August 5, 2020, Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, Lisa MacLeod, announced an investment of $83 million through the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to provide grants to non-profit organizations and support their recovery from COVID-19.
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford and Minister MacLeod responded to questions from media regarding the province’s ongoing response to COVID-19.
Support for Non-Profits through Resilient Communities Fund
This afternoon, Premier Ford and Minister MacLeod announced an investment of $83 million through the OTF’s new Resilient Communities Fund, in order to help eligible non-profit organizations recover from COVID-19 and continue delivering programs within their communities.
Grants of up to $150,000 will be available to organizations such as food banks, child and youth programs, and Royal Canadian Legion branches, and will support these organizations in recovering from COVID-19 by:
- Equipping board members and employees with supports to implement new approaches, prepare for change, and build resiliency;
- Improving and increasing non-profits’ ability to access financial resources and develop new and/or alternative sources of revenues;
- Adapting or re-imagining the delivery of programs and services to meet the needs of the community, employees and volunteers;
- Procuring equipment or renovating spaces to meet the changing needs of the organization, its programs and services, and adapt to new ways of working;
- Creating and/or adopting new approaches for organizations to work together to meet the needs of communities.
Eligibility requirements and application deadlines can be found at the Ontario Trillium Foundation website.
Questions from Media
Reaction to Federal Vaccine Announcement
Earlier today, the federal government announced that it had entered into two agreements with Pfizer and Moderna to secure millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidates. In response to questions about how many doses of these vaccine candidates Ontario would expect to receive, Premier Ford said that while these conversations had not yet occurred, he would expect a share proportional to Ontario’s share of the population (38 per cent).
Return to School Plan
In response to questions regarding the government’s back-to-school plan, Premier Ford defended his government’s plan as containing stringent guidelines and developed through the highest degree of scientific and medical consultation nationwide.
Premier Ford faced numerous questions about whether the government would consider cutting elementary class sizes ahead of a full return to school for Ontario’s elementary students in September. Using the example of kindergarten classes, he responded that Ontario’s ratio of teachers and/or early childhood educators (ECEs) to students was the lowest in the country, adding that kindergarten classrooms of 30 students would contain two separate cohorts of 15. Premier Ford reiterated that the government provided $80 million to Ontario school boards, which can also be used to cover the costs of additional staffing.
When asked whether the cell phone ban in schools would be lifted so that students can use the COVID Alert app, Premier Ford said that the government would consider this.
Premier Ford added that if a second wave of COVID-19 hits, he will not hesitate to close schools again.
Ontario Amusement Parks
In response to questions about when amusement parks would be permitted to reopen, Minister MacLeod said that Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has advised the government that these attractions continue to pose a threat for COVID-19 spread. She added that once all of Ontario has entered stage three of reopening, the government will continually reassess whether restrictions on amusement parks can be relaxed.