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Ontario announces plans for economic recovery due to coronavirus pandemic

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Ontario loses 400k jobs in March' Coronavirus: Ontario loses 400k jobs in March
WATCH ABOVE: A new report on job numbers across the country paints a bleak outlook with hundreds of thousands of jobs that have disappeared in an instant. Premier Doug Ford announced plans to tackle the problem. Travis Dhanraj reports – Apr 9, 2020

The provincial government announced the “Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee,” which will aim to help the economy recover after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Premier Doug Ford made the announcement alongside Minister of Finance Rod Phillips at Queen’s Park on Thursday.

The committee will focus on “getting businesses up and running and people back to work,” according to a press release.

READ MORE: Ontario health officials unveil new testing guidelines, criteria for coronavirus

When asked if Ford could release a timeline of when people can potentially go back to work, or the province can ease restrictions, the Premier said health is the top priority but that he’s confident the economy will bounce back.

“We’re not going to wait till this is over, we’re going to get started on the economy right now and we have to see the slow of this spread and the flattening of the curve, we need to see it start going down, health is the No. 1 priority,” Ford said.

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“We can get this engine going again, not just because of the government — it’s about the people,” he continued. “You unleash businesses, you let people move forward with the ingenuity. The manufacturing might and the engineering might of the province is staggering.

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“Around the world, we’re known as an economic powerhouse and we’re going to light that fire again.”

Included with Philips on the committee are a number of other ministers including Vic Fedeli, minister of economic development, job creation and trade, Caroline Mulroney, minister of transportation and Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development.

“My heart goes out to those individuals and families who have been out of work, or whose business has closed through no fault of their own,” Ford said.

“I can assure each person affected by this crisis that we will do everything we can to support you, and get you back on the job as soon as possible.”

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READ MORE: Coronavirus: How COVID-19 is spreading across Canada

The committee will be consulting with a wide variety of groups in the province, including business associations, small business owners and entrepreneurs.

“While we focus our energy and resources on defeating COVID-19, today’s job numbers highlight why we also need to plan for an economic recovery,” Phillips said. “Our first order of business is to prepare for the next phase of Ontario’s Action Plan, which will be ready to launch as soon as COVID-19 is contained.”

On Thursday, Statistics Canada released some stark numbers in regards to the country’s unemployment, as well as Ontario’s.

According to the numbers, Ontario has seen a 402,800 decrease in employment. Overall, Canada reported a million job losses in March.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Canada lost 1 million jobs in March

Earlier in March, the Ford government announced the $17 billion Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 which is aimed at helping all those affected by the pandemic.

“Our government is pulling out all the stops to support our job creators and workers today, during this very difficult time,” Fedeli said in a press release.

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“But it is incumbent upon us to look ahead and map out a plan that considers life after COVID-19, a plan that will guide us into a future filled with hope, new employment opportunities and steady economic growth.”

As of Thursday morning, the Ontario government said there were 5,759 cases of COVID-19 in the province. In total, 200 Ontario residents have died and 2,305 cases have been deemed resolved.