February 23rd, 2021
February 23rd, 2021
QUEEN’S PARK — Each Public Health Unit is now being asked by the Ford government to develop their own vaccine strategy – leading to fresh concerns about the equity problems in Ontario’s pandemic response. Ontario’s Official Opposition New Democrats will seek all-party support Tuesday to pass a motion to create a provincial COVID-19 equity strategy to help.
“People need more help to get through the pandemic, and more hope that we can end this. Queen’s Park needs to do everything we can to avoid another lockdown, more spread and more closed businesses,” said Horwath. “An equity strategy can help us get resources to people and neighbourhoods disproportionately hurt by this pandemic, can help us tackle the virus where’s its spreading the most, and help make sure vaccines get to people most at risk.”
The motion from Faisal Hassan (York—South Weston) calls for the implementation of culturally-appropriate strategies that support marginalized communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, including measures to curb the spread of the virus and prioritization in the vaccine rollout.
"Neighbourhoods in York—South Weston, and many others like them around the province, are COVID-19 hot spots, where a disproportionate number of vulnerable people live, and a disproportionate number of people have gotten sick. We need a province-wide strategy to get help to the people and hot spots that need it,” said Hassan.
Horwath and the NDP have been proposing positive solutions daily in the legislature, including a bill to give workers paid sick days, a bill to ban COVID evictions, a bill to staff up long-term care homes to a standard of four hours of care per resident per day, a motion to give PSWs an immediate and permanent $4 per hour raise, a motion to make schools safer, and more.
The NDP will move for unanimous consent Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. to debate and vote on the motion to implement an Equity Strategy.
The text of the motion is:
That, in the opinion of this House, the Ford government should implement an equity-based COVID-19 response strategy for disproportionally impacted communities that includes community hub-based approaches to information and vaccine distribution; the use of culturally-appropriate and language-specific resources; ongoing consultation and regular, in-progress evaluation to help ensure effective engagement; and the implementation of paid sick-days, commercial and residential rent relief and eviction protection, a dedicated fund for small businesses facing historic and systemic barriers to access to capital and other interim measures to help manage pandemic response.