Ontario Premier Doug Ford opened his daily press briefing today by commenting on the protests in the United States and here in Ontario. He also announced a new fixed COVID-19 fixed hydro rate, and support to pay your bills for consumers and businesses.
ONTARIO - Ontario Premier Doug Ford opened his daily press briefing today by commenting the growing protests in the United States and here in Ontario.
Ford says racism and hatred has no place in our Province.
"As Premier, I have absolute zero tolerance and I repeat zero tolerance for anyone targeting the black community or any minority group. I just won't stand for it and we won't stand for it in the Province. My friends, people are hurting right now and we must acknowledge this pain, we must acknowledge where it is coming from and that means coming face to face with some of the most difficult problems we face as a society. Many of these issues are deeply rooted, they stem from a history of racism and abuse."
Ford says we need to work together to address these issues head on.
"There is no doubt that this has been a very difficult year, the hardest we have seen in our lifetime. We have seen and faced unprecedented challenges and no matter what we face, we faced it head on and it is up to us, all three levels of Government to work together, to support people through these difficult times. I know many of us feel a little uncertain about the future but I assure you, my commitment to you is that my Government will always, always stand with you. As Premier I will always stand with you."
Ford made the remarks today as he announced more relief for hydro bills. Effective today the Province will used a COVID-19 recovery rate for all time of use customers of 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour.
He also announced the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Programs for residents and businesses that includes the following:
- $9 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) to support consumers struggling to pay their energy bills during the pandemic. 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;
- $8 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) to provide support to businesses struggling with bill payments as a result of the outbreak;
- An extension of the Ontario Energy Board's winter disconnection ban until July 31, 2020 to ensure no one is disconnected from their natural gas or electricity service during these uncertain times.
Starting June 1, 2020, the new COVID-19 Recovery Rate comes into effect for electricity customers who pay TOU rates. This fixed rate will apply to TOU customer bills 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing stability and certainty for consumers as the government restarts the economy and supports individuals and families who continue to spend more time at home.
The COVID-19 Recovery Rate will be in place until October 31, 2020, followed by a new customer choice initiative. Starting November 1, 2020, customers will be able to choose a plan that best suits their household and lifestyle with the option of either TOU electricity rates or tiered pricing, which will provide a set rate for electricity up to a certain level of consumption.
The government will continue to subsidize electricity bills by 31.8 per cent through the Ontario Electricity Rebate. The government is providing approximately $5.6 billion in 2020-21 as part of its existing electricity cost relief programs, to help ensure more affordable electricity bills for eligible residential, farm and small business consumers.
You can listen to the Premier's comments below.