Ontario Premier Doug Ford was present for a new session of the Ontario assembly as a speech from the throne announced his COVID-19 pandemic recovery plan. This plan will form the meat of his re-election bid, with elections being just eight months away. It is the first time the legislature has convened since early June and the first time in person in almost a year and a half.
CBC reports that the throne speech "focused largely on what the government has done to support the health-care and long-term care systems during the pandemic, highlighting the need for more action but with few specifics, though it mentions already-promised legislation to set long-term care standards."
Almost 86% of eligible Ontario residents have received at least one dose.
"If additional public health measures are needed, they will be localized and targeted," Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell said.
"At the advice of the chief medical officer of health, they will seek to minimize disruptions to businesses and families. The ultimate goal, shared by all, is avoiding future lockdowns."
In order to bridge the gap between the massive spending deficit amassed since the onset of COVID ($32.4 billion), the provincial government will be targeting growth, rather than spending cuts or tax hikes.
The plan mentions building roads, highways and transit.
"There's no question over the past 18 months the people of Ontario have been tested like never before," Dowdeswell said.
"Through it all, during what felt like our darkest days, we've also seen the best of what our province has to offer — strength, determination, compassion, generosity, grit ... This is the Ontario spirit that will drive us as we work together to build a brighter, more prosperous future."
The first Question Period is currently set for Tuesday.