6
Other 1,259 8.6
Municipalities 286 2.0
Total 14,586 100.0
  • Health sector: $6.7 billion (45.9 per cent of total estimated provincial direct support measures in 2021-22 and 2022-23) for testing and contact tracing ($2.3 billion), vaccinations ($1.0 billion), support for long-term care home operations ($0.8 billion), hospital capacity ($0.8 billion), and the estimated cost to address the surgery backlog through 2022-23.[23]
  • Businesses: $3.1 billion (20.9 per cent), including the Ontario Small Business Support Grant (an estimated $1.6 billion of the $3.0 billion total cost of the program will be paid in 2021-22), the Property Tax and Energy Costs Rebate Grants program (an estimated $0.3 billion of the $0.5 billion total cost of the program will be paid in 2021-22) and a permanent increase to the Employer Health Tax exemption threshold (an estimated $0.7 billion in 2021-22 and 2022-23).
  • Individuals: $2.0 billion (13.9 per cent), including an estimated $0.9 billion for the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit; employment and training supports, including the Temporary Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit ($0.2 billion); the Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit ($0.2 billion); and $0.2 billion for a proposed domestic tourism tax credit expected in 2022.  
  • Schools & child care: $1.3 billion (8.6 per cent), including an estimated $0.6 billion in funding to support the safe reopening of schools, $0.4 billion from school board reserves and $0.2 billion for stabilization funding for school boards due to a 1.2 per cent decline in elementary and secondary school enrolment in the 2020-21 school year.[24]
  • ‘Other’: $1.3 billion (8.6 per cent), including a $0.7 billion operating subsidy for Metrolinx and other provincial transit agencies; $0.2 billion for temporary pandemic pay for eligible workers outside of the health sector; financial support for tourism, cultural and sport organizations ($0.1 billion); funding to support Indigenous communities and faith-based and cultural organizations ($0.1 billion); and support for government operations impacted by the pandemic.  
  • Municipalities: $0.3 billion (2.0 per cent) in additional funding for the Social Services Relief Fund, mostly to support homeless shelters.

Appendix

Target of Support: Provincial Measures

Of the $35.4 billion in provincial direct support measures, $14.7 billion (41 per cent) will go to support the health sector. This is followed by support for businesses ($5.6 billion, 16 per cent), municipalities ($5.1 billion, 14 per cent), individuals ($3.7 billion, 11 per cent), schools and child care ($3.4 billion, nine per cent), and ‘other’ supports ($2.9 billion, eight per cent).   

Chart 4: $35.4 billion in provincial COVID-19 direct support measures by target of support, $ billions and per cent

Source: FAO analysis of information provided by the Ministries of Health, Long-Term Care and Education, and Treasury Board Secretariat.

How Has Provincial Support Changed since September 2020?

Since the FAO’s last report on COVID-19 response measures in September 2020, the estimated cost of total provincial direct support measures has increased by $24.6 billion[25] or 228.8 per cent. The largest increases went to the health sector ($11.2 billion), followed by businesses ($4.9 billion) and individuals ($3.0 billion).

Table 6: Increase in provincial COVID-19 direct support measures by target of support Note: The FAO has reclassified the target of support for one provincial measure since its September 2020 report. Source: FAO analysis of information provided by the Ministries of Health, Long-Term Care and Education, and Treasury Board Secretariat.
Support as of Sept 2020 ($ millions) Support as of Sept 2021 ($ millions) Increase since Sept 2020 ($ millions) Increase since Sept 2020 (%)
Health Sector 3,507 14,657 11,150 317.9%
Businesses 731 5,601 4,870 666.1%
Municipalities 3,925 5,116 1,191 30.3%
Individuals 737 3,715 2,978 404.3%
Schools & Child Care 1,344 3,356 2,012 149.7%
Other 515 2,931 2,416 468.7%
Total 10,759 35,376 24,617 228.8%

Liquidity Measures

The FAO estimates that there are 20 federal and provincial liquidity measures that will provide Ontario with a net total of $78.2 billion in liquidity support.[26] This includes 13 federal measures,[27] which will provide Ontario with an estimated $67.9 billion (87 per cent of total) in liquidity support, and seven provincial measures, which will provide $10.3 billion (13 per cent) in liquidity support. The complete list of liquidity support measures is available on the FAO’s website at: https://bit.ly/39u0kRS.

Since September 2020, two new liquidity support measures have been added.[28] In addition, the FAO has revised estimates to several measures, increasing the total estimated liquidity support by $1.4 billion.

Table 7: Federal and provincial liquidity measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic Source: FAO analysis of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the Parliamentary Budget Office’s Costing of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, and information provided by the Ministries of Health, Long-Term Care and Education, and Treasury Board Secretariat.
Estimated Liquidity Support in Ontario ($ millions) Number of Measures
Federal Liquidity Measures 67,901 13
Provincial Liquidity Measures 10,325 7
Total Liquidity Measures 78,226 20

Health Sector Activity in 2020-21

The FAO estimates that 66 per cent of all hospital days occupied by COVID-19 patients in 2020-21 and 69 per cent of all COVID-19 laboratory tests completed in 2020-21 occurred during the second half of the fiscal year (from October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021).[29]

Chart 5: Daily COVID-19 hospitalizations and laboratory tests completed in Ontario, 2020-21

Source: FAO analysis of information as of August 13, 2021 from COVID-19 cases in hospital and ICU, by Ontario Health (OH) region, Ministry of Health, and the Ontario COVID-19 Data Tool, Public Health Ontario.

During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitalized COVID-19 patients reached a high of 1,059 on May 6, 2020, followed by a decline to a low of 33 hospitalizations on August 17, 2020. During the second wave of the pandemic, hospitalizations reached a high of 1,714 on January 12, 2021, followed by a smaller decline to a low of 625 hospitalizations on March 6, 2021.

During the first half of 2020-21, a total of 3.9 million COVID-19 laboratory tests were completed in Ontario, compared to 8.7 million tests completed in the second half of the fiscal year. Daily COVID-19 laboratory tests reached a maximum of 76,472 on January 14, 2021 and have declined since then. For example, the average number of daily COVID-19 tests completed during July 2021 was 19,628.

About this Document

Established by the Financial Accountability Officer Act, 2013, the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) provides independent analysis on the state of the Province’s finances, trends in the provincial economy and related matters important to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

This report has been prepared with the benefit of publicly available information[30] and information provided by the Ministries of Health, Long-Term Care and Education, and Treasury Board Secretariat.

This report reflects information received by the FAO as of September 24, 2021. All dollar amounts are in Canadian, current dollars (i.e., not adjusted for inflation) unless otherwise noted.

This report was prepared by Tessa Devakos, Sahib Gaba, Jacob Kim and Matthew Stephenson, under the direction of Luan Ngo and Jeffrey Novak.

Methodology

For federal measures, the FAO largely utilized Canada-wide cost estimates published by the Government of Canada[31] and the Parliamentary Budget Office,[32] and then estimated the proportion of support that would benefit Ontario. For taxable benefits, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), costs are presented on a gross basis (i.e., not including tax revenue offsets). The FAO’s cost estimates for provincial measures are based largely on information provided by the Ministries of Health, Long-Term Care and Education, and Treasury Board Secretariat.

The FAO estimated the sources of funding for provincial direct support measures by using analysis and information from two FAO reports: “Spending Plan Analysis: 2020-21” and “Expenditure Monitor 2020-21: Q4.”

To estimate the timing of provincial COVID-19 spending in 2020-21, the FAO used spending data from the FAO’s “Expenditure Monitor 2020-21: Q4” report, which included quarterly spending information for a number of provincial direct support measures. To estimate the timing of the temporary pandemic pay measure, the FAO used information from Auditor General of Ontario, “COVID-19 Preparedness and Management: Special Report on Management of Health-Related COVID-19 Expenditures,” 2021.


Graphic Descriptions

Chart 1: Cost of federal and provincial COVID-19 direct support measures in Ontario by target of support, $ billions and per cent Source: FAO analysis of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the Parliamentary Budget Office’s Costing of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, and information provided by the Ministries of Health, Long-Term Care and Education, and Treasury Board Secretariat. Return to image
Target of Support Support ($ billions) Share of Support (per cent)
Businesses 66.4 39%
Individuals 65.0 38%
Health Sector 25.3 15%
Municipalities 5.1 3%
Other 5.0 3%
Schools & Child Care 3.5 2%

Chart 2: Sources of funding for the $35.4 billion in provincial COVID-19 direct support measures, $ billions and per cent Note: Provincial Spending Reallocations and Savings include decisions by the Province to repurpose funds from non-COVID-19-related programs and also the use of savings from non-COVID-19-related program budgets that resulted from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e., changes in behaviour, such as lower demand for physician services, that resulted in program savings). Source: FAO analysis of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the Parliamentary Budget Office’s Costing of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, and information provided by the Ministries of Health, Long-Term Care and Education, and Treasury Board Secretariat. Return to image
Source of Funding $ billions Per cent
New Provincial Spending 18.5 52%
Federal Cash Transfers 9.8 28%
Provincial Spending Reallocations and Savings 7.1 20%

Chart 3: The timing of provincial COVID-19 direct support measures spending, 2019-20 to 2022-23 Source: FAO analysis of information provided by the Ministries of Health, Long-Term Care and Education, and Treasury Board Secretariat. Return to image
Fiscal Year Direct Support Measures Spending ($ millions)
2019-20 209
2020-21 20,581
2021-22 12,499
2022-23 2,086

Chart 4: $35.4 billion in provincial COVID-19 direct support measures by target of support, $ billions and per cent Source: FAO analysis of information provided by the Ministries of Health, Long-Term Care and Education, and Treasury Board Secretariat. Return to image
Target of Support Support ($ billions) Share of Support (per cent)
Health Sector 14.7 41%
Businesses 5.6 16%
Municipalities 5.1 14%
Individuals 3.7 11%
Schools & Child Care 3.4 9%
Other 2.9 8%

Chart 5: Daily COVID-19 hospitalizations and laboratory tests completed in Ontario, 2020-21 Source: FAO analysis of information as of August 13, 2021 from COVID-19 cases in hospital and ICU, by Ontario Health (OH) region, Ministry of Health, and the Ontario COVID-19 Data Tool, Public Health Ontario. Return to image
Date Hospitalizations Laboratory Tests
2020-04-02 407 5,310
2020-04-03 446 5,067
2020-04-04 475 4,799
2020-04-05 508 3,440
2020-04-06 576 4,071
2020-04-07 597 4,989
2020-04-08 603 5,088
2020-04-09 630 5,787
2020-04-10 673 5,816
2020-04-11 699 5,382
2020-04-12 717 5,417
2020-04-13 739 6,422
2020-04-14 758 6,010
2020-04-15 771 9,001
2020-04-16 783 8,899
2020-04-17 805 9,462
2020-04-18 806 9,643
2020-04-19 811 8,743
2020-04-20 819 9,330
2020-04-21 849 10,361
2020-04-22 854 10,214
2020-04-23 861 12,295
2020-04-24 917 10,578
2020-04-25 928 12,020
2020-04-26 946 12,550
2020-04-27 949 10,852
2020-04-28 964 11,554
2020-04-29 989 12,928
2020-04-30 1,009 16,532
2020-05-01 1,030 16,305
2020-05-02 989 17,146
2020-05-03 1,014 14,555
2020-05-04 1,014 10,654
2020-05-05 1,057 12,961
2020-05-06 1,059 15,179
2020-05-07 1,056 16,295
2020-05-08 1,052 19,227
2020-05-09 1,055 17,618
2020-05-10 993 13,970
2020-05-11 1,054 11,957
2020-05-12 1,053 15,137
2020-05-13 1,050 17,429
2020-05-14 1,035 18,354
2020-05-15 1,009 17,768
2020-05-16 995 16,217
2020-05-17 996 9,155
2020-05-18 1,005 5,813
2020-05-19 1,003 7,382
2020-05-20 1,009 10,506
2020-05-21 983 11,276
2020-05-22 951 11,028
2020-05-23 912 11,383
2020-05-24 881 8,170
2020-05-25 872 9,875
2020-05-26 851 15,133
2020-05-27 849 17,615
2020-05-28 833 18,525
2020-05-29 826 20,640
2020-05-30 802 17,014
2020-05-31 791 14,379
2020-06-01 781 15,244
2020-06-02 801 17,537
2020-06-03 790 20,822
2020-06-04 776 22,730
2020-06-05 749 23,105
2020-06-06 672 19,374
2020-06-07 633 15,357
2020-06-08 621 13,509
2020-06-09 600 19,941
2020-06-10 580 24,341
2020-06-11 538 28,335
2020-06-12 517 27,456
2020-06-13 484 23,278
2020-06-14 442 21,751
2020-06-15 421 21,724
2020-06-16 415 24,205
2020-06-17 382 25,278
2020-06-18 352 27,225
2020-06-19 329 27,387
2020-06-20 334 23,408
2020-06-21 288 21,900
2020-06-22 280 16,189
2020-06-23 287 23,207
2020-06-24 278 27,511
2020-06-25 271 30,780
2020-06-26 256 33,492
2020-06-27 253 28,633
2020-06-28 228 27,127
2020-06-29 235 23,759
2020-06-30 213 26,056
2020-07-01 208 24,322
2020-07-02 149 24,194
2020-07-03 154 21,425
2020-07-05 139 23,792
2020-07-06 134 17,303
2020-07-07 130 15,122
2020-07-08 123 22,832
2020-07-09 123 26,326
2020-07-10 117 27,484
2020-07-11 128 29,522
2020-07-12 120 25,726
2020-07-13 133 20,896
2020-07-14 137 16,744
2020-07-15 115 23,769
2020-07-16 107 26,492
2020-07-17 108 31,163
2020-07-18 105 28,849
2020-07-19 104 26,890
2020-07-20 116 20,913
2020-07-21 121 22,974
2020-07-22 128 23,990
2020-07-23 154 26,001
2020-07-24 141 28,809
2020-07-25 97 29,904
2020-07-26 90 26,144
2020-07-27 91 24,664
2020-07-28 97 17,334
2020-07-29 92 27,308
2020-07-30 85 27,676
2020-07-31 78 30,033
2020-08-01 79 33,282
2020-08-02 75 30,443
2020-08-03 78 23,021
2020-08-04 82 19,169
2020-08-05 66 17,229
2020-08-06 71 26,181
2020-08-07 66 25,136
2020-08-08 54 26,008
2020-08-09 56 27,771
2020-08-10 49 22,275
2020-08-11 60 21,581
2020-08-12 49 24,572
2020-08-13 42 29,626
2020-08-14 40 30,137
2020-08-15 38 30,436
2020-08-16 36 23,813
2020-08-17 33 25,567
2020-08-18 40 23,067
2020-08-19 41 25,642
2020-08-20 34 25,917
2020-08-21 36 28,073
2020-08-22 40 28,656
2020-08-23 43 23,384
2020-08-24 41 18,790
2020-08-25 40 20,013
2020-08-26 44 21,960
2020-08-27 48 28,625
2020-08-28 62 31,823
2020-08-29 53 32,106
2020-08-30 51 24,970
2020-08-31 49 25,098
2020-09-01 65 23,545
2020-09-02 60 24,004
2020-09-03 60 26,298
2020-09-04 66 28,591
2020-09-05 58 28,672
2020-09-06 52 28,955
2020-09-07 55 23,725
2020-09-08 54 20,929
2020-09-09 55 17,605
2020-09-10 54 24,669
2020-09-11 48 32,501
2020-09-12 43 35,618
2020-09-13 39 31,143
2020-09-14 47 29,540
2020-09-15 47 27,664
2020-09-16 46 28,761
2020-09-17 52 35,134
2020-09-18 58 35,826
2020-09-19 64 38,940
2020-09-20 64 40,127
2020-09-21 69 31,753
2020-09-22 82 34,201
2020-09-23 88 35,436
2020-09-24 88 30,634
2020-09-25 89 41,865
2020-09-26 100 43,238
2020-09-27 111 42,509
2020-09-28 128 41,111
2020-09-29 138 38,375
2020-09-30 151 35,753
2020-10-01 162 39,646
2020-10-02 167 40,093
2020-10-03 155 46,254
2020-10-04 166 39,661
2020-10-05 174 38,196
2020-10-06 192 42,031
2020-10-07 195 43,277
2020-10-08 208 48,488
2020-10-09 226 44,914
2020-10-10 212 44,298
2020-10-11 216 44,138
2020-10-12 205 36,473
2020-10-13 234 31,233
2020-10-14 232 32,206
2020-10-15 252 39,961
2020-10-16 262 38,507
2020-10-17 278 44,722
2020-10-18 251 40,850
2020-10-19 253 31,864
2020-10-20 274 24,049
2020-10-21 263 32,646
2020-10-22 270 38,860
2020-10-23 276 40,019
2020-10-24 294 44,151
2020-10-25 284 38,769
2020-10-26 310 28,652
2020-10-27 313 23,945
2020-10-28 312 30,010
2020-10-29 324 35,621
2020-10-30 315 41,008
2020-10-31 321 41,920
2020-11-01 330 37,133
2020-11-02 349 27,908
2020-11-03 357 25,279
2020-11-04 367 28,567
2020-11-05 385 35,754
2020-11-06 380 41,268
2020-11-07 395 39,165
2020-11-08 381 37,577
2020-11-09 378 28,401
2020-11-10 423 29,125
2020-11-11 424 36,707
2020-11-12 433 39,559
2020-11-13 452 40,509
2020-11-14 503 44,837
2020-11-15 485 42,206
2020-11-16 505 33,351
2020-11-17 529 26,468
2020-11-18 535 33,440
2020-11-19 525 41,838
2020-11-20 518 48,173
2020-11-21 513 46,671
2020-11-22 497 46,389
2020-11-23 516 37,471
2020-11-24 547 27,053
2020-11-25 540 36,076
2020-11-26 555 47,576
2020-11-27 559 58,037
2020-11-28 595 55,086
2020-11-29 597 53,959
2020-11-30 629 39,406
2020-12-01 645 34,640
2020-12-02 655 44,226
2020-12-03 669 52,873
2020-12-04 693 56,001
2020-12-05 724 59,399
2020-12-06 724 59,251
2020-12-07 754 45,283
2020-12-08 800 39,198
2020-12-09 816 48,546
2020-12-10 833 61,809
2020-12-11 816 63,051
2020-12-12 863 65,260
2020-12-13 846 58,190
2020-12-14 877 57,091
2020-12-15 930 39,566
2020-12-16 939 49,189
2020-12-17 923 58,178
2020-12-18 883 68,246
2020-12-19 896 67,207
2020-12-20 899 69,412
2020-12-21 942 54,505
2020-12-22 1,005 45,265
2020-12-23 1,002 56,660
2020-12-24 967 64,592
2020-12-25 997 61,465
2020-12-26 982 49,511
2020-12-27 1,035 41,783
2020-12-28 1,128 39,565
2020-12-29 1,168 34,112
2020-12-30 1,230 39,210
2020-12-31 1,270 63,858
2021-01-01 1,269 70,570
2021-01-02 1,287 61,401
2021-01-03 1,333 49,803
2021-01-04 1,390 39,121
2021-01-05 1,435 35,152
2021-01-06 1,480 51,045
2021-01-07 1,483 65,772
2021-01-08 1,507 71,481
2021-01-09 1,516 72,900
2021-01-10 1,541 62,308
2021-01-11 1,596 46,403
2021-01-12 1,714 44,802
2021-01-13 1,687 50,931
2021-01-14 1,674 71,169
2021-01-15 1,667 76,472
2021-01-16 1,646 73,875
2021-01-17 1,621 60,183
2021-01-18 1,612 40,301
2021-01-19 1,632 34,531
2021-01-20 1,597 54,307
2021-01-21 1,534 70,256
2021-01-22 1,517 71,750
2021-01-23 1,506 63,453
2021-01-24 1,471 48,947
2021-01-25 1,435 35,968
2021-01-26 1,480 30,717
2021-01-27 1,393 55,191
2021-01-28 1,335 64,664
2021-01-29 1,292 69,040
2021-01-30 1,273 59,594
2021-01-31 1,184 49,352
2021-02-01 1,185 30,359
2021-02-02 1,195 28,552
2021-02-03 1,072 52,418
2021-02-04 1,104 64,467
2021-02-05 1,046 62,710
2021-02-06 1,027 62,341
2021-02-07 959 51,658
2021-02-08 950 28,303
2021-02-09 986 30,798
2021-02-10 934 52,504
2021-02-11 888 68,812
2021-02-12 833 62,012
2021-02-13 791 58,760
2021-02-14 753 48,701
2021-02-15 780 30,355
2021-02-16 782 27,005
2021-02-17 726 33,977
2021-02-18 763 56,165
2021-02-19 695 65,372
2021-02-20 709 57,194
2021-02-21 707 48,178
2021-02-22 709 31,163
2021-02-23 724 25,979
2021-02-24 683 54,852
2021-02-25 698 66,351
2021-02-26 682 64,049
2021-02-27 705 59,416
2021-02-28 663 49,185
2021-03-01 682 35,015
2021-03-02 681 30,767
2021-03-03 667 52,613
2021-03-04 647 65,643
2021-03-05 643 64,748
2021-03-06 625 57,829
2021-03-07 625 46,586
2021-03-08 662 38,063
2021-03-09 701 33,264
2021-03-10 686 54,149
2021-03-11 688 60,619
2021-03-12 681 64,611
2021-03-13 698 58,431
2021-03-14 675 47,618
2021-03-15 728 33,975
2021-03-16 771 28,526
2021-03-17 748 49,128
2021-03-18 737 58,560
2021-03-19 767 56,134
2021-03-20 772 52,083
2021-03-21 801 49,233
2021-03-22 848 31,089
2021-03-23 858 32,556
2021-03-24 896 51,962
2021-03-25 901 60,077
2021-03-26 918 53,436
2021-03-27 991 61,005
2021-03-28 984 50,227
2021-03-29 1,023 39,470
2021-03-30 1,093 36,071
2021-03-31 1,117 52,532


Footnotes

[1] The FAO’s first list of COVID-19-related response measures was published in September 2020. See FAO, “Federal and Provincial COVID-19 Response Measures,” 2020.

[2] Direct support measures include increased spending (spending measures) or reduced revenue (revenue measures). The federal and provincial governments have also implemented liquidity measures (e.g., deferring tax payments or providing interest-free loans), which are reviewed in the appendix of this report.

[3] As of September 2020, the federal government’s share of direct support measures was 97 per cent ($102.0 billion) and the provincial government’s share was three per cent ($3.6 billion). See FAO, “Federal and Provincial COVID-19 Response Measures,” 2020.

[4] For 2020-21, by quarter, the FAO estimates that provincial spending on COVID-19 direct support measures was $2.4 billion (11.5 per cent) in the first quarter, $2.8 billion (13.6 per cent) in the second quarter, $4.9 billion (23.6 per cent) in the third quarter, and $10.5 billion (51.2 per cent) in the fourth quarter.

[5] The FAO’s first list of COVID-19-related response measures was published in September 2020. See FAO, “Federal and Provincial COVID-19 Response Measures,” 2020.

[6] Information on liquidity support measures is included in the appendix.

[7] Includes 12 liquidity measures with a budget balance impact.

[8] Excludes unallocated COVID-19-related funds of $5.0 billion ($2.2 billion in 2021-22 and $2.8 billion in 2022-23), as announced in the 2021-22 First Quarter Finances and 2021 Ontario Budget. The FAO’s total for provincial direct support measures only includes specific measures that have been announced.

[9] Combined with provincial liquidity support measures (see appendix for details), total provincial COVID-19 response measures are estimated at $45.7 billion over four years, from 2019-20 to 2022-23. This is $5.3 billion less than the Province’s estimate of $51 billion over four years reported in the 2021 Ontario Budget (p. ix).

[10] As of September 2020, the federal government’s share of direct support measures was 97 per cent ($102.0 billion) and the provincial government’s share was three per cent ($3.6 billion). See FAO, “Federal and Provincial COVID-19 Response Measures,” 2020.

[11] For information on the target of support for only provincial direct support measures, see the appendix.

[12] Federal cash transfers to the Province are categorized based on the ultimate beneficiary of the spending.

[13] For information on what has changed since September 2020 for only provincial direct support measures, see the appendix.

[14] Based on information as of April 2021, the FAO estimates that it will cost $1.3 billion and take 3.5 years to clear the elective surgery and non-emergent procedures backlog, with $556 million (43 per cent) of the estimated cost projected to be spent by 2022-23. For more information, see FAO, “Ministry of Health: Spending Plan Review,” 2021.  

[15] Excludes the federal Safe Long-term Care Fund, which would provide $388 million to Ontario. As of the writing of this report, the Province and federal government have not reached an agreement on this potential funding. The FAO has also excluded two federal government infrastructure transfers from its analysis of COVID-19 response measures: the COVID-19 Resilience Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and the Canada Community-Building Fund (previously called the Gas Tax Fund).

[16] Includes revenue measures.

[17] Reallocated spending and savings include decisions by the Province to repurpose funds from non-COVID-19-related programs and also the use of savings from non-COVID-19-related program budgets that resulted from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e., changes in behaviour, such as lower demand for physician services, that resulted in program savings).

[18] Average monthly OW and ODSP beneficiaries declined by 9.3 per cent and 0.3 per cent, respectively, in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20.

[19] For more information on program savings in 2020-21, see FAO, “Expenditure Monitor 2020-21: Q4,” 2021.

[20] The FAO has adjusted estimated spending to a cash basis from an accrual expense basis where known.

[21] See appendix for more information.

[22] The total cost of the Ontario Small Business Support Grant is estimated to be $3.0 billion, with $1.3 billion in cash spending in the fourth quarter of 2020-21 and the remaining $1.6 billion in 2021-22.

[23] For more information on provincial direct support measures in the health sector, see FAO, “Ministry of Health: Spending Plan Review,” 2021. 

[24] For more information on provincial direct support measures for schools and child care, see FAO, “Ministry of Education: Spending Plan Review,” 2021.

[25] After accounting for a $2.6 billion increase in federal cash transfers since September 2020, the net cost to the province of its direct support measures increased by $22.0 billion.

[26] Total estimated support excludes seven liquidity measures where a liquidity support estimate is not available (five federal and two provincial).

[27] Excludes liquidity measures provided by the Bank of Canada, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and commercial lenders, as well as capital relief provided by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

[28] The two new liquidity measures are Supporting Jobs and Safe Operations of Junior Mining Companies, which extends the timelines for spending the capital raised via flow-through shares by 12 months, and Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program, which provides low-interest loans up to $1 million to businesses that are heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

[29] In 2020-21, there were approximately 217,000 hospital days occupied by COVID-19 patients and 12.6 million COVID-19 laboratory tests completed. Based on information as of August 13, 2021 from COVID-19 cases in hospital and ICU, by Ontario Health (OH) region, Ministry of Health, and the Ontario COVID-19 Data Tool, Public Health Ontario. 

[30] Public sources of information include the 2020-21 Public Accounts of Ontario, 2021 Ontario Budget, 2021 Federal Budget, letters to and agreements with service partners (such as municipalities and transit agencies), and other government news releases.

[32] For more information, see, “PBO's Costing of Canada's Economic Response Plan.”

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