November 19, 2020, Premier Doug Ford, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, and Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Monte McNaughton, announced that the Ontario government is launching a series of education and enforcement campaigns to ensure businesses across the province are taking the necessary steps to keep employees, consumers and the public safe. The aim of the campaigns is to support the current efforts of police, municipal by-law officers, and public health inspectors to educate businesses and enforce the COVID-19 health and safety requirements. Officers will be asking employers to produce their workplace safety plans.
During each visit, officers provide business owners with guidance on how to operate safely during the pandemic and comply with public health requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act. These campaigns are developed in consultation with local health units and support Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Framework and enforcement under the Re-opening Ontario Act. The length of the safety campaigns can range from a few days to several weeks, depending on local circumstances.
A campaign is currently underway in Waterloo Region and additional campaigns are being planned for seven new communities including Eastern Ontario, York Region, Ottawa and Toronto.
Ontario Supporting Small Businesses with Financial Advice and Training
The Ontario government is investing over $2.2 million through the Ontario Together Fund to provide small businesses with free, tailored financial adviceand online training to help them make informed financial decisions and navigate the unprecedented economic circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Province Begins Development of Ontario’s First-Ever Hydrogen Strategy
The Ontario government is releasing a discussion paper for public consultation that will inform the creation of the province’s first hydrogen strategy. The paper sets out a vision for a new hydrogen economy in the province – one that will attract investment, and lead to more job creation, while helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions using low-carbon hydrogen. This strategy will eventually help Ontario achieve its greenhouse gas reduction target.
Ontario Expands Online Tool to Keep Drivers Safe During Winter
The Ontario government is expanding the 511 app to include new winter driving features that will provide drivers and the trucking industry with additional information to support safer route planning when travelling on provincial highways.
Questions from Media
COVID-19 Cases in the ICU
When asked about the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the ICU, Premier Ford reassured Ontarians that the government is going to continue adding surge capacity within hospitals.
COVID-19 Vaccine Amounts
When asked whether a firm commitment has been made on how many COVID-19 vaccine doses Ontario is getting, Premier Ford answered that the province will receive 2.4 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Major Disruptions from Stricter COVID-19 Measures
When asked the tougher health restrictions on the hardest hit areas, Premier Ford and Dr. Williams responded that they do not have the recommendations currently. Their goal is to continue to keep numbers low.
School shutdowns due to COVID-19
When asked about the possibility of closing public schools, Premier Ford reassured Ontarians that schools are the safest place for children because of the controlled environment. Dr. Williams responded that they are in the process of reviewing data and looking at infrastructure in other jurisdictions.
Changing Workplace Structure and Increasing Pay in LTC
When asked about changing workplace structure and raising the pay of LTC workers, Premier Ford responded that they have increased pay by over $3/hour and are asking for 100% COVID-19 testing of staff and visitors.