Doug Ford’s Small Hammer

From the podium at his press conference yesterday, Premier Doug Ford told everyone that now was not the time for half measures in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

In this conference, Ford announced that all non-essential businesses would be forced to close under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act as a way to communicate further that the province was ready to take a hard line on stopping the spread of the virus.

This message had come after the previous news that the government is putting penalties in place by way of fines and possible jail time for people convicted of not following social distancing or self-isolation protocols.

But now, with the anticipated closure of all non-essential businesses, it looked like Ford meant what he said by “no half measures” will be taken. Premier Ford seemed to be following what has come to be known as the “Hammer Approach” (which you can read about in this article here.) Stop everything non-essential to human survival, stay inside and don’t give the virus anywhere to go. Sounds good; Short term pain for long term gain, or also put– short term loss to the economy, but long term benefits for health care and human life.

The problem lies in the services that Premier Ford declared as “essential,” which suggests that Mr. Ford has a very small hammer.

There are 74 listed business types included on Premier Ford’s list of essential services. After a review, it looks like it would have been simpler to mention what businesses must close, not what business can remain open.

The given services like police, fire and health care providers, grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies are of no surprise. However, many appeared to be somewhat confusing. This is not a shot at the nature of anyone’s employment, but in the era of social distancing, to stop the spread of a viral disease that will kill a whole lot of people I wonder why some activities like residential moving services can continue, but the ability to go and buy a new pair of pants is off the table? It seems like the half measures taken by the Premier leave a lot to be desired.

The responsibility rests with each and every one of us to practice the suggested social distancing norms. If we don’t, the Ontario Government has shown that they have the power to enforce the rules and are not willing to do so. The temptation to go out is still there, but it has to be avoided so that this temporary discomfort in our daily lives does not become permanent.

Please be safe out there and wash your hands.

If you have any questions about what you can and cannot do in the COVID-19 era, then please do not hesitate to call the lawyers at Millars Law. We are here to help and would be happy to answer any of your procedural COVID-19 questions.

(519) 657-1LAW or


By: Nick Cake

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