Ontario introduced new legislation Tuesday to enable the extension of some pandemic emergency orders over the next year, a move an opposition critic said could curb checks on the powers granted to the government.
Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said the legislation would allow the government to extend or amend some emergency orders a month at a time, with the law expiring a year after it’s passed.
“It allows us to transition away from the declaration of emergency, which is an important signal to people that we’re on our way out,” she said. “But it also allows us to ensure that — because frankly, we don’t have a vaccine for COVID-19 — that we still can keep in place the important tools we need.”
Under current legislation, the province can only issue emergency orders while the state of emergency is in place.
Ontario’s state of emergency is set to expire July 15, and Premier Doug Ford’s office said it would introduce a motion Wednesday to extend it until July 24 to ensure there is no gap between the provincial declaration and when the new bill takes effect.