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Doug Ford’s COVID-19 Plan for Ontario

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Premier, Doug Ford, delivered a press conference on April 27th outlining the conditions necessary before COVID-19 inspired restrictions are loosened.

In short: Ontario has outlined a three-stage plan with criteria requirements and periodic assessments on a two to four week basis. Despite a mention of vulnerable populations at the end of the document, certain commentators remain concerned about vulnerable populations (such as the incarcerated or those living in long-term care and retirement homes) and how this government will ensure they receive adequate resources.

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The plan: A Framework for Reopening our Province, is a 13-page document which:

lays out the government’s approach to the next chapter in the ongoing fight to defeat COVID-19. It outlines the principles the government will use to reopening businesses, services and public spaces in gradual stages. It also explains the criteria Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health will use to help advise the government on when it is safe to begin loosening public health restrictions. And it highlights the government’s commitment to continue providing guidance and advice as workplaces prepare to reopen, including businesses deemed essential that voluntarily chose to temporarily shut down.

The framework outlines 3 phases:

  1. Protect and Support
  2. Restart
  3. Recover.

The following graph, from the report, contains the criteria determining whether the phrases take place:

Based on this criteria, the government will perform assessments for “two-to-four-week periods to allow for close monitoring of any impacts or potential resurgences of cases.

A theoretical example of these stages is outlined in the document (page 9.) and looks like the following:

Noteworthy: The provincial government made note of the risk to vulnerable populations and those in long-term care homes, (page 12.) as according to Bloomberg News, as of April 28th:

Outbreaks in long-term care and seniors’ homes have been driving the growth in the epidemic and account for almost 80% of deaths across the country.

However, the adequacy of this as a solution remains uncertain.

The bottom line: The pressure governments are facing to re-open the economy and society writ large have led to different priorities. Although some political actors have emphasized the necessity of reopening for economic reason, it appears the Ford government is centering medical metrics.

Certain commentators have speculated that the economic impact of reduced production and consumption may lead right-leaning governments, like Ford’s, to introduce austerity measures. Speculation suggests that – after the necessity of social-distancing diminishes – this may include cuts to public funding, for now, only time will tell.

The story of societal isolation is still being told and it is important to remain vigilant about the way this unfolding situation is impacting some of the most vulnerable among us.

Learn More:

Our incarcerated populations have been experiencing serious risks to their health that highlight pre-existing issues with our correctional institutions in Ontario. This presents risks to both those populations as well as the broader community, read this compelling piece by contributor Jonathan Carlson to learn more.