Ontario legislature will sit today to extend state of emergency by 28 days
TORONTO — Ontario is expected to extend the province’s state of emergency by 28 days as the legislature sits briefly this afternoon.
Speaking at his daily news conference held at Queen’s Park on Monday, Premier Doug Ford announced the session, noting it is too early to begin lifting any sort of restrictions put in place in an effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Along with passing the emergency act, a limited number of members of provincial parliament will discuss a bill that will cover various topics, such as education, childcare and municipal housing amid the global pandemic.
Twenty-eight MPPs will sit in the chamber on Tuesday at 1 p.m. – complying with the province’s rules surrounding physical distancing. Fourteen will be representative of the Progressive Conservative Party, eight will be with the New Democratic Party and two will be from the Liberal Party. Other representatives will include Mike Schreiner, the Leader of the Green Party, the Speaker and Independent seats Jim Wilson and Randy Hillier.
Unanimous consent is expected, a statement from the Office of the Government House Leader said on Monday.
A state of emergency was initially declared in Ontario on March 17. One day before the 14-day order was set to expire, Ford announced an extension for an additional 14 days.
A state of emergency declaration can be extended by no more than 14 days with approval by the Lieutenant Government, but it requires a vote by the legislature to be extended by 28 days.
The declaration gives the government the power to enact orders, such as prohibiting travel, establishing emergency shelters and hospitals and closing public and private facilities. It also allows the government to fix prices for necessary goods, services and resources.
Ontario has recorded nearly 8,000 positive cases of the novel coronavirus, including more than 300 deaths.
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Ford is also expected to speak to the media alongside Minister of Health Christine Elliott and Minister of Finance Rod Phillips at 1:45 p.m.
Following Tuesday’s sitting, the legislature is also expected to adjourn until the emergency act is lifted.