September 2, 2020, Premier Doug Ford announced a partnership between the Government of Ontario and public transit operators across the province to ensure riders and public transit workers can safely and confidently take public transit. Premier Ford also confirmed the government has provided health and safety guidance documents to transit operators and passengers, developed in consultation with public health and transit experts, and will allocate $15 million to municipalities to support enhanced cleaning of their transit systems as the province re-opens and Ontarians return to work and school.
Premier Ford was joined by the Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney, the Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA) Kinga Surma, the President and CEO of Metrolinx, Phil Verster, and Karen Cameron of the Ontario Public Transit Association (OPTA). He took the opportunity the highlight the more than 40 measures that transit operator Metrolinx has implemented to date to keep passengers and workers safe. In addition, beginning September 5, the transit operator will boost GO train and bus services in the GTA.
Questions from Media – Response to COVID-19
Premier Ford took the opportunity to call out the head of the Ontario Teachers Union, who has been critical of the government’s back-to-school plan, saying that he will continue to listen to doctors, the Chief Medical Officer, and science over unions when it comes to back-to-school protocols and safety. More so, the Premier confirmed that nurses will be deployed in high priority neighbourhoods while reiterating that the province is ready. The Premier also urged employers to be flexible with their employees as parents navigate the start of the school year.
Long-Term Care Homes
In response to a question about a potential surge in cases in long-term care settings, Premier Ford added that he is a strong believer of the ‘campuses of care’ model in keeping long-term care homes near hospitals.
Support for Small Business
Lastly, the Premier told reporters that his government is working with the federal government to come up with an additional plan for SMEs that would extend current support measures. No further details were provided but Premier Ford did take the opportunity to echo his ongoing support of the federal government.