doug ford
Premier Doug Ford apologized in an emotional public statement Thursday for his government's controversial decisions to close playgrounds and enhance police powers.

The premier said his government moved too quickly and went too far, but reversed both the playground ban and the random stop powers for police the next day.

"These decisions left a lot of people very concerned. In fact, they left a lot of people angry and upset," he said. "I know we got it wrong, I know we made a mistake, and for that I'm sorry and I sincerely apologize."

The premier, in isolation after a workplace exposure to COVID-19, said his government is also looking at a paid sick days initiative to fill in gaps left by a federal program.

Opposition politicians and public health officials have been urging the government to help cover the costs for workers who need to self isolate due to COVID-19 symptoms but who can't afford to go without a paycheque.

Ford said he's under pressure from all sides to get the pandemic response right.

He stopped at several points during his statement, appearing emotional, as he described hearing from families who were barred from the deathbed of a loved one due to COVID-19 restrictions in hospitals.

He talked about the choices his government has made to close businesses, or limit vacations, weddings and funerals.

Ford said he didn't want to follow the "draconian" measures in Australia and noted different doctors provided different advice.

"At this stage in the pandemic, over a year into this, going through this terrible third wave I assure you that there are no easy choices left," Ford said. "Making these decisions, asking more from you when I know that each of you have already given so much, it's never easy and it weighs on me heavy every day."

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said she joins millions of Ontarians demanding the premier act immediately to provide paid sick days, close non-essential businesses and send vaccines to hot spots.

"On Friday, Doug Ford set people up to be ravaged by the third wave," Horwath said in a statement Thursday. "Today, he didn't give them anything to save them. We cannot take any more of the delays, half-measures and disastrous decisions that cost lives."

Ford said he doesn't control the supply of vaccine or the international borders where variants of concern (VOC) crossed into Canada.