Ontario public accounts shows record spending increase, relief from COVID supports

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Canadian Currency

TORONTO — Ontario is reporting a record spending increase over the last fiscal year as it fought the COVID-19 pandemic.

It says program expenses in 2020-21 were $169 billion, up $16.7 billion from the previous year.

The figures are part of the government’s report on its 2020-21 public accounts, which break down the financial picture for the fiscal year that ended on March 31.

Despite the record increase, the province says spending was still $5.6 billion lower than forecast because the third wave of COVID-19 infections peaked later than expected – after that fiscal year ended.

The province says the allocated unspent money will be accounted for in this fiscal year.

The deficit for the year is pegged at $16.4 billion, which is lower than what was projected in part due to higher than expected tax revenues as people received government pandemic supports.