Ontario’s fiscal watchdog says the province didn’t spend any money from a new $2.7 billion COVID-19 response program in the first quarter.
A Wednesday report from the Financial Accountability Office found that the province spent a total of $2.6 billion — or 6.6 per cent — less than planned between April and July.
The report says health spending was $691 million lower than planned in the area of population and public health because the province didn’t spend funds from the pandemic program.
That provincial program, called the COVID-19 Response transfer payment, was introduced this year to support public health.
A spokeswoman for the watchdog’s office says the FAO did not have details on the program’s intended recipients.
The Ministry of Health did not immediately response to a request for comment.
Health spending was higher than planned for long-term care home operations and development, but lower than planned in payments to physicians and in health services.
The report says spending was higher than planned in two sectors; education and justice.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Toronto mayor John Tory said he hasn’t seen the specifics of the report.
“One complaint I won’t have when this is all said and done … is that the other governments haven’t been responsive” to Toronto’s needs during the pandemic, he said.
“It’s been a good team effort so far and we’ve all worked very well together, federal, provincial and city,” the mayor added.