July 9, 2020, Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce and Ontario’s Advocate for Community Opportunities, Jamil Jivani, announced changes to Ontario’s education system intended to break down barriers for Black, Indigenous and racialized students and provide all students with an equal opportunity to succeed. These changes include proposing to eliminate discretionary suspensions in primary grades, ending Grade 9 streaming into applied and academic courses, and strengthening sanctions for racist behaviour in classrooms.
Premier Ford, Minister Lecce and Mr. Jivani were joined by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott.
Following this afternoon’s announcement Premier Ford, Minister Lecce, and Minister Elliott responded to questions from media about the government’s ongoing response to COVID-19.
Earlier today, the Ontario government extended all emergency orders currently in force under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until July 22, 2020.
Questions from Media – Ongoing COVID-19 Response
Going back to the classroom this fall
In response to questions about whether parents should be asking their employers for flexible work arrangements for the fall, in the event that in-school learning is unable to resume, Minister Lecce said that the preference of the government is for a full return to conventional in-classroom delivery in September. He added, however, that school boards in Ontario must also be prepared to deliver an online or hybrid model, given the unpredictability of the current situation.
Premier Ford was also asked about today’s slight spike of COVID-19 cases, with 170 new cases confirmed in Ontario. Of these cases, 86 were in the Windsor-Essex region and discovered through targeted on-farm testing efforts. Premier Ford emphasized that public health and emergency services teams in the region are in constant communication with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and thanked farmers and agri-food workers for their cooperation.
In response to questions about a request from the Toronto Board of Health to take action to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the city’s northwest corner, Minister Elliott reiterated that the province’s testing strategy was revised in order to respond to areas experiencing outbreaks. She added that the government will examine the situation in northwest Toronto and provide excess testing and/or mobile testing units, as required.
When asked what Ontarians can expect for stage three, Premier Ford said that he is hopeful more details can be rolled out in the near future.