September 10, 2020, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced an investment of $14.75 million to expand access to mental health and addictions services across the province. The funding, provided through the Support for People and Jobs Fund, will help community-based programs meet increasing service demands, in both in-person and virtual settings.
Premier Ford was joined by Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, who also announced an investment of $2.9 million from the Ontario Together Fund, to fund eight research projects in support of Ontario’s response from COVID-19.
Premier Ford and Associate Minister Tibollo were joined by Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs.
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford responded to questions from media regarding Ontario’s ongoing response to COVID-19.
Investment of $2.9 million from Ontario Together Fund
This afternoon, Associate Minister Tibollo announced an investment of $2.9 million from the Ontario Together Fund, which will fund eight research projects to support Ontario’s recovery from COVID-19. The projects focus on the following areas:
- Adapting anxiety intervention for youth with autism and evaluating virtual mental health care;
- Monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health and well-being of children, young people, and their families in Ontario;
- Real-time monitoring of the disaster-related mental health impact of COVID-19 on Canadian children, youth and families;
- The impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of children in Southwestern Ontario;
- Imaging tests for the diagnosis of COVID-19;
- Lung structure-function in survivors of mild and severe COVID-19 cases;
- Developing a risk assessment tool to predict outcomes in ventilated COVID-19 patients;
- Assessing the effectiveness of masks in limiting COVID-19 transmission.
Questions from Media – Response to COVID-19
Resumption of Legislature on Monday
When asked about the resumption of the Ontario Legislature on Monday, Premier Ford said that he hoped the tone in the House would be collaborative. He added that the government’s goal is to continue to work with opposition parties to support Ontario’s ongoing recovery from COVID-19.
Rising COVID-19 Case Numbers
In response to questions about the uptick in Ontario’s new cases of COVID-19, Premier Ford reiterated that he would act on the advice of Dr. Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, when making any decisions on re-implementing stricter public health measures. Premier Ford added that 14 regions of the province currently have no cases, and 14 other regions have fewer than five cases, while Ottawa, Toronto, Peel, York and Durham have emerged as problem areas. The Premier committed to helping these regions in any way that he can.
Premier Ford also emphasized that Ontario’s rising case numbers are due to large private gatherings, rather than outbreaks associated with bars or restaurants, but said that Ontario is not yet planning to reduce the permitted size of social gatherings.
Enforcement of Federal Quarantine Act
In response to questions about the enforcement of the federal Quarantine Act, Premier Ford said that those who violate the Act need to be held accountable and should be fined rather than warned. He added that there is currently too much red tape involved in the process, whereby police report violations of the Act to federal quarantine officers who decide whether to issue a fine.