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Ontario creates committee to help boost the post-pandemic economy
TORONTO -- The Ontario government has launched a committee with the goal of helping the province’s economy return to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic has run its course.
Speaking hours after Statistics Canada revealed that more than 400,000 jobs were lost in Ontario last month, Premier Doug Ford announced the creation of a new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee tasked with ensuring the economy will bounce back after businesses are allowed to reopen.
“While we weather this storm we must also plan for what’s on the other side of these dark clouds,” Ford said at Queen’s Park on Thursday alongside Minister of Finance Rod Phillips. “We must be ready when the time comes to reopen the economy, to get back to work.”
The committee is comprised of numerous ministers, including but not limited to the minister of finance, minister of economic development, minister of transportation, minister of health, minister of government and consumer affairs and the president of the treasury board.
There are no non-elected officials on the committee, but the government said they will be consulting with a variety of people to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and on businesses. The province cited business associations, chambers of commerce, municipal leaders, corporate leaders, small business owners, and entrepreneurs as examples of people they would be speaking with.
Phillips said the committee’s first order of business will be to prepare for the “recovery phase” after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
“The people behind the 400,000 jobs last month are the people who will be on our minds,” he said. “By starting this work early, acting decisively and working together, we know Ontario will recover stronger.”
Ford added that he hopes the committee will "light the match that ignites the fire under the economy.”
”There is a lot of work to be done and we will still have some very difficult days and weeks ahead of us and I know it may be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel right now but we will turn the corner. We will get back on our feet and we will, once again, be the economic engine of Canada.”
The province has previously agreed to spend $17 billion over the next year to battle the impacts of COVID-19, including $3.3 billion on the health-care system, $3.7 billion on support for people and jobs and $10 billion to support businesses.