22 July 2020 – Ontario legislature passes 18 pieces of legislation, including emergency measures to protect public health

Type of Intervention: Regulation
Sectors Involved: Finance/Economy, Health, Private Sector and Businesses
Intervention Categories: Legal and policy; Regulatory change
Level of Jurisdiction: Ontario
Lead People/Agency: PEOPLE: Premier Doug Ford and Paul Calandra, Government House Leader; Ontario’s Members of Provincial Parliament

Overview: The Ontario legislature passed 18 pieces of legislation, including 6 key COVID-19-related policies aiming to protect public health and prepare for the province’s economic recovery. These key policies are as follows:
Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020: legislation that aims to ensure key protective measures remain in place to address the threat of COVID-19 once the provincial declaration of emergency has ended. As of July 24, 2020, the Act will be in force, to coincide with the end of the provincial declaration of emergency.

COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020: This legislation aims to generate jobs and facilitate development through rapid building of key infrastructure projects. It also serves to equip municipalities with necessary tools to provide key services and to protect consumers, improve education, and reduce social and economic barriers for young people.

Economic and Fiscal Update Act, 2020: (Phase 1 of the government’s response to COVID-19); In March, an investment of $7 billion was made for additional resources for healthcare and direct support for students, families, and seniors. This update also made available $10 billion for people and businesses through interest and penalty relief strategies to improve case flow and protect jobs.

COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, 2020: Changes were made to legislation in order make it easier to conduct business in the age of physical distancing. Key measures that allowed Ontario businesses flexibility included options to hold virtual meetings, deferral of certain annual meetings, and allowing the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to accept document copies, virtual signatures, and electronic filing of documents.

COVID-19 Support and Protection Act, 2020: (Phase 2 of the government’s response to COVID-19); provided temporary relief of student loan repayments, extended expiring development charge by-laws, suspended time limits for planning matters, and extended deadlines for municipal Community Safety Plans.

Protecting Small Business Act, 2020: the Ontario government temporarily stopped or reversed evictions of commercial tenants, protected them from being locked out or having assets seized if they were eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance. This legislation helped support small businesses experiencing significant COVID-19-related revenue loss.
Full details here: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/07/ontario-legislature-adjourns-after-significant-sitting-in-response-to-covid-19.html

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Type of Justification: No justification given
Evidence/Justification: No justification was directly provided for the passing of policies.