Ontario extends emergency orders under Reopening Ontario Act until March 2022

Ontario has extended the power of the government to hold all emergency orders in place under the Reopening Ontario Act until March 2022.

The emergency orders, which were set to expire on December 1, will be extended after a motion by Attorney General Sylvia Jones was passed in Queen’s Park on Tuesday.

The proposal gives the Doug Ford government the power to extend emergency orders until March 28. Each order under ROA must be extended with cabinet in steps of 30 days.

A spokesman for Jones told CTV News Toronto that the expansion of emergency powers is in line with the government’s plan to lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions by March.

Without extending the ROA, all public health measures currently in place would have expired on 1 December.

There are currently 28 orders in force under the Reopening Act, including proof of vaccination system.

The ROA empowers the government to implement rules on public assemblies, corporate closures and the management of outbreaks in hospitals or long-term care homes.

Earlier this month, Ontario paused the next step in the reopening plan due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

On 15 November, capacity limits should be lifted in the remaining high-risk environments where proof of vaccination is required.

This step was delayed for at least 28 days.

The next step in the reopening plan, scheduled for January 17, will see capacity limits gradually lifted in places where proof of vaccination is not required. The province’s vaccine certificate system could also be phased out at this time.

On February 7, the government plans to lift evidence of vaccination requirements in high-risk environments, including nightclubs, strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs.

On March 28, Ontario plans to repeal the remaining public health measures, including wearing face clothing in public doors. Evidence of vaccination will also be revoked for all options.

Ontario MPP Gurratan Singh, critic of the Attorney General, told CTV News Toronto in a statement that he has “serious concerns” about the extension of the emergency orders.

“The NDP has serious concerns about what Doug Ford could use these powers to do, such as further cuts to key services and more backroom decisions that serve Ford and his developer peers, not the public interest.”

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