August 10, 2020, Premier Doug Ford and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones announced an investment of $6 million over the next three years to expand the coverage of closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems. The investment, which is the latest part of Ontario’s Guns, Gangs and Violence Reduction Strategy, will be made available through the Ontario CCTV Grant, a new program for which any police service in Ontario is eligible to apply.
Premier Ford and Solicitor General Jones were joined by Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce. Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford and Minister Lecce responded to questions from media and provided an update on the province’s ongoing response to COVID-19.
As part of the update on COVID-19, Premier Ford announced that the public health region of Windsor-Essex will be permitted to join the rest of the province in stage three of reopening, effective Wednesday, August 12 at 12:01 a.m.
Windsor Essex to Move into Stage Three This Week
This afternoon, Premier Ford announced that the public health region of Windsor-Essex will be permitted to move into stage three of reopening this Wednesday, August 12, at 12:01 a.m. As a result, all of Ontario will be in stage three as of Wednesday.
In response to questions about the status of COVID-19 transmission in the Windsor-Essex agri-food sector, Premier Ford said that testing within the sector has been greatly improved through the use of mobile testing units on farms. He thanked the farmers, mayors, and residents of Windsor-Essex for their cooperation.
In addition to the announcement on Windsor-Essex, Premier Ford shared promising recent trends in Ontario’s COVID-19 case data. Last week, the province recorded seven straight days where there were fewer than 100 new cases reported. Thirty of the province’s 34 public health regions are also regularly reporting fewer than five new cases per day.
Despite the encouraging trends in COVID-19 transmission, Premier Ford reiterated that it is more important than ever for Ontarians to remain vigilant and to continue following public health advice as more businesses and services reopen.
Questions from Media – School Reopening Plan
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford and Minister Lecce continued to face questions from media regarding Ontario’s back-to-school plan.
Premier Ford reiterated that while he is confident in Ontario’s back-to-school plan, it is not realistic to assume that there will be no COVID-19 transmission because of the resumption of in-classroom learning. He added that the government is doing everything in its power to create a safe environment within schools, and to remain adaptable and flexible as the situation evolves.
In response to questions about whether the government would provide funding to lower class sizes, Minister Lecce said that the government’s plan involves layers of precaution to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools. High school classes have also been capped at 15 students in communities with a higher rate of COVID-19 cases, and $30 million has been set aside to enable school boards to hire additional educators. Minister Lecce added that the government has demonstrated a “willingness to be collaborative,” and will continue to do so if more resources are needed.