Today is layoff day for tens of thousands more people in Ontario. Premier Ford announced yesterday the mandatory closure of all non-essential businesses in Ontario by 11:59pm tonight. Ontarians will still have access to grocery stores and pharmacies and gas, hydro, the media and telecommunications will continue to run.
To view the detailed list of which businesses are considered non-essential: CLICK HERE (You will be redirected to the government of Ontario site)
Premier Ford says schools will likely have to stay closed longer than first expected. Ford originally ordered the province’s schools to close until April 6th, or two weeks after the March Break. He now says that likely won’t be enough time and classes will be out longer. He did not estimate when schools may be able to reopen.
Here are Premier Ford’s full remarks:
Trudeau Has Had Enough:
“Enough is enough. Go home and stay home.” Those orders from a stern prime minister, who is warning Canadians of the need to adhere to COVID-19 mitigation measures. Canada’s confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 case count is approaching 2,100 with 24 deaths nationally. Quebec leads the country with 628 infections, including four deaths. The province has seen the number of cases nearly triple. Ontario is reporting 503 cases — six people have died. There are 472 cases in B.C. Thirteen people have died in British Columbia, the most deaths in the country.
Here are Prime Minister Trudeau’s full remarks:
Parliament Resumes Today:
Today the federal government will introduce an $82-billion-dollar spending bill aimed at softening the economic blow from the COVID-19 outbreak. But, due to Opposition push back, the deal will no longer include a proposal that would have given the government sweeping new powers for up to 21 months to unilaterally spend, borrow and tax Canadians without seeking Parliament’s approval. Ordinarily, the power to impose taxes and allocate the proceeds is in the hands of Parliament, not ministers, and a government falls if the House of Commons won’t support its budgetary plans.
Provincial And Territorial Leaders:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a conference call with provincial and territorial leaders last night. A federal source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says there was a lengthy discussion about whether the federal government should invoke the Emergencies Act to give itself extraordinary powers to deal with the health crisis. While some premiers want the act invoked, others are concerned that it could impede their efforts to respond to unique circumstances in their provinces. The federal government continues to consider the move a “last resort”.
Toronto’s mayor has declared a state of emergency for the city. John Tory says the measure gives him greater flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 crisis that’s been hitting the city hard in recent days. Many of Ontario’s more than 500 confirmed and prospective COVID-19 patients are in and around the Toronto area. Tory says he hopes to see more city residents listening to advice from public health officials and practicing social distancing.
@JohnTory has declared a State of Emergency today as part of the City’s ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID19. As @ChiefPeggTFS says, essential services will continue without interruption, including Police, Fire Services, Paramedics, Public Health, and 311. pic.twitter.com/9eJvFNuzAU
— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) March 23, 2020
OPP To Lay Charges:
The OPP says they will start laying charges for people and businesses who don’t comply with the social gathering limit of less than 50 people. Too many still aren’t respecting that we are in a state emergency. According to the OPP, anyone found in violation of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act could face considerable fines, which will be enforced by police. Individual fines include $750 for failing to comply with an order and $1000 for obstructions of person. Corporations who violate the act could be fined $500,000.
A new poll suggests one in five Canadians weren’t taking the deadly COVID-19 pandemic seriously as recently as last weekend. 16% per cent of respondents to the Leger poll said the crisis was partly blown out of proportion and another four per cent believed it was blown way out of proportion. Again, those numbers were from a survey over the weekend.
Canada’s veterinarians are willing to join in the nationwide efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association says several members have come forward offering to make their ventilators available for human use in order to ease the strain on the country’s overtaxed medical system.
Ontario is providing $200-million dollars in funding for social services to help the most vulnerable residents during a worsening coronavirus outbreak. The money will help municipalities and social service providers including food banks and shelters continue to deliver critical services and hire additional staff. It will also help them promote social distancing and self-isolation to keep clients safe. Premier Ford said in a statement that the government is making sure no one gets left behind during the pandemic.
Canada’s main stock index continued to sink yesterday as the trading week kicked off with heightened COVID-19 fears still gripping investors. The TSX lost 632 points. That’s another 5.3 per cent loss. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 582 points. The Nasdaq fell 18.84 points. Our dollar is trading overseas this morning at 69.41 cents U.S.
U.S. President Donald Trump says he thinks the U.S. economy, which has been virtually shut down because of COVID-19 pandemic, could be reopened in weeks, not months. At a news conference, Trump said keeping the nation largely shuttered is a bad idea, causing — in his opinion — far bigger problems that could come with severe consequences. Earlier in the crisis, Trump had signalled that the U.S. might not get back to normal until July or August.
Waterloo Region Public Health now has 32 cases of COVID19. Public Health confirmed 17 new cases yesterday, with 15 of those presumptive positive. Seven of the new cases are being treated at Grand River Hospital and Cambridge Memorial Hospital. Seven of the new cases are the result of community transmission. Amongst the confirmed cases is a local paramedic. Their shift partner is now in self-isolation, and is so far, symptom free.
Two staff members at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener have tested positive for COVID19. No details were released, but a memo was sent to all staff. The hospital says, “The processes we have put in place to quickly identify and isolate those who may be impacted, worked as intended which minimized the risk to staff, patients and our community in both of these cases.”
Last night Kitchener City Council approved the City’s Early Economic Support Plan to reduce the financial strain on citizens and businesses during the pandemic. The city is allowing you to defer property tax payments until May 31st without penalties or interest. The have also approved another 60-days of utility relief so there will be no disconnections for non-payment. The renewal of business licenses is also deferred and they may lower lease and license payments for tenants at city-owned commercial spaces like the Kitchener Market or The Aud.
Waterloo Region has announced some changes to waste collection. Beginning next week, to help reduce the burden of work for essential frontline workers during the COVID19 pandemic, yard waste collection is on hold. There will be no bulk garbage pick-up. But, to help families that are home more than usual, the bag/can limit will be temporarily extended from four to six bags. Regular recycling and green bin collection will continue as normal.
The Kitchener Rangers season is over and the Memorial Cup cancelled. The Canadian Hockey League has chosen to cancel the Memorial Cup tournament and the playoffs for the three CHL leagues, including the OHL. The Kitchener Rangers finished the year 40-16-5-2 and third in the Western Conference.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: Global News via YouTube