April 27, 2020
The Ontario government has released its roadmap, A Framework for Reopening our Province
, which outlines the criteria and guiding principles for the gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces.
Premier Ford warned that this framework is a “roadmap, and not a calendar,” providing no hard dates to the reopening of the economy. The framework will be split into three stages:
- Stage 1: Protect and Support
- Opening select workplaces that can meet public health requirements, e.g. curbside pickup, allowing some small gatherings and resuming elective surgeries, specifically cancer surgeries.
- Opening more outdoor spaces and workplaces, such as service and retail industry, based on risk assessments.
- Further consideration on reopening all workplaces and relaxing restrictions on large gatherings.
To reopen the economy, the government will consider factors such as the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and the ability to implement protective measures to keep workplaces safe, using a range of set criteria, including:
- A consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases;
- Sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment;
- Approximately 90 per cent of new COVID-19 contacts are being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread; and
- Ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly.
While the details are purposefully vague, the Premier and Ministers emphasized a staged approach and continued dialogue with the Chief Medical Officer and health experts on when the government will reopen the economy.
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Williams, provided further detail stating that Ontario is nowhere near seeing that consistent two-to-four week decrease in the daily number of new COVID-19 cases, as we still have over 400 cases a day with roughly 50-60 per cent of new confirmed cases in the broader community, and not long-term care residents or health-care workers.
In the coming days, the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, as well MPPs, will begin holding discussions with partners, stakeholders, community and business leaders to better understand the impacts of COVID-19 and to better inform the process of reopening the economy.
Over the weekend, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that all publicly-funded schools will remain closed until at least May 31, 2020, but stated students will be able to complete the school year. Full announcement here
In contrast, Quebec Premier Legault announced elementary schools and daycares outside the Montreal area will start reopening May 11, 2020, but those in Montreal won’t reopen until May 19, 2020, stating it is possible to safely open schools under certain conditions.
The Ontario government currently has the authority to extend any emergency orders pertaining to COVID-19 until May 12, 2020. Per the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, the government will have to recall the legislature to extend the period of emergency for an additional 28 days, the maximum extension period permitted by law. The Ontario Legislature is scheduled to reconvene on May 12, 2020, presumably for this purpose.
It’s important to note that included in the framework is the government’s emphasis on continuing to urge the public to maintain physical distancing and hand washing, along with self-isolation when experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, and to work remotely if feasible.
Government of Canada Update
Applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy are now being accepted through the CRA. By this afternoon, over 30,000 applications had already been submitted. You can find the step-by-step instructions on how to apply here