TORONTO — Mike Schreiner made the following statement this morning regarding the rise in COVID-19 cases:
“We are days away from the holiday season. Hospitals are dealing with rising surge capacity, and daily cases are skyrocketing. We need urgent action to prevent more illness and deaths.
Today I sent Premier Ford a letter imploring him to act decisively and urgently to help Ontarians weather the worsening pandemic crisis.
In my letter I call on the Premier to immediately implement the following key measures:
- Increase support for small businesses with a direct support model of up to $15,000 per business in lockdown areas.
- Make the call now for an extended winter break for schools, so parents and educators can plan. And provide supports for parents who need to take time off or find child care options during that time. Use the extended break to improve ventilation in schools and to reduce class sizes to ensure safe physical distancing when students return to school.
- Institute paid sick leave. When the Ford government revoked paid sick days in 2018, it forced low-wage employees to choose between their health and their income. Given the current public health crisis, it is now more important than ever to restore paid sick leave so workers can keep themselves and their families safe, without having to choose between health or food.
- Hire more staff for long term care now and make the pandemic pay increase for PSWs permanent. Elders cannot wait four years to see increased staffing levels and higher standards of care.
- Reinstate the moratorium on residential evictions in hot spots and implement a rent support program for people who cannot afford rent due to the pandemic. Public health restrictions are putting our most vulnerable at risk of losing their housing. Evicting low-income workers and people on ODSP during a pandemic in the winter is simply not acceptable and will only put more stress on our health care system.
Doug Ford has said repeatedly that he will spare no expense. So I’m calling on him now to put action behind his words. Now is the time to work across party lines to save lives and livelihoods while reducing stress on our health care system.”