Ontario to extend emergency orders under Reopening Ontario Act
Ontario has extended the government's power to keep all emergency orders in place under the Reopening Ontario Act until March 2022.
The emergency orders, which were set to expire on Dec. 1, will be extended after a motion by Solicitor General Sylvia Jones was passed at Queen's Park on Tuesday.
The motion gives the Doug Ford government the power to extend emergency orders until March 28. Each order under the ROA must be extended by cabinet in 30-day increments.
A spokesperson for Jones told CTV News Toronto the extension of emergency powers aligns with the government's plan to lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions by March.
Without extending the ROA, all public health measures currently in place would have expired on Dec. 1.
There are currently 28 orders in effect under the reopening act, including the proof of vaccination system.
The ROA gives the government the power to implement rules on public gatherings, business closures and managing outbreaks in hospitals or long-term care homes.
Earlier this month, Ontario paused the next step of the reopening plan because of an increase in COVID-19 cases.
On Nov. 15, capacity limits were supposed to be lifted in remaining high-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required.
That step was been delayed at least 28 days.
The next step of the reopening plan, which is scheduled for Jan. 17, would see capacity limits gradually lifted in places where proof of vaccination is not required. The province’s vaccine certificate system could also be gradually lifted at this time.
On Feb. 7, the government plans to lift proof of vaccination requirements in high-risk settings, including night clubs, strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs.
On March 28, Ontario plans on lifting the remaining public health measures, including wearing face coverings in door public settings. Proof of vaccination would also be lifted for all settings.
Ontario MPP Gurratan Singh, critic for the Attorney General, told CTV News Toronto in a statement he has "serious concerns" about the extension of the emergency orders.
"The NDP has serious concerns about what Doug Ford could use these powers to do, such as further cuts to important services and more backroom decisions that serve Ford and his developer buddies, not the public interest."