ontario budget

Ontario's new budget proves people are drinking way more alcohol than usual

The Ontario government released their 2020 budget today and, in addition to being the biggest spending budget in the province's history with the largest projected deficit, it also includes some interesting information about residents' drinking habits this year. 

The 250-page document, titled Ontario's Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover, indicates that government revenue from alcohol sales increased by $8 million from last year — which is likely not a huge surprise to those of you who've been frequently indulging in more than just one glass of wine since the pandemic forced you to stay in your home with not much else to do.

The budget explains that this increase in tax revenue is also partially due to a shift to domestic production of certain beer brands. 

To make it easier for residents to access alcohol throughout the pandemic and to help businesses stay afloat amid indoor dining closures, the provincial government granted permission to restaurants and bars to include alcohol with food for takeout in late March. 

Initially announced as a temporary measure, the new budget proposes making the initiative permanent.

"The government has made a number of changes in response to the unique circumstances and economic hardships being faced by the hospitality sector and the beverage alcohol sector. This included measures such as temporarily allowing restaurants and bars to extend outdoor patios, and to include alcohol as part of food take-out and delivery orders," reads the budget. 

"The government is committed to explore options to permanently allowing alcohol to be included in food take-out and delivery orders before the existing regulation expires on December 31, 2020."

And it seems alcohol isn't the only substance Ontarians have been indulging in this year: The new budget also projects that revenue from cannabis will grow to $80 million annually by 2021.

"The outlook for cannabis-related revenue reflects the continued expansion of the province's open market for retail cannabis stores," states the budget.

So while the provincial government is currently projecting a massive deficit of $38.5 billion for 2020–2021, at least they can count on Ontarians to bring in some revenue by endlessly indulging in weed and alcohol. 

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