Today the Ontario government announced the Framework for Reopening the Economy. The Premier cautioned that this framework is about “how the economy will re-open, not when it will open,” saying no hard dates are being set right now.
According to the Framework for Reopening our Province, the province’s response to COVID-19 is split into three distinct phases: 1) Protect and Support; 2) Restart; 3) Recover.
Within the Restart phase, the framework cites three distinct stages. The first is to open select workplaces and allow some small gatherings. The second is to open more workplaces and outdoor spaces, and allow some larger gatherings. The third is to further relax the restrictions on public gatherings and open all workplaces responsibly.
In determining when to move forward in each phase/stage, decisions will be based on guidance from public health officials, with a number of factors being considered, including:
- Virus spread and containment – A consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases.
- Health system capacity – Sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment.
- Public health system capacity – Approximately 90 per cent of new COVID-19 contacts being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread.
- Incident tracking capacity – Ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly.
Our party is calling for more action in the government’s framework for re-opening the economy. The framework was rightfully committed to following the advice of public health, and re-opening cautiously and in phases — the NDP supports that approach. But the NDP also wants to see the government’s role include:
- Proactive and on-site inspections of re-opened workplaces to ensure physical distancing and infection control. Even with the current limited number of businesses operating, workers report that they cannot get on-site inspections of their work conditions.
- Dramatically ramping up testing of people in the community, including asymptomatic people. Ontario continues to have the lowest testing rate in the country and experts say we need much more testing before businesses re-open.
- Expanding the availability and use of personal protective equipment in workplaces that are re-opening.
- Dramatically ramping up containment efforts in long-term care and other congregate care settings to save lives, and stop the wildfire from spreading back into the community — including a plan for workers that come and go from homes where deadly outbreaks continue to rage, and are still growing.
Yesterday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that all publicly-funded schools will remain closed until at least May 31, 2020 but promised that students will still be able to complete the school year. You can read the full announcement here.
The Ontario government has also extended the closure of Ontario's provincial parks and conservation reserves to the end of May. Full announcement here.
The Prime Minister announced that the federal government will work with provinces collaboratively on their plans to gradually re-open their respective economies to ensure clear and coordinated efforts. He stressed that they will not be federal guidelines (i.e., administered and enforced by Ottawa), but a framework for provinces and territories as they determine their own re-opening strategies.
MPP Lisa Gretzky and I released a statement in response to the City of Windsor's announcement that Transit Windsor will be resuming modified service beginning Monday, May 4.
“We are relieved to see that the City of Windsor will be joining municipalities across Canada in providing public transportation for essential travel.” You can read the full press release here.
Windsor’s WEtech Alliance, in partnership with Libro Credit Union, Pillar Nonprofit, TechAlliance and Communitech, has created an opportunity for people, companies and organizations in Southwestern Ontario to win $20,000. Recognizing that a global pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for entrepreneurs, business leaders and industry talent, they are rallying the region’s brightest minds with two challenges. This is an open call for innovators to design inclusive, technology-enabled products, services and solutions in response to COVID-19. All the details can be found here.
12 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Windsor-Essex on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 569 and 38 deaths.
Remember to wash your hands often, continue to practice social distancing, and look after yourselves.