Ending Ontario's State of Emergency sends "dangerous message": NDP

Feb 9 2021, 8:28 pm

The Ontario NDP’s are calling out the Ford government, saying it is sending out a “dangerous message” by not extending the province’s State of Emergency, which expired on Tuesday.

Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath said Premier Doug Ford’s move to end the State of Emergency Tuesday and reopen the province within two weeks without any new public health protections “is sending a dangerous message that it’s time to go back to business as usual.”

“People deserve hope that this time when we open, we’re opening for good. We’ve been stuck in a cycle of one step forward and two steps back. We’re paying the price because Doug Ford keeps making the same mistakes again and again,” the statement reads.

Horwath noted that last March break Ford urged everyone to travel. For Mother’s Day, he held a family gathering, and at Christmas, he delayed the lockdown so people could shop and get together for the holidays.

She added without any enhanced measures for reopening, Ford is “dooming us to repeat the cycle of sickness and shut-downs.”

Horwath said the reopening should come with new protections like paid sick days, in-workplace COVID testing, in-school testing, and more capacity to contact trace.

There is also the issue that once the orders are lifted, residential evictions will resume.

“The eviction ban was full of loopholes — but Doug Ford should be fixing it, not scrapping it. For those who have lost income due to the pandemic, a rent subsidy and legislated eviction ban are absolutely as necessary as ever,” said NDP Tenant Rights and Housing critic Jessica Bell.

On Monday, Ford announced that Ontario’s Stay at Home order would be extended to February 16 for 28 regions, and until February 22 for Toronto, Peel, and York regions.

Final decisions will be subject to a review of the trends in public health indicators at that time.

When it is safe to do so, the province will gradually transition each region from the shutdown measures to a revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open.

In every colour, retail is allowed to reopen with different restrictions depending on the zone.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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