On March 21, 2020, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli, announced the launch of “Ontario Together,” an online portal that will help businesses and their employees work with the province to meet the challenges of COVID-19. Premier Ford and Minister Fedeli were joined by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott; Minister of Finance Rod Phillips and President of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA) Flavio Volpe.
In addition to the day’s announcement, Premier Ford answered questions about additional measures the government may take to slow the spread of COVID-19 and Minister Elliott spoke to the current level of demand on Ontario pharmacies.
“Ontario Together” Portal – Premier Doug Ford and Minister Vic Fedeli
Today, Premier Ford and Minister Fedeli unveiled “Ontario Together,” an online portal for businesses and entrepreneurs which aims to simplify the process of working with the province to supply essential items needed in the fight against COVID-19. “Ontario Together” will remove barriers and allow Ontario’s manufacturing sector to redeploy capacity towards the production of equipment and supplies such as ventilators, masks, surgical gowns, eye protectors, medical wipes, and hand sanitizer. Through the portal, companies will be able to submit proposals for the government to procure these essential supplies and services faster and more efficiently.
In addition, “Ontario Together” will identify the province’s supply challenges and solicit ideas and advice from Ontario’s business and manufacturing communities on how the government can work with industry to meet the need. Businesses and entrepreneurs are also encouraged to submit proposals if they see a need that has not yet been formally identified by the province.
The “Ontario Together” portal can be accessed at www.Ontario.ca/OntarioTogether.
Additional Government Action – Premier Doug Ford
Premier Ford also took questions about additional actions being considered by the government to slow the spread of COVID-19. Premier Ford reassured reporters that he will not hesitate to enact stricter measures if he is advised to do so and expressed his belief that such a situation is likely to come about. Premier Ford stated each ministry has produced a list of essential services and Ontario is prepared to escalate its response if necessary.
In response to questions about action needed to limit the spread of COVID-19 among Ontario’s homeless population, Premier Ford stated that he is in contact daily with Toronto Mayor John Tory and leaders of other municipalities. The Ontario government will support municipalities in need of additional facilities to act as shelters and is already considering the use of unused hotels, motels and student residences for this purpose.
Premier Ford was also asked whether peak and off-peak hydro rates would be adjusted as a further support for Ontarians who are self-isolating. He confirmed that an announcement on hydro rates would be coming over the next few days.
Demand on Ontario Pharmacies – Minister Christine Elliott
In response to a question about the Ministry of Health’s request that pharmacists and doctors limit prescription refills, Minister Elliott confirmed that she is concerned about the hoarding of prescription medication. Minister Elliott emphasized the importance of ensuring that everyone has access to the medication they need and explained that the intent of the 30-day limit on refills is to help to keep supply available.
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