In the last few days, we have seen COVID-19 cases spike in Ontario, with a large concentration of those cases here in Toronto. As a result of this, I have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend our Community Food Tables for a minimum of two weeks. After two weeks we will be re-evaluating where we stand, and we will see if we can safely return to operating the tables.
This continued rise in new cases of COVID-19 has been coupled with unacceptably long wait times at testing centres across Ontario. In Ottawa, it was reported that one testing centre alone was operating with an eight-hour waiting time, and here in Toronto, multi-hour waiting times have also been reported. Frankly, no one should be faced with such a long wait time to get a test, and it is vital that as case numbers continue to climb that the testing capacity in Ontario is scaled to match demand.
Since COVID-19 first hit Ontario, we have struggled to deal with its consequences. Most of all, Ontario’s long-term care facilities were not properly prepared to deal with a pandemic, and over 1800 long term-care residents died across Ontario. For months now, the Ontario NDP has been calling for the Ford government to move forward with a full public inquiry into what went wrong in long-term care, so that we can get to the bottom of why the system failed. It’s also vital that we know which decisions, and decision makers led us to this point.
Instead, the Ford government has pushed forward with a secretive, long-term care commission that is currently operating behind closed doors – a fact we only learned this week. In this moment, what we need more than anything is transparency, so that we can shine light onto what went wrong, so that we can ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. It is also taking the opportunity away from families who want to participate in this process. Now is not the time to try and hide the failures of successive governments, it’s time to fix our long-term care system.
Finally today, I’m sending a quick message of support to the to the Tim Horton’s #SmileCookie campaign! This campaign supports the Pathways Health Centre for Children, a non-profit that provides services to over 2600 children and youth. It’s a fantastic campaign, and I’m glad I was able to stop in at four Tim Horton’s restaurants today to show my support. You can see photo’s from the trip here.
Special Message from Team Jill Andrew!
Nominations are going to be closing tonight for NOW Magazine’s Best MPP Award! We’re hoping to have Jill recognized for her work in our community - please nominate Jill at the link below!