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The Ontario legislature will be recalled today for an emergency session as the government hopes to pass new legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation is meant to give Ontarians new employment protections in the midst of widespread closures and to ensure that residents don’t have to provide a doctor’s note for a workplace absence. In an effort to encourage social distancing, only 24 MPPs will be in attendance at Queen’s Park. According to the house leader, Paul Calandra, each party has already agreed to the measures.
Trudeau announces stimulus package
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a federal stimulus package worth $82 billion in emergency aid and tax deferrals. “The measures we are announcing today will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses, plus $55 billion to meet liquidity needs for Canadian businesses and households through tax deferrals to help stabilize the economy,” Trudeau said at a news conference in Ottawa. “This $82 billion in support represents more than 3 per cent of Canada’s GDP.”
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Increased demand for information and assessment has put a strain on health-care services, with Telehealth Ontario reporting technical difficulties as call volume has surged. Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province is working with the vendor to improve service, including adding additional lines. In the meantime, people are asked to call their local public health authority instead.
Toronto fires top emergency official
Charles Jansen, the director of Toronto’s Office of Emergency Management, was abruptly fired yesterday. “I’m devastated,” Jansen said in an interview with the National Post. “It was, for me, what I thought was the perfect calling.” According to Jansen, he was told he was not the “right fit” for the office. He was hired in October 2019.
TVO.org publishing daily COVID-19 roundup
Each morning, TVO.org will publish a collection of news items from across the province about the COVID-19 pandemic and will update it throughout the day. Please visit TVO.org for the latest. Here is Wednesday evening’s roundup.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday revealed the federal government’s $82-billion emergency response package designed to help Canadian businesses and individuals bridge the gaps created by COVID-19. Podcast hosts Steve Paikin and John Michael McGrath discuss the latest developments in the coronavirus outbreak.
As the City of Toronto prepares to enforce new Airbnb regulations, The Agendaexplores the rise of the short-term rental phenomenon and its effect on long-term housing in Toronto and beyond. Joining the panel are Geordie Dent, executive director of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations; Davelle Morrison, an Airbnb superhost and a broker at Bosley Real Estate; researcher JJ Fueser of the Fairbnb coalition; and Mariana Valverde, a professor of sociolegal studies at the University of Toronto.
Eastern Ontario reporter David Rockne Corrigan investigates the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the province’s seasonal cruise industry. He writes: “In Kingston, where city staff have been working with two consecutive councils to push forward a plan to install a deep-water dock to better accommodate cruise ships, there are widespread concerns about the upcoming tourism season.”
Tonight on TVO
8 p.m. — The Agenda: Financial planning during a pandemic
Stock market crashes, temporary layoffs, and deferred mortgage options — in the chaos of this pandemic, keeping on top of personal finances can be harder than ever. The Agenda discusses how to manage money in uncertain times.
9 p.m. — The Backward Class
In a coming-of-age story, the students of Shanti Bhavan School in India take the national high school graduation exams, hoping to break their families out of generations of destitution. This documentary follows 15 pupils at the Bangalore school for “untouchable” Dalit-caste children as they try to achieve marks that will get them into university.