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Toronto launches recovery and rebuild office after 'biggest emergency' ever faced
The Gardiner Expressway in Toronto is almost empty in the as the sun rises on Sunday, April 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
TORONTO -- Toronto Mayor John has announced the launch of its recovery and rebuild office, which will guide the city back to normalcy after what he called “the biggest economic shock and financial shock it ever faced.”
The mayor said the office will be led by Saad Rafi, the former CEO of the Pan Am Games and Dr. David Mowat, the former chief medical officer of health for Ontario.
"In these two individuals we have found the best one-two punch that you could possibly find to make sure we have the best plan ... and the plan that is going to protect health at one in the same time," Tory said at a news conference.
"We have been focused on the health emergency but also working to protect the economy now and map out a safe, sensible healthy restart and recovery program."
Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa told reporters on Monday that the city has started to successfully flatten the curve and is at its peak period for COVID-19 cases.
She reported on Friday 238 people have died due to COVID-19 and that the city currently has a total of 4,486 cases of the disease, both probable and confirmed. De Villa added that 300 of those people are in hospital and 113 of those are in ICU.
"We are still very much in the early days of our thinking of recovery and rebuilding our city," she said on Friday at the news conference.
Mayor Tory said that both Rafi and Mowat have already started on their recovery plan and more details about the plan will be released in the “days ahead.”
"The day we roll it out partly depends on you,” Tory said while addressing Toronto residents. “Let’s show this virus a thing or two with self-discipline … that’s what will take us to the treasure at the end of the rainbow, which is just getting back to life in this great city.”
Tory said that Rafi and Mowat are on short-term contracts with the city to deal with the issue.
"We have got to get this right. It’s a plan that’s incredibly complex, incredibly complex, when you think of restarting an economy with three million people,” he said.
"[This is] the biggest emergency this city has probably ever face, the biggest economic shock and financial shock it ever faced.”
The Ontario government said on Friday that the provincial framework to restart the economy will be released next week.
Tory said that he is working very closely with the province on Toronto’s plan.
"When exactly we open the city will depend on each and every one of us right now," Tory said. "We are very much still waging war against this virus ... lives are still at stake."