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Confident, optimistic about future, says finance minister

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Shady Salah – Media in Toronto

Ontario Finance Minister, Rod Philips, on Wednesday expressed confidence and optimism about the future, noting to three reasons including, the progress on the healthcare, the research by the scientific community and around the world and the daily interactions across Ontario for adaptation to this new reality.
This came during his participation in a webinar “The Honourable Rod Phillips: Reopening Ontario”, organized by Canadian Club Toronto.
“I see three very specific reasons for confidence: the progress we’re making every day on healthcare in terms of treating the progress that is being made on the science is just phenomenal and very exciting. And most importantly, the resilience and the innovation, I see coming out of Ontarians across all sectors and across all regions of the province, who are ready and willing to see this province reopen to see us take the next step, and to take us out,” Minister Rod Philips said.
He also underlined that from the experience from other countries that started to reopen their economies, a few people started to go back to their works, few customers have returned and also few returned to schools, saying this shouldn’t be a great surprise because the world have spent now “a number of months, being educated about the risks of COVID and learning new ways that we have to interact including social distancing and a hand hygiene and the other very important points that the public health officials have been making. But what that tells us is that it isn’t really just about the decisions of the government, whether it be the federal government or the provincial government or the local government. Those decisions were instrumental in the decision to close down the economy because of the public health emergency we’re facing. But just because we say that business can open, or just because we say as we did yesterday that we believe with the proper protections childcare can begin as early as Friday, doesn’t mean that childcare operators are going to immediately be in a situation where they can do that safely. They’re going to have to take the time to do that and doesn’t mean that parents, just use the childcare example are going to immediately feel comfortable in fact, our experience with the emergency childcare that we provided for frontline workers throat was that participation in childcare grew over time as parents became more comfortable with the fact that that those childcare facilities could be operated safely. One of the very important things that we learned as well and have acted on is to make sure that we provide clear guidance to businesses and operations in terms of how they should proceed, whether that’s child cares or individual types of business.”
Mr. Philips said also that the Minister of Labour Monti McNaughton and his ministry have laid out over 100 specific recommendations developed with public health input from the safety Association input. So that different businesses can look at different organisations and look at how they want to operate their business with some clear guidance.
“We can help restore the confidence of those employers to reopen have employees to feel comfortable, returning to work. And finally of customers, wanting to come back. When we talk about economic recovery. This is going to be the critical factor, and it’s a factor that all of us, 14 and a half million people in Ontario have a role to play in terms of generating at the end of the day is going to be confidence that people have in how a restaurant operates on the fact that they’ve taken the safety procedures that are necessary that their staff have got the training that’s necessary,” he added.
“We wanted to make sure that people in Ontario understood, both the response that we as a province, we’re going to make to COVID 19, which involves $17 billion in support for businesses for individuals. Most importantly support for our healthcare system. But also, we wanted to, you know, make sure that people understood that there was going to be a different financial reality for our province for the provinces and of course for the federal government. From that point on our government has been driven by making sure that health, the health of people of Ontario and yes the long term economic prosperity of our province, are the priorities that we are focused on as a government. And so people have watched that play out through what really is one of the most exceptional periods in our provinces in our country’s history.”

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