TORONTO -- Ont. Premier Doug Ford is facing blistering criticism over his government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic's third wave, and Nanos Research's Nik Nanos says it's created a significant lack of confidence in the provincial government's messaging.

  • This episode was recorded on April 21. Premier Doug Ford has since held a press conference where he promised a paid sick-leave program. You can read the latest here. 

"What people want is some sort of certainty," said Nanos on the latest episode of Trend Line. "What we saw, at least in the province of Ontario, is a significant lack of stability."

Ontario's government announced new pandemic measures last Friday, including more restrictions placed on outdoor activities, granting police sweeping powers, and capping limits on the size of weddings, funerals, and religious services.

There was an immediate backlash after the provincial announcement, including from top scientific advisers to the Ontario government.

Dr. Peter Juni, part of Ontario's COVID-19 Science Table, said he considered leaving his job after the latest round of restrictions because they created additional inequity.

"If the province wants to get this under control and tries to do that without efficient paid sick leave, it won't work," Juni told CTV's Your Morning.

Medical experts weren't the only group pushing back against the new restrictions, however, with numerous police forces saying they wouldn't use the new powers and Ottawa's Mayor Jim Watson repeatedly criticizing the government's interprovincial border restrictions.

"This was not thought out," Watson told CTV News Channel on Monday. "At the end of the day, there's no evidence this is preventing the spread of COVID-19."

The intense criticism prompted the provincial government to backtrack on the new police powers, and some other restrictions the day after announcing them.

On Tuesday, the Ottawa Police Service announced it would stop monitoring crossings at the Quebec-Ontario border 24/7.

Nanos warned that these "flip flops" from the provincial government undermine confidence in both political leaders and Ontario's public health officials.

While Ford's government reversed course on the unpopular measures, the federal government announced that it was co-ordinating with several other provinces to send additional aid to Ontario as hospitals struggle to keep up with a surge of new patients.

"Ontario is the centre of the country. We all have friends and family in Ontario. We all know that COVID-19 does not respect any geographical borders," Newfoundland Premier Andrew Furey told reporters Monday in St. John's.

That last-minute aid could have political consequences for Ontario's embattled premier down the line, according to Nanos.

"The prime minister will not forget, or not allow Ontarians to forget, that it was the federal government that was proactively trying to help Ontarians at a time of difficulty."

Listen to the full episode of Trend Line with's Rachel Aiello and Nanos Research's Nik Nanos wherever you get your podcasts or by clicking on the video at the top of this article.

With files from The Canadian Press.