On April 24, 2020, Premier Ford and Finance Minister Rod Phillips announced a new commitment of $241 million through a new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA). Combined with the federal government, this package will equate to approximately $900 million to help small and medium sized businesses bridge until provincial emergency measures are lifted.
Premier Ford also spoke to the current situation long-term care homes and Ontario’s plan to re-open the economy. The Premier was joined by Finance Minister Rod Phillips, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott and Minister of Long-Term Care Merrilee Fullerton.
Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA)
The OCECRA will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing potential rent shortfalls because their small business tenants have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. To receive the loan, property owners will be required to reduce the rental costs of small business tenants for April to June 2020 by at least 75 per cent and commit to a moratorium on evictions for three months.
On the Situation with COVID-19 Outbreaks in Long-Term Care (LTC) Homes
During media questions, Minister Fullerton was asked whether enough military assistance has been deployed and if more is needed to address the crisis in LTC. The Minister said that at this current juncture there is enough assistance from the military, but they will act quickly if that situation changes. Premier Ford has indicated that after conversations with Quebec Premier Legault, they will be asking Prime Minister Trudeau on their 2:00 p.m. call today for more financial assistance from the federal government to help Ontario and Quebec in responding to the dire situation in LTC homes.
When asked about enhanced compensation for personal support workers (PSWs), Premier Ford indicated that Finance Minister Rod Phillips is currently working on a package which will be revealed in coming days.
Re-opening the Ontario Economy
Yesterday, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe revealed his multi-phased plan to re-open their economy, which is prompting speculation for the other provinces. In response to media questions, Premier Ford indicated that Minister Phillips is currently working on a plan to reopen the Ontario economy, which will be unveiled next week. He was asked whether consideration would be given to regional differences such as urban, suburban and rural. The Premier said that more will be revealed next week, but he would be worried about creating multiple re-opening plans because of population movement to less restrictive areas.