Media Release: Ontario deficit will nearly quadruple to $41 billion, debt-to-GDP jumps to 49.7%


[La version française suit le texte anglais.]


TORONTO, May 11, 2020 – Today, the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) released its Spring 2020 Economic and Budget Outlook report. The report shows that the partial shutdown of the Ontario economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic will deliver a severe blow to the province’s revenues, increase spending, and result in substantially higher deficits and debt.

The FAO projects Ontario’s budget deficit will quadruple to $41 billion in 2020-21, the largest in Ontario’s history. Higher deficits will result in sharply increased borrowing and debt, raising Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP ratio to a record 49.7 per cent in 2020-21, up almost 10 percentage points from last year. Even as the economy recovers through 2021, Ontario’s debt burden would remain elevated at 48.7 per cent of GDP next year.

Ontario’s economic recovery will depend on the success of the pandemic containment measures and the pace at which the economy can be safely reopened. Assuming the pandemic shutdown is gradually eased through the summer, the FAO projects that Ontario’s economy will steadily strengthen into 2021, helping to reduce the budget deficit to $25.3 billion in 2021-22.

However, there is significant risk that reopening the economy could take longer than expected due to continued public health concerns. If Ontario’s economic recovery is delayed, budget deficits and provincial debt would be much higher, pushing Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP ratio above 52 per cent next year.

Quick Facts:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic and government measures to contain the virus will have a significant impact on Ontario’s economy, with real GDP projected to decline by a record 9.0 per cent in 2020.
  • Ontario revenues are projected to drop by $21.7 billion or 14.0 per cent in 2020-21, much larger than the revenue decline which occurred during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.
  • The FAO’s projection of a $41 billion budget deficit in 2020-21 would be considerably larger than the province’s previous record deficits of $19.3 billion in 2009-10 and $12.4 billion in 1992-93.
  • Ontario’s interest on debt is projected to increase to 9.8 cents of every dollar of revenue in 2020-21, up from 8.0 cents in 2019-20.

To read the full report visit or click here.

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 and follow us on Twitter at


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