November 10, 2020, Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Finance, Rod Phillips, outlined measures in Ontario’s 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover, to support employers by providing property tax relief. Specifically, the Ontario government is proposing giving municipalities the flexibility to target property tax relief for small businesses, and is considering matching these reductions at the provincial level. Depending on municipal uptake, this measure could provide small businesses with as much as $385 million in municipal and provincial property tax relief.
For a full summary and analysis of Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover, click here.
Premier Ford and Minister Phillips were joined by Mayor of Toronto, John Tory. Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford and Mayor Tory responded to questions from media regarding the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This afternoon, Mayor Tory and Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, announced new restrictions for the City of Toronto above and beyond the Red – Control level in the province’s Keeping Ontario Safe and Open framework.
Questions from Media – Response to COVID-19
Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework
When asked about the government’s new Keeping Ontario Safe and Openframework, Premier Ford called the framework a “baseline for the whole province,” adding that it enables local medical officers of health to implement additional public health measures in regions that have been hardest hit by COVID-19. According to Premier Ford, the common measures and indicators used to categorize public health regions under the framework provide cities, towns, and small business owners with more clarity on the reality in their region at any given time.
Manitoba COVID-19 Response
Premier Ford was also asked about Manitoba’s decision to implement Code Red restrictions province-wide, beginning Thursday, November 12th. As a result of this, all non-essential businesses will be closed and social gatherings will be prohibited. Premier Ford said that he would take similar steps if numbers continue to spike in Ontario.
Toronto COVID-19 Response
When asked about the City of Toronto’s COVID-19 response, Mayor Tory said that the municipal and provincial governments are working collaboratively towards the common objective of keeping residents healthy. Mayor Tory also reiterated that the reality of the pandemic in Toronto is different from elsewhere in the province, and emphasized that he and Dr. de Villa will continue to take the necessary steps in order to protect the City.
New COVID-19 Restrictions for the City of Toronto
This afternoon, Mayor Tory and Dr. de Villa held a press conference regarding new COVID-19 restrictions for the City of Toronto, above and beyond the Red – Control level in the province’s Keeping Ontario Safe and Open framework. Toronto will be moved into the province’s new framework as of Saturday, November 14th.
Dr. de Villa called COVID-19 trends in Toronto “alarming, and she noted that there was a positivity rate of 5.9% among all COVID-19 tests conducted in the city between November 1st and 7th, and nearly 2,000 new cases in the past four days.
Dr. de Villa is using her authority as Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto to issue Section 22 orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. As a result, she is extending certain public health measures in Toronto beyond November 14th:
- Indoor dining will remain prohibited at restaurants, bars, and food or drink establishments;
- Meeting and event spaces will remain closed, as will casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming establishments; and
- Indoor group fitness and exercise classes will remain prohibited.
In addition, Dr. de Villa strongly recommends that all social gatherings and close contacts in Toronto be restricted to only household members and 1-2 essential supports. She also recommends that businesses and workplaces implement work from home policies wherever possible.