Ontario legislature recalled for emergency sitting amid coronavirus pandemic

Click to play video: 'Premier Doug Ford declares state of emergency' Premier Doug Ford declares state of emergency
WATCH: With many fast-moving parts, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic is ever-changing. The Ontario government is now declaring a state of emergency – Mar 17, 2020

The Ontario legislature will be meeting for an emergency sitting on Thursday in a bid to pass legislation related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A statement from the Government House leader said the session will happen at 1 p.m.

“After lengthy discussions with the opposition parties, we expect to receive unanimous consent to debate and vote on these items in an expedited manner,” the statement said.

READ MORE: Ontario government declares state of emergency amid coronavirus pandemic

“Following tomorrow’s emergency sitting, the government will be seeking to suspend the legislature until Wednesday, March 25 at 1 p.m.”

As the government continues to encourage social distancing during the novel coronavirus outbreak, the number of members allowed in the chamber will be limited to 24, including the speaker.

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There will be 12 Progressive Conservative MPPs, eight NDP, two Liberal and one Green. The parties have agreed on these measures, the house leader said.

“Members will be permitted to sit at any desk and vote from any desk to ensure there is appropriate space between them,” the statement said.

Click to play video: 'Ontario pandemic response tackling numerous challenges' Ontario pandemic response tackling numerous challenges
Ontario pandemic response tackling numerous challenges – Mar 18, 2020

In a news conference Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford said the session will be used to pass job security legislation that he announced earlier this week. 

“We are taking nothing for granted and we will spare no expense to support Ontarians through this difficult time,” Ford said.

“Ontario is doing [its] part to provide relief to families and certainty to businesses, including the introduction of legislation tomorrow to provide job-protected leave to workers with symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been asked to self-isolate.”
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