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Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 (March 2020 Economic & Fiscal Update)

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 2020 Economic & Fiscal Update



Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19


In an effort to draw full attention to mitigating both the health and economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Ontario has elected to delay the release of its annual Budget. 


Instead, on March 25, the government released an economic and fiscal update entitled, “Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID‑19,” which provides a one-year economic forecast and the government’s initial response plan to the COVID-19 crisis. The response plan consists of a proposed $17 billion package, with measures intended to complement the federal response. 


Note that we can expect a formal Budget no later than November 15, 2020.






The government announced plans to:

  • Defer $6 billion of provincially administered taxes (April 1 to August 31)
  • Defer $1.9 billion of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) premiums and expenses for employers for 6 months
  • Work with municipal partners to defer $1.8 billion in property taxes for 90 days (including the provincial education tax)
  • Postpone the 2021 property tax reassessment 
  • Retroactively reduce the Employer Health Tax (EHT) and temporarily increase the exemption from $490,000 to $1 million
  • Help support regions lagging in employment growth with the proposed new Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit
  • Support energy affordability for small business, farm, and residential consumers with approximately $5.6 billion towards electricity cost relief programs in 2020-21, an increase of approximately $1.5 billion compared to the 2019 Budget plan




The government announced plans to:

  • Invest an additional $3.3 billion in health care resources beyond what was budgeted last year. This includes:
  • $935 million towards the hospital sector
  • $160 million towards public health funding to support COVID-19 monitoring, surveillance, testing, and Telehealth Ontario
  • $243 million for surge capacity in the long-term care sector
  • $75 million to supply personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies to front-line staff
  • Provide $26 million in additional support to Indigenous peoples and communities 
  • Help families pay for the extra costs associated with school and daycare closures by providing a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those under 21 with special needs
  • Double the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment for low-income seniors for six months
  • Defer loan payments and interest accrual for six months for Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) borrowers


Read Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 (March 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update) and the OCC's full rapid policy update.




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Stay up to date on COVID-19


Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Hicks Morley have created a COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit to support Ontario businesses. Access the toolkit here


Business and Employee Supports

We know that this is a difficult time and businesses across the province are faced with many unknowns. Read more here


OCC COVID-19 Advocacy Response

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) is taking concerns from the business community and communicating them to all levels of government.

Feedback from Ontario Business

We have established an online form for Ontario business to share their specific needs and concerns as they face new challenges that the COVID-19 crisis has generated.


Government News

The latest news from the Government of Canada and Ontario on COVID-19. Read more here


Mental Health Resources

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may cause anxiety and stress. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has put together mental health resources to help you during this time.


For important and up to date information about COVID-19 visit the Public Health Agency of Canada website at: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html.


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*This information is not intended to provide medical advice. If you have medical questions, consult a health practitioner.


If you think you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this self-assessment to help determine how to seek further care. Take the assessment.

Click here to see the most up to date information from the Ministry of Health on how to protect yourself.



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