The Ontario government has extended all emergency orders currently in force for another week.
The decision was done in consultation with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, to extend all emergency orders made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until July 22.
According to the province, the extension was made to ensure the province maintains the necessary flexibility to protect public health and safety as more businesses reopen and people go back to work.
“Our government is getting Ontario back on track and more people back to work, but at the same time taking steps to ensure we don’t undo the tremendous progress we have made together,” said Premier Doug Ford.
“By keeping these emergency measures in place, we will continue to support our frontline care providers, protect our most vulnerable, and ensure we can rapidly respond to potential outbreaks or surges.”
The extension of the emergency orders is supposed to help protect vulnerable people, such as seniors, by allowing the redeployment of frontline staff in long-term care facilities, retirement homes and other congregate care settings, like women’s shelters and residential services.
In addition, the extension would allow public health units to redeploy or hire staff to support case management and contact tracing.
The government intends to extend emergency orders to align with the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020, if passed.
According to Premier Doug Ford’s office, the motion that was introduced on Wednesday to extend the emergency declaration is to ensure a safe and gradual reopening of the province and that there is no gap between the provincial declaration and when the new bill takes effect.
This proposed legislation is part of the government’s plan to “cautiously reopen” Ontario in a way that recognizes the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 even after the provincial declaration of emergency has ended.
On Tuesday, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones introduced a bill at the provincial legislature, which would allow the government to extend or amend some emergency orders each month, with the law expiring a year after it’s passed.
Under current legislation, the province can only issue emergency orders while the state of emergency is in place.
If passed, it would allow the province to keep some emergency measures in place while the pandemic is ongoing.
The current state of emergency is set to expire on July 15.
The Government of Ontario first declared a provincial emergency on March 17.