April 27

COVID- 19 Update from Caroline Mulroney, MPP, April 27, 2020

A Framework for Reopening our Province

With recent modelling showing early signs that enhanced public health measures — including staying home, physical distancing and hand washing — are working to stop the spread of the virus and flatten the curve, Ontario is now preparing for the next phase of its plan to respond to the outbreak. Today, our government released A Framework for Reopening Our Province.

This framework outlines the criteria Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will use to advise the government on the loosening of emergency measures, as well as guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces. To reopen the economy, the government will consider factors such as the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and the ability to implement protective measures to keep workplaces safe.

Our government is planning a stage-by-stage approach to reopening the economy to ensure there are appropriate measures in place so workplaces can open safely. Public health officials will carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health.

To support the next phases of Ontario’s Action Plan, the new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee and MPPs will be consulting with a wide variety of people across the province, to help assess the impact of COVID-19 on the provincial economy and develop a plan to move forward. We will hear directly from business associations, chambers of commerce, municipal leaders, the postsecondary sector, corporate leaders, small business owners, community and social service providers, Indigenous partners, Franco-Ontarians, entrepreneurs and others. I look forward to connecting with all of our partners here in York-Simcoe for your valuable input, suggestions and ideas.

Our government will continue to work with public health officials and sectors to give employers guidance on how to operate safely in the current environment and keep employees safe. As the public health measures are adjusted, businesses will still be required to follow best practices or guidelines for COVID-19 based, including measures to restrict activities.

Ontario is in a strong position thanks to the actions of individuals. A successful reopening of our province requires people and employers to continue doing their part, so our hard work and sacrifice pays off.

Pandemic Pay for the Broader Public Sector

Our government’s priority is the health and safety of all Ontarians, and we are singularly focused on our response to the COVID-19 outbreak

This temporary pandemic premium pay will provide additional support and relief, encouraging staff to continue working and attracting prospective employees to help maintain safe staffing levels and the operation of critical frontline services.

These frontline workers are often putting themselves or their loved ones at risk to help save lives and we owe them an incredible debt of gratitude. That is why we are authorizing a temporary $4/hr worked pandemic premium for the next four months. In addition, employees working over 100 hours per month would receive lump sum payments of $250 per month for each of the next four months.

These workers are delivering critical services that support all Ontarians, including the most vulnerable members of our communities. This will ensure essential workers on the frontlines are being compensated adequately, while safeguarding the sustainability and viability of the health and social services sectors.

School Closure Extended until at least May 29th

We will do whatever it takes to keep our students safe. The government is taking a careful approach which provides our medical experts the time to review the modelling and make the best decision for the safety of our students and the future of learning.The government took immediate action to close schools in Ontario, the first in Canada to do so.

We continue to monitor the evolving situation and if necessary, the closure may be extended further to protect the health and safety of Ontario’s school communities. Regardless of what transpires over the coming weeks, Ontario’s students will be able to complete their school year with confidence. In particular, for students in their final year, we are removing all impediments to ensure students graduate and pursue post-secondary education.

Our government will also move forward to replace the remainder of Professional Activity (PA) days and examination days with instructional time and introduce an expanded summer learning program that will focus on credit recovery, supports for vulnerable students, and course upgrading. Boards are to find solutions at the local level in keeping with this direction while upholding collective agreement obligations.

Governments Invest $2.5 Million to Grow Agri-food e-Business During COVID-19

The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced many businesses to re-think the way they market, sell and deliver their goods and services, and the agriculture and agri-food industry is no exception. That is why we’re supporting the growth of agri-food e-business and helping the sector to market its goods online.

Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the federal and provincial governments are investing up to $2.5 million to help businesses and organizations quickly expand their marketing channels and grow e-business opportunities.

The Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative will help food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations increase online sales and provide Ontario families with greater access to a wide variety of foods and agriculture products.

Our government remains committed to supporting the agriculture and agri-food sector during this unprecedented time.