Today, Ontario has reported 326 new cases of COVID-19, with 39 of those cases in Toronto. Our vaccination rates continue to climb, and now about 88% of eligible Ontarians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 84% are fully vaccinated.
Vaccines are our best tool against COVID-19, so if you haven’t yet gotten your vaccine, you can book your appointment here. Approved COVID-19 vaccines are both safe and effective.
As I shared in my Friday Community News Update, starting today COVID-19 restrictions have been loosened in a host of spaces across our province, with capacity limits removed in many venues where proof of vaccination is mandatory, including restaurants, bars, and gyms. Further, there are a host of other businesses, including barbershops and salons, where capacity limits will be lifted if they choose to require proof of vaccination.
This morning the Legislature returned for another week of sitting, and to kick things off this week the Ontario NDP has introduced legislation to protect gig and contract workers in Ontario, who are all too often treated unfairly. This legislation has been introduced by my friend and colleague, MPP Peggy Sattler, and would prevent employers from misclassifying employees as independent contractors when they are not – a practice we’ve seen explode in recent years with Uber, Lyft, delivery drivers, home health care workers and more.
This Bill would put the onus on employers to demonstrate that workers are not employees, and they would have to pass the ‘ABC Test’, which is a three-part analysis to test if they are employees, or not.
The three questions of the ABC Test:
Part A: Is the worker free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact?
Part B: Does the worker perform work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business?
Part C: Is the worker customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity?
This legislation is desperately needed in Ontario, where many companies have a significant number of contractors, who are without many of the legal protections afforded to legally classified employees, including sick days, vacation time, and more. As we’ve seen this tactic expand, especially in the gig economy – it’s vital that we make these changes now to address this growing issue in our province.
I’m proud to stand in support of this legislation.
This Saturday, I gathered with volunteers for my Education Day of Action in our community. As always, canvassing door-to-door in our community was an invigorating experience, and the message I got at the door was loud and clear – we need to be investing in our education system right now – not cutting. It’s been an incredibly difficult stretch for students in our province, and it’s shocking that the Ford government has chosen this moment to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the education budget in Ontario.
We need to press forward on education in Ontario. That means we need to shrink our class-sizes, fund the desperately needed repairs, eliminate the costly EQAO tests, and put a freeze on school closings in Ontario.
Along with the entire Ontario NDP Caucus, I’m committed to delivering Ontario the education system we deserve.
Finally today, I must end on a sombre note.
I recently learned that our community has lost a great champion for justice, and a kind soul, with the passing of Judy Berger. I got to know Judy through the Community Food Table program where she was an active volunteer at the St. Matthew’s location – but her work spanned many causes and many decades. Judy was such a positive spirit and her commitment and love for our community was felt by many of us. I felt it personally.
I extend my sincerest condolences to her beloved family and friends. May she rest in peace.
Judy is pictured above, sitting down in a blue shirt, second from the right.