August 24, 2020, Premier Doug Ford announced an investment of $7.65 million over five years for frontline victims’ services organizations to support specialized services for victims and survivors of human trafficking. Supports funded through today’s announcement include the Victim Quick Response Program to help victims cover essential expenses, enhanced services under Victim Crisis Assistance Ontario, and the Vulnerable Victims and Family Fund to cover court-related expenses for victims and survivors.
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford responded to questions from media regarding the province’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier today, the government announced an investment of $294,000 from the Ontario Together Fund, to support the retooling of a North Bay brewery. On Friday evening, the Ontario government eased some COVID-19 restrictions for meeting and event facilities, as well as for bars and restaurants.
Questions from Media – Response to COVID-19
In response to questions about the government’s efforts to ensure that high school students in designated boards spend at least 50 per cent of their instructional time in a classroom setting, Minister Lecce said that the government’s aspiration is to secure as much in-classroom time as possible. The government has worked with several boards over the past few weeks to get high schools in designated regions closer to this 50 per cent target. Improvements to the initial board plans have been made to ensure that students spend as much time as possible in schools, such as by implementing a study hall model, in which students voluntarily work on assignments independently while at school.
COVID-19 Case Numbers
When asked to react to Ontario’s COVID-19 case numbers, which have risen back above 100 per day since a dip in new cases was recorded over the past few weeks, Premier Ford said that he remains confident that the number of cases in Ontario is low enough to safely reopen schools. He added that, of the 105 new cases confirmed today, 75 were located within three large population centres: Ottawa, Toronto, and Peel. The government is continuing to monitor the numbers closely and is focusing efforts on hardest-hit areas of regions struggling to control the spread of the virus.
Investment in North Bay Brewery from Ontario Together Fund
Earlier today, the government announced an investment of $294,000 from the Ontario Together Fund in New Ontario Brewing Co. in North Bay. This investment will support the brewery in retooling its operations in order to produce over 100,000 litres of hand sanitizer for local hospitals, pharmacies, grocers, senior care facilities, and first responders.
Easing of COVID-19 Restrictions for Meeting and Event Facilities, Bars and Restaurants
On Friday evening, the government announced the easing of certain COVID-19 restrictions for facilities that rent out professional meeting and event spaces such as convention centres, hotels, motels, resorts, banquet halls, and conference centres. As of August 21, these facilities can have up to 50 guests for each indoor meeting room or event space they contain (as opposed to the previous capacity limit of 50 guests for the entire facility). Facilities will be required to adhere to a guidance document which has been approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Also effective August 21, restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments will only be required to collect the contact information of one person per party for contact tracing purposes. The easing of this restriction is intended to reduce the administrative burden on these businesses.