Premier Doug Ford’s government has introduced a new omnibus bill that, if passed, would carry sweeping changes.
Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark introduced the new piece of legislation, called the COVID-19 Recovery Act.
Premier Ford announced they tabled the bill at Wednesday’s news briefing from Queen’s Park.
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath believes the Ford government is using the COVID-19 recovery as cover to “plow ahead with changes” that have nothing to with the pandemic.
“It doesn’t include a single cent for municipalities, which are facing billions of dollars in deficits and cuts,” Horwath said.
Ford was asked about his government’s unwillingness to cut a deal on federal transfers.
Ford admitted negotiations with the federal government “are not going well,” but said that he’s leading the charge in the fight for per capita funding and flexibility on how to spend the money.
“To all of the mayors out there, I’m fighting for you … if you want to cut a deal with the feds, you will be short-changed … I won’t sign a bad deal,” Ford said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered provinces and territories up to $14 billion in new federal transfers if they work with Ottawa on a “safe-restart agreement.”
“Give us 38 per cent and you have a done deal,” Ford said. “Give it to us on per-capita and you have a deal.”
The proposed bill would change 20 pieces of current legislation that govern the province’s schools, municipalities, and the justice system.
Minister Clark said the changes would speed up environmental assessments and create an economic agency called Invest Ontario.
The government also plans to table a motion to extend the province’s state of emergency until July 24.
The current state of emergency order is set to expire July 15.
There were 118 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in Ontario Wednesday, with 76 per cent reported in the York, Peel and Toronto.