/Evening Brief: Ontario reveals tiered plan to reopen economy

Evening Brief: Ontario reveals tiered plan to reopen economy

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Good evening, readers.

The Lead

The Ontario government has released a three-stage plan to ease the restrictions currently in place to curb COVID-19 — though the provincial roadmap does not offer dates, nor which businesses specifically can open during each phase.

“No one wants the economy to open up more than I do. But we can’t take anything for granted,” Premier Doug Ford told reporters in his daily press conference.

The document was released as Quebec announced that its primary schools and daycares outside of Montreal will reopen on May 11, followed by those in the Greater Montreal region on May 19. Quebec Premier François Legault is to announce measures to gradually reopen the province’s economy this week.

Victoria Gibson reports.

In Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that the federal government will leave decisions on providing residential rent relief during the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to the provinces.

“If provinces, in whom the relationship between renters and landlords is their jurisdiction, want to move forward with more help for residential rent, they can of course do that,” Trudeau said at his daily press conference. “We will focus on giving the benefits to Canadians that will replace much of their pay checks so they can pay their essentials.”

The federal government announced last week that it would offer financial support to businesses to help with their rental bills during the pandemic through its new Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program.

Charlie Pinkerton has more.

Canada has done such a good job of blunting its first wave of COVID-19 infections it’s very much in danger to being susceptible to a second, third and even fourth wave of outbreaks, according to Dr. James Downar, a specialist in critical care, palliative care and medical ethics.

“The wave doesn’t even have to be that big to overwhelm us. If 1 per cent of Canadians got COVID-19 at any given time, which doesn’t seem like a lot, we would be grossly overwhelmed, like not even close,” Downar said in an interview.

Downar wrote the triage protocol for Ontario hospitals about who gets scarce ventilators. It’s not yet a published document, but what’s known about the triage road map is that patients aren’t excluded by age, but on how likely they are to survive if put on a ventilator.

Leslie MacKinnon has this story.

The head of the organization representing Ontario’s doctors says the government last week rejected multiple offers by the province’s physicians that would have increased doctor-led medical support in long-term care homes, where the impact of COVID-19 has been catastrophic compared to the general public.

One of the proposals from the Ontario Medical Association was to set up mobile doctor-run COVID-19 assessment centres at long-term care homes (also known as nursing homes), according to the group’s president Dr. Sohail Gandhi. Assessment centres have been set up across the province but not specifically at nursing homes. Long-term care homes are required by law to have a physician on staff as their medical director, according to a Ministry of Health spokesperson. Doctors who aren’t employed by homes typically provide care by appointment.

Pinkerton reports.

Fundingportal: 75% rent support coming for small businesses and nonprofits

Lobby Wrap: 57 new registrations filed over last full week of April

The Sprout: Farmers seek local labourers left without work due to COVID-19

The Drilldown: Saudi Aramco starts curbing oil output before OPEC+ agreed start time

In Other Headlines

New national group forms to combat racism against Asian Canadians (Edmonton Journal)

Oil price dips to $12 US a barrel as oversupply problem persists (CBC News)

Porter cancels all flights through June as tanking travel demand bleeds sector (Canadian Press)


Global confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 3 million on Monday, as the United States neared 1 million cases. It comes as many countries are taking steps to ease lockdown measures that have brought the world to a standstill over the past eight weeks. (Reuters)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned to work on Monday after recovering from COVID-19 and warned that it was still too dangerous to relax a stringent lockdown wreaking havoc on Britain’s economy, for fear of a deadly second outbreak. (Reuters)

In the worldwide race for a vaccine to stop the coronavirus, the laboratory sprinting fastest is at Oxford University. University scientists now say that with an emergency approval from regulators, the first few million doses of their vaccine could be available by September. (New York Times)

South Korea’s government has dismissed rumours that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is in fragile condition, as speculation about his health intensifies amid the North’s silence on his whereabouts. (AP)

The coronavirus is highlighting South Africa’s stark inequalities, 26 years after the end of the country’s apartheid regime of racial oppression, the president told the nation on Monday. (AP)

The U.S. House of Representatives foreign affairs committee launched an investigation on Monday into President Donald Trump’s blocking of funds for the World Health Organization, giving the State Department a week to provide information about the decision as the world faces the coronavirus pandemic. (Reuters)

The Kicker

Belgians are being asked to eat chips — or fries, as we call them in North America — twice a week as potato farmers face struggle from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As BBC News reports, Belgians are well-known for loving chips with mayonnaise, but such meals have become a matter of survival for the major export sector that has seen potatoes pile up in its warehouses.

“Let’s all eat chips twice a week, instead of just once,” urged one union leader.

Have a great evening.

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