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Ontario extends emergency orders again as province expands reopening

Thursday, July 16, 2020 @ 3:29 PM | By John Schofield


As most of the province prepares to move into stage 3 of reopening on July 17, the Ontario government has announced it is once again extending its emergency orders — this time to July 29.

“Although the trends in public health indicators continue to improve, we must remain on our guard and only relax emergency orders if and when safe to do so,” Premier Doug Ford said in a news release.

“By following our gradual plan to reopen the province, we are seeing people get back to work and resume many activities safely. We do not want to undo the tremendous progress we have made together, so I urge everyone to stay the course and follow public health advice.”

A complete list of the 35 emergency orders being extended under s. 7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act is available in the release.

The government’s proposed Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, if passed, would keep many emergency measures in place once the provincial declaration of emergency has ended July 24.

The NDP Official Opposition and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) have expressed concern that the legislation, introduced July 7, gives the government too much power.

“This is a situation we’re going to be in for some time,” Cara Zwibel, director of the CCLA’s Fundamental Freedoms Program, recently told The Lawyer’s Daily.

“And while I appreciate there’s a need for more flexibility and it might be a hassle for the government to go back to the legislative assembly every 30 days and continue to declare an emergency, if that’s what they chose to do, there’s a reason that it’s a hassle to do that. There’s a reason that we have those kinds of checks and balances in place, even in the context of an emergency or a public health crisis, and so this attempt to circumvent the democratic process is of significant concern to us.”

In addition to extending its emergency orders, the Ontario news release notes, the Ford government is making technical amendments to certain orders. A full list of emergency orders can be found at Ontario.ca/alert.

If you have any information, story ideas or news tips for The Lawyer’s Daily please contact John Schofield at john.schofield@lexisnexis.ca or call (905) 415-5891.