TORONTO — 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.
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.
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.
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.