Employment in Ontario decreased by 152,700 in April, even though employment growth surged in March. The province rightly pointed to tough lockdown measures, new, more contagious variants, and the overall third wave of COVID-19 as the culprit. Despite a tough April, the Ontario economy has already recovered over 850,000 of the 1.1 million jobs COVID cost us, and there are still over 15,000 net new men and women working in the Ontario manufacturing sector from pre-COVID highs. The Province believes that ongoing quickening in the pace of vaccinations will facilitate opening of the economy in the coming weeks. Tuesday marks a big vaccine milestone:
As of 8am on Tuesday, May 18th, Ontario is opening up eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines to everyone aged 18 and older – this a week earlier from older timelines. Those who meet the criteria can begin booking appointments through the province’s online portal and call centre or through their local public health unit, depending on where they live. Ontario expects 2.2 million more doses of vaccines to arrive this week ahead of the Victoria Day long weekend. Among the additional doses is a shipment that was not supposed to land until next week. Over a 100K vaccine doses are being administered a day, with a 150K threshold reached not long ago.
Despite the uptick in vaccinations, Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s popularity is on the rapid decline, due to recent lockdowns and backtracks. Political commentator for The Toronto Star Martin Regg Cohn recently wrote an op-ed suggesting that the Premier is toast, pointing to recent opinion polls: “But his COVID bump in the polls is in the past, Ford’s personal approval ratings are in free fall, and the PCs have tumbled in the party standings, according to recent surveys. The third-place Liberals have reclaimed the lead, vaulting ahead of the Official Opposition NDP. Consider the contrast with his counterparts — Quebec’s François Legault and B.C.’s John Horgan. Quebec bore the brunt of COVID infections and deaths for most of last year, and has imposed controversial evening curfews, yet Legault’s popularity never wavered; British Columbia’s NDP government was a laggard in paid sick days, and also wanted to restrict personal movement, yet never paid a political price.” We will see in a year or so if Ford is finished, but there’s no doubt that fatigue with shutdowns has been building for a long time.