Ontario Premier Doug Ford has detailed the new fixed COVID-19 electricity rate of 12.8 cents per kilowatt-hour announced at the weekend.
“The new COVID Recovery Rate will simply show up on your bill and it will last until October 31,” Ford said.
“We’re also extending the disconnection ban until July 31 to ensure no one is disconnected during these uncertain times.”
The fixed-rate will apply to Time-of-Use customer bills 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The new Recovery Rate is a slight increase from the flat 10.1 cents per kilowatt-hour the province introduced in March in response to a surge in people forced to work from home.
Peak rates are as high as 20.8 cents.
The province has also announced a COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) it says will support consumers who are struggling to pay their energy bills.
The CEAP will provide one-time payments to consumers to help pay down any electricity bill debt incurred over the COVID‑19 period. Applications will be available through local utilities in the upcoming months.
Struggling businesses can also apply for help. The province is funding $8-million for the CEAP-SB.
Ford criticizes federal announcement
Premier Ford criticized the Trudeau government for its funding announcement today for municipalities.
The federal government announced it has accelerated $2.2 billion in gas tax funding for municipalities hit-hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding falls significantly short of the $10-billion in “new funding” the Federation of Canadian Municipalities asked for.
Premier Ford says it’s not new money and municipalities “need new money.”
“Ontario contributes $13-billion to the Feds and we need to see more back,” Ford said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged that “all levels of government” need to do more. “Yes, we need to do more…and we will do more, but this has to happen collaboratively with the provinces.”
Municipalities are experiencing steep revenue losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Toronto alone says it’s facing a $1.5-billion shortfall this fiscal year.
The City of Barrie projects a $65-million reduction in cash flow by the end of the year and had to send out over 500 layoff notices in April.
Racism and hatred has no place in Ontario
Ford opened his media briefing Monday from Queen’s Park by saying racism and hatred have no place in Ontario.
Ford says the province has zero-tolerance for racism towards the black community or any others.
Ford’s comments came as violence has erupted in cities across the U.S. after six nights of protests, sparked by the death of African-American George Floyd while in police custody.
Ford welcomes Ombudsman’s report into LTC homes
Premier Ford says he welcomes an investigation into the oversight provided to long-term care by his government during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé launched an investigation Monday into the oversight of long-term care homes by the Ontario Government.
“The Canadian Armed Forces report painted a stunning portrait of the situation in long-term care during this crisis; our investigation will look at the systemic issues that led to it, and will make constructive recommendations for corrective action. Determining the root causes of administrative dysfunction and recommending practical solutions is what we do,” Dubé wrote.
Dubé will consider if oversight provided by the Ministry of Long-Term Care and Ministry of Health to LTC homes during the coronavirus crisis, “is adequate.”
“I need answers, I want answers,” Premier Ford said, pointing out the situation in long-term care has been “going on” all the way to former PC Premier Bill Davis.
“We’re throwing everything at this,” Ford said. He added, maybe in a month or two people can re-enter long-term care facilities again.