October 16, 2020, Premier Doug Ford and Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott commended Roche Pharmaceuticals Canada for its decision to invest $500 million over five years to establish a Global Pharma Technical Operations site in Mississauga. As a result of this investment, 500 jobs in the life sciences sector will be created.
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford announced the tightening of public health restrictions in York Region, which will join Toronto, Ottawa, and Peel in modified stage two, effective Monday, October 19th.
Premier Ford and Minister Elliott were joined by Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Vic Fedeli. Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford and Minister Elliott responded to questions from media regarding the province’s ongoing response to COVID-19.
Earlier today, the government also announced an investment of $2.5 million from the Ontario Together Fund in Greenfield Global, for the production of medical-grade alcohol required to make hand sanitizer.
York Region to Enter Modified Stage Two on October 19th
This afternoon, Premier Ford announced that additional public health restrictions will be introduced in the public health region of York, which will join Toronto, Ottawa, and Peel in modified stage two, effective Monday, October 19th at 12:01 a.m.
The decision to tighten public health restrictions in York Region was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Public Health Measures Table, and the local medical officer of health, as a result of trends indicating higher than average rates of COVID-19 transmission in the region.
Under modified stage two restrictions, all social gatherings are restricted to a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. In addition, indoor food and drink service is prohibited in bars and restaurants, and facilities including indoor gyms, gaming establishments, and cinemas or performing arts venues, are required to close. A full list of restrictions in effect under modified stage two can be found here.
York Region will remain in modified stage two for a minimum of 28 days. Ontario has made $300 million available in order to assist affected small business with fixed costs, including property taxes, hydro, and natural gas bills.
Questions from Media – Response to COVID-19
Criteria for Modified Stage Two
Premier Ford and Minister Elliott were asked why the government decided to move York Region into modified stage two, but not other Greater Toronto Area regions observing a growth in COVID-19 community transmission, such as Halton. In response, Premier Ford encouraged individuals not to travel out of hotspots in order to control the spread of the virus and added that Ontarians living in surrounding regions must be vigilant about following public health restrictions.
Minister Elliott suggested that the government is considering taking similar action to impose tougher restrictions in Halton Region if trends worsen, but hopes to avoid doing so.
Flu Shot Shortages
When asked about flu shot shortages as a result of high demand, Minister Elliott confirmed that all Ontarians who wish to receive a flu shot will be able to get one.
Ontario Together Fund Investment in Greenfield Global
Earlier today, the government also announced an investment of $2.5 million from the Ontario Together Fund in Greenfield Global. This investment is in addition to a $75 million investment by Greenfield, and will support the production of medical-grade alcohol for hand sanitizer.
As a result of today’s announcement, Greenfield will upgrade the distillation technology at its Johnstown facility in order to produce over 114 million litres of medical-grade alcohol annually.