TORONTO — The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is extending all orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA) until January 20, 2021. This extension will support the safe delivery of health care and other critical services until COVID-19 vaccines are approved and widely available.
“Safeguarding the health and well-being of Ontarians remains our top priority at every stage of our COVID-19 response,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “As we prepare to implement a safe and effective immunization program, extending these orders will ensure tools remain in place to address urgent public health situations until all Ontarians can be vaccinated.”
Ontario continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by taking the actions needed to support and keep Ontarians safe. Effective December 7, 2020, under the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework, the government, in consultation with health officials, amended O.Reg. 363/20 (Stages of Reopening) to move three public health units to new levels. This action imposes stricter public health measures in an effort to reduce transmission in these regions and avoid broader closures.
The government also made amendments to O. Reg 82/20 (Rules for Areas in Stage 1) under the ROA, which applies to public health unit regions in the Stage 1 lockdown. These amendments, which came into force December 4, 2020, permit indoor farmer’s markets that primarily sell groceries, to be open. For post-secondary institutions, the amendments increase the limit on the number of persons permitted in an instructional space at any one time for in-person instruction or in-person exams from 10 to 50 people for certain programs critical to supporting the health care workforce as set out in the order.
The list of orders under the ROA that have been extended can be found online on the Government of Ontario’s website.
- The ROA came into force on July 24, 2020 to ensure important measures remained in place after the provincial declared emergency came to an end.
- The ROA allows certain orders to be amended, subject to criteria, and does not allow new orders to be created.
- Under the ROA, orders can be extended for up to 30 days at a time, and the government must report on all order extensions to the Select Committee on Emergency Management Oversight.
- The ROA requires the Premier to table a report on any amendments or extensions of any orders within 120 days after the first anniversary of the ROA coming into force.