TORONTO: The Ontario 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 health care system.
Premier Doug Ford announced at Queen’s Park that “this legislative session will focus on implementing our comprehensive plan to get Ontario back on track.”
“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 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.”
He was joined by Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education while making the announcement. 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 COV ID-19 faster and get back to the work of building their business; and
• Expanding manufacturing by creating conditions to bring investment to the province and supply world-class, Ontariomade products to consumers globally.
“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.
• 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 the 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.