Ford appoints team to develop plan for Ontario's economic recovery


At an April 9 press conference, Ontario Premier Doug Ford discussed additional measures to help cope with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, with an announcement that the Ontario government has launched a new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee.

This appointed team will focus on getting businesses up and running as well as getting people back to work after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

While today’s announcement (April 9), continued to emphasize that the government’s primary focus is combatting the virus, supporting frontline health care workers and providing immediate relief to people and businesses, this new committee will responsible for developing a plan dedicated to planning the province’s economic growth and job creation in both the weeks and months ahead.

“My heart goes out to those individuals and families who have been out of work, or whose business has closed through no fault of their own,” said Premier Ford.

“I can assure each person affected by this crisis that we will do everything we can to support you, and get you back on the job as soon as possible. While our government battles this virus, members of our new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee will roll up their sleeves and develop a roadmap to a stronger, more prosperous economy.”

The membership of the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee includes Rod Phillips, Chair, Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure, Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development and Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction.

The committee will be assessing the impact of COVID-19 on Ontario’s economy and will be consulting with people to develop an action plan to move forward.

Today, (April 9), Statistics Canada released its monthly job numbers, which showcased a 402,800 decrease in employment in Ontario, which is why the government has launched Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19; a $17 billion package with funding targeted to help families and a variety of sectors across the province of Ontario.

“While the health and safety of Ontarians is our top priority, we need to ensure that our province is positioned to support and facilitate economic growth when we lift the State of Emergency,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board.

“This starts with the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, which will ensure we have a long-term, strategic vision to responsibly reopen our economy.”

In addition to $3.3 billion in additional health care resources, the plan also includes $3.7 billion to support people and jobs and relief of $6 billion by temporarily deferring taxes for 100,000 Ontario businesses, $1.9 billion to allow employers to defer Workplace Safety and Insurance Board payments and $1.8 billion to defer municipal education property tax payments.

The government is also providing $52 million from the package to better support individuals and families in financial crisis through social assistance, which will support those who are unable to access federal assistance to cover needs such as food costs, rent, medicine and other essential services during this time. 

In terms of small businesses, the Ontario government has also worked with the federal government to develop the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank, which will help businesses meet cash flow requirements through guaranteed loans.

“Our government is pulling out all the stops to support our job creators and workers today, during this very difficult time,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

“But it is incumbent upon us to look ahead and map out a plan that considers life after COVID-19, a plan that will guide us into a future filled with hope, new employment opportunities and steady economic growth.”

During yesterday’s announcement on April 8, Ford emphasized the importance of needing to see 13,000 COVID-19 tests done per day.

Today, when asked by reporters when they could expect to see this number of daily tests being done, Ford stated that they are continuing these tests in a “rapid fashion.” 

“You will see an increase in the average that we have seen in the last 30 days,” Ford told reporters.

Ford concluded his announcement by stating that although it may be hard to see light at end of the tunnel, it is his mission to get “every corner of the economy back on track and back to work.”

“In these darkest days, I want you to know, that we’re here for the people of Ontario. The sooner we defeat the virus, the sooner we can start rebuilding the economy,” said Ford.

"We will come back stronger and more united than ever before.”

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