On April 4, 2020, Premier Doug Ford announced that the Ontario government will be launching an additional province-wide emergency alert to remind Ontarians of the dangers related to COVID-19.  Premier Ford was joined by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott and Minister of Finance Rod Phillips.

The province announced that they are launching a new web portal, connecting workers with employers looking to fill positions in the agri-food sector. They also announced additional relief funding for residential service providers that support vulnerable populations.

Following the announcement, the Premier, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister took questions from the media.

Further Details

Ontario Emergency Alert

The Premier reminded everyone that the numbers released by the province’s medical officials yesterday were sobering. It is a reminder of what happens if Ontarians do not adequately listen to public health guidelines or if they adhere to them. He stressed it is a matter of life and death. He stated this is why the emergency alert will be broadcasted across televisions and mobile phones later today.

Launch of agri-food portal

In order to ensure grocery store shelves remain full and families have food on the table during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government of Ontario is launching a new web portal, connecting workers with employers looking to fill positions in the agri-food sector. The government states this new online tool will make it easier to match people to essential jobs and training resources throughout the provincial food supply chain.

The link to access the portal: Ontario.ca/AgFoodJobs

The COVID-19 Residential Relief Fund

The province is investing up to $40 million to support organizations that provide residential services for children and youth, people with developmental disabilities and emergency shelters for women and families fleeing domestic violence.

The COVID-19 Residential Relief Fund will cover costs such as additional staffing and residential respite for caregivers; personal protective equipment and supplies; initiatives to support physical distancing and transportation to minimize client exposure.

The Relief Fund will also help address increased residential costs that emergency shelters for women fleeing domestic violence and survivors of human trafficking.

Other remarks from press conference

Premier Ford again stressed his disappointment with U.S. President Donald Trump over his decision to issue an executive memorandum as it relates to personal protective equipment (PPE). He stated that he is in close contact with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and is pressing for expedited Health Canada approvals of PPE supplies coming into Canada and to allow companies to produce important PPE supplies within Ontario. He also stated that it is his hope that any supply that is federally procured is divided amongst the provinces based on the respective percentage of the population.

Minister Elliott was also asked by Global News about any directive that the province has ordered regarding COVID-19 patients in long-term care homes and whether they can go to hospital. The Minister made it clear that anyone experiencing respiratory distress can go to hospital. She noted the province is doing everything they can to ensure LTC homes are equipped with the appropriate supplies to deal with the vulnerabilities associated with their residents.