Ontario revealed its $205 billion budget on Thursday which projects a $1.3 billion deficit in the next fiscal year.
The Progressive Conservative government hopes to have that deficit turn into a $200 million surplus by the end of 2025, followed by a $4.4 billion surplus in the next year.
According to Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, the budget shows that it’s possible to spend on services while also balancing the budget.
“We are showing it is possible to balance a budget while investing more in housing, more in highways, more in transit, more in the skilled trades, more in new manufacturing, more in health care, more in education, more in the north,” said Bethlenfalvy when presenting his plan.
Ontario is expecting to end the year with $200 billion in revenue due to economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Particulars include a $20 billion infrastructure plan to build hospitals, highways and other projects.
Ontario also plans to put $200 million to address a shortage of health care workers in the form of training positions for 6,000 students and accreditation for over 3,000 international nurses. $80 million will also go to universities and colleges to educate approximately 8,000 nurses by 2028.
The provincial government has also pledged to fund mental health and addiction services to the tune of $425 million spread over the next three years. $202 million of the funding will be spent on preventing homelessness and providing housing to those in need.
For seniors, the Ontario government announced it would add 100,000 more spots to the Guaranteed Annual Income System for those in a low-income category beginning in July 2024.
Another $22 billion was pledged to build more schools and child care facilities.
Ontario also announced it would be boosting spending on residential school site searches. Over $25 million will be put towards identification and investigations of suspected residential school burial sites.