July 23, 2020, Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, announced an investment of over $500 million this year to build 30 new schools and make permanent additions to 15 existing facilities across the province. This investment, part of a $12 billion investment over the next decade, will also lead to the creation of 900 new affordable childcare spaces.
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford and Minister Lecce took questions from media regarding Ontario’s ongoing response to COVID-19.
Earlier today, the Ontario government announced support for Indigenous businesses during COVID-19 through the Ontario Together Fund. The government also announced five new Ontario Health Teams to better coordinate health care and support the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
Further Details: Questions from Media – Ongoing COVID-19 Response
2020-21 School Year
In response to questions about the 2020-21 school year, Minister Lecce announced that the government hopes to be able to share more details of its plan and protocols for September next week. He reiterated that the preference of the government is for a return to conventional, 5-day-per-week classroom learning.
GTHA Mayors Request Additional Safety Measures for Indoor Dining
When asked about a letter from Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) mayors calling on the province to implement additional safety measures for indoor dining at bars and restaurants, Premier Ford reiterated that regional medical officers of health have the authority to implement additional restrictions on businesses within their regions. He indicated that he would be supportive of more stringent guidelines on certain businesses on a regional basis, particularly within the GTHA, but would be hesitant to tighten restrictions province-wide.
Support for Indigenous Businesses During COVID-19
Earlier today, the Ontario government announced that it would provide the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) with $110,000 from the Ontario Together Fund. This funding will support Indigenous businesses as they recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by:
- Producing a report to assess the effects of COVID-19 within the Indigenous business community;
- Assisting Indigenous businesses in navigating COVID-19 programs, services, and procurement opportunities through webinars and web-based assistance;
- Enhancing CCAB’s online resource platform that provides guides, training, networks, and a forum to connect and share best practices.
Announcement of Five New Ontario Health Teams
Also today, the Ontario government announced five new Ontario Health Teams and additional funding to better connect care in support of the ongoing response to COVID-19.
The five new Ontario Health Teams are located in Algoma District, Niagara Region, Eastern Ottawa, London-Middlesex, and the Vaughan/Richmond Hill/King City area. These teams will bring together health care providers to work as one team and will simplify the delivery of health care for patients in these regions.
The province is also investing up to $25.25 million to support Ontario’s 29 approved Health Teams. The funding will be broken down as follows:
- $9.5 million will be dedicated to virtual care in order to support vulnerable populations and those with COVID-19.
- $15.75 million, of which each Ontario Health Team will receive up to $375,000, for expanding virtual care, dedicated human resources, and purchasing business information tools.