Jessica Bell MPP, University–Rosedale

Government of Ontario

Today's COVID-19 response includes state of emergency plus funding

Published on March 17, 2020

This morning, the Ontario Premier has declared a state of emergency and announced the first phase of the government’s response plan for COVID-19.

The state of emergency gives the government emergency powers for a period of 14 days. At this time, they are using these powers to do the following:

Immediate closure of the following as well as a prohibition on any gathering of 50 people or more

  • All facilities providing indoor recreational programs;
  • All public libraries;
  • All private schools as defined in the Education Act;
  • All licensed child care centres;
  • All bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery;
  • All theatres including those offering live performances of music, dance, and other art forms, as well as cinemas that show movies; and
  • Concert venues.

The first phase of the response package just announced includes the following:

  • 300M relief package
  • 75 more critical beds coming online
  • 500 post-acute care beds coming online
  • 25 more assessment centres
  • Purchasing more personal protective equipment
  • Funding to backfill 1000 nurses, 1000 PSWs
  • Funding for 50 physicians for northern, remote and First Nations communities

The funding is broken down as follows: 

  • $100 million for increased capacity in hospitals to assist with the effective treatment of COVID-19 patients both in critical care and medicine beds.
  • $50 million for more testing and screening through public health, including additional funding to support extraordinary costs incurred to monitor, detect and contain COVID-19 in the province. This includes contact tracing, increased laboratory testing capacity and home testing.
  • $50 million to further protect frontline workers, first responders and patients by increasing the supply of personal protective equipment and other critical supplies and equipment to protect them.
  • $25 million to support frontline workers working in COVID-19 assessment centres, including the creation of a new fund to provide respite care, child care services and other supports as they are needed.
  • $50 million for long-term care homes to support 24/7 screening, additional staffing to support infection control and additional supplies.
  • $20 million for residential facilities in developmental services, gender-based services and protective care for children and youth to support additional staffing, respite for caregivers impacted by school closures, personal protective equipment and supplies and transportation costs to minimize client exposure and to support social distancing, as well as additional cleaning costs.
  • $5 million to protect seniors in retirement homes through increased infection control and active screening procedures.
  • $4 million for Indigenous communities to support transportation costs for health care professionals and the distribution of critical supplies.

What is NOT happening:

  • Public transit will not be shut down
  • Office buildings and manufacturing will not be closed
  • Grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacy’s will not be closed

Additional news:

  • The Solicitor General announced last night that no new eviction orders will be issued until further notice in Ontario due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Sheriff’s offices have been asked to postpone any scheduled enforcement of eviction orders currently set for this week.