Premier Ford apologizes, says he “moved too fast” on new police powers and more, admits province will work on paid sick leave program

"Ford must pass paid sick days, close non-essential businesses & send vaccines to hotspots. Today," says NDP

Premier Doug Ford says he is sorry.

The Premier made a public appearance via Zoom on Thursday, less than a week after announcing controversial restrictions surrounding police powers and the closure of playgrounds. Restrictions he has since backpaddled on.

“Last Friday, in response to extremely troubling modelling that told us we can see well over 15,000 cases a day, we moved fast to put measures in place to reduce mobility. But we moved too fast,” he told reporters during a virtual media conference. “I know that some of those measures, especially around enforcement, they went too far. Simply put, we got it wrong. We made a mistake.”

“I know we got it wrong. I know we made a mistake,” he continued. “And for that, I’m sorry. I sincerely apologize. Because as Premier, as I’ve said right from the beginning, the buck stops with me. Again, I’m sorry. And I apologize to each and every one of you.”

Along with his apology, Premier Ford announced his government is working on a long-sought sick leave program, despite pushing back against such a plan for months. Ford says a close contact with a positive case of COVID-19 put him into isolation for the past few days, something he knows other Ontarians cannot do. “I assure you, it is not lost on me that, unlike many people, I’m able to isolate and continue working. For too many people right now, that’s not the case. And during these unprecedented times, regardless of where you work, or what you do, if you’re forced to go into isolation or quarantine, your job should be safe.”

Andrea Horwath, leader of the NDP, said today’s announcement was of little substance. “Ford chose to walk people into a catastrophic third wave. He chose politics over public health. Today, he offered nothing,” she said on social media. “No more delays and disastrous decisions that cost lives. Ford must pass paid sick days, close non-essential businesses & send vaccines to hotspots, today.”

Liberal leader Steven Del Duca said Ford’s change of heart on paid sick leave is only in response to recent heat. “Now that Doug Ford is in a political crisis, he’s done a 180. Doug Ford wants to play hero for thousands of essential workers when he’s been acting like a villain all along.”