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Ontario records $2.1B surplus despite projected deficit for fiscal year | CBC News

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Ontario ended the last fiscal year with a $2.1-billion surplus, while it spent $1.4 billion less than planned in education.

The surplus is being used to help reduce Ontario’s net debt, which is about $380 billion, and the government says it will pause an automatic pay increase legislators are supposed to get when there is a surplus.

Last month, the Ford government said it was a running a $13.5 billion deficit for the 2021-22 fiscal year ending in March. Today’s surplus figure means a $15-billion difference in the government’s bottom line in just six weeks.

Government officials say the surplus is a result of revenues that were 20 per cent higher than the 2021 budget forecast, largely due to higher-than-expected inflation and a “resilient” economy.

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Drop in education spending due to COVID-19

Actual government spending in the fiscal year that ended in March was $2.5 billion lower than the budget spending plan, including $1.4 billion lower in education, which officials say is partly due to the end of time-limited COVID-19 supports.

Health spending was higher than planned, mostly due to money that went to hospitals and long-term care homes to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and on the vaccination strategy.

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The government is also announcing that it is increasing the amount of money it will provide to parents in direct payment for tutoring supports from $225 million to $365 million, but still has not provided any details about how that program will work.

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