Ontario government expected to seek extension of state of emergency to June 2

Ontario legislature to sit Tuesday and there will be a question period

The province’s state of emergency is expected to be extended during a sitting of the Ontario legislature on Tuesday.

The government house leader’s office said in a statement that unanimous consent is also expected to quickly vote on all stages of a bill that makes COVID-19-related changes to several acts.

There will be 42 out of 124 MPPs in the legislature to respect rules around physical distancing. There will also be a question period, the first in two months, though politicians have been in the legislature several times since the pandemic started to extend the state of emergency.

The government says it is consulting with opposition parties about the possibility of extending sittings into the summer.

Word the Ford government is seeking to extend the state of emergency comes as Ontario begins a gradual reopening of the economy.

At a media briefing today, the premier said this was going to be a period of long recovery and rebuilding. Stats Canada said last week that nearly 700,000 Ontarians lost their jobs in April, on top of what the agency said was the 403,000 jobs that vanished in March.

All retail stores with a street entrance were allowed to open today with delivery and curbside pickup. Hardware stores reopened on Saturday, and garden centres and nurseries finally got to start their season on Friday.

Over 500 provincial parks opened today and over 100 more will do the same this Friday, ahead of the May long weekend. Hiking, biking, walking and birdwatching is allowed at the parks, but beaches, playgrounds and camping areas will remain closed.