News Premier slashes Hydro rates warns construction sector and provides relief for truckers SHARE ON: ash, staff Tuesday, Mar. 24th, 2020 photo supplied by Pixabay Reported by Wendy Gray The Premier has confirmed that Ontarians will pay the lowest rate for hydro. Doug Ford says these savings will begin today. It represents a $160-million-dollar investment from the province. Ford stressed that there is nothing that we have to do, no need to apply, the savings will be automatically reflected on hydro bills. He says people who have been asked to stay home shouldn’t have to wait until the evening to do laundry or the dishes and other tasks. The off-peak rate will be in effect for six weeks. Ford also addressed tonight’s midnight closure of all non-essential businesses saying that it was an essential decision in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. He says he realizes there is confusion among business owners about whether their service or products are essential. He says the province is working with those businesses, “What may not be essential in the city may be essential in rural Ontario and vice versa.” He stressed that all non-essential businesses must close, “I will shut ‘em down,” Ford said. Ford addressed what some construction workers are seeing on job sites, overflowing toilets, no access to sanitizer or soap and water and other unsanitary conditions. He told construction workers that if they do not feel safe on the job, leave. Their jobs will be waiting when this is over. He also warned general contracting firms that the province has deployed inspectors across the province to inspect job sites and if they find unsanitary and non-compliant behavior, “they have the authority to shut them down.” He acknowledged that most contractors are in compliance and working hard to make their sites safe but, “there are some bad actors out there causing a problem for the whole sector.” Ford also announced some relief for truck drivers who are spending long hours on the road making sure goods get to store shelves. The province will be keeping ONroute service centres open so they can have a safe place to park and rest, get take-out food and replenish themselves. He said staff will be ramping up cleaning and disinfecting the centres. There are 588 cases of COVID-19 cases in Ontario, eight people have died. There are 10,000 current cases under investigation and almost 20,000 people have tested negative.