COVID-19 Update for March 18, 2020 – 2:30pm

This afternoon, Premier Doug Ford, with Deputy Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliott and Finance Minister Rod Phillips, provided an update on COVID-19 and the Ontario government’s response.

Premier Ford said he was “pleased to see federal government stepping up in a big, big way,” saying that $82 billion announced today was a “tough decision but it was the right decision.”

He noted that actions being taken by the federal government like reforming EI, doubling the GST and increasing the Child Care Benefit will help supports Ontarians.

He reaffirmed that the government will recall the Legislature tomorrow to introduce legislation that will provide additional supports for workers in Ontario. They expect to receive unanimous consent from all parties on this legislation.

Finance Minister Rod Phillips confirmed that on March 25 the economic and fiscal statement will be released, hinting that it will mirror the federal stimulus package and focus on providing support to the healthcare system and to people and jobs.

The Premier thanked those working collaboratively on the response including: front line health care workers, cleaners and drivers.

He also praised Ontario companies that have stepped up to offer their support. He noted to recent actions taken by Dillon’s Distillery to produce hand sanitizer, Cisco Canada to offer digital services, and actions taken by the Automotive Part Manufacturing Association.

Health Minister Elliott said the province is now conducting 2,000 tests for COVID-19 every day and expects that to increase to 5,000 a day in the near future. She also said that four days to receive results was not acceptable and that the province is working to reduce the time it takes to report test results.

The province has also added 300 lines for Tele-Health Ontario to respond to demand.

Additional updates from the federal and provincial government will continue tomorrow and over the next few days. In follow-up to our last update please see attached a summary of the measures introduced by the federal government earlier today.

If you have questions let us know.

The Enterprise Team

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