Toronto Star asks experts which businesses will open first

Apr 24, 2020

As Ontario gears up to reopen, we asked experts which businesses will open first — you won’t like the answer

By Joseph Hall Feature Writer

Thu., April 23, 2020

As political leaders and planners take aim at reopening the economy, they should consider the archery target, says a top University of Toronto economist.

With Ontario and other jurisdictions looking to ease COVID-19 rules as early as May, officials should first concentrate on industries and services critical to life — the centre of the target — before moving on to other concentric circles of economic activity, says Anita McGahan.

McGahan, a professor at the U of T’s Rotman School of Management and Physiology Department, is an expert in strategic management and global health — a specialty that seems made for just this moment.

As the country prepares to climb out from under the global pandemic, she and other experts say its going to be a difficult process that will be painfully slow and complicated even under the best circumstances.

“I think of reopening the economy as emanating from the centre of a bullseye,” says McGahan. “At the very centre is medical health, food security and ... pharmaceuticals.”

McGahan says it’s critical to first shore up these overburdened sectors before moving on to the next ring — which would include the bank services, energy and basic manufacturing needed to economically support that centre.

“We need to secure jobs for people in sectors that can support the core,” she says.

Keep reading


Quebec announces it will reopen retail, construction and manufacturing starting next week

By Rosa SabaCalgary Bureau

Tue., April 28, 2020

Anita McGaham offers her expert opinion again. 

Each stage of re-opening would be two to four weeks long, depending on what the public officer of health deems appropriate based on the number of new cases.

According to Anita McGahan, a professor of strategic management at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and Department of Physiology, the two provinces’ approaches (Quebec/Ontario) reflect one difficult truth: The economy will have to reopen before a vaccine is available.

“This is a long-term problem,” said McGahan. She said the Ontario approach is focused on medical criteria, while the Quebec approach is focused on economic relief. Each comes with its own set of risks, she said.

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