Proposed Bill Would Provide Flexibility to Address the Ongoing Threat of COVID-19
TORONTO — Today, the Ontario government introduced proposed legislation that, if passed, would give the province the necessary flexibility to address the ongoing risks and effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. The proposed legislation is part of the government’s plan for the continued safe and gradual reopening of the province once the declaration of emergency ends.
Details about the proposed legislation were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.
“If passed, the proposed legislation would allow us to chart a responsible path to economic reopening and recovery without putting all the progress we’ve made in fighting this virus at risk,” said Premier Ford. “Even as we continue certain emergency orders under the proposed legislation to protect public health, we will always be a government accountable to the people of Ontario. That’s why I will ensure ongoing updates are provided and that a report is tabled within four months of the anniversary of this proposed Act coming into force.”
“While the declaration of emergency may come to an end shortly, the risk posed by COVID-19 is likely to be with us for some time to come,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “This new legislation would provide the government with the necessary flexibility to ensure select tools remain in place to protect vulnerable populations, such as seniors, and respond to this deadly virus.”
The Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 would, if passed, ensure important measures remain in place to address the threat of COVID-19 once the provincial declaration of emergency has ended. Specifically, the legislation would:
- Continue emergency orders in effect under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) under the new legislation for an initial 30 days.
- Allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to further extend these orders for up to 30 days at a time, as required to keep Ontarians safe.
- Allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to amend certain emergency orders continued under the EMCPA if the amendment relates to:
- labour redeployment or workplace and management rules;
- closure of places and spaces or regulation of how businesses and establishments can be open to provide goods or services in a safe manner;
- compliance with public health advice; or
- rules related to gatherings and organized public events.
- Not allow new emergency orders to be created.
- Allow emergency orders to be rescinded when it is safe to do so.
The ability to extend and amend orders under the new legislation would be limited to one year, unless extended by the Ontario legislature. Appropriate oversight and transparency would be ensured through regular, mandated reporting that provides the rationale for the extension of any emergency order. The legislation would include the same types of provisions on offences and penalties as set out under the EMCPA to address non-compliance with orders.
- The termination of the provincial emergency declaration under the EMCPA, or the passage of the proposed Act, would not preclude a head of council of a municipality from declaring under the EMCPA that an emergency exists in any part of the municipality or from continuing such a declaration.
- The termination of the provincial emergency declaration under the EMCPA, or the passage of the proposed Act, would not preclude the exercise of the powers under the Health Protection and Promotion Act by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health or local medical officers of health.
- The Government of Ontario declared a provincial declaration of emergency under s.7.0.1 of the EMCPA on March 17, 2020. The declaration has been extended under s.7.0.7 of the EMCPA and is in place until July 15, 2020, allowing the province to continue to make new emergency orders or amend existing orders under the EMCPA until that date.
- On June 26, 2020, emergency orders then in effect that were made under section 7.0.2 of the EMCPA were extended to July 10.
- A full list of current emergency orders in effect under the EMCPA can be found on the e-Laws website under the EMCPA and at Ontario.ca/alert.
U.S., Mexico, Canada to hold ‘robust’ talks on trade deal
The United States, Mexico and Canada will next week hold their first formal talks on their continental trade deal, with particular focus on labor and environmental obligations, the U.S. government said on Friday.
“The ministers will receive updates about work already underway to advance cooperation … and will hold robust discussions about USMCA’s landmark labor and environmental obligations,” the office of U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a statement.
The United States is also reviewing tariffs which may be leading to inflation in the country, economic adviser Cecilia Rouse told reporters at the White House on Friday, a move that could affect hundreds of billions of dollars in trade.
The United States, testing provisions in the new deal aimed at strengthening Mexican unions, this week asked Mexico to investigate alleged abuses at a General Motors Co factory.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Jonathan Oatis)
The Toronto Stock Exchange rises 0.15% to 19,135.81
* The Toronto Stock Exchange’s TSX rises 0.15 percent to 19,135.81
* Leading the index were Canadian Tire Corporation Ltd <CTCa.TO>, up 10.6%, WSP Global Inc, up 9.2%, and Sunopta Inc, higher by 7.5%.
* Lagging shares were Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd, down 18.5%, AcuityAds Holdings Inc, down 17.0%, and Pan American Silver Corp, lower by 10.3%.
* On the TSX 125 issues rose and 97 fell as a 1.3-to-1 ratio favored advancers. There were 12 new highs and 2 new lows, with total volume of 239.1 million shares.
* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Enbridge Inc, Manulife Financial Corp and Suncor Energy Inc.
* The TSX’s energy group fell 2.80 points, or 2.2%, while the financials sector climbed 4.42 points, or 1.3%.
* West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 3.47%, or $2.29, to $63.79 a barrel. Brent crude fell 3.32%, or $2.3, to $67.02 [O/R]
* The TSX is up 9.8% for the year.
This summary was machine generated May 13 at 21:03 GMT.
Rising Canadian Dollar could hit export outlook, affect monetary policy
If the buoyant Canadian dollar continues to rise it could create headwinds for exports and business investment as well as affecting monetary policy, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said on Thursday.
The currency has jumped about 4% since the central bank updated its projections in April, driven by surging commodity prices. Canada is a major exporter of energy, lumber, minerals and agricultural products. It hit a six-year high on Wednesday.
“We’ve highlighted that a stronger dollar does create some risk,” Macklem told reporters after a speech to university students in his most detailed comments yet about the potential drawbacks of a more muscular currency.
“If it moves a lot further, that could have a material impact on our outlook and it is something we have to take into account in our setting of monetary policy.”
Further gains could drag down export projections. “If we’re less competitive, our export profile is weaker, that also probably means that our investment profile will be weaker,” he said.
The Canadian dollar was trading 0.4% lower at 1.2180 to the greenback, or 82.10 U.S. cents, pressured by a sharp decline in oil prices.
Macklem earlier said that some of the monetary policy tools the bank is using to address the COVID-19 pandemic, such as quantitative easing (QE), could widen wealth inequality and that it was looking closely at the issue.
While the QE program has stimulated demand and helped create jobs, it was is boosting wealth by inflating the value of assets that “aren’t distributed evenly across society”, he said.
The bank had been buying C$4 billion ($3.3 billion) of government bonds a week but last month cut that to C$3 billion, becoming the first major central bank to trim a pandemic-era money-printing stimulus program.
It also signaled it could start lifting interest rates in late 2022, as it hiked the outlook for the Canadian economy.
Macklem reiterated Thursday that the benchmark rate would stay at its current record low 0.25% until inflation was sustainably at the 2% target. The bank, he added, would continue to use monetary policy tools to support a “complete recovery.”
(Additional reporting by Fergal Smith in Toronto; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and John Stonestreet)
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