October 19, 2020, Premier Doug Ford and President of the Treasury Board, Peter Bethlenfalvy, announced Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People Focused Government. This plan details the Ontario government’s commitment to make government services simpler, easier to use, and more convenient and accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Premier Ford and Minister Bethlenfalvy were joined for today’s announcement by Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, who earlier today issued a statement outlining public health advice for celebrating Halloween this year.
Ontario Onwards Action Plan
This afternoon, Premier Ford and Minister Bethlenfalvy announced Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People Focused Government. This plan comes after the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the Ontario government’s progress in bringing more government services online.
This plan includes more than 30 projects that will improve the way Ontario residents and businesses interact with government, for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
The main focus areas of Ontario Onwards include:
- Making government services more digitally accessible, such as providing digital health solutions to frontline care personnel, so that a patient’s health records can be rapidly and securely accessed.
- Reducing red tape and simplifying policies while protecting public health and safety, such as reducing barriers to development and construction approval through a digital application process.
- Improving government purchasing by taking advantage of the capabilities of local Ontario businesses to transform how the government purchases goods and services.
- Creating more responsible and flexible public services through re-designing core internal processes or permit applications, so citizens can get what they need faster.
Public Health Advice for Halloween
Earlier today, Dr. Williams issued a statement detailing public health advice for Halloween this year.
For the regions currently in modified stage two, including Ottawa, Peel, Toronto, and York, traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating is not recommended due to higher rates of COVID-19 transmission in these areas. Instead, Ontarians are encouraged to consider alternative ways to celebrate Halloween, including:
- Encouraging children to dress up and participate in virtual activities;
- Organizing a Halloween candy hunt with members of one’s own household;
- Carving pumpkins;
- A movie night;
- Decorating front lawns.
Ontarians in other regions are permitted to trick-or-treat, however the following public health advice should be taken into consideration:
- Avoid gatherings, including trick-or-treating, with people outside of your own household;
- Stay home if you are feeling ill, even if you have mild symptoms, or if you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19;
- Only trick-or-treat outside;
- Both trick-or-treaters and those handing out candy should wear a face covering (a costume mask is not a substitute);
- Do not congregate or linger at doorsteps;
- If handing out candy, do not leave treats in a bucket or bowl, and consider using tongs to hand out treats.