Ontario Extends COVID-19 State of Emergency

With Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer recommending stronger updated guidelines for vulnerable individuals to stay home and self-isolate, Premier Ford confirmed that the province will be extending its state of emergency declaration for another 14 days (it is set to expire on March 31st). The Ontario Legislature is set to reconvene on April 14th – the day the extension expires – and the government will have to pass legislation to allow the state of emergency to continue.

The government is also encouraging individuals over 70 to self-isolate and has announced an additional $10 million to help community organizations with the coordination of subsidized deliveries of meals, medicines, and other necessities to seniors.

Ontario’s Personal Protective Equipment Supply Remains a Priority

With Premier Ford acknowledging the challenges facing Ontario’s supply lines if COVID-19 cases increase significantly in the coming weeks, the Ford government has proclaimed the Supply Chain Management Act to protect the province’s supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Effective immediately, the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Government and Consumer Services is centrally managing public sector supply chains and the government can collect data and track essential supplies through a virtual inventory tool. This also allows the government to support other public entities that don’t fall under the legislation, such as social service agencies and municipalities.

With COVID-19 impacting supply chains across the country and globally, organizations who have the ability to redeploy capacity to support the government’s COVID-19 response and provide personal protective equipment can submit proposals via Ontario Together.

Price Gouging is Over

Companies, take note: Ontario issued an emergency order on March 28th to prevent retail businesses and individuals from charging unfair prices for necessary goods to help protect against COVID-19, such as personal protective equipment and disinfecting agents. Offenders can face fines or jail time.

Corporations should take precautionary steps now to reinforce and ensure their local stores and franchises are not charging unfair prices for necessary goods, or potentially risk long-term reputational damage or a specific call out from the Premier during his daily press briefings.

What’s Next for the Ford Government?

Ontarians can expect a roll-out of announcements this week on additional measures to combat COVID-19. Notably for parents, the Minister of Education Stephen Lecce is expected to reveal the second wave of at-home learning resources following Premier Ford’s comments that Ontario’s schools will not be re-opening on April 6th.

With many short-term measures being rolled out following the release of Ontario’s Action Plan, the government is assessing longer-term and systemic risks the province faces as a result of COVID-19 and the next round of measures required. The government continues to seek solutions from businesses and organizations across the province, including regulatory measures that can support the province’s health care system, businesses, and workers in responding to COVID-19.