News

Nearly All Businesses and Public Spaces to Reopen in Stage 3

TORONTO — The Ontario government announced nearly all businesses and public spaces will reopen in Stage 3 of the province's reopening framework with public health and workplace safety measures and restrictions in place. As Ontario continues down the path to economic recovery, decisions on which regions will enter Stage 3 and when will be made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts and based on trends of key public health indicators.

Details on the Stage 3 reopening framework were provided by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education.

"Our success in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and getting Ontario to a place where we are ready to reopen most of the province is a testament to the hard work of business owners, individuals and families right across the province," said Premier Ford. "So many have stepped up and played by the rules, demonstrating that we can restart our economy safely and responsibly. Small actions can make a big difference. Now more than ever, we must continue to follow the public health advice to preserve the progress we have made together."

As part of the Stage 3 reopening, Ontario will be increasing gathering limits for those regions entering the next stage to the following:

  • Indoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people;
  • Outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people;
  • Gathering limits are subject to physical distancing requirements.

Public gathering limits apply to indoor and outdoor events, such as community events or gatherings, concerts, live shows, festivals, conferences, sports and recreational fitness activities, fundraisers, fairs, festivals or open houses. A two metre distance must still be maintained at such events.

Regions remaining in Stage 2 will maintain the existing gathering limit of 10. Social circles in all stages at this point will also be kept to a maximum of 10 people province-wide, regardless of stage.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health, public health experts and other officials have advised the following, high-risk places and activities are not yet safe to open, even if a region has entered Stage 3, due to the likelihood of large crowds congregating, difficulties with physical distancing, or challenges maintaining the proper cleaning and sanitation required to prevent the spread of COVID‑19:

  • Amusement parks and water parks;
  • Buffet-style food services;
  • Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements;
  • Overnight stays at camps for children;
  • Private karaoke rooms;
  • Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports;
  • Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars;
  • Table games at casinos and gaming establishments.

For more information on the restrictions that will remain in place during Stage 3, as well as the public health guidance necessary to keep the people of Ontario safe, visit Ontario.ca/reopen.

The province is committed to working closely and collaboratively with businesses and sectors not yet able to reopen or who are experiencing significant challenges for reopening due to Stage 3 restrictions. These businesses can visit Ontario.ca/reopen to work with the government on a reopening proposal that will enable them to safely resume or increase operations. Government and public health officials will review proposals and contact businesses for feedback or clarifications.

"With almost all businesses and services able to resume operations, Stage 3 is a major step forward in our plan to reopen the province," said Minister Phillips. "We have to keep treating each other with respect and acting responsibly to keep up the progress in our fight against COVID-19. Our government will continue working with our partners across Ontario to rebuild our economy so that our province is a place of economic strength and prosperity for every person and family."

The following public health unit regions will be allowed to move into Stage 3 first, on Friday, July 17, 2020:

  • Algoma Public Health
  • Brant County Health Unit
  • Chatham-Kent Public Health
  • Eastern Ontario Health Unit
  • Grey Bruce Health Unit
  • Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
  • Huron Perth Public Health
  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
  • Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
  • Middlesex-London Health Unit
  • North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
  • Northwestern Health Unit
  • Ottawa Public Health
  • Peterborough Public Health
  • Porcupine Health Unit
  • Public Health Sudbury & Districts
  • Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit
  • Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
  • Southwestern Public Health
  • Thunder Bay District Health Unit
  • Timiskaming Health Unit
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health

Businesses and municipalities will be permitted to enter Stage 3 based on their region and, as in the previous stages, may choose to take more time before reopening. For a list of regions that will remain in Stage 2, visit Ontario.ca/reopen.

At the beginning of each week, the province will continue to reassess local trends in public health indicators, including rates of transmission, hospital capacity, progress on testing and contact tracing, to determine if additional public health unit regions can progress to Stage 3. The Chief Medical Officer of Health and other public health experts will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when public health restrictions can be further loosened or if they need to be tightened or reapplied.

"Having seen a decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases as the province safely re-started over 90 per cent of economic activity with Stage 2, we now have the confidence to move certain regions into Stage 3, including expanding the size of gatherings indoors and outdoors," said Minister Elliott. "As we do, it's never been more important for all Ontarians to continue to practise physical distancing and wear a face covering when doing so is a challenge, such as safely visiting a favourite local store. Together, we'll continue to move Ontario forward."

As the province safely and gradually enters Stage 3, child care centres and home child care providers across Ontario will be able to continue to operate with strict safety and operational requirements in place. Beginning on July 27, 2020, child care centres will be permitted to operate with cohorts of 15 children, which is an increase from the current cohort cap of 10. This change will allow parents to return to work, and bring the child care sector to approximately 90 per cent of its operating capacity before the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Providing child care for parents is critical so that, as more Ontarians return to work, they can do so with confidence in knowing that their children are being safely cared for," said Minister Lecce. "Child care is an integral enabler to the continued restart of Ontario's economy, and we remain committed to working to ensure child care remains accessible, affordable and, most importantly, safe as we gradually increase capacity of Ontario's child care sector."

The government, in partnership with health and safety associations, has released over 170 guidance resources at Ontario.ca/COVIDsafety to help employers in multiple sectors ― including fitness, restaurant and food services, and the performing arts ― keep spaces safe for workers and customers. Guidance will be available for all spaces permitted to open in Stage 3. As they prepare to reopen, employers are strongly advised to review and implement appropriate measures to help protect their communities.

"As we enter Stage 3 and continue on the path to economic recovery, it is more important than ever that we support business owners and workers," said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. "That is why we launched the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment suppliers so they can keep their employees, customers and clients safe as they resume their operations. By continuing to work together, we will ensure Ontario is prepared and well-supplied for any future challenges."

Based on community needs, some municipalities and local medical officers of health have implemented more restrictions or requirements, such as mandatory face coverings in commercial establishments and all indoor public places. Check your local public health unit's or local municipality's website.

Quick Facts

  • The government invites businesses not able to open or resume full activities due to Stage 3 restrictions to visit Ontario.ca/reopen to submit a reopening proposal.
  • For questions on restrictions that will remain in place during Stage 3, review the Stage 3 Emergency Order on the emergency information portal or call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
  • The Ontario government has launched a website to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers. The Workplace PPE Supplier Directory has an up-to-date list of Ontario companies and business associations that are ready to supply PPE.
  • The government has also launched the $50 million Ontario Together Fund to support the development of proposals submitted by businesses and individuals through the Ontario Together web portal to help businesses retool their operations.
  • Free online workplace health and safety training is available through Employment Ontario for up to 100,000 job seekers, with topics such as infection control, conducting health and safety incident investigations, ladder safety, slips, trips and falls prevention. Contact an Employment Ontario service provider in your area to enroll.
  • Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, is leading a new committee focused on strengthening the work of the Ontario government following the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee will ensure public sector services are customer focused and digital- and data-driven, while increasing the speed of government operations and decisions.
  • Find sector-specific guidelines and return-to-sport resources to help facilities, trainers and athletes safely return to play and recreation activities in Ontario at Ontario.ca/returntoplay.

Additional Resources

July 13, 2020

Proudly Supporting Ontario's Manufacturing Sector

VAUGHAN — As the province safely and gradually reopens, Ontario is starting down the road to growth, renewal and economic recovery. That's why the Ontario government is proud to support the launch of the Ontario Made program from Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME). This new program will promote the many world-class goods that are made across the province by helping consumers easily identify, access and purchase local products.

Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Dennis Darby, President and CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, at Artistic Skylight in Vaughan, Ontario.

"Ontario has always been Canada's workshop, and our products are recognized as the gold standard across the country and around the world," said Premier Ford. "Our government is proud to support Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters' Ontario Made program. Promoting locally made products will be essential to building a strong, self-sufficient province and key to our economic recovery."

Funding for Ontario Made is made possible through the $50 million Ontario Together Fund launched on April 1, 2020. This funding will be used to help retailers and consumers identify local products by:

  • Creating a new Ontario Made logo that manufacturers can use to help consumers identify their made-in-Ontario products. CME will also meet with major retailers to promote Ontario Made products in-store and increase visibility for customers;
  • Launching a new SupportOntarioMade.ca website that will connect consumers and supply chain partners to manufacturers of made-in-Ontario products through one directory;
  • Promoting Ontario Made through a digital newsletter to raise awareness of Ontario goods and products online and through social media.

"Over the past few months, plants and factories across the province retooled their operations to provide the front lines with the essential equipment needed in the fight against COVID-19, including PPE," said Minister Fedeli. "As the province reopens and the economy recovers, it is now more important than ever to support and promote Ontario's world-class manufacturing sector and get people back to work. By supporting Ontario manufacturing, consumers are buying quality, locally made products."

In March, the government launched the Ontario Together web portal to encourage companies to submit innovative ideas and ways to provide medical supplies, PPE and other essential equipment. To date, more than 27,000 submissions have been received since the launch of the web portal and 18,000 leads have been converted into more than $658 million in purchases of emergency supplies.

In April, the government launched the $50 million Ontario Together Fund to support the development of proposals submitted by businesses and individuals through the Ontario Together web portal and help businesses retool their operations or deliver innovative solutions in response to COVID-19.

"Ontario manufacturers have a long and proud history of making some of the most innovative products in the world. As consumers increasingly want to buy local, it's important that we help them make informed decisions and find local manufacturers," said Mr. Darby. "We want to encourage Ontario manufacturers to proudly wave the flag by labeling their products and buying local where possible. Ontario Made will help raise awareness of what is manufactured right here by our neighbours, friends, and families and support local manufacturing."

Quick Facts

  • The Ontario government is investing $500,000 from the Ontario Together Fund into the Ontario Made program.
  • CME is a national organization with significant membership in Ontario and across Canada, representing over 30 sector manufacturing associations.
  • To support business owners, workers and the economic recovery of the province, the government launched the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment suppliers so they can keep their employees, customers and clients safe as they resume their operations.

Additional Resources

July 10, 2020

Canada and Ontario Supporting Farmers through Enhanced Insurance Protection

WOODSTOCK — The governments of Canada and Ontario are providing the best support possible to help farmers manage challenges beyond their control by enhancing AgriInsurance coverage for the 2020 growing season to include labour shortages due to COVID-19.

Ontario's agriculture industry, specifically farms growing fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, melons and peaches, are labour intensive and highly dependent on seasonal agricultural workers. COVID-19 has interrupted regular flows of worker travel and has resulted in some gaps in labour availability. This could result in some crops being unharvested and financial loss for the agri-food industry.

The federal government made a commitment on May 5th to work with the provinces and territories to explore possibilities for expanding the AgriInsurance program to include labour shortages as an eligible risk for the horticulture sector. This work with provincial and territorial partners would insure against lost production due to an insufficient workforce, should producers be unable to find enough labour to harvest.

"During these exceptional times, we fully appreciate just how essential our agri-food workers are to our entire food supply chain," said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. "Our Government has been working hard with the provinces and agri-food businesses to ensure those workers have a safe workplace so they can continue putting food on our tables. I congratulate Ontario for being the first province to take this important step that recognizes the hardships Ontario farmers and food producers have faced because of worker shortages, and gives them the added support they need."

 "We recognize that this terrible virus has created new business pressures and increased uncertainty for farmers, which is why we are taking action to ensure farmers have the resources they need to address today's challenges," said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "By enhancing AgriInsurance coverage to include labour shortages due to COVID-19 for eligible farmers, we are directly responding to their requests for support and protecting Ontario's agri-food sector so it can continue producing the food our province needs."

Ontario farmers already enrolled in an eligible production insurance plan who suffer from crop losses due to labour disruptions during the 2020 growing season will have access to further insurance coverage through Agricorp. The added insurance coverage will include:

 

  • Inability to attract sufficient on-farm labour due to COVID-19; and
  • Illness or quarantine of on-farm labour and the producer due to COVID-19.

 

Farmers will be expected to notify Agricorp as soon as possible if they experience COVID-19 related labour disruptions that are having an impact on their crops.

 "This announcement is an important first step towards giving growers assurances that their government will have their backs during the pandemic," said Bill George, Chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association. "We thank Minister Bibeau for making this enhanced coverage possible, and we thank Minister Hardeman and the Ford government for its leadership, and for being the first province in Canada to take this step."

Business Risk Management programs, including AgriInsurance, protect producers against significant risks that threaten the viability of their farm and are beyond their capacity to manage, such as weather, disease and pests. It is a business risk management program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $3-billion commitment by Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments to support Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is home to 49,600 farms, growing 200 different commodities. Ontario’s agriculture industry supports 69,000 jobs and contributes $7.6 billion to the GDP.
  • Agricorp administers production insurance programming in Ontario on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
  • The province is significantly expanding the Agri-food Workplace Protection Program and committing up to $15 million to enhance health and safety measures on farms and in food processing facilities.
  • The Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program provides cost-share funding for farmers to purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and implement workplace modifications and other measures.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has provided funding to Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS) to deliver resources and consulting services to help farmers and other agri-food businesses provide safe workplaces. For more information, visit the WSPS website.
  • The Federal government has launched a number of initiatives to help attract labour to primary agriculture:

July 09, 2020

Ontario Expanding Access to the Modern Digital Economy

The Ontario government is expanding access to reliable broadband and cellular service in underserved and unserved parts of the province. The application intake for the $150 million Improving Connectivity for Ontario program (ICON) opens today. This funding will help drive economic investment and job creation across the province, while allowing more people to work from home more efficiently, engage in online learning, and connect with family and friends.

"The outbreak of COVID-19 reinforced the need to improve access to reliable broadband and cellular service as more people work and learn from home in order to practice physical distancing," said Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure. "By making these investments we will help to ensure every region in the province can participate in the modern digital economy, and contribute to Ontario's economic recovery."    

Any areas across Ontario that do not meet the national standards for broadband speeds would be eligible for provincial funding. Up to 12 per cent of households in the province - mostly in rural, remote or northern areas - don't have adequate broadband service, according to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

Telecommunication service providers, municipalities, Indigenous communities and non-profits are invited to submit innovative proposals and lend their investment, expertise and experience to improve connectivity in communities across Ontario. The preliminary application deadline for the first intake of the ICON program is August 21, 2020.

The province's investment of $150 million announced today is part of the $315 million Up to Speed: Ontario's Broadband and Cellular Action Plan. This action plan has the potential to leverage up to $1 billion in partner funding for broadband infrastructure investments.

Quick Facts

  • On June 3, 2020, Ontario announced the ICON program, a multi-year plan which aims to support approved projects as early as 2021.
  • National standards for adequate broadband service are defined by speeds known as 50/10 (50 megabits per second download, and 10 megabits for upload).
  • Over the past several months, Ontario has partnered with the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) to leverage $213 million to improve cellular access in eastern Ontario.
  • The Province is investing in the $190 million Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) project to bring high-speed broadband to 50,000 more homes and businesses across Southwestern Ontario.
  • Ontario has invested in initiatives to improve connectivity in Northern Ontario, such as a project that will connect five remote Matawa First Nations communities, seven broadband projects that will support rural and Indigenous communities, and the Next Generation Network Program.

Additional Resources

July 09, 2020

Ontario Extends Emergency Orders

TORONTO — The Ontario government, in consultation with Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended all emergency orders currently in force that were made under s.7.0.2(4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to July 22, 2020. The extension was made to ensure the province maintains the necessary flexibility to protect public health and safety as more businesses reopen and people go back to work.

The extension of the emergency orders will help protect vulnerable people, such as seniors, by allowing the redeployment of frontline staff in long-term care facilities, retirement homes and other congregate care settings, like women's shelters and residential services. In addition, the extension would allow public health units to redeploy or hire staff to support case management and contact tracing.

"Our government is getting Ontario back on track and more people back to work, but at the same time taking steps to ensure we don't undo the tremendous progress we have made together," said Premier Doug Ford. "By keeping these emergency measures in place, we will continue to support our frontline care providers, protect our most vulnerable, and ensure we can rapidly respond to potential outbreaks or surges."

The government intends to extend emergency orders to align with the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, if passed. This proposed legislation is part of the government's plan to cautiously reopen Ontario in a way that recognizes the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 even after the provincial declaration of emergency has ended. The bill, if passed, would allow Ontario to continue its path to recovery by easing restrictions where appropriate, while maintaining important select tools to address the ongoing threat of this deadly virus and protect Ontarians.

A full list of emergency orders can be found on the e-Laws website under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and at Ontario.ca/alert.

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Ontario declared a provincial emergency on March 17, 2020 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The declaration of emergency was extended and is currently in effect until July 15, 2020.
  • The government brought forward a motion in the Ontario legislature that, if passed, would extend the provincial declaration of emergency until July 24, 2020.

Additional Resources

July 09, 2020

Ontario Starting Down the Path to Growth, Renewal and Economic Recovery

TORONTO — The Ontario government is taking the first step in a made-in-Ontario plan for growth, renewal and economic recovery. Today, the province introduced the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, proposed legislation that lays the foundation to restart jobs and development, strengthen communities, and create opportunity for people in every region of the province. 

Details of the legislation were provided by Premier Doug Ford, Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has touched all Ontarians and created significant hardship for individuals, families and businesses," said Premier Ford. "People are relying on our government to help rebuild the province and get people back to work ― and that's exactly what we're doing, starting with this new legislation."

If passed, the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act will:

  • Restart jobs and development to get Ontario's economic engine roaring again by getting key infrastructure projects built faster, attracting more jobs and investment, and cutting red tape to help businesses adapt to the new environment.
  • Strengthen communities by ensuring municipalities are equipped with the tools they need to continue to provide the critical services people rely on every day, including allowing municipalities and their local boards to continue to choose to hold meetings electronically at any time and putting in place a new community benefits charge to help municipalities pay for the infrastructure and services needed for growing communities.
  • Create opportunity for people as they recover their lives and livelihoods by protecting consumers, modernizing services, improving the education system and removing the social and economic barriers that stand in the way of success for young people.

"We are working hand in hand with our municipal partners so they can emerge stronger and better able to meet the needs of local residents," said Minister Clark. "Ontario will continue to be a champion for communities and work closely with the federal government to help every community chart a path to a strong economic recovery."

"Making Ontario a modern regulator — one that communicates clearly and operates effectively — will free up our people and businesses to focus on what's important: recovering and re-emerging stronger than before," said Minister Sarkaria. "By improving digital access to government and incorporating best practices, we're empowering businesses to rebuild, rehire, and return to a period where their success fuels our economic growth. A modern Ontario is better for people and smarter for business."

The government is committed to working in partnership with people, businesses and municipalities to respond to the challenges they face and support the long-term health and prosperity of Ontario's economy.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario’s COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website was created to help businesses overcome the unique challenges created by this pandemic.
  • Through almost 1,300 submissions the government is actively investigating nearly 400 as identified roadblocks.
  • To assist municipalities, the province announced several supports in Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID 19 (March 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update). This lays the groundwork for nearly $450 million of direct support to assist municipalities in their efforts to support vulnerable people, deferring the June municipal remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days, and postponing the property tax reassessment for 2021 to ensure that municipal governments can focus their attention on critical public health initiatives.
  • The $450 million in support includes: $350 million through the Social Services Relief Fund, most of which allows local service managers and Indigenous program administrators to expand supports for our vulnerable people across the province; an additional $100 million to support public health units and Public Health Ontario for the extraordinary costs incurred in meeting this public health threat and in protecting Ontarians.
  • The government is investing $2.6 billion this year to rehabilitate Ontario’s highways and bridges in every corner of Ontario. To get shovels in the ground faster and get more people back to work, the government is making it easier to build this critical transportation infrastructure, which will reduce delays and save taxpayers money.

Background Information

Additional Resources

July 08, 2020

Ontario Introduces Legislation to Protect Public Health as Economy Reopens

TORONTO — Today, the Ontario government introduced proposed legislation that, if passed, would give the province the necessary flexibility to address the ongoing risks and effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. The proposed legislation is part of the government's plan for the continued safe and gradual reopening of the province once the declaration of emergency ends.

Details about the proposed legislation were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.

"If passed, the proposed legislation would allow us to chart a responsible path to economic reopening and recovery without putting all the progress we've made in fighting this virus at risk," said Premier Ford. "Even as we continue certain emergency orders under the proposed legislation to protect public health, we will always be a government accountable to the people of Ontario. That's why I will ensure ongoing updates are provided and that a report is tabled within four months of the anniversary of this proposed Act coming into force."

"While the declaration of emergency may come to an end shortly, the risk posed by COVID-19 is likely to be with us for some time to come," said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. "This new legislation would provide the government with the necessary flexibility to ensure select tools remain in place to protect vulnerable populations, such as seniors, and respond to this deadly virus."

The Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 would, if passed, ensure important measures remain in place to address the threat of COVID-19 once the provincial declaration of emergency has ended. Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Continue emergency orders in effect under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) under the new legislation for an initial 30 days.
  • Allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to further extend these orders for up to 30 days at a time, as required to keep Ontarians safe.
  • Allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to amend certain emergency orders continued under the EMCPA if the amendment relates to:
    • labour redeployment or workplace and management rules;
    • closure of places and spaces or regulation of how businesses and establishments can be open to provide goods or services in a safe manner;
    • compliance with public health advice; or
    • rules related to gatherings and organized public events.
  • Not allow new emergency orders to be created.
  • Allow emergency orders to be rescinded when it is safe to do so.

The ability to extend and amend orders under the new legislation would be limited to one year, unless extended by the Ontario legislature. Appropriate oversight and transparency would be ensured through regular, mandated reporting that provides the rationale for the extension of any emergency order. The legislation would include the same types of provisions on offences and penalties as set out under the EMCPA to address non-compliance with orders.

Quick Facts

  • The termination of the provincial emergency declaration under the EMCPA, or the passage of the proposed Act, would not preclude a head of council of a municipality from declaring under the EMCPA that an emergency exists in any part of the municipality or from continuing such a declaration.
  • The termination of the provincial emergency declaration under the EMCPA, or the passage of the proposed Act, would not preclude the exercise of the powers under the Health Protection and Promotion Act by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health or local medical officers of health.
  • The Government of Ontario declared a provincial declaration of emergency under s.7.0.1 of the EMCPA on March 17, 2020. The declaration has been extended under s.7.0.7 of the EMCPA and is in place until July 15, 2020, allowing the province to continue to make new emergency orders or amend existing orders under the EMCPA until that date.
  • On June 26, 2020, emergency orders then in effect that were made under section 7.0.2 of the EMCPA were extended to July 10.
  • A full list of current emergency orders in effect under the EMCPA can be found on the e-Laws website under the EMCPA and at Ontario.ca/alert.

Additional Resources

July 07, 2020

Government Proposes Made-in-Ontario Plan for Growth, Renewal and Economic Recovery

TORONTO — The Government of Ontario has developed a made-in-Ontario plan for growth, renewal and economic recovery. This plan includes measures that would make it easier and faster to build provincial highways, major transit infrastructure projects and quality, affordable housing, while ensuring there are meaningful opportunities for community consultation and input.

Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, and Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA).

"The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant hardship for individuals, families, and businesses throughout the province. We're going to need everyone's help to rebuild the province and get people back to work," said Premier Ford. "Through these proposed initiatives, we will start Ontario down the road to recovery by getting critical infrastructure projects built faster, creating jobs in communities across the province."

As part of the government's plan, the province is proposing to accelerate key provincial highway construction and priority transit projects by establishing an exemption from the Hearing of Necessity process. Provincial Hearings of Necessity occur approximately 5-10 times per year on average for provincial highway projects. Each hearing adds months of red tape and construction delays for critical provincial infrastructure, costing up to five months for transit projects and up to 12 months for provincial highway projects.

"Communities need reliable transit, transportation and housing as a strong foundation for future economic growth," said Minister Mulroney. "These initiatives would create tens of thousands of new well-paying jobs, make our roads safer, reduce gridlock, and put home ownership within reach of many people across the province."

As part of this plan, the government would also enter into new commercial agreements with partners to build transit-oriented communities. This would allow for the development of more housing around transit in an integrated manner and put more job opportunities within the reach of more people. The measures would also save taxpayers money by having the development industry make direct, significant contributions to the cost of building transit for the benefit of communities, all transit riders, and Ontario taxpayers.

"Instead of building stations in isolation, we will build fully integrated communities," said Associate Minister Surma. "Transit-oriented communities will benefit the Greater Toronto Area by increasing ridership, reducing congestion, providing a mix of housing ― including affordable housing ― and providing critical local services and amenities like daycares and recreational spaces."

These measures would allow the province to more quickly undertake important technical investigations and prepare construction sites, while ensuring meaningful consultation with landowners.

Quick Facts

  • The province is investing $2.6 billion to expand and repair Ontario’s highways and bridges.
  • Ontario will continue to collaborate with the City of Toronto and York Region under the historic joint transit partnership agreements and Transit-Oriented Communities Memorandums of Understanding.

Additional Resources

July 06, 2020

Ontario Launches Online Training to Promote Safe Workplaces

TORONTO ― As the province safely and gradually reopens, the Ontario government is investing $3 million to provide free online health and safety training for the first time. These virtual courses will make it easier for job seekers and workers to get essential qualifications, while practising physical distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

The announcement was made today by Premier Doug Ford and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

"In this new environment, we need to look for new and innovative ways to deliver services, while keeping people safe and healthy," said Premier Ford. "This virtual approach to safety training will ensure employers and employees have access to the latest information without the need to physically interact with others. In this way, we also reduce the risk of spreading this deadly virus."

Up to 100,000 job seekers can now take free online workplace health and safety training through Employment Ontario. There are 10 courses on offer, which include topics such as infection control, conducting health and safety incident investigations, ladder safety, slips, trips and falls prevention, and preventing workplace violence and harassment. Job seekers should contact an Employment Ontario service provider in their area to enroll.

"This is the first time this type of online safety training has been made available at no cost to people who have lost their jobs and I am confident it will be an effective way to prepare people to rejoin the workforce safely," said Minister McNaughton. "The training is free and accessible from anywhere, so people can learn from their own homes."

In addition, worker and employer members of Joint Health and Safety Committees can now use video conferencing to take training in real-time with qualified instructors from training providers approved by Ontario's Chief Prevention Officer. The training includes sessions on how to establish a Health and Safety Committee, resolving health and safety issues, workplace inspections, and accident investigations.

Ontario's Chief Prevention Officer is extending the time for completion of refresher training for more than 8,000 certified committee members whose certification would have expired between February 28 and August 31, 2020. They have until November 30, 2020 to renew their training, which will be easier thanks to new online options.

Quick Facts

  • Employment Ontario serves more than one million clients per year and has more than 700 service locations across Ontario.
  • A Joint Health and Safety Committee’s primary role is to identify workplace health and safety issues and bring them to the attention of the employers.
  • Over the last three years, an average of 37,000 people per year took Joint Health and Safety Committee certification training.

Additional Resources

July 03, 2020

Ontario Provides Additional Funding to Support Municipalities and Urban Indigenous Community Partners

TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing municipalities and urban Indigenous community partners with an additional $150 million to continue to protect vulnerable people from COVID-19 by improving homeless shelters and creating opportunities for longer-term housing. This investment more than doubles the funding currently flowing to local municipal service managers and urban Indigenous program administrators through the Social Services Relief Fund.

Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford and Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

"We are standing shoulder to shoulder with our municipal and Indigenous community partners to ensure our most vulnerable citizens are protected during these difficult times," said Premier Ford. "Today's investment builds on our collective efforts to help people get back on their feet quickly and recover from this global crisis. We will continue to be a champion for our municipal partners with the federal government to ensure a strong recovery for communities across the province."

Municipalities and urban Indigenous community partners will be able to use this funding for long-term, innovative housing solutions resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. They can renovate shelters or purchase new facilities that will help with physical distancing in the short term and support longer-term, more sustainable solutions to homelessness. In addition, this funding could also be used to provide vulnerable people with food, shelter and supplies.

The funding is another way that Ontario is coming to the table to support municipalities as it continues to work with provincial partners and the federal government on municipal supports through the federal government's proposed Safe Restart Framework.

"We know that municipal and Indigenous partners are facing extraordinary challenges due to this global pandemic," said Minister Clark. "That's why we continue to step up to provide financial support and other measures to help our local partners. This investment is another step our government is taking to protect our most vulnerable, but we know more needs to be done. We continue to work closely with our federal and municipal partners to ensure communities across Ontario have the support they need."

With this additional funding, the government is providing municipal service managers and urban Indigenous program administrators with $350 million through the Social Services Relief Fund. This builds on the support being delivered as part of the COVID-19 Action Plan to Protect Vulnerable Ontarians. The action plan provides enhanced screening and testing in high-risk settings such as shelters and homes, including for those with developmental disabilities, and provides personal protective equipment and training so staff will know what to do in the event of an outbreak.

"The Government's Social Services Relief Fund was an immediate response to COVID-19 related municipal costs when it was announced in March. The initial $148 million literally saved lives in communities across Ontario," said Jamie McGarvey, President of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. "The additional $150 million announced today will help offset the added costs of addressing homelessness and protecting the most vulnerable from COVID-19."

Quick Facts

  • In March, Ontario announced an initial investment of $148 million to support municipalities, food banks, homeless shelters and individuals. This funding is already helping individuals and families in financial crisis.
  • Another $52 million expanded the Emergency Assistance program administered through Ontario Works for people in emergency situations and made more support available to vulnerable social assistance recipients to meet a broad range of needs.

Additional Resources

July 02, 2020