Jessica Bell MPP, University–Rosedale

Government of Ontario

First Impressions of Fall Economic Statement 2021

Published on November 5, 2021

2021 Fall Economic Statement Note 


  • No affordability measures for average folks 
  • No relief for high gas prices or the increasing cost of living 
  • No long-term planning to improve health and education 
  • No permanent wage increase for PSWs 
  • Roads needing repairs aren’t being done, while Ford’s buddies get billions in a new bypass.  


Total spending:  

  • Health: $69.9B, up from $69.8 in 2021 budget  
  • Education: $30.8B (base), down $467M from $31.3B in 2021 budget 
  • Muni/Housing: $481M (base), down $32M from $512M in 2021 budget 
  • Social Services: $17.8B, same from 2021 budget 
  • Debt Interest: $13B, down from $13.1B in 2021 budget 
  • Colleges/Unis: $10.7B, same from 2021 budget[Text Wrapping Break] 

Total Revenue and Expenses::  

  • Revenue: $168.6B, $14.6B increase from budget 2021 
  • Expense: $189.1B, up from $186.1B in budget 2021

Total deficit:  

  • $21.5B (down from 2021-22 Budget deficit of $33.1B)  
    Note: 2020-21 Public Accounts & FAO have shown that the PCs overestimate deficits. 

Debt to GDP:  

  • 43.4% - Budget 2021 projected 48.8% 


  • INFLATION:  3.1% 
  • GDP: 4.3% - 4.5% in 2022 
  • JOBS:  300,000 in 2021 - 500,000 by 2024 
  • UNEMPLOYMENT 7.3% as of September  
  • WAGES up 4.9% - but household spending expected to rise 5.7% in same period. 


  • $42.0B - $12.7B less than 2021’s budget forecast.   


  • Staycation tax credit - $1000 for accommodations, or about $200 after tax.  
  • Highways 413 and the Bradford Bypass  


  • Education Ministry’s base spending ($457M) is down from Budget 2021.  




What’s being announced: 

  • $1.8B 2021-22 for 3,100 hospital beds (not new) 
  • $342M 2021-2022 to add 5000 new and upskilled RNs + RPNs, and 8,000 PSWs 
  • $57.6M in 2022-23 for 225 NPs in LTC  
  • $548.5M over 3 years for home and community care 
  • $12.4M over 2 years starting 2021-22 for mental health programs for health and long term care workers 
  • $1.6B in resources to schools to protect against COVID, including $600M for ventilation 
  • $8.9M for COVID supports in congregate care settings 

What’s missing: 

  • The 2021 budget included “$246M over the next four years to improve living conditions in existing homes, including ensuring homes have air conditioning for residents, so our loved ones can live in comfort, and with safety, dignity and respect.” 
  • Addictions and mental health support 


Long-Term Care: 

What’s being announced: 

  • Seniors Home Safety Tax Credit extended to 2022 
  • $72.3M over three years for LTC enforcement capacity and doubling inspectors by 2022-23 (not new) 

What’s missing: 

  • Permanent pay increase for personal support workers   



What’s being announced: 

  • “78M toward COVID supports for the 2021-22 school year, including funding to enhance safety measures and learning recovery” (pg.122)  

What’s been cut (if anything):  

  • 467M cut to base education spending from 2021-22 budget (was $31.26B, now 30.796B)  

What’s missing: 

  • Relies on previously announced 1.6B for COVID supports. 
  • No confirmation of how the second half of 1.6B in COVID supports will be provided. School boards were asked to budget for only half a year. 
  • No new supports to deliver smaller class sizes[Text Wrapping Break] 



What’s being announced: 

  • Re-announcement of 20% top-up to the CARE credits for 2021, increasing average support to $1500 from 1250. 
  • Doubling down on belief that JK is childcare (p. 79) 

What’s missing: 

  • A bilateral agreement worth $10.2B with the federal government.  


Jobs and Business Supports: 

What’s being announced: 

  • $40M in a new Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Competitiveness Stream of the Regional Development Program for two years 
  • Re-announcement of the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit (this is the third announcement of it) 
  • $270M to $1.85M families, $145 on average (more info below) 
  • Proposing an extension of the Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit (I believe this was announced in Budget 2021) 
  • Estimated $275M in support to 240,000 people, $1150 per person on average, up to $2000 
  • Expanding Second Career Program (this is a announcement, originally announced with Bill 13) 
  • $5M in 2021-22 
  • Cost savings and support totalling $10.1B in 2021, 60% to small business 
  • $1M to Futurpreneur Canada 
  • $200M to Skills Development Fund, they are on second round of funding.  
  • Immigrant entrepreneur pilot program outside the GTA, $6M over three years 
  • Re-announcement, but more funding, for Digital Main Street 


  • Ontario is developing ‘phase two’ of its Driving Prosperity plan, transforming auto supply chain by establishing a domestic battery ecosystem and ensuring auto workers have the skills they need to transition  


Social Assistance and Income Support: 

What’s being announced: 

  • No new Spending: Ontario Social Service Relief Fund spending of $1B over 2020/21  (previously announced an increase of $307M from $760M in August 2021).  

What’s been cut (if anything):  

  • It doesn’t appear as if there is a cut to base funding for social service spending. The Ford government previously cut social service funding by $1B in 2020  


Labour/Minimum Wage: 

What’s being announced: 

  • Increase to the minimum wage, including server wage, of $15/hr beginning in January 2022 
  • FES makes clear that secondary tier min wages (i.e. students) will only rise with indexing, beginning as scheduled in October (pg 71) 
  • Previously announced $5M for ‘Second Career’ Funding - not new, announced in July 2021 
  • Job training tax credit will be extended - $275M works out to just over $1000 per applicant     
  • Previously announced $1.1M for creation of anti-labour trafficking team (pg 72)    

Colleges and Universities: 

What’s being announced: 

  • Several re-announcements, but nothing new since Budget 2021 

What’s missing: 

  • More OSAP grants 
  • Support for students with mental health concerns, sexual violence on campus  
  • No additional support for contract faculty 


Housing & Municipal Affairs: 

What’s being announced: 

  • $345M for municipal transit agencies to address COVID-related deficits (paid from the COVID fund; not an MMAH expense) 
  • $200M in additional spending for community infrastructure (Note: this is an infrastructure ministry expenditure, not MMAH) 
  • Creating a Housing Affordability Task Force to make recommendations about housing affordability (as recently proposed by the Ontario Real Estate Association).  
  • Proposes enhancements to the Brownfield Financial Tax Incentive to encourage more development, including housing. The incentive will be worth $2M in 2022-23 
  • Proposes new requirements concerning the disclosure of information on beneficial ownership, but no mention of requirements that beneficial land property ownership information be accessible to the public, as the NDP has proposed in its housing platform 
  • Lifting the 5% cap on increases to payments-in-lieu of property taxes for airports until airport passenger levels return to pre-pandemic levels, as requested by Peel and Mississauga. 

What’s been cut (if anything):  

  • $32M cut from base ministry spending, offset by a corresponding increase in one-time COVID-related spending 

What’s missing: 

  • No rent relief for tenants who face eviction due to the pandemic.  
  • No plan to address the ongoing eviction crisis caused by the pandemic 
  • No funding increase for housing and homelessness programs to address gaps recently identified by the FAO, who wrote in a recent report: “From 2019-20 to 2027-28, annual spending on the Province’s housing programs will average $696M. This is significantly lower than average annual spending by the Province from 2014-15 to 2018-19, at $856M per year.” As a result of this austerity, “the FAO estimates that the total number of households in core housing need will increase to 815,500 households in 2027, an increase of 80,500 households from 2018” 
  • The document’s “Building More Homes” touts increases in private investment and construction activity, but does not include proposals to ensure that new homes are affordable.  


Transit and Transportation: 

What’s being announced: 

  • $345M for municipal transit agencies to address COVID-related deficits (paid from the COVID fund; not a transportation ministry expense) 
  • An additional $1.6B over six years to advance highway and bridge projects, including the Bradford Bypass and Highway 413  
  • The costs of Highway 413 are estimated at $6-10B, and the costs of the Bradford Bypass are estimated at $800M - $1.5B 

What’s missing: 

  • No timeline for Northlander passenger rail service restoration, even though the government promised that it would be restored in their first term.   
  • No confirmation about whether or not the proposed Highway 413 highway will be tolled 
  • No indication of when the road to the Ring of Fire will ever be built; re-announces the same $1B commitment that the Liberals kept re-announcing 
  • 10-year transit infrastructure funding remains same from budget, with no apparent new funding for projects such as the $1.7B in funding for the Hamilton LRT or the $180M for new TTC streetcars 
  • No funding for the Sheppard East subway extension. 
  • No timeline or funding for a future extension of the Eglinton West LRT to Pearson. 
  • No funding or timeline details for the proposed GO expansion to Bowmanville or Niagara Falls.  



What’s being announced: 

  • $200M in additional spending for community infrastructure, as part of a $1B, five-year commitment 
  • Increases total infrastructure expenditures over 10 years by only $2.7B to $170B, as compared to the 2021-22 budget, including a $1.6B increase for provincial highways   
  • The government’s 10-year plan is still less than less than the $182B 10-year plan announced in the 2018-19 Liberal budget  
  • An additional $1.6B over six years to advance highway and bridge projects, including the Bradford Bypass and Highway 413  
  • the costs of Highway 413 are estimated at $6-10B, and the costs of the Bradford Bypass are estimated at $800M - $1.5B 

Agriculture and Food: 

What’s being announced: 

  • Legislative amendments will allow municipalities to offer a more favourable property tax treatment of on-farm businesses. The property tax exemption for farm woodlots will be increased from 20 acres to 30 acres 

What’s missing: 

  • No increase to Risk Management Program cap 


Energy and Environment: 

What’s being announced: 

  • Some of the contracted fixed costs of existing biomass generation may be transferred from ratepayers to taxpayers via the Renewable Cost Shift program (biomass generation represents a very small portion of total electricity system costs) 
  • Indeigenous-led electricity projects may benefit from the expansion of the Aboriginal Loan Guarantee Program 

What’s missing: 

  • Household electricity bills are still going up, instead of decreasing by 12% 



What’s being announced: 

  • $5M announced for Racialized and Indigenous Support for Entrepreneurs (RAISE) program - this appears to be new funding (pg 40) 
  • Will invest $8.8 in creation of equity team within OPS (Pg 40) 
  • Announced here a total of investments in anti-racism programming, including “doubling investments” in the Anti-Racism Anti-Hate Grant Program (ARAHP, announced in Sept 2021.  
  • $5M allocated for anti-racism programs - mostly pre-announced funds (*see above)      

What’s missing: 

  • No mention of Anti-Racism Directorate, very little mention of equity programs or novel funding 


Additional Files  

Tourism, Hospitality, Culture, Sport  

  • Re-announcement of the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit (this is the third announcement of it, but we finally have details p. 167) 
  • $270M to 1.85M families, $145 on average 
  • 20% tax credit up to $2000 for an individual, $4000 for a family, for a maximum credit of $200 or $400 respectively.  
  • You would apply for this when you file your Personal Income Tax return 
  • It is for accommodations only (hotel, motel, resort, lodge, b&b, cottage, campground) 
  • An additional $30M for the Reconnect Festival and Event Program (new money) 

Research and Innovation 

  • $48M over next two years to Perimeter Institute, Sudbury Neutrino Observatory Laboratory, Advanced Research Computing (looks like new funding). 


  • Better consumer protection, allowing FSRA to better identify misconduct 
  • No mention of auto insurance or commercial insurance 
  • No changes to LCBO wholesale pricing or other breaks for small businesses.  
  • No promised tax cut from the Ford government. 
  • Proposing legislative amendments to the Business Corporations Act to introduce beneficial ownership information requirements to prevent and better detect tax evasion, money laundering or other illicit financial activities. 

Francophone Communities 

  • Investing $1.5M over three years in Francophone business incubator (this looks like new money, but the program was announced in Budget 2021) 
  • French language services strategy, modernizing French Language Services Act to improve access to French language services 
  • Plan to exempt the Universite de l’Ontario francais from property taxes, like other universities.  

Attorney General 

  • Base funding is up by $100M compared to 2020-21 spending, but still down $71M compared to 2018-19. 
  • The AG announced $72M in funding over 2 years to fix the backlog in criminal courts, which likely forms a big share of the $100M increase in funding.  
  • This 100M increase in justice sector funding is projected to stay steady at 4.8B over the medium term.  


  • $1.1M in 2021-22 to implement a pilot team of officers to undertake inspections of temp agencies and recruiters suspected of worker exploitation and labour trafficking. 
  • Informed by the Taskforce on Women and the Economy, government is committing: 
  • $500,000 to Investing in Women’s Futures program, training opportunities and wrap around services for women 
  • $5M for the Racialized and Indigenous Support for Entrepreneurs (RAISE) grant, help to start or grow their business.  
  • Diversity and inclusion at Skilled Trades Ontario 

Democratic Reform  

  • Notes that changes will be coming to Election Finance Act that will remove requirement of broadcasters to verify compliance of third party advertisers (pg 84)  

Indigenous Affairs  

  • Additional $10M committed to recovery of remains efforts at residential school sites - taking total provincial investment to $20M over 3 years - this appears to be a new money commitment 
  • $300M in funding for the Aboriginal Loan Guarantee Program (aimed at Indigenous entrepreneurs and companies), taking total budget to $1B  

Mining/Northern Affairs  

  • No new dedicated investment into Ring of Fire (existing $1B holdover from the previous Liberal government) (pg 46)    
  • Amendments to Far North Act that will include “amending or repealing current prohibitions to current prohibitions on development in areas without an approved land use plan (pg 55)  
  • NW First Nations have long rejected the lack of consultation protections in the FNA and bodies such as the Matawa Chiefs Council and Nishnawbe Aski Nation declined to participate in the rushed consultation on the FNA announced last Nov (closing in January), citing COVID emergency considerations (pg 56) 
  • The Ford government committed to scrap the FNA in 2019 
  • Fall budget plans changes to the Ontario Northland Transportation Act (ONTA), but no new funds are announced here beyond the existing $5M allocation from Spring budget  
  • No change to the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund.