On April 1, 2020, Premier Doug Ford announced the launch of the Ontario Together Fund to help support businesses in the development of essential equipment and supplies for the COVID-19 response. Premier Ford was joined by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott and Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli.
Following today’s announcement, Premier Ford answered questions about escalating Ontario’s response to COVID-19 and releasing forecast numbers about the number of cases.
Ontario Together Fund
Today, Premier Doug Ford announced the launch of a $50-million Ontario Together Fund which will help support businesses in the development of essential equipment and supplies. This fund will be distributed to businesses with successful proposals submitted to the government through the Ontario Together portal. The purpose of the fund is to help businesses pivot quickly by providing immediate resources to companies so they can quickly begin the work of retooling operations or building capacity in order to manufacture essential medical supplies.
The government will be looking for and selecting the most viable and innovative proposals that can quickly provide critical goods and services and the greatest benefit to the people of Ontario.
Premier Ford reiterated that he hopes for Ontario’s robust manufacturing sector to be able to support all of Canada by producing necessary medical equipment and supplies. He once again called on all businesses that may be able to help in the COVID-19 response effort to submit proposals through Ontario Together.
The Ontario government recently placed an order with O-Two Medical Technologies for 10,000 ventilator units, which will be produced with the support of automotive parts manufacturers.
Escalation of Ontario’s COVID-19 Response and Virus Forecast
Premier Ford acknowledged that a surge of COVID-19 cases is coming and that the next few weeks are critical for Ontario’s response in order to be prepared.
In response to questions about the Ontario government’s decision not to release a forecast of the potential number of coronavirus cases, Premier Ford said the models vary widely and could drastically change. He doesn’t want to create panic by releasing overestimated numbers but warned Ontarians to stay home and take precautions to avoid a worst-case scenario.
In response to questions about construction sites and other businesses considered essential remaining open, Premier Ford said that the list of essential services is constantly being reviewed and suggested that more businesses may be ordered to shut down in the coming days. These questions were asked following comments by Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, this morning. Dr. de Villa urged the province to reduce the number of open workplaces, explaining that she doesn’t have the jurisdiction to do this as a local Medical Officer of Health.