Community News Update - June 11, 2021

Dear Community,

Right now, the Ford government is working to push through legislation to invoke the notwithstanding clause to override a decision of the Ontario Superior Court. The Court ruled that they had overstepped the bounds of the Canadian Charter of Rights, by limiting the free speech of Ontarians.

Specifically, they are seeking to silence groups including families of residents in long-term care in Ontario, teachers, education workers, front-line healthcare providers, and parents of children with autism.

Frankly, these voices need to be heard in our political discourse. Clearly, the Ford government disagrees, as evidenced by the fact that tonight I will be in the Legislature at midnight for the second reading of the bill to override our Charter rights. I will be working hard alongside my Ontario NDP colleagues to do everything in our power to prevent the passage of this bill.

They are pushing this bill through on the shortest possible timeline because they know that Ontarians will stand against these actions. They’re hoping to rush it through under the cover of darkness and are counting on the people of Ontario to forget all about this in a few months.

It is vital that our community remembers this day, and if you can I would encourage you to tune in to tonight’s proceedings, starting at midnight.

You can watch tonight’s proceedings live here.

Today, Ontario moved into Phase One of the reopening plan which includes:
 

  • Outdoor gatherings up to 10 people;
  • Outdoor dining up to 4 people per table;
  • Outdoor fitness classes, personal training and sports training up to 10 people;
  • Essential retail at 25 per cent capacity and can sell all goods (including discount and big box);
  • Non-essential retail at 15 per cent capacity;
  • Campsites, campgrounds and short-term rentals; and
  • Overnight camping at Ontario Parks.

 
Read the full details of the reopening plan here.

As we move into Phase One, I want to encourage our community to remain diligent, and follow all the best advice of our public health officials. We’re seeing our case numbers decline right now, so let’s redouble our efforts and keep driving those numbers down.

One key component of continuing to battle COVID-19 is vaccinations, and starting on Monday, June 14, vaccine eligibility criteria will be changing again. In seven regions where the Delta variant is spreading, starting Monday anyone who got a first shot of an mRNA vaccine on or before May 9 will be eligible for a second shot.

These seven regions are:

  • Toronto
  • Peel Region
  • York Region
  • Halton Region
  • Waterloo Region
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph
  • Porcupine

This means that any resident of Toronto-St. Paul’s who received their first shot on or before May 9 can book their next vaccination appointment starting Monday morning at 8AM.

You can book your vaccination here.

It’s also been announced that the City of Toronto is opening up an additional 60,000 vaccination appointments between June 14 and July 4, at City-run mass immunization sites. These appointments will become available on Monday June 14 at 8AM. This increase in capacity means that the City will be able to deliver 180,000 vaccinations over this three week period.

Read the full announcement here.

One point of frustration that I’ve heard from our community is that AstraZeneca continues to be delivered at a slower rate – despite calls from medical experts to speed up delivery. Yesterday, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath released a statement calling for these doses to be delivered at a shorter interval, and for more vaccines to be diverted to hotspot areas across Ontario.

It’s deeply frustrating and confusing as to why the government is refusing to shorten the 12-week waiting period currently in place for AstraZeneca recipients. Ontario is actually the only province in the country with a 12-week waiting period for AstraZeneca, and experts are saying that you will get very comparable protection with a second dose at an 8- or 10-week interval.

On a national level, it’s been announced today that the Federal government will be moving to ease some of the travel restrictions that have been in place for more than a year now. The first change that’s coming is that travellers who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine – as long as they provide a negative pre-departure test and take another test when they arrive. They will be expected to self-isolate until the second COVID-19 test comes back negative.

While we do not yet have a date for when this change will come into effect, the government says it hopes to make this adjustment by early July.

Have a great weekend!

In Solidarity,
 
Jill Andrew
Toronto—St. Paul's

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