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COVID-19 Government and International Response: April 1, 20202020-04-01T16:40:09-04:00

WHAT TO KNOW

In the past 24 hours 100,000 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported. There are now more than 920,000 global cases of COVID-10. Canada’s cases have grown to 9,538. As of 10:30 this morning, Ontario reports 2,392 cases, up from 1,966 yesterday. The province has now tested 57,874 individuals and is now only reporting 3,135 tests currently under investigation. More information here.

A group of Canadian researchers, students, activists and web developers who want to help with the country’s COVID-19 response have launched COVID-19 Resources Canada. The group aims to be a central hub designed to help those involved in COVID-19 R&D in Canada to locate human resources, expertise, reagents and equipment in a timely manner. More information here.

A DART & Maru/Blue Poll finds 90% believe “we should stay the course” and keep things locked down as much as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. More information here.

FEDERAL

Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng, and Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Navdeep Bains, held a news conference this afternoon to provide further detail on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. Minister Morneau said the program will cost $71-billion, but since it will keep more Canadians on payroll, it will reduce dependency on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which will now cost $24-billion. The Minister Morneau also said there will be “severe penalties” for fraudulent use of the funds. More information here.

Prime Minister Trudeau will recall Parliament to pass the government’s latest aid package. The government is now working with the opposition to determine when the house will be recalled to pass the legislation. More information here.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu had a clear message for Canadians today: If we all stopped moving for two weeks and nobody talked to anybody for two weeks and we just stayed put, in fact we would see this virus die. That is the reality. Watch the rest of her remarks here.

PROVINCIAL

The Ontario government launched a new $50 million Ontario Together Fund to help businesses retool their operations to manufacture essential supplies in the fight against COVID-19. The government will be looking for the most viable, innovative proposals that can quickly provide critical goods and services and the greatest benefit to the people of Ontario. The fund is time-limited and will be available to companies and organizations across the province. More information here.

Premier Doug Ford also announced he will order the closure of more businesses and services in the coming days. The current list of essential workplaces can be found here and will be updated when more information is available.

TORONTO

Yesterday, Mayor Tory announced all city-led major events, festivals, conferences and cultural programs would be cancelled until June 30. The City is now working with event organizers to help mitigate the impacts of cancellations when possible. Events impacted include Canadian Music Week, the Toronto Jazz Festival, Pride, Hot Docs, and others. More information here.

This morning, the City’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa imposed mandatory quarantine rules for the next 12 weeks. Dr. de Villa announced mandatory home quarantine for people with COVID-19, anyone who believes they have COVID-19 and anyone who has had close contact with someone with the disease. The new measures come amid new data and modelling from the province showing, what Dr. de Villa called, “not a favourable trajectory.” Toronto’s cases have grown more than 500 per cent over the past two weeks. More information from Dr. de Villa’s presentation here.

INTERNATIONAL

  • There are now 207,637 cases of COVID-19 in the United States, up from 180,000 cases yesterday. 83,712 of those cases are in New York State, which now reports more cases than China.
  • China is reporting 81,544 cases.
  • India, still on lockdown, now reports 1,834 cases.
  • Italy is reporting 110,574 cases, another 5,000 case daily increase. Spanish cases have grown by 8,000, now reaching 102,136, and Germany is reporting 76,544 cases.
  • The UK has 29,474 cases, up from 25,150 cases yesterday.
  • Brazil now reports 5,812 cases of COVID-19 while Chile reports more than 3,000 cases.

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COVID-19 Government and International Response: March 31, 20202020-03-31T16:26:18-04:00

WHAT TO KNOW

There are now more than 820,000 global cases of COVID-19, up from 765,000 cases yesterday. Canada reports 8,469 cases, up from 7,297 cases yesterday. Of those cases, 1,169 people have recovered. As of 10:30 this morning, there are 1,966 cases in Ontario, up from 1,706 yesterday. The province has now tested 51,629 individuals and is now only reporting 4,280 tests currently under investigation. The Province updates its numbers twice daily. More information here.

The Canadian Urban Transit Agency sent a request to Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna seeking more than $1-billion in emergency funds for local transit operators across the country. The Globe and Mail reports the TTC’s ridership is 70 or 80 per cent below normal levels. More information here.

FEDERAL

During his daily news conference, Prime Minister Trudeau announced the federal government will spend $2-billion to procure more ventilators, tests, and protective equipment for front-line workers. The government expects some of these supplies will be ready in the coming days. The Prime Minister said more than 3,000 businesses across the country have stepped up, altering their production likes to produce needed medical supplies and equipment. Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand later told reporters the government has secured more than 157 million surgical masks and ordered more than 60 million N95 masks. More information here.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau and International Trade Minister Mary Ng are expected to outline further details about the wage subsidy, including costings and expectations. The news conference, which was scheduled for today, has been pushed to tomorrow as Ministers finalize the details.

Yesterday, Minister Morneau announced the government will waive ground lease rents from March 2020 through to December 2020 for the 21 airport authorities that pay rent to the federal government. The government will also provide comparable treatment for PortsToronto, which operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. This support aims to reduce cost pressures and preserve cash flow for airports. This will provide relief up to $331.4 million, reflecting payments in the same period of 2018. More information here.

PROVINCIAL

Important education announcements topped the Provincial agenda today. The Ontario government announced it will extend school and childcare closures, with public schools closed to teachers until at least May 1 and students until at least May 4. Private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed until April 13, according to the Declaration of Emergency, which only allows closures to be extended for one 14-day period at a time. To ensure students can continue learning, the Province announced the second phase of its Learn at Home program. More information here.

The government also announced it would ease the financial burden on students and make sure they can complete their studies during the COVID-19 outbreak by temporarily deferring payments for Ontario Student Assistance Program loans and making online learning supports, including year-end exams, available to post-secondary institutions. More information here.

INTERNATIONAL

  • United States is reporting more than 180,000 cases of COVID-19, up from 155,705 cases, yesterday. 76,000 of those cases are in New York State, while New Jersey reports nearly 19,000 cases. Washington State, Michigan, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Illinois, Florida and California all report more than 5,000 cases each.
  • China continues to report low numbers of new cases. The government now reports 81,518 cases, up from 81,439 yesterday.
  • India, still on lockdown, now reports 1,397 cases.
  • Italy is reporting 105,792 cases, an increase of roughly 5,000 since yesterday. Spanish cases have grown by almost 10,000, now reaching 94,417, and Germany is reporting 68,692 cases.
  • The UK has 25,150 cases, up from 22,141 cases yesterday.
  • Videos of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro making false claims of COVID-19 treatments were blocked by Facebook and Twitter. The country now reporting 4,715 cases.

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COVID-19 Government and International Response: March 30, 20202020-03-30T16:00:24-04:00

WHAT TO KNOW

COVID-19 cases in the United States continue to grow rapidly and the country now comprises of approximately 20 per cent of COVID-19 cases globally. There are now more than 765,000 cases globally, up from 575,000 on Friday, largely driven by the spike in U.S. cases, but also driven by continued growth in Europe. Canada reports 7,297 cases, up from 4,622 cases on Friday. As of 10:30 this morning, there are 1,706 cases in Ontario and the province has tested 48,461 patients. The Province updates its numbers twice daily. More information here.

FEDERAL

Last week Prime Minister Trudeau announced a series of measures aimed at helping businesses stay afloat, support their workforce, and resume operations once physical distancing is lifted. Today, the Prime Minister provided more details about the wage subsidy, which was a key ask of SMEs and business groups. The Prime Minister said, all businesses, including charities and non-profits, that can demonstrate a revenue drop of at least 30% due to COVID-19 are eligible. The government will pay up to 75% of the first $58,700 earned (up to $847/week – backdated to March 15). More information here.

Over the weekend, Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced new domestic transportation measures, to limit the spread of COVID-19 across the country. More information here.

PROVINCIAL

Premier Doug Ford announced earlier today that the government will extend the state of emergency for another two weeks. The Premier reminded Ontarians to stay home after hearing reports of people taking advantage of the nice weather and filling the streets over the weekend. He stated that he would not hesitate to take further measures to keep people safe if people don’t stay home and limit their out of home activities.

INTERNATIONAL

  • United States is reporting nearly 155,705 cases, up from 95,000 on Friday. New York State alone accounts for nearly 60,000 cases, 33,768 of which are in New York City.
  • China reports only 100 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday, now up to 81,439 cases.
  • India’s number of COVID-19 cases has grown to 1,251 from 724 cases on Friday.
  • Italy is reporting more than 100,000 cases. Spain has now surpassed China’s total COVID-19 cases, with 85,199 reported cases and Germany has 64,527 cases.
  • The UK has 22,141 cases, up from 14,543 cases on Friday.
  • Brazil is now reporting 4,330 cases, up from just over 3,000 cases on Friday, while and Chile is reporting a total of 2,449 cases.

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COVID-19 Government and International Response: March 27, 20202020-03-27T15:55:35-04:00

WHAT TO KNOW

There are now more than 575,000 cases of COVID-19 globally, up from 510,000 yesterday, as the U.S. case load continues to accelerate. Canada reports 4,622 cases, up from 4,043 cases yesterday. The Ontario government is confirming 135 new cases, lower than yesterday’s 170 new cases. There are now 993 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province. The Province has tested 41,032 patients with 10,074 cases still under review.

British Columbia health officials say their modelling shows physical distancing is already having an impact in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in that province. More information here.

FEDERAL

Prime Minister Trudeau delivered a lifeline to Canadian businesses today, announcing a series of measures aimed at helping businesses stay afloat, support their workforce, and resume operations once physical distancing is lifted. Business groups, including the Toronto Region Board of Trade, and Premiers lauded the measures.

The measures announced today include:

  • A 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. More details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales, and will be shared before the end of the month.
  • Allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports. This measure is the equivalent of providing up to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses. It is designed to help businesses continue to pay their employees and their bills, and help ease cash-flow challenges.
  • The government launched the Canada Emergency Business Account which will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses. These loans will be guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada will provide small businesses access to capital, at a zero per cent interest rate.
  • Also launched today is the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions. This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements.

Bloomberg BNN reports: The Bank of Canada announced a large scale asset purchase program and cut its benchmark interest rate to a record low in a bid to ease financial-market strain and shield the nation’s economy from coronavirus fallout.

PROVINCIAL

The Ontario government sent out emergency alert messages to cell phones, TVs and radios across the province to warn recent travelers to stay home and physical distance, to limit the spread of COVID-19.

INTERNATIONAL

  • United States is reporting nearly 95,000 cases of COVID-19, up from 79,313 cases yesterday. The country now reports the most COVID-19 cases globally.
  • China is reporting 81,340 cases of COVID-19 and only one of the 55 new cases is a result of community spread.
  • India’s number of COVID-19 cases has grown to 724 cases from 606. The country remains in lockdown.
  • Italy is reporting 86,498 cases, up nearly 5,000, and has overtaken China with the second highest number of reported cases of COVID-19. Spain grew to 64,059 cases and Germany has 49,436 cases.
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, secretary of state for health Matt Hancock, and England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty have all tested positive for COVID-19. The UK has 14,543 cases, 12,288 of which are in England.
  • Brazil is now reporting more than 3,000 cases, up from 2,600 cases yesterday, while and Chile is reporting 300 new cases, taking that country’s total to 1,610 cases.

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NEWS RELEASE: New federal supports are a lifeline for Canadian businesses and workers2020-03-27T13:16:46-04:00

TORONTO, ON, March 27, 2020 — The following is a statement on the Government of Canada’s announcement of additional relief for businesses from Jan De Silva, President and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade:

“Today’s announcements by Prime Minister Trudeau is a lifeline for Canadian businesses and workers.

As our members told us in a survey released this week, to weather this storm they need immediate cash flow. Increasing the federal wage subsidy to 75 per cent backdated to March 15th, delaying HST payments until June, and providing additional guaranteed loans is exactly the kind of support businesses asked for. It will help them stay afloat and leaves them better placed to resume operations once social distancing measures are lifted.

Small and mid-sized businesses employ 90 per cent of the private-sector workforce. Today’s announcement provides hope to these workers that they can meet their expenses now and continue to have a job once we are on the other side of this crisis.

Our governments are showing they are listening and are up to the task of responding to rapidly evolving conditions. These are unprecedented times and the ability of governments, businesses, and individuals to adapt as circumstances change is crucial.”

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The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential chambers of Commerce in North America. Our constant flow of ideas, people and introductions to city-builders and government officials firmly roots us as connectors for—and with—the business community. Backed by more than 13,500 members, we advocate on behalf of business for policy change to drive the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region. We act as catalysts to make Toronto one of the most competitive and sought-after business regions in the world, which starts with the success of our members. Learn more at bot.com and follow us at @TorontoRBOT.

 

For further information:

Rebecca Tsehay

Toronto Region Board of Trade

647-216-2686

RTsehay@bot.com

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COVID-19 Government and International Response: March 26, 20202020-03-26T15:44:52-04:00

WHAT TO KNOW

Global COVID-19 cases are rapidly growing resulting from acceleration in the U.S. and Europe. There are now almost 510,000 cases of COVID-19, up from 450,000 yesterday. Canada reports 3,796 cases, up from 3,290 cases yesterday. Ontario confirmed 170 new cases today, the largest single day spike so far. There are now 837 cases of COVID-19 in the province. Global News reports: The province has tested more than 38,000 people so far and just under 11,000 are under investigation for the virus.

FEDERAL

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is warning Canadians not to be taken in by scams exploiting the government’s COVID-19 aid programs. The Prime Minister reminded Canadians to check the government’s website for information about the programs in place and how money would be distributed. His full remarks here.

The government’s $107-billion Canada Emergency Response Benefit, passed in the House and Senate yesterday, providing $52-billion of financial aid and $55-billion in tax deferrals to Canadians and businesses. The application process will open in April and will be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency.

Responding to reports that the United States plans to send troops to the Canada/U.S. border Prime Minister Trudeau told reporters “Canada and the United States have the longest unmilitarized border in the world and it is very much in both of our interests to remain that way.” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland later told reporters the Canadian government felt this is “entirely unnecessary,” “damaging to our relationship,” and that “Canada is strongly opposed to this U.S. proposal and we’ve made that opposition very, very clear to our American counterparts.”

PROVINCIAL

The AGCO announced today that restaurants and bars in Ontario will be able to sell alcohol with food takeout and delivery orders between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. effective immediately as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. More information here.

Yesterday the Provincial government released its fiscal update and COVID-19 Action Plan. The province says the plan is the first step of its response to the economic and health care needs resulting from COVID-19. The plan includes $7 billion in additional resources for the health care system and direct support for people and jobs. The government is also making available $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals.

As part of the plan, the Ontario Government is enabling $1.9 billion in relief for employers to reduce the financial strain on business brought on by COVID-19. The measure, which will run through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, will see premium payments deferred for six months for all businesses in the province. More information here.

Toronto Region Board of Trade responded that the plan provides workers and business owners more certainty as Ontario aims to control the spread of COVID-19. More information here.

Premier Ford also announced that 72 COVID-19 assessment centres are now open across the Province. More information, including locations in Toronto, here.

TORONTO

The City of Toronto closed more than 800 playgrounds and hundreds of other park amenities yesterday as a result of people not heeding calls to physical distance. Yesterday, Toronto Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, announced that Toronto has 319 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

INTERNATIONAL

  • United States will likely surpass Italy and China’s COVID-19 count before the weekend. There are now 79,313 reported cases, up nearly 20,000 since yesterday.
  • China is reporting 81,285 cases of COVID-19, up from 81,218 yesterday.
  • India’s number of COVID-19 cases has grown to from 519 to 606.
  • Italy is reporting 80,539 cases and will likely overtake China tomorrow. Spain grew to 56,197 cases and Germany has 43,211 cases. The UK has 11,658 cases, two thirds of which are in England.
  • Iran’s spread is slowing, reporting just over 2,000 new cases today for a total of 29,046 cases. Yesterday the country reported 2,200 new cases.
  • The number of cases in Brazil is also growing now over 2,600 cases from 2,200 yesterday and Chile reports 1,306 cases, up from 1,142 cases yesterday.

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NEWS RELEASE: Ontario’s fiscal update delivers needed support for businesses 2020-03-25T16:39:05-04:00

TORONTO, ON, March 25, 2020 — The following is a statement on the Government of Ontario’s fiscal update from Jan De Silva, President and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade:

“Amidst this unprecedented time, today’s fiscal update from Minister Phillips provides workers and business owners more certainty as Ontario aims to control the spread of COVID-19.

As our members told us in a survey this week, business’ primary concern is cash flow – managing costs while doors are shuttered, and demand is low. The Province’s decision today to cut the Employer Health Tax for 2020 and defer payments on select taxes, on top of already announced measures to lower electricity rates, is welcome news and will benefit small businesses especially. The fact that these measures can be rolled out automatically and apply to all eligible businesses without a complex and lengthy application also shows the Province understands the need for immediate relief.

However, left unaddressed in today’s package are business’ two most significant upcoming expenses: meeting payroll and rent payments. We encourage the Province to work with the federal government to increase the federal wage subsidy to keep people employed, and ensure businesses receive rent relief and are not evicted during this crisis.

If the past month has proved anything, it is that businesses are more than just job creators. They are problem solvers, developing new ways to stock hospitals and grocery stores. They are innovators, creating tools to help people work, connect and serve the community. They are champions of a strong, healthy and united country. Today’s package recognizes these roles.

Given the unprecedented depth of this challenge, businesses and governments at every level must continue to work together to weather this storm.”

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The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential chambers of Commerce in North America. Our constant flow of ideas, people and introductions to city-builders and government officials firmly roots us as connectors for—and with—the business community. Backed by more than 13,500 members, we advocate on behalf of business for policy change to drive the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region. We act as catalysts to make Toronto one of the most competitive and sought-after business regions in the world, which starts with the success of our members. Learn more at bot.com and follow us at @TorontoRBOT.

 

For further information:

Rebecca Tsehay

Toronto Region Board of Trade

647-216-2686

RTsehay@bot.com

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COVID-19 Government and International Response: March 25, 20202020-03-25T16:14:14-04:00

WHAT TO KNOW

Globally there are more than 450,000 cases of COVID-19, up more than 50,000 from yesterday. Canada reports 3,290 cases, up from 2,583 yesterday. Maclean’s reports Quebec has changed how it counts cases of COVID, now combining confirmed and probable cases into one overall number which is why the province now says it has more than 1,000 cases. Ontario confirmed 100 new cases. There are now 688 cases of COVID-19 in the province.

Canada Goose announced today it will begin manufacturing medical gear for health care workers at its Winnipeg and Toronto facilities. It will begin by making scrubs and patient gowns and plans to ship them at no cost to hospitals across the country next week.

FEDERAL

The federal government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) passed in the House of Commons this morning and the Senate this afternoon. The CERB is a streamlined combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit. The government says Canadians can expect payments in the coming weeks with the application process to begin in early April. More information about the package can be found here, with more information expected to be released shortly.

The government also announced all travellers returning to Canada are mandated to self-isolate for 14 days. Minister of Health Patty Hajdu is invoking the Quarantine Act to force anyone entering Canada to self-isolate, with the exception of those considered to be doing essential work.

PROVINCIAL

The Provincial government will release its fiscal update this afternoon. The Canadian Press reports “the update will include a ‘significant focus’ on providing supports to the health-care sector, as well as supports for businesses and the economy overall.” Toronto Region Board of Trade will have more to say on after the update has been released.

INTERNATIONAL

  • The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States is expected to overtake Italy in the coming days. There are now more than 61,000 reported cases in the country, up from 50,000 yesterday.
  • China is reporting 81,218 cases up slightly from yesterday’s 81,171 cases.
  • India’s number of COVID-19 cases has grown to from 519 to 606.
  • Italy is reporting another 5,000 new cases, now at 74,386 from yesterday’s 69,176 cases. Spain grew to 47,610 cases and Germany has 35,740 cases. The UK has 8,089 cases, more than 5000 of which are in England and nearly 500 in Scotland.
  • Iran now reports 27,017 cases, up from 24,811 cases yesterday.
  • The number of cases in Brazil is also growing now over 2,200 from 1,891 cases yesterday and Chile reports 1,142 cases up from 922 cases yesterday.

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COVID-19 Government and International Response: March 24, 20202020-03-24T15:29:45-04:00

WHAT TO KNOW

Globally there are more than 400,000 cases of COVID-19, up from 375,000 yesterday. Canada reports 2,583 cases, up just over 2,000 yesterday. Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s Deputy Chief Public Health Officer said, within the last week nearly 90% of cases reported are due to community spread, marking a major shift in the spread of COVID-19 in the country. Previously 80-90% of cases were linked to travel. Ontario confirms 85 more cases. There are now 588 cases in the province with 7 deaths.

Last week, Toronto Region Board of Trade surveyed its members to understand how they are dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses. The survey revealed the Board’s small business members are the most impacted by the economic downturn and highlighted four key areas of recommendations for governments that can help build on recently announced policies and guide the way in terms of determining next steps. These recommendations include loan access, supporting liquidity, subsidies for rent/mortgage and increasing the wage subsidy. More information here.

Yesterday the Ontario government announced all non-essential businesses were to close before midnight tonight and encouraged business-owners to continue their operations through work-from-home policies. A list of essential workplaces can be found here.

The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced today. Prime Minister Abe stated the games would not be cancelled and will take place by the summer of 2021.

FEDERAL

The Prime Minister revealed that from March 14th to 20th, 959,600 Canadians and 43,890 Permanent Residents have returned to Canada. He stressed that all Canadians returning home from abroad must go into isolation immediately and not make side-trips to pick-up groceries.

The Prime Minister and Premiers spoke about the federal emergencies act during their nightly call last evening. As he said in his news conference today, the Prime Minister reiterated to the Premiers, that its invocation is a measure of last resort.

PROVINCIAL

Premier Ford began his news conference articulating why it is important for construction sites to remain open while other businesses are closed as a result of COVID-19. The Premier noted many homes are nearly complete and people are waiting to move in, but he issued a warning that inspectors will shut down sites if proper precautions are not taken.

Ontario will also suspend time-of-use electricity rates, holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour, for families, small businesses and farms currently paying time-of-use rates. The government says, “by switching to a fixed off-peak rate, time-of-use customers will see rate reductions of over 50 per cent compared to on-peak rates.”

Measures to provide electricity price relief was a key ask of the Toronto Region Board of Trade members in its business impact survey. More information here.

This discount will be applied automatically to electricity bills and will not require customers to apply. More information here.

Ontario is reporting a backlog of results on more than 10,000 COVID-19 tests. In response, Minister of Health Christine Elliott says the government is working to get to 5,000 tests per day by the end of the week and is aiming to reach 15,000 tests per day including private and university labs.

TORONTO

Beginning today, TTC buses (excluding Wheel-Trans) will no longer accept cash payments, tickets or tokens and riders are asked to pay using PRESTO where available. The TTC states that riders who do not have a PRESTO card will not be denied service.

INTERNATIONAL

  • Amid reports that President Trump wants to ‘open up’ the United States by Easter, the number of COVID-19 cases in that country grew to more than 50,000, up from with 42,161 yesterday. The U.S. now has the third highest number of cases in the world, and has the potential to become the coronavirus epicenter according to the WHO.
  • China is reporting just 55 new cases today, all of them imported. Currently there are 81,171 cases in China. Authorities in Wuhan are beginning to ease lockdown measures in the city which was once the epicenter of the outbreak.
  • India’s number of COVID-19 cases has grown to 519. The country is now in lockdown for 21 days.
  • Italy is reporting more than 5,000 new cases with 69,176 cases in the country while the number of cases in Spain grew by 6,585 to 39,675.
  • Iran now reports 24,811 cases, up by 1,762.
  • Brazil now has 1,891 cases and Chile reports 922 cases.

WHAT TO WATCH

FEDERAL

Parliament reconvened this afternoon to pass the government’s $82-billion emergency aid package. It is currently being debated by MPs.

PROVINCIAL

The Province’s fiscal update is still expected tomorrow.

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COVID-19 Government and International Response: March 23, 20202020-03-23T16:42:09-04:00

WHAT TO KNOW

Globally there are nearly 375,000 cases of COVID-19. Canada reports more than 2,000 cases, up from 873 on Friday. The City of Toronto announced its first death as a result of COVID-19 this weekend.

As well, the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees announced they would not send athletes this year and urged the organizers to push the event into 2021. Canadian IOC member Dick Pound said that he expects the games will be postponed.

Air Transat is the latest airline to announce that it will temporarily lay off 70% of its workforce, including all flight attendants. Executives who remain employed, as well as its board of directors will take a voluntary pay cut.

An Air Canada flight of Canadians repatriated from Morocco landed in Montreal yesterday. The company announced yesterday that it would soon fly two additional flights out of Morocco to repatriate an additional 444 Canadians. Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne also announced three Air Canada flights to Peru which will take place later this week.

Shopify has developed a list of government relief programs for SMEs affected by COVID-19, including measures taken by Canada, the U.S., Spain, Singapore, Japan and others. More information here.

FEDERAL

In his daily address, Prime Minister Trudeau took some time to firmly reiterate the importance of practicing social distancing measures. The Prime Minister stated that those who ignore repeated calls from government and healthcare leaders to social distance are putting themselves and others at risk. “Enough is enough,” said the Prime Minister.

Today’s primary announcement is $192-million for existing research projects across the country to find treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19 more quickly. The Prime Minister highlighted some companies across Canada, including Toronto-based BlueDot, which the government is working with to manage and monitor the spread of COVID-19. Also announced at this morning’s news conference were supports for Canadian farmers and food processors and producers.

PROVINCIAL

Premier Doug Ford took a similarly firm tone at his news conference this afternoon as he announced the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces effective tomorrow at 11:59 p.m. The closure will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of extending this order as the situation evolves.

According to the government news release: Businesses that can continue operations with employees working remotely, or through other contingency measures, are being given approximately 36 hours to prepare and adapt. Essential services may continue their operations to maintain supply chains and ensure the people of Ontario have access to necessities, including groceries, medicines and other essential products.

Ontario schools will also remain closed past the previously announced April 6 timeframe. More information is expected in the coming days.

TORONTO

Mayor Tory has announced a state of emergency for the city of Toronto. Taking the same tone as the Prime Minister and Premier, Mayor Tory said he continues to hear that people are not social distancing and that this behavior is “selfish, unacceptable and it cannot continue”. By declaring a state of emergency, the Mayor will be able to “act and respond quickly to the pandemic and any other events that arise in the weeks ahead.” He declined to say which powers he would make use of, should the situation require it, but stated his purpose for declaring a state of emergency is to protect frontline medical staff and other at-risk individuals.

INTERNATIONAL

  • The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States is growing rapidly, with 42,161 cases reported, up from 16,621 on Friday. The United States now has the third highest number of cases in the world, behind Italy and China.
  • Currently there are 81,116 cases in China, up from 80,967 on Friday. Of China’s total cases, 72,703 have recovered, while 5,182 are active, with 3,231 deaths.
  • India’s number of COVID-19 cases has grown from 223 on Friday to 468.
  • Europe continues to be hard hit by COVID-19. Italy now reports nearly 64,000 cases, up almost 17,000 from Friday. Spain is up nearly 13,000 cases since Friday, now at 33,089.
  • Iran, now reports 23,049 cases, up from 19,644 cases on Friday.
  • In South America, Brazil has more than doubled its reported cases since Friday, now at 1,629 and Chile reports 746 cases.

WHAT TO WATCH

PROVINCIAL

Tomorrow, the Province will provide a full list of businesses that are permitted to stay open during the non-essential business closure.

The Province’s fiscal update is still expected on Wednesday.

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