Today, the Ford government forced through Bill 7 without public consultation. This is the bill that means that patients can be sent to long-term care homes up to 300km away from their families or be forced to pay costs for their continued stay in hospital.
This bill is shuffling the deck chairs at best, and at worst it’s paving the way for a healthcare system where you’ll need your credit card – not a health card more often. Many experts weighed in on this issue, with almost universal agreement that this was not the way to go, and despite that, the government has pushed forward.
If you’re interested in reading more about the issues here – check out this editorial from the Toronto Star.
We do need more beds in our healthcare system, and along with those new beds, we need more staff to take care of the patients. Sending vulnerable Ontarians away won’t fix this issue – investing in our health care system will. I’m sure that there will be a further response to this issue in the coming days, and I will ensure that our community is kept informed.
For now, let me just say this – I will not be letting this issue go – fighting for our health care system is my responsibility as an MPP, and I will never turn my back on that responsibility.
This wasn’t the only frustrating decision for the government today, as we also learned this afternoon that the province has dropped the five-day isolation period guideline for people who test positive for COVID-19.
Here is the breakdown of the new guidance, and afterward I will give some more of my thoughts.
Here are some more of the guidelines (from CBC News):
- If you have a fever, stay home until it's completely gone.
- If you have gastrointestinal symptoms, stay home until symptoms have improved for at least 48 hours.
- After isolating at home, wear a mask in public for 10 days since the onset of symptoms.
- If sick, avoid non-essential visits to vulnerable or older people for at least 10 days since the onset of symptoms, including visits to high-risk settings such as long-term care homes and hospitals.
- If you're in the same household as someone who is sick or tested positive for COVID-19, mask in public spaces, even if you feel better, and avoid vulnerable individuals and settings for 10 days after exposure. Isolate immediately if you develop symptoms.
Here are my immediate thoughts.
This is a cop-out from the Ford government for not providing paid sick days to Ontario workers. The three paid sick days that have been temporarily allocated expire in March, and with the removal of the five-day isolation period, there will be folks who are sick with COVID-19 going to work – that’s the reality. Workers are losing the protection they need to keep themselves and their workplaces safe, and the Ford government is not delivering the very basic protections that workers need. Shameful.
Changing gears, the municipal elections are coming up, and I want to encourage everyone to exercise their democratic right to get out there and vote! If you don’t know if you’re on the voter's list – starting tomorrow you will be able to find out through the City of Toronto’s MyVote website, by emailing [email protected], or by calling 311.
You’ll also be able to find out more information about our Ward, including whose running, how to vote early, and where your Election Day polling location will be.
I am also excited to share with our community an exciting project being organized by the Culture Link. The project is titled Women of Courage: All of Our Stories and they are looking for participants!
Here is how they describe the program.
A storytelling workshop series for racialized immigrant Women from CultureLink’s Anti-Racism Action Program.
Racialized immigrant women age 40 and over engage in personal narrative, storytelling and/or drama. We welcome women from Afghanistan, African countries, Caribbean countries, China, Philippines, South Asian countries, Syria, and Tibet. The participants may have conventional refugee, permanent resident, landed immigrant or Canadian Citizen status.
The 8-week workshop series will be delivered every Tue and Thu, between 6-8 pm.
In order to tell their stories, participants will cultivate digital literacy and social media skills, including tools such as Canva and Instagram.
The Project will culminate participants’ narratives with the launch of a Project Book online and story exhibitions at Toronto museums.
This evening, I am also sharing an urgent call out from our friends at St. Matthew’s United Church – who are working with the Migrants Rights Network to organize a phone zap to encourage the federal government to provide more rights to migrants in Canada, many of whom are currently vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, as a result of their precarious status.
If you’re interested in participating, they will be hosting a Zoom call tomorrow (Sept 1) from 7 to 9PM, where community members will gather to learn more about the issue, and then make some calls.
Finally today, I am excited to share that my team has added a second location for the Back-to-School Supplies Exchange this weekend!
Volunteers will be at Marian Engel Park on Saturday from 11-1PM with a Community Food Table, and the Back-to-School Exchange happening!
Here are the details for both days:
- Saturday, September 3
- 11AM to 1PM
- Marian Engel Park
- 285 Melita Ave
- Sunday, September 4
- 1PM to 330PM
- Cy Townsend Park
- 455 Winona Drive