On Tuesday (June 2), Premier Doug Ford will ask the Ontario legislature to extend the province’s state of emergency for another 28 days, until Tuesday, June 30th.
Ford confirmed the plan to extend the state of emergency in response to reporter questions during a media briefing at Queen’s Park on Monday (June 1).
“That will hopefully get us over the hump, per se,” Ford explained.
“That’s another four weeks. We just want to make sure everyone’s safe and healthy. We want to get the economy going and we need that tool to make that happen.”
He also didn’t rule out a further extension after June 30th.
“It all depends on the situation we’re facing,” Ford said. “If we’re seeing that everything is moving in the right direction, the numbers are going down, then we don’t need to. But if we see that the movement hasn’t happened, then the option’s on the table.”
Ford also didn’t commit to easing emergency orders, although he said “a lot of things can happen in four weeks, especially if we see the numbers come down.”
“We working very aggressively on coming up with a plan to get the economy going based on the numbers,” he said. “That goes back to our testing strategy — we have a great strategy that we’re rolling out. We’ll be looking at other stages, and a regional approach. I want to get this economy going, but I have to do it safely.”
Health minister Christine Elliott added that further reopening of the province depends on four factors: a continued decrease in the number of new cases, sufficient capacity in hospitals if there is any surge in COVID-19 cases, and adequate testing and contact tracing.
“We still need to go some distance yet before we are ready to start stage two,” Elliott said.
The provincial government first declared a 14-day state of emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (ECMPA) on Tuesday, March 17th.
Under the provisions of the ECMPA, the state of emergency could be extended for one additional 14-day period (until April 14th) with further 28-day period extensions requiring the support of the legislature.
On April 14th, the legislature approved an extension of the state of emergency until Tuesday, May 12th and then, on May 12th, extended it again until Tuesday, June 2nd.