Ontario will table 2021 budget on March 24, finance minister says

TORONTO — Ontario will table its 2021 budget on March 24, Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy says.

The 2020 budget projected a $38.5 billion deficit caused by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite significant assistance from the federal government, the province says it could run deficits worth a whopping $100 billion over the next three years.

The Ford government has borrowed heavily to prevent public sector layoffs, issue loans and grants to businesses, and buttress hospitals and public health units as they respond to the pandemic.

“Once Ontario is vaccinated and COVID-19 is behind us, the day will come when will no longer fear this virus,” Bethlenfalvy said at Queen’s Park on Thursday morning.

He said that the 2021-2022 budget will contain additional measures to help the province get over impacts brought on the pandemic and continue administering vaccines, comparing the situation to a ship in stormy waters.

“We can see land but we are not there yet.”

He declined to say whether the budget would lay out a path to a balanced budget, something Premier Doug Ford campaigned on but had to depart from when lockdowns caused widespread job loss in 2020.

This is a breaking news story. More to come.

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