Ontario extends COVID-19 emergency orders until July 22
TORONTO -- Ontario has extended all of its emergency orders until July 22 in order to align with a new omnibus bill proposed at Queen’s Park that would allow the government to maintain certain legislation until a possible second wave of COVID-19 concludes.
In a statement issued Thursday, the government said the decision was made “to ensure the province maintains the necessary flexibility to protect public health and safety as more businesses reopen and people go back to work.”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford first declared a state of emergency on March 17 as the province grappled with a surge in COVID-19 patients.
It has been extended numerous times and is set to expire on July 15, however the province has also put forward a motion in the Legislature that would see the state of emergency extended until July 24.
Ford has previously said that he hopes not to have to extend the province’s state of emergency past June.
"Our government is getting Ontario back on track and more people back to work, but at the same time taking steps to ensure we don't undo the tremendous progress we have made together," Ford said in a statement.
"By keeping these emergency measures in place, we will continue to support our frontline care providers, protect our most vulnerable, and ensure we can rapidly respond to potential outbreaks or surges."
The emergency orders, enacted under the state of emergency, include rules on physical distancing and social gatherings, the closure of schools and some businesses, and flat hydro rates.
On Wednesday, the government put forward a new bill called “The Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act” that it says will help Ontario’s economy recover from the pandemic.
The 188-page bill proposes changes to 20 pieces of legislation, including a few that are not related to the pandemic.
If the bill passes, students between junior kindergarten and Grade 3 will no longer be allowed to be suspended. It also offers amendments that would impact environmental assessments, consumer protections, as well as changes to legislation governing the justice system.