August 28, 2020, Premier Doug Ford announced an investment of $2.2 million to help disadvantaged youth and job seekers from underrepresented groups develop the skills they need for successful careers. The $2.2 million investment will support eight unique projects from the Greater Toronto Area that will help nearly 500 youth receive on-the-job experience in a wide variety of sectors, contributing to Ontario’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
Premier Ford was joined by Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Monte McNaughton; Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Todd Smith; and Jamil Jivani, Ontario’s Advocate for Community Opportunities.
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford responded to questions from media and addressed the province’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Questions from Media – Response to COVID-19
COVID-19 Case Numbers
Premier Ford presented a chart comparing the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people across a number of highly populated provinces and states in North America. The chart demonstrated that Ontario has 284 cases per 100,000 population, and has been comparatively successful in its efforts to slow the spread of the virus. Premier Ford pointed to the significantly higher case rates in a number of U.S. states and urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to continue to keep the Canada-U.S. border closed.
In response to questions about the slight climb in Ontario’s number of active cases, now above 1,100, Premier Ford said that the province has done a good job after nearly four weeks in stage three of reopening. He reiterated that the majority of Ontario’s active cases are limited to the areas of Ottawa, Peel, Toronto, and Windsor-Essex.
When asked whether he is concerned that additional restaurants will be forced to close once they are no longer able to seat patrons on patios in the colder months, Premier Ford was hopeful that COVID-19 case numbers would remain low enough to permit restaurants to keep their doors open and spread out tables for safe indoor dining. He added that the government will continue to do everything in its power to support small business owners.
In response to questions about the government’s request to school boards to spend the $50 million allotted for in-school air quality improvements before Thanksgiving, Premier Ford said that he thought this timeline was reasonable given the rapid pace of the virus.
When asked about whether children in group homes would be permitted to attend school in September, Minister Smith assured parents that all children are entitled to an education. He added that the Ministry of Education is making investments in special education, mental health, and support staff to ensure a safe learning environment for group home residents.