The Ontario government wrapped up a successful session of the legislature today after delivering on a commitment to protect the health and safety of the people of the province during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the accomplishments this fall are initiatives to support families and communities, and the adoption of Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support and Recover that will set the stage for economic recovery and job creation across the province.
Over the past year the government moved quickly to implement measures to enable the Legislative Assembly to operate safely, including the introduction of physically distanced summer meetings of the Assembly. These measures allowed the government to work quickly to respond to the pandemic.
“Our response to this pandemic was unique among governments in the country as we acted swiftly to ensure the continuity of essential government operations throughout the pandemic,” said Government House Leader Paul Calandra. “Without innovative COVID-19 measures at the Legislature, our government could not have been as effective in its response to this once-in-a-generation public health challenge.”
During the fall session, the Ontario government achieved the following legislative accomplishments and made some necessary adjustments:
- Passage of 36 bills, which is broken down as 10 Private Members’ Bills and 26 Government Bills, including 6 emergency COVID-19 bills which were expedited by unanimous consent of all parties;
- Completion of a historic committee study on the economic impacts of COVID-19 at the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, which heard from more than 520 witnesses and over 200 hours of public consultation;
- Introduction of two new forms of debate; the Take-note Debate, which is a special debate, lasting up to four hours, intended for the House to consider provincially-significant matters; and the Report-stage Debate which allows a Bill to be debated for up to 30 minutes when reported back to the House from committee;
- Introduction of a system of recorded voting in the lobbies, adjacent to the Chamber. This is modeled on the British Parliament and has allowed the full participation of Members at a time when it has not been possible for all Members to be present in the Chamber at once.
“While we started 2020 with a very different focus than we ended it, our priorities have not changed, we are always working on behalf of all the people of Ontario,” added Minister Calandra. “We will continue to fight against COVID-19, strengthen the provincial economy and build a brighter, and more prosperous future for every individual, family and worker in the province.”