The Ontario government announced today the Keeping Ontario Safe and Opening Framework.

Premier Ford announced a new transparent and tiered system that aims to ensure public health measures are targeted, incremental and responsive to help limit the spread of COVID-19. The government’s goal is to safely keep schools and businesses open, while maintaining health system capacity and protecting vulnerable people, including those in long-term care.

The new framework categorizes public health unit regions into five levels: Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Lockdown.

Each level includes targeted measures for specific sectors, institutions and other settings. As the levels increase in strictness, the previous level’s restrictions carry over with more stringent measures being added.  

New restriction levels 

If approved by Cabinet on November 6, the following is the list of regions for each category: 

  • Green-Prevent: All provincial public health unit regions not listed in the below levels.
  • Yellow-Protect:
    • As of November 7, at 12:01am, Brant County Health Unit, City of Hamilton Public Health Services, Durham Region Health Department, and Halton Region Public Health.
  • Orange-Restrict:
    • As of November 7, at 12:01 am, Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Ottawa Public Health, Peel Public Health and York Region Public Health.
    • As of November 14, at 12:01am, Toronto Public Health
  • Red-Control: No public health unit regions at this level
  • Lockdown: No public health unit regions at this level 

Under these new categories, Ottawa and Eastern Ontario, Peel, Toronto and York will see indoor dining and gyms open again with public health measures and limitations in place.

The full details on the new restrictions levels and measures can be found here.

New Dashboard 

In an attempt to increase transparency and access to real-time data, the provincial government’s website will now feature a public dashboard.

Ontarians will be able to find regional information regarding virus spread, public health and health system capacity. Metrics will be updated daily and will include regional cases, total number of cases, resolved cases, deaths, tests completed, and how many of those tests are positive.

Business Supports for the Second Wave

Minister of Finance Rod Phillips also announced today that the previously announced $300 million available to businesses subject to modified Stage 2 public health restrictions will also apply to businesses in areas categorized as Control or Lockdown.

These supports will be provided in the form of property tax and energy cost rebates, and will cover the period of time that businesses are required to temporarily close or significantly restrict services. 

Eligible businesses will be able to apply for temporary property tax and energy cost rebates directly to the province through a single, online application portal, beginning November 16.

Counsel will continue to monitor Ontario’s response to COVID-19 and the upcoming provincial budget this Thursday and its impacts on your industries and families.