Following Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s press conference earlier today, he has declared a state of emergency in the province.
What does this mean?
First of all, a state of emergency is defined as a situation in which the government is in authority to perform actions or impose policies that it would normally not be permitted to undertake. It is commonly declared at times of natural disasters, pandemics, and armed conflicts.
This falls under the Emergency Management Act that permits the Premier of Ontario to declare that an emergency exists throughout Ontario or in any part thereof and may take such actions and make such orders as he considers necessary and are not contrary to law to implement the emergency plans. (Emergency Management Act of Ontario)
Premier Ford has emphasized in his announcement this morning about his order to close recreation centres, bars, public libraries, private schools, daycares, cinemas, theatres, and restaurants immediately at least until March 31st.
This decision is to slow down the spread of the virus in Ontario and not to shut down the province’s economy, Premier Ford says. He also mentioned that grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, important public services, manufacturing facilities, office buildings, and construction sites will remain open and will continue to operate.
Lastly, in his announcement is the $300 million first stage relief package to combat COVID-19. This will help fund 75 more critical care beds, 500 more acute care beds, 75 more COVID-19 response centres and a host of new personal protective equipment.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reassures Canadians that declaring a federal state of emergency is still far from Canada’s current situation.