'We made a mistake': Ford promises sick leave benefits, makes an emotional plea to the people in Ontario after harsh criticism

Elisabetta Bianchini
·2-min read

In a virtual press conference, Ontario Premier Doug Ford apologized to the public for the measures that the province brought into effect last week, including restrictions to outdoor recreational facilities and increasing policing powers.

"Last Friday, in response to extremely troubling modelling that told us we could see well over 15,000 cases a day, we moved fast to put measures in place to reduce mobility, but we moved too fast," Ford said. "I know that some of those measures, especially around enforcement, they went too far."

"Simply put, we got it wrong. We made a mistake. These decisions, they left a lot of people very concerned, in fact, they left a lot of people angry and upset. I know we got it wrong, I know we made a mistake and for that, I’m sorry and I sincerely apologize."

The premier went on to say that "this is all about mobility" and the data showed that there was too much movement by people in the province.

"All I hear is 'limit mobility, limit mobility,' and we moved too quick but anytime, if I make a mistake, I correct it immediately, which we did on the weekend," Ford said. "We moved too quick with having people being pulled over, per se, you call it carding, but I want to tell the people of Ontario, I've never, ever directed the police, I never have, I never will."

The premier started to get emotional when he recalled "stories that can make you cry" from people in Ontario who have not been able to celebrate important milestones together, have a proper funeral for loved ones, and even just connect with friends and family more broadly.

"This experience, this pandemic is something that has affected every single person," Ford said.

When pressed to respond to calls for his resignation, Ford maintained that his team is "strong" and "united" and disagreed that the provincial government is responsible for the third wave of the pandemic.

"I've been at this job 24/7, literally, every single day, I haven't missed a day, I haven't taken a break," the premier said.

Ford also announced the provincial government will be "bridging the gap" in the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), working on a provincial solution to "fill those gaps" for everyone in Ontario. 

"I want workers to know, as I have right from the beginning, I will always have your back," the premier said.

He did not provide a date for the upcoming support for paid sick leave, but said it will be "one of the best, in conjunction with the federal government, in the entire North America."