TVO.org daily: Monday, March 16

More COVID-19 closings announced
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Mar 16, 2020
The provincial legislature is on a regularly scheduled hiatus until next Monday.

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COVID-19 closings more widespread

Premier Doug Ford says the government is drafting an emergency bill to help Ontarians cope with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The new law would protect people who take leave from work to self-isolate or quarantine themselves, and would eliminate the need to provide a doctor’s note first. There was no word on when MPPs would be recalled to deal with the issue.

The provincial legislature is on a regularly scheduled hiatus until next Monday, and all parties have passed a motion that would allow the legislature to be suspended after the coming week if needed as a health-protection measure. Queen’s Park had already cancelled its March Break program and all tours until at least April 3.

The province “is not currently considering a lockdown” in response to the spread of COVID-19, said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Ontario’s associate minister of small business, on Sunday afternoon. Nonetheless, the government has announced that OLG casinos are shutting down and provincial parks would cancel planned events and close visitor centres

The Ontario Medical Association says all non-essential care and elective surgery are being put on holdGO Transit and UP Express service also will be reduced, as will Via Rail service. Most museums and art galleries, typically popular activities over March Break, are closed until further notice, as are many libraries, recreation centres, and theatres.

As of yesterday evening, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ontariostood at 145.


Ottawa to boost economy in face of COVID-19

With concerns over the health of the Canadian economy mounting during the coronavirus pandemic, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced Friday that a "significant fiscal stimulus" package will be announced this week. Meanwhile, RBC predicts that a recession will hit Canada this year as a result of fallout from COVID-19 and low oil prices, the Canadian Press reports. The bank anticipates the Canadian economy to contract in the second and third quarters of the year.


Work-from-home policies help climate effort

As many employers — including the federal government — implement work-from-home policies to curb the spread of COVID-19, CBC News highlights another possibly unexpected benefit. If society cuts down significantly on commuting for work, there could be considerable advances on the environmental front. “For example, if the four-million-plus people in Canada whose jobs could be done from home did so twice a week, it could remove the equivalent of 385,231 cars from the road and cut annual greenhouse gas emissions by 1.9 million tonnes, according to a 2011 report from the Telework Research Network commissioned by the City of Calgary,” CBC News writes.


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