Today, Ontario Premier Doug Ford was joined by Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, to make his regular update.
Premier Ford provides a COVID-19 update | June 3Ford cautioned that the impact of COVID-19 and safely re-opening the economy could cost the province more than $23 billion. “The fight against this virus has taken a massive toll on our people, our families and our economy,” he said.
The Premier also noted that he has made it clear to the federal government that Ontario is ready to work with Ottawa and acknowledged that the federal response has been positive.
Special Ask to the Federal Government
Responding to the federal government’s $14-billion commitment targeted towards supporting provinces and territories announced this morning, the premier emphasized more funding will be needed to deal with the magnitude of challenges ahead. “We cannot find band-aid solutions to the massive issues we will be facing in the coming months,” he said.
While each province has unique circumstances, Ford pointed out that Ontario sends $13 billion more to the federal government each year than it gets back in federal transfers and services.
“We are asking just for a fair share of that money back during these unprecedented times,” he said. “Ontario needs the federal contribution to fund key priorities during these challenging times. Our frontline workers are counting on it. Our municipalities are counting on it. And our long-term care residents are counting on it.”
Paid Sick Leave
Ford clarified his position on 10 paid sick days that the federal government announced as part of the $14-billion relief package for provinces and territories. He maintained the sick leave funds would be better spent if they were directed to long-term care homes or 444 municipalities across Ontario.
“In Ontario, we have legislation that supports jobs for people who don’t feel safe and don’t want to go to work,” he said.
While additional sick leave was a priority in B.C., Ford said Ontario and other provinces have other priority areas that need funding support.
Re-opening Ontario’s Economy
The Premier said he will share more details on Stage 2 of re-opening the economy early next week.
“Businesses need more time to prepare,” said Ford, adding that the province will start to hand out notices to businesses early next week as it re-opens businesses and daycares in a safe and gradual fashion.