While COVID-19 cases were down today, the trends still show increasing cases across Ontario, and it now appears that we are in the midst of a second wave of COVID-19.
I know that for many people in our community (and myself included), it feels like we’ve been battling COVID-19 for an eternity, and we all have the desire to see the end of this pandemic. But what we must recognize is that the path forward now is to ensure that we are all doubling down on the precautions that we have all been taking for months. It’s absolutely vital that we do not fall into the trap of comfort in this moment, allowing ourselves to disengage from our role in flattening the curve of COVID-19.
That means minimizing the trips you’re taking, washing your hands frequently, and ensuring that you are wearing a mask while you’re out in public. It also means making an effort to adhere to the social bubbles of 10. Just like where we were in back in March of this year, it’s vital that we don’t panic right now, but rather, take measured steps in our own lives to do what we can to once again to slow the spread of COVID-19.
One of the challenges that continues to be raised in the battle with COVID-19 is that the Ford government has not shown the necessary commitment to a safe reopening of schools across Ontario. And while the underfunding of the reopening plan is receiving a great deal of attention right now, there are many long standing issues with how the education system has been managed in Ontario that has led us to this very difficult position, especially for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).
For many years, the TBSB has not been able to collect Education Development Charges (EDCs) from developers who have been cashing in on the development boom in our city. EDCs are charged to developers to offset the impacts of development on the education system. In the rest of Ontario, school boards have been able to collect EDCs, but the TDSB has not been able to, despite the NDPs best efforts to convince successive Liberal and Conservative governments to allow it.
Now, during the pandemic, the need is greater than ever for our schools to have the extra cashflow to allow them to ensure that our classrooms are as safe as possible for students, teachers, and other workers. The time to make this happen is now, and I can tell you that the Ontario NDP will be forcing a vote on this issue. Let’s hope that the Conservative government sees reason, and votes along with us to support this important revenue tool for schools in our City.