January 19th, 2022 — The Toronto Region Board of Trade's CEO, Jan de Silva calls on the Provincial government to immediately communicate a pathway for a timely re-opening and actions that will then allow business to stay open. This can be achieved by setting timelines for easing restrictions through a phased reopening, while protecting public health.
Dear Premier Ford and Minister Elliott,
The Toronto region’s business community appreciates the work that your government has done to manage this health crisis. Today, we have high vaccination rates, best practices for mitigating the virus, and tools like a vaccine passport to help us safely stay open.
As you are aware, over the last two years, Ontarians have made extraordinary sacrifices to help fight the spread of COVID-19. Our businesses have borne the brunt of restrictions and they cannot withstand them much longer. Simply put, if we are to save our businesses, restrictions must end.
Just as other countries are now finding ways to live with the virus, so too must we. As we look to the future, the business community is counting on your government for clarity and consistency of what is required and by when, as well as commitments to easing restrictions now and in the future.
Premier, we call on you to immediately communicate a pathway for a timely re-opening and actions that will then allow business to stay open. This can be achieved by setting timelines for easing restrictions through a phased reopening, while protecting public health.
We ask that you implement key actions that would help ensure this is the last time businesses must face these kinds of restrictions:
- Provide clear direction on best practices for reopening in office environments, such as capacity limits and physical distancing requirements
- Increase our testing capacity and access to rapid test kits for businesses
- Use the Verify Ontario app to implement robust exposure notification and contact tracing systems to collect better data on the environments where transmission is occurring, and where it is not
- Establish guidance on where the use of higher-quality masks like N95s and KN95s is recommended/mandated, along with increasing the availability of these kinds of masks
- Develop standards for ventilation in public spaces where people are expected to gather for prolonged periods or where masks are removed
- Work with the federal government to harmonize guidelines for federally- and provincially-regulated industries
The region’s business community deserves the confidence that all possible steps are being taken to avoid future lockdowns. It is now clear that COVID-19 will not disappear overnight. Our best pathway to a healthy, robust recovery includes plans to address the spread of the virus through less-disruptive, proactive measures, like the ones outlined above. These measures should be designed to avoid the need for more restrictive actions in response to worrying trends should they emerge.
We are eager to continue to work with your government to help chart our course to recovery and bring clarity to the business community at once.
Jan De Silva
President & CEO
Toronto Region Board of Trade
About Toronto Region Board of Trade
The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential business chambers in North America and is a catalyst for the region’s economic agenda. We pursue policy change to drive the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region and facilitate market opportunities with programs, partnerships and connections to help our members succeed – domestically and internationally.
Andrew Perez, Media Relations Manager