Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex are still being held back from moving to Stage 2 of the province’s phased COVID19 re-opening plan. Premier Ford says Durham, Haldimand-Norfolk, Halton, Hamilton, Lambton, Niagara and York can move to Stage 2 this Friday. That will allow restaurant patios and hair salons to re-open among other easing of restrictions. Premier Ford is asking Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex to be patient — saying the province can’t let its guard down against COVID19. He says the good news is public health trends across the province are going in the right direction and another update on those regions’ progress is expected next Monday.
Here is Premier Ford’s news conference from yesterday:
Yesterday Ontario reported its lowest number of new daily COVID19 cases since late March, with just 181 new cases confirmed. The daily death toll was also lower. Only 8 were reported. The provincial total number of cases is now at 32,370 and the death toll is 2,527. The latest batch of results suggests Toronto and Peel regions remain the epicentre of the pandemic in Ontario. Of the 181 new cases yesterday, 126 of those cases were in Toronto or Peel.
Facing pressure from New Democrats ahead of a looming parliamentary showdown, the federal Liberals say they are putting together a plan to extend the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’ll elaborate later this week how the CERB might be extended beyond its current 16-week maximum. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says unless there’s a plan to help the millions of Canadians who have almost maxed out how much they can claim, his party won’t back a spending bill due in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Here is Prime Minister Trudeau’s news conference from yesterday:
Pay Premium for Frontline Workers:
The province is promising funding will flow in “very shorter order” to about 375,000 frontline health-care workers still waiting for a promised COVID19 pay premium. The government says it has provided written funding commitments to employers, and that will be followed by the flow of money although no date has been provided. Premier Ford announced the $4 dollar-an-hour pay premium in late April as well as a monthly bonus of $250-dollars for those working more than 100 hours in a month. He said it was a way of recognizing the sacrifices essential workers make as they fight the spread of COVID-19.
Unions – Wage Premium:
Unions representing essential workers at some of Canada’s major retailers are pushing back against the decision to eliminate wage premiums. The extra pay was implemented to compensate employees for working during the height of the COVID19 pandemic. Unifor National President Jerry Dias says the pandemic is not over, adding the workers are no less at risk and are no less essential today than they were yesterday. The union, which represents some Metro and Loblaws employees, wants to make fair pay permanent.
More people will soon be able to return to work. In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health, we are enabling more regions to enter stage 2 of the province’s reopening framework. Here’s today’s update: pic.twitter.com/1wQgDt3aqZ
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) June 15, 2020
Ontario to Collect Race Related Health Data:
All Ontario health units will begin collecting race-based data on COVID19 under a new proposal from the Ontario government. Ontario’s health minister says the government has made the proposal after requests from community leaders and public health experts. Christine Elliott says some groups may be at greater risk of COVID19 infection, including racialized communities and those with lower incomes.
Some progress on better data. Ontario proposes reg changes so ppl who test positive for COVID-19 infection will be asked additional questions about race, income, languages, and household size. Individuals can choose not to answer and privacy is protected. https://t.co/AuWy1l30TA.
— Jane Philpott (@janephilpott) June 15, 2020
Toronto Mayor Approves Of Decision to Not Reopen Yet:
Mayor John Tory says not including Toronto in the next Stage 2 reopening plans is the right decision. Tory says current data on the spread of COVID19 in the city does not back up reopening the city’s economy more widely. Premier Ford says all regions of Ontario except for Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex will be in Stage 2 of the province’s phased reopening plan as of Friday. The government is expected to provide another assessment of those regions’ progress next Monday.
We know today that it will be a little longer before Toronto will be able to move forward into Stage 2 of Ontario’s reopening. This regional approach taken by the province takes into account that #COVID19 in more densely populated areas poses extra public health challenges. pic.twitter.com/2gWkL0XPxY
— John Tory (@JohnTory) June 15, 2020
Impact on Different Parts of the Economy:
Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the government will look at how men and women are impacted differently by efforts to jumpstart the pandemic-frozen economy. Morneau also suggests that federal officials will consider how any changes to the COVID19 economic safety net could affect racialized communities in Canada. Morneau has told the Senate’s finance committee that officials are working on various economic scenarios to determine how programs should adapt.
— Bill Morneau (@Bill_Morneau) June 15, 2020
Canada Day at Home:
Federal officials are releasing details on how people can celebrate Canada Day at home. The usual July 1st festivities in Ottawa have been scrapped this year due to the COVID19 pandemic. Canadian Heritage says in a release that entertainment usually on the main stage at Parliament Hill will go online this year, including performances from Paul Brandt, Alanis Morrissette, Avril Lavigne and Sarah McLachlan.
The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales in May were down 39.8 per cent over May, 2019. However, sales were up by 56.9 per cent from April’s record low. The average sale price dropped 2.6 per cent from May of 2019, to $494,500-dollars.
Nova Scotia 4-day Work-Week:
A rural municipality in Nova Scotia will be testing a four-day work week for its employees over the next nine months. The 9-month pilot project began yesterday in the District of Guysborough. Chief administrative officer Barry Carroll says it’s the direct result of a reorganization that was necessary to deal with the COVID19 pandemic. Carroll says the change will see about 60 municipal employees work the same number of hours over a condensed work week, with either Monday or Friday off. He says the move will allow municipal offices to stay open five days a week to serve the public, while giving employees flexibility and more time to deal with family life. Carroll says the pilot project will be evaluated by the end of January and a decision will be made on whether to make the change permanent.
Canadians may soon be able to once again watch a Hollywood blockbuster in a movie theatre. Cineplex, the country’s largest theatre chain, says it plans to re-open six locations in Alberta next week. It then hopes to re-open theatres in as many other markets across the country as government and health authorities allow starting July 3rd. The rollout will introduce a number of new measures, including reserved seating in all auditoriums to ensure physical distancing between moviegoers, and staggered showtimes to reduce congestion in its theatre lobbies.
Cineworld has dropped its plan to buy Canadian movie giant Cineplex for $2.8 billion dollars. The British firm claims “certain breaches” of the contract were made by the Canadian company. But Cineplex insists the allegations of wrongdoing are false, adding that it’ll see Cineworld in court.
COVID19 / BLM Rally in London:
Health officials say a woman who was among about 10,000 people at a Black Lives Matter protest in London has tested positive for COVID19. The Middlesex London Health Unit says it has been in contact with the woman since it was notified of her diagnosis. It says she wore a face mask at the demonstration on June 6th and there is no indication she was exposed to the virus or infectious at the time of the rally. Anyone who attended is reminded to continue to monitor themselves for symptoms until this Saturday as a precaution.
Waterloo Region Numbers:
Yesterday Waterloo Region Public Health reported 19 new COVID19 cases from the weekend for a new total of 1,210 cases. The number of resolved cases was way up. It’s now at 1,006 so there are just 89 active cases. The Region also reported no new deaths. There hasn’t been one since June 3rd. In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, Public Health only confirmed 10 new cases over the weekend.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot