Protecting the health and safety of families, frontline workers and employers remains government’s top priority
TORONTO – During the next sitting of the legislature the Ontario government plans to continue its unprecedented response to COVID-19 while laying the foundation for a strong economic recovery. It is also proposing to break down barriers to justice for Ontarians and accelerate the government’s modernization of Ontario’s legal sector, as well as build on Ontario’s Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy.
“The fight against COVID-19 and variants of concern will remain our highest priority as we return to the Legislature today,” said Minister Paul Calandra, Ontario’s Government House Leader. “Over the last year the people of Ontario have demonstrated an unbelievable spirit, determination, and selflessness, doing their part to stop the spread. They expect every Member of Provincial Parliament to bring that same commitment to the business of the House.”
The legislature itself will be operating under ongoing COVID-19 safety protocols including masking requirements, physically-distanced voting in the lobbies adjacent to the Chamber, cohorting of Members to reduce close contact, and the use of video-conferencing technology in committee meetings.
“The COVID-19 safety protocols we have instituted in the legislature over the last year have proven incredibly effective in allowing Members of Provincial Parliament to safely engage in legislative business and these measures will continue,” Minister Calandra added. “Last fall our careful and cautious approach to legislative operations allowed us to pass 36 bills including 10 Private Members’ Bills. During this next sitting we will continue to build on this success.”
In the first weeks of the winter sitting, the government plans to proceed with important labour and public safety legislation, and support Ontario’s recovery by proposing changes to help people resolve their legal matters with fewer delays.
The government has also wrapped up consultations for the 2021 Ontario Budget. People and organizations shared their ideas via an online survey, email, mailed submissions, and through a series of virtual consultations across the province. The 2021 Ontario Budget, to be delivered by March 31, 2021, will build on Ontario’s plan to continue protecting and supporting people through the pandemic, while preparing the province to emerge in a position of economic strength.
The legislature is scheduled to sit for 13 weeks of business before rising for the summer.