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Doug Ford plans to extend Ontario’s state of emergency until June 30

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The province-wide state of emergency that was meant to expire on June 2 will once again be extended, it seems — this time until Canada Day.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government is set to ask the legislature on Tuesday to extend the current state of emergency for another 28 days, all the way up until June 30. 

Given that his PC party has the majority of seats at Queen’s Park, it’s likely the motion will pass.

Ford was asked during a press conference on Monday afternoon why he was asking for a four-week-long extension, as opposed to the customary two-week-long extensions we’ve seen in the past.

“We need the ability to go out there and make quick decisions absolutely immediately,” said Ford, referring to his government’s expanded powers under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act

“At least that will hopefully get us over the hump, per se… it’s another four weeks and we just want to make sure everyone’s safe and healthy, and we want to get the economy going and we need that tool to make that happen.”

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The premier first declared a state of emergency on March 17 as cases of COVID-19 began to rise rapidly in Ontario and around the rest of the world.

A number of new orders were immediately put into place to slow the spread of the deadly virus, all of them based on the advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams

Many of those orders — the closures of all bars and restaurants, a ban on gatherings of more than five people, rules surrounding long-term care home workers, etc. — have been extended at two-week intervals throughout the pandemic, with some modifications here and there.

The state of emergency itself has similarly been extended every two weeks since it was first declared on St. Patrick’s Day.

Should the motion to extend until June 30 pass tomorrow (and again, it almost certainly will), Ontario will be able to say it’s been in a state of emergency for more than three months straight. 

When asked if he planned to extend the state of emergency once again at the end of June, Ford was unable to provide a concrete answer, as he cannot see the future.

“It all depends on the situation we’re facing,” said the premier. “If we’re seeing that everything’s moving in the right direction, numbers are going down, then we don’t need to.

“But if we see that the movement hasn’t happened, the option is on the table.”

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