Ontario plans to extend state of emergency by 28 days
TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford says that he plans on extending the province’s state of emergency by 28 days when the legislature resumes on Tuesday.
Members of Provincial Parliament will return to Queen’s Park for a single day to pass the emergency act and to discuss a bill that will cover various topics such as education, childcare and municipal housing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I just want to thank members of the opposition for their cooperation on getting these passed right away,” Ford said while speaking to reporters on Monday afternoon.
In a statement, the Government House Leader said that he expects unanimous consent to debate on and vote to approve the bill on Tuesday.
Only 28 MPPs will be in the chamber so that officials can respect physical distancing rules. Fourteen will be representatives of the Progressive Conservative Party, eight will be with the New Democratic Party, and two will from the Liberal Party. The other representatives will include Mike Schreiner, the Leader of the Green Party, the Speaker, and independent seats Jim Wilson and Randy Hillier.
Ford originally declared a state of emergency on March 17, banning public events and large gatherings. One day before the order was set to expire, the premier announced an extension of the state of emergency by an additional 14 days.
A state of emergency declaration can be extended by no more than 14 days with approval by the Lieutenant Governor, but it requires a vote by the legislature to be extended by 28 days.
The emergency declaration gives the government power to enact orders such as prohibiting travel, establishing emergency shelters and hospitals and closing public and private facilities. It also allows the government to fix prices for necessary goods, services and resources.
The legislature will be gathering as the death toll related to COVID-19 in Ontario nears 300, with more than 7,000 positive cases confirmed in the province.
The legislature is also expected to adjourn until May 12, when MPPs will return to Queen’s Park.