Ontario to Introduce Bill Extending Some Pandemic Measures Over the Next Year as Province Records Dip in New COVID-19 Cases

As of Tuesday morning, Ontario health officials are reporting 112 new cases of COVID-19 which is a significant decrease when compared to the 154 new cases that were reported on Monday. 

Unfortunately, the province also recorded two new COVID-19 related deaths, representing a slight increase from the record-breaking zero deaths that were also reported on Monday morning. 

To date, Ontario’s total confirmed cases of COVID-19 sits at around 36,060 cases, which included 2,691 deaths and 31,603 recoveries. 

Additionally, there are currently 131 people in the hospital due to COVID-19 with as many as 34 in intensive care units and 24 people needing the assistance of ventilators to breathe. 

On Twitter, Health Minister Christine Elliot reported that only 28 of Ontario’s 34 public health units have reported five or fewer cases of COVID-19.

It was reported that public health units in Toronto, Peel, and York regions were the only units that have reported 10 or more cases with 30, 39 and 10 respectively. 

Ontario Plans to Extend Emergency Orders

Despite the downward trend in new cases of COVID-19 in the province, it appears that the province intends to introduce a bill that will allow the Ontario government to extend some emergency orders into next year as needed.

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones has said that she will introduce the bill at the provincial legislature at Queen’s Park today.

Under the current legislation, Ontario can only issue emergency orders while the State of Emergency is in place. 

With Ontario’s state of emergency set to expire July 15 and Premier Doug Ford expressing his hopes to no longer extend the state of emergency, the newly proposed bill would be influential to the province’s efforts in fighting against the virus. 

Through the proposed bill, the government can extend or make amends to emergency orders even if the state of emergency has expired.

Any amendments or extensions would only be extended on a per month basis with the law expiring one year after it has passed.  

In other words, if the bill passes, the Ontario government could move parts of the province back to earlier stages of the pandemic lockdown if it is required. 

Additionally, it would also allow the government to continue the redeployment of health-care staff and change public health orders which limit social gatherings. 

Commenting on the newly proposed bill Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said that the legislation is needed as it helps “bridge the gap” between strict lockdowns and public health measures that were necessary to flatten the virus and the less strict conditions needed as COVID-10 cases continue to improve. 

The bill would also introduce reporting requirements ensuring that the government reports any emergency order extensions to a legislative committee once per month as well as report on the use of the law six months after the law expires. 

“It allows us to transition away from the declaration of emergency, which is an important signal to people that we’re on our way out,” she said. “But it also allows us to ensure that – because frankly, we don’t have a vaccine for COVID-19 – that we still can keep in place the important tools we need,” said the Solicitor General.

“We want to make sure that we’re not over-using the declaration of emergency,” she added.

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