News & Media

COVID-19 Update: October 19

October 19, 2020

Please see below the most recent updates on the federal and provincial governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal

  • The Federal government did not provide a Covid-19 update today.
  • Yesterday, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Mary Ng, launched National Small Business Week. Expect the government and Liberal MPs to make subsequent announcements highlighting Canadian small businesses throughout the week.
  • The focus for the government and several key Ministers (Jordan, Miller, Blair) this week is the ongoing disputes and violence occurring in Nova Scotia between commercial and Indigenous fishers. 

Provincial

  • This morning, Dr. Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, recommended that all regions under modified Stage 2 restrictions (currently Peel, Toronto, Ottawa & York) refrain from participating in traditional door-to-door trick or treating.
  • Recommendations for alternative ways to celebrate include, but are not limited to:
    • Encouraging kids to dress up and participate in virtual activities and parties.
    • Organizing a Halloween candy hunt with people living in their own household.
    • Carving pumpkins.
    • Having a movie night or sharing scary stories, and
    • Decorating front lawns.
    • It is also strongly recommended that families do not travel outside of their neighbourhood to celebrate Halloween.
  • For regions not currently under the modified Stage 2 restrictions, and wish to go out to trick or treat, the following recommendations have been made:
    • Only go out with members of your immediate household.
    • Only trick or treat in outside areas and avoid apartment and condominium buildings.
    • Stay within your neighbourhood to celebrate Halloween.
    • Both trick or treaters and people handing out candy should wear a face covering.Note: A costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering and should not be worn over a face covering as it may make it difficult to breathe.
    • Do not congregate or linger at doorsteps and remember to line up two metres apart if waiting.
    • Avoid contact with high-touch surfaces and objects while trick or treating.
    • Whether collecting or handing out treats, wash your hands often and thoroughly, or use hand sanitizer; and
    • Do not leave treats in a bucket or bowl for children to grab and consider using tongs or other similar tools to hand out treats
  • Also today, the Premier together with Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury BoardChair of the Future State Modernization Committee, released Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government.
  • Through the plan the government will be focusing on:
    • Making government services more digitally accessible, such as providing new and improved digital health solutions to frontline care personnel, so they can rapidly and securely access a patient’s health records from anywhere and from any device.
    • Reducing red tape and simplifying policies while protecting public health and safety, such as reducing barriers to development and construction approval by allowing a digital application process to get shovels in the ground faster on transit and housing projects.
    • Improving government purchasing by leveraging the combined bulk-buying power of the province, while taking advantage of the world-class capabilities of local Ontario businesses, to transform how the government purchases goods and services, so the province can have the supplies it needs.
    • Creating more responsible and flexible public services, such as re-designing core internal processes or permit applications, so citizens can get what they need faster and easier, such as driver’s licences and health cards.

Further details about the projects outlined today will be announced in the coming weeks and months.

QUESTIONS:

  • Before taking questions from the media, the Premier asked the protestors that are showing up at his residence to redirect their protests to take place at Queens Park.   He asked the protestors to be respectful of his neighbours and the safety and well being of the children in his neighbourhood. 
  • Many of the questions today were with respect to Halloween, where the Premier advised today that he is not “cancelling” Halloween, he is just asking for people to take extra care in the hot spots and to follow the recommendations and suggestions from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.  
  • When asked if the new restrictions and guidelines relating to COVID-19 were being driven by fear and cabinet pressures, the Premier advised that he is taking the recommendations from the health command table which is comprised not only of Dr. Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, but also hundreds of doctors.
  • When questioned about the fairness in the government shutting down private business, while continuing the pay non-working civil servants during the pandemic the Premier confirmed that the vast majority of civil servants that have not returned to the workplace are in fact working from home, as well as working above and beyond their regular duties. 
  • Finally, the Premier and Dr. Williams advised that the best place to get clear guidance around implemented Covid-19 restrictions, guidelines and recommendations is directly from the Ontario government website, which can be accessed here.

James Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario

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