Health Preparedness and Rebuilding the Economy Top Priorities in Ontario’s Fall Legislative Agenda
Priorities Will Advance the Government’s Plan for Growth, Renewal and Long-Term Recovery
September 14, 2020
TORONTO — The Ontario government is returning to the legislature today, ready to continue implementing its made-in-Ontario plan for growth, renewal and long-term recovery. The government’s fall legislative agenda will build on the work undertaken over the summer, focusing on job creation, skills training, attracting investment, strengthening communities, and fortifying the front lines of the province’s health care system.
“Our government worked through the summer passing emergency legislation to protect individuals, families and businesses during one of the most difficult periods in our province’s history,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Over the past few weeks, we have heard from people in every corner of the province and from all walks of life that they continue to feel the impact of the pandemic each and every day. To start us down the road to long-term recovery, this legislative session will focus on implementing our comprehensive plan to get Ontario back on track.”
Priorities for the upcoming session include:
- Investing in Ontario’s health care system to ensure the province is prepared for a potential second wave of COVID-19 and for any future public health challenges;
- Building Ontario’s production capacity for personal protective equipment, ventilators and other medical gear so the province never has to rely on any other jurisdiction again for these critical supplies;
- Protecting families and those most vulnerable and helping them get back on their feet as the province reopens;
- Helping young people and workers receive the skills training they need to join the modern workforce and contribute to the recovery of the province;
- Accelerating the construction of critical highway, transit and broadband infrastructure projects to create jobs and boost the local economies of communities across Ontario;
- Providing relief to Mainstreet Ontario and small business owners so they can recover from the impact of COVID-19 faster and get back to the work of building their business; and
- Expanding manufacturing by creating the conditions to bring investment and jobs to the province and world-class, Ontario-made products to consumers around the world.
“When faced with a global pandemic, Members of Provincial Parliament came together in an unprecedented level of cooperation to protect people and support businesses,” said Paul Calandra, Ontario’s Government House Leader. “Working across party lines, we were able to quickly pass important programs and protective measures through a special summer sitting of the legislature. Now, as we return to regular fall sittings, the people of Ontario expect us to continue to cooperate to defeat COVID-19 and rebuild our economy.”
In March and through the summer, the legislature met for special sittings of the Assembly, which included unprecedented and innovative public health protections to allow for the passage of emergency legislation. From March to July, the government was successful in passing 18 pieces of legislation, including emergency measures needed to protect public health and prepare for economic recovery, such as the Economic and Fiscal Update Act, the COVID-19 Support and Protection Act, the Protecting Small Business Act, and the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act. The expedited passage of much of this emergency legislation would not have been possible without the support and cooperation of the Official Opposition and independent Members.
A full list of legislation passed during the summer session is available here.
- Since the Ontario legislature reconvened in February 2020, the government has passed 17 government bills and one private member’s bill. Of the 17 government bills passed, six of them received unanimous consent of all parties for expedited passage.
- The legislature has sat for 22 days since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 220 hours of committee study to date hearing from nearly 500 witnesses.
- The government took steps to implement unprecedented measures to allow the full participation of all Members of the Assembly, while respecting public health guidance, including: Permitting Members to vote from the public galleries and in the lobbies adjacent to the Chamber; Permitting Members to sit at, speak from, or vote from any desk in the Chamber; Managing the number of Members present in the Chamber at any given time; Permitting the use of virtual technology for meetings of Legislative Committees; Allocating additional Question Period questions to the Official Opposition and Independent Members; and completing an in-depth sectoral-based study at an expanded Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs to be conducted virtually to study the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and measures contributing to economic recovery.