The Ford government unveiled their action plan for Ontario, in what the premier dubbed the "next step in our plan to COVID-19" Wednesday afternoon. The plan is what Ford describes as a relief package for Ontario businesses and families.
"COVID-19 has emerged as a monumental threat to our health, and to our economy. But we will fight this threat with every ounce of our resolve," stressed Ford.
Ford talked of the $17 billion going to "new relief and support," going to front-line health care workers, families, businesses, and workers.
The $17 billion care package will be split into two camps: $7 billion in direct support, and $10 billion in business tax and tax-related deferrals.
Parents with children under age 12 will also benefit from a $336 million program that will grant one-time payouts of $200 per child, or $250 per child with special needs.
Low income seniors will also see benefits double.
Additional spending includes a dedicated $1.0 billion to fight the virus, which includes funding for emergency needs and outbreak control.
The province will also be investing $935 million for hospitals, with $594 dedicated to directly addressing capacity issues. This includes 1,000 acute care beds, as well as 500 critical care beds.
Ford also announced that the public health fund will see $160 million to help slow the spread of the virus in the way of monitoring, surveillance, and even home testing to reduce to need for Ontarians to leave their homes to get tested That investment will also go to Telehealth services.
The announcement also includes $275 million towards long-term care facilities, along with measures to decrease the chance of infection to those helping fight the potentially fatal virus.
On top of this, Ford announced that there will be a $3.7 billion injection into urgent support for people and jobs.
The unprecedented spending will leave the province with a hefty $20.5 billion deficit for 2020-2021.
Finance Minister Rod Phillips said he wants Ontarians to put their health above all other priorities.
"During this global pandemic, I want the people of Ontario to be focused on their health—not worrying about losing their job or how to make ends meet as they deal with unexpected additional expenses... We are helping make life a little more manageable for every person in Ontario, while providing additional support to those who need it most."