On April 28, 2020, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction Prabmeet Sarkaria, announced the launch of theCOVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website. This website will accept proposals for temporary changes to rules and regulations in order to help businesses overcome challenges created as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Premier Ford and Associate Minister Sarkaria were joined by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott.
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford and Minister Elliott responded to questions from media about the government’s framework for reopening the province, announced yesterday.
COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers
This afternoon, Premier Doug Ford and Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction Prabmeet Sarkaria, announced the launch of theCOVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website to help businesses overcome challenges created by COVID-19.
The website will accept proposals from businesses that have identified potential regulatory roadblocks to their ability to operate in the context of COVID-19. The province will review submissions to this website, and is prepared to allow temporary changes to provincial rules and regulations in order to better allow businesses to continue operations in a physically distanced environment and/or retool their operations to produce health-related products.
Today’s announcement of the COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website builds on the following steps the government has already taken to help businesses respond to challenges posed by COVID-19:
- Providing $10 billion in provincial tax deferrals, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board premium deferrals, and other business supports through Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan;
- Providing more than $900 million in relief to small businesses and their landlords through the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program;
- Providing $50 million to help businesses retool in order to produce health-related supplies;
- Permitting 24-hour construction for critical infrastructure and 24-hour deliveries across the province to help grocery stores and pharmacies keep shelves stocked, and;
- Allowing restaurants and bars to sell alcohol with food takeout and delivery orders.
Later this week the government will release sector-specific labour guidelines for how businesses can safely operate in light of new realities stemming from the global pandemic. These guidelines will further help businesses adapt as Ontario begins to lift emergency measures and workplace restrictions.
Framework for Reopening Ontario – Surgeries
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford and Minister Elliott responded to questions from media about the government’s framework for reopening the province, which was announced yesterday.
In response to questions about surgery backlogs created as a result of postponements, Minister Elliott confirmed that cardiac and cancer care procedures will be top priorities when non-urgent and scheduled surgeries are able to resume. However, these procedures will not be able to resume until Ontario health officials observe a trend toward a lower number of cases in order to maintain precautionary capacity in the health care system.
Minister Elliott also confirmed that a new University Health Network (UHN) modelling report concludes that 35 people have likely died because they were unable to receive heart surgeries due to COVID-19.