Media Release: Province spent $5.5 billion less than planned over first three quarters of 2021-22

[La version française suit le texte anglais.]   


TORONTO, March 2, 2022 – Today, the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) released its Expenditure Monitor 2021-22: Q3 report. This report provides an update on the Province’s 2021-22 spending plan and reviews actual spending by the government over the first three quarters of the 2021-22 fiscal year (April 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021). 

Over the first three quarters of the fiscal year, the Province increased its 2021-22 spending plan by $4.1 billion to $182.4 billion. In the third quarter, the largest spending plan increases went to Metrolinx, for investments in transit infrastructure projects ($1,355 million) and additional operating subsidies ($176 million); to support municipal transit operations ($345 million); for the recently announced Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program ($300 million); and for long-term care homes ($123 million). 

Comparing actual spending against the spending plan, the Province spent $119.9 billion over the first three quarters of 2021-22, which was $5.5 billion (4.4 per cent) less than expected. Most sectors spent less than planned, led by ‘other programs’ ($2,285 million), health ($1,293 million), children’s and social services ($1,206 million), interest on debt ($438 million), postsecondary education ($391 million), and education ($212 million). Only the justice sector spent more than planned over the first three quarters of 2021-22, at $305 million. 

As of December 31, 2021, there was $3.1 billion remaining in the Province’s two unallocated funds: the Contingency Fund and the Time-Limited COVID-19 Fund. However, the government reports that as of February 2, 2022, the two unallocated funds had a combined remaining balance of $1.6 billion. This indicates that the Province transferred approximately $1.5 billion in unallocated funds to various government programs between January 1, 2022 and February 2, 2022.  

Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, the FAO expects that the pace of government spending will increase due to the impact of the Omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health sector and new fourth quarter spending programs announced by the Province.  

Find our full report on our website, here

Quick facts:  

  • Key programs with lower-than-expected spending as of December 31, 2021 include: 

  • In the health sector, the Province spent $999 million (39 per cent) of the $2.5 billion budget for the COVID-19 Response program. There was also lower-than-expected spending on payments to physicians, provincial drug programs and hospital capital projects. 

  • In the children’s and social services sector, the Province spent $334 million (56 per cent) of the $600 million budget for the Autism program and $1.6 billion (62 per cent) of the $2.7 billion budget for the Ontario Works – Financial Assistance program.  

  • In the ‘other programs’ sector, the Province spent $28 million (4 per cent) of the $630 million budget for municipal transit projects and $204 million (16 per cent) of the Ministry of Infrastructure’s entire $1.2 billion budget. 

  • In 2019-20 and 2020-21, spending at the end of the third quarter was $2.0 billion (1.7 per cent) and $3.1 billion (2.6 per cent) below plan, respectively. 

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 or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for more information on our reports.  


For further information, please contact:
Jessica Martin l 647 527 2385 l l