July 6, 2020, Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney and Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA) Kinga Surma announced Ontario’s plan for growth, renewal and economic recovery through measures that will allow for quicker building of provincial highways, major transit infrastructure projects and affordable housing. Building this critical infrastructure will create jobs and support this province’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
Premier Ford, Minister Mulroney and Associate Minister Surma were joined by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott.
Premier Ford also provided an update on the COVID-19 outbreak in Windsor-Essex and announced that Leamington and Kingsville will be permitted to move into stage two as of 12:01 a.m. on July 7, 2020. Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford and Minister Elliott answered questions from media about Ontario’s ongoing response to COVID-19.
Plan for Growth, Renewal and Economic Recovery
This afternoon Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney and Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA) Kinga Surma announced a plan to more rapidly build major infrastructure projects, including provincial highways, transit infrastructure, and affordable housing. Building this critical infrastructure will create jobs that will support Ontario’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
The government is in the process of preparing legislation that, if passed, will accelerate key provincial highway construction and priority transit projects by establishing an exemption from the Hearing of Necessity process which currently “adds months of red tape and construction delays.”
As part of this plan, the government would also enter into new commercial agreements with partners to build transit-oriented communities. This would allow for the development of more housing around transit in an integrated manner and put more job opportunities within the reach of more people.
Update on Ontario’s COVID-19 Response
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford announced that the areas of Leamington and Kingsville in Windsor-Essex will be permitted to enter stage two as of 12:01 a.m. tomorrow, July 7t, 2020. These areas are the final regions of Ontario to enter stage two.
In response to questions about when regions of Ontario may be permitted to enter stage three, Minister Elliott confirmed that Ontario’s COVID-19 Command Table is actively looking at the data from stage two and that the province will begin moving into stage three as soon as possible. She added that, to date, there have not been any large outbreaks as a result of moving to stage two.
When asked why Ontario continues to use invasive nasal swab testing as opposed to the saliva testing that is used in other jurisdictions, Minister Elliott explained that the nasal swab method produces more accurate results. Should these tests need to be performed in a school setting where a child is displaying symptoms of COVID-19, experts with extensive testing experience will be used.