Media Release: Province moves $7.1 billion from unallocated funds to programs in the third quarter

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                      

[La version française suit le texte anglais.]


TORONTO, March 11, 2021 - Today, the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) released its update on the Province’s 2020-21 spending plan and actual spending through the first three quarters of 2020-21, from April 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

There was no change in the Province’s total spending plan during the third quarter (from October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020). However, the Province made $7.1 billion in budget reallocations from its three unallocated funds to program sectors. The largest increase was to the health sector, with $4.5 billion in new planned spending, primarily for the operation of hospitals and long-term care homes. The ‘other programs’ sector received $1.6 billion, including an additional $0.6 billion operating subsidy for Metrolinx and $0.6 billion for the Property Tax and Energy Costs Rebate Grants program, which supports businesses required to restrict services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lastly, $1.0 billion was transferred to the education sector, due to phase one of the federal Safe Return to Class Fund, the Province’s Support for Learners program, and federal funding for child care under the Safe Restart Agreement.

The spending plan increases to the program sectors were funded by transfers from the Province’s three unallocated funds, the COVID-19 Health Sector Response Fund (Health Fund) ($4.2 billion transfer), the Support for People and Jobs Fund (SPJF) ($1.3 billion transfer) and the Contingency Fund ($1.5 billion transfer). As of December 31, 2020, the combined remaining balance in the three unallocated funds was $4.7 billion, representing a 60 per cent decrease compared to the remaining balance at the end of the second quarter (September 30).

The Province spent $116.7 billion over the first three quarters of 2020-21, which was $3.1 billion, or 2.6 per cent, less than planned. Excluding the education sector, which temporarily spent more than planned, all other sectors spent less than planned, led by ‘other programs’ ($2.4 billion or 12.0 per cent under plan), interest on debt ($0.8 billion or 8.7 per cent under plan), postsecondary education ($0.6 billion or 11.6 per cent under plan) and health ($0.5 billion or 1.0 per cent under plan).

To learn more, read the full report here.

Quick facts:

  • Spending through the first three quarters of 2020-21 was $10.3 billion, or 9.7 per cent, higher than during the same period in 2019-20.
  • Health sector spending through the first three quarters of 2020-21 was 12.7 per cent higher than spending in the same period in 2019-20. For context, the health sector’s average annual growth rate between 2015-16 and 2019-20 was 3.6 per cent.
  • The Province’s total 2020-21 spending plan has increased by $14.5 billion since the start of the fiscal year. The increases occurred in the first ($759 million) and second ($13.8 billion) quarters, while in the third quarter there was no change to the overall spending plan.

About the FAO

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. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter at


For further information, please contact:
Anna Giannini  l  647.527.2385  l  |