Aligning with the newly proposed bill at Queen’s Park that would allow the provincial government to maintain certain COVID-19 pandemic-related legislations, Premier Doug Ford announced Ontario will extend all of its emergency orders until July 22, 2020.
In a statement issued on Thursday morning, the government said the decision to extend emergency orders 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 to the orders allows public units in the province to redeploy staff or hire staff to support case management and contact tracing for the virus, stated the news release issued today.
Premier Doug Ford first declared the state of emergency order on March 17 as Ontario faced a surge of COVID-19 patients.
In the following months since then, the order has been extended numerous times with the previous extension set to expire next week on July 15, 2020.
The emergency orders, that were enacted under the state of emergency included public health safety measures such as physical distancing, limiting social gathers, the closures of schools and non-essential businesses, as well as a flat hydro rate.
Once the state of emergency ends however, the provincial government would not be able to issue new emergency orders, they would only be allowed to extend any existing orders.
Despite Premier Ford’s statement on his hopes not to extend Ontario’s state of emergency past June, it is clear that pandemic may not go away as quickly as many would have hoped for.
“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 the Premier in a statement.
“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.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Premier Doug Ford’s government proposed a new bill titled “The Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act” that is said to help the province’s economy recover from the pandemic.
The 188-paged bill proposes changes to 20 pieces of legislation including a few that are not related to the pandemic such as the removal of suspensions for elementary school students in junior kindergarten to Grade 3.
Other notable amendments listed in the proposed bill would impact environmental assessments, consumer protection, as well as the changes to legislation that governs the justice system.
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