November 9, 2020, Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Finance, Rod Phillips, and Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Monte McNaughton, announced an investment of $511,000 in the Pathways to Post-Military Employment program to support 180 military veterans in their return to civilian life. This program is administered by Helmets to Hardhats Canada, and will help connect veterans with jobs in the construction industry. Today’s announcement is a targeted investment under Ontario’s Skilled Trades Strategy, which focuses on the training and retraining of workers for in-demand jobs to support to province’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford responded to questions from media regarding the ongoing provincial response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier today, the government re-announced an investment of $5 million to help offset revenue losses for eligible agricultural and horticultural societies impacted by the cancellation of fall fairs and exhibits.
This morning, the government announced the launch of a recruitment program for the long-term care sector, as well as additional public health resources to support the pandemic response in Peel Region.
Questions from Media – Response to COVID-19
COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open
In response to questions about the Ontario government’s new framework for adjusting public health measures, Premier Ford reiterated that the objective of the framework is to prioritize early intervention to avoid necessitating broader closures. He added that the framework also offers flexibility to local medical officers of health, should they wish to implement stricter measures on a regional basis. Peel’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, took this step over the weekend, which Premier Ford said he supports.
COVID-19 Tests at Border Entry Points
Premier Ford did not have an update about plans to reopen the Canada-U.S. border. However, he indicated an interest in implementing Alberta’s International Border Testing Pilot Program at both Toronto and Ottawa airports. Through this program, international travelers to Ontario would have the option to be tested for COVID-19 at the border. Pending a negative test result, travellers would be permitted to quarantine for less than 14 days, so long as preventative measures were followed, including receiving a second COVID-19 test a week after arrival into the province. Premier Ford called on the federal government to support this initiative nationally, but indicated that Ontario would proceed with putting such a program in place regardless of federal support.
Support for Agricultural and Horticultural Societies
Earlier today, the government also re-announced a one-time investment of $5 million to help offset revenue losses for eligible agricultural and horticultural societies impacted by the cancellation of fall fairs and exhibits during COVID-19. To be eligible, horticultural and agricultural societies must demonstrate financial hardship.
This measure was included in Ontario’s 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover.
Launch of Recruitment Program to Support the Long-Term Care Sector
This morning, the government launched a recruitment program which aims to support the long-term care sector by recruiting, training, and deploying Resident Support Aides (RSAs) to work at homes during the pandemic. The program specifically targets those who are unemployed or have been displaced from retail, hospitality, or administrative roles, as well as students in education programs.
RSAs will assist long-term care residents with daily living activities that include assistance during meal times, coordination of visits, and support with technology or recreational activities. New recruits will be deployed in areas of most need, including Ottawa, Peel and Toronto.
Interested candidates should create a profile on the Ontario Matching Portal, where they will be screened, trained, and matched with a long-term care home requiring assistance.
Additional Public Health Support for Peel Region
This morning, the government announced support for Peel Region’s local public health response to COVID-19, after the region was moved to the Red – Control level over the weekend and the local Medical Officer of Health issued additional public health measures.
Ontario announced the following actions to support Peel Region:
- Establishing three new community-based testing centres in Brampton by Tuesday, November 10th.
- Implementing mobile testing sites to respond to an increase in localized demand for tests and to provide access to testing in communities where travel is a barrier to getting tested.
- Opening limited walk-in availability at assessment centres for those who can’t book an appointment online or by phone.
- Implementing up to 7 pharmacies or specimen collection centres in partnership with LifeLabs, Dynacare, and Alpha over the next two weeks.
- Allocating additional case and contact management support, including up to 70 case and contact management staff, and assistance from public health units in regions with low case counts.
- Investing $42 million for up to 234 new beds at three hospitals and their alternate health facilities in Peel Region.