The Ontario government is reopening select businesses across the province in order to create more jobs for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday, Statistics Canada released its monthly job numbers, which showed a 689,200 decrease in employment in Ontario last month.
“These are more than statistics. They represent a small business owner or small business clerk and they’re suffering through no fault of their own,” Ford said during the daily press conference.
According to Statistic Canada, after employment fell by 1,011,000 or 5.3% in March nationally, it dropped by nearly two million in April, “bringing the total employment decline since the beginning of the COVID-19 economic shutdown to over three million.”
Statistics Canada calls the drop in employment “unprecedented.”
And employment rates declined in all provinces for the second month in a row.
But as per the province, as of May 8, garden centres and nurseries will be able to open for in-store payment and purchases.
Additionally, hardware stores and safety supply stores will be permitted to open for in-store payment and purchases starting at 12:01 am on Saturday.
“Thousands” will go back to work on Monday when non-essential retail stores with a street entrance can begin offering curbside pickup and delivery — as announced earlier this week.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on people’s lives and livelihoods, but thanks to the incredible efforts of our frontline health care workers and all individuals and families, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Ford said.
“By Monday, thousands of people will be returning to work at hardware stores, retail outlets, and garden centres across the province. Now with the right framework and the right guidelines in place, we can start getting more of Ontario back to work quickly and safely.”
The premier noted that Ontario has a “solid foundation” and the “right framework” for reopening the economy, saying that getting people back to work is “top of mind.”
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On April 24, the provincial government partnered with the federal government to provide $900 million to the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA), to deliver relief to small businesses and ensure they can reopen their doors when the emergency measures are lifted.
Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 also includes $10 billion in support for individuals and businesses to improve cash flows by providing a five-month penalty and interest-free period to make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.
On April 27, Ford released A Framework for Reopening our Province which outlines the three phases of opening up the economy.