Ontario Declares a State of Emergency

Published on March 20, 2020

On March 17th, our government declared a state of emergency to give the province every possible power to help our healthcare sector contain the spread of COVID-19. 

Our government did not make this decision lightly, however, we are facing an unprecedented time in our history.

As a result of this declaration and, the following establishments have been ordered closed:

  • All facilities providing indoor recreational programs;
  • All public libraries;
  • All private schools as defined in the Education Act;
  • All licensed child care centres;
  • All bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery;
  • All theatres including those offering live performances of music, dance, and other art forms, as well as cinemas that show movies; and
  • Concert venues.

Further, all organized public events of over fifty people are also prohibited, including parades and events and communal services within places of worship. These orders were approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and will remain in place until March 31, 2020, at which point they will be reassessed and considered for extension, unless this order is terminated earlier.

Ontario is also investing up to $304 million to enhance the province's response to COVID-19 by providing the following:

  • $100 million for increased capacity in hospitals to assist with the effective treatment of COVID-19 patients both in critical care and medicine beds.
  • $50 million for more testing and screening through public health, including additional funding to support extraordinary costs incurred to monitor, detect and contain COVID-19 in the province. This includes contact tracing, increased laboratory testing capacity and home testing.
  • $50 million to further protect frontline workers, first responders and patients by increasing the supply of personal protective equipment and other critical supplies and equipment to protect them.
  • $25 million to support frontline workers working in COVID-19 assessment centres, including the creation of a new fund to provide respite care, child care services and other supports as they are needed.
  • $50 million for long-term care homes to support 24/7 screening, additional staffing to support infection control and additional supplies.
  • $20 million for residential facilities in developmental services, gender-based services and protective care for children and youth to support additional staffing, respite for caregivers impacted by school closures, personal protective equipment and supplies and transportation costs to minimize client exposure and to support social distancing, as well as additional cleaning costs.
  • $5 million to protect seniors in retirement homes through increased infection control and active screening procedures.
  • $4 million for Indigenous communities to support transportation costs for health care professionals and the distribution of critical supplies.

IMPORTANT FACTS

  • The increased funding includes investments from Ontario’s previously-announced COVID-19 Contingency Fund, as well as funding provided by the federal government.
  • Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory infections like bronchitis, pneumonia or severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
  • There is no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19, but there are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses.
  • Visit Ontario's www.ontario.ca/coronavirus to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.