It has been a difficult and often confusing few days. The frustration of residents is palpable, and my colleagues and I are working hard to bring this to the attention of the Government.
As you know, the Government made several announcements on Friday about new restrictions, some of which they later reversed over the weekend.
You can read their announcement of the stricter measures here: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/61192/ontario-strengthens-enforcement-of-stay-at-home-order
Unfortunately, they have not published a similar news release outlining exactly what was undone.
You have likely seen that most Police agencies in Ontario informed the government they would not violate individual Charter Rights and conduct random stops. But you also likely saw the footage of the border restrictions with Gatineau yesterday.
Moreover, the Government has also reversed their regulations about parks, but some outdoor activities, such as Golf, remain closed.
For clarity on park amenities please consult the City of Ottawa’s website here: https://ottawa.ca/en/recreation-and-parks/sports-fields-and-outdoor-recreation
What is absolutely clear is that there have been over 4,000 daily new cases in Ontario in 6 of the last 7 days. Yesterday, we learned that 71.4% of new COVID-19 cases in Ontario are one of the Variants of Concern. The third wave is serious and all have a role to play in levelling it out.
I would also encourage you to watch this interview from late last week: https://fb.watch/4Y8u6UTAhX/. It is a compelling interview with Ontario critical care physician Dr. Kali Barrett describes how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting vulnerable people and outlines some of the dramatic challenges facing hospitals in the province.
The vaccination program continues. I have included a message below from Dr. Vera Etches and Anthony Di Monte. They provide a detailed update on where we are in Ottawa.
You can see your eligibility and book a vaccination on the Governments website here: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/.
Book at a pharmacy if you’re 40 or over
Starting April 20, 2021, select pharmacies across the province are booking appointments for AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for eligible people ages 40 or older in 2021.
For a list of pharmacies click the link below. Please note that some of the Orléans pharmacies are listed under Gloucester, Ottawa and Orléans. https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations
Paid Sick Days
With virtual unanimity every public health experts has recommended paid sick days to the Government as one of the most effective ways to help stop the spread of the virus. Nobody should have to decide between paying the rent or putting food on the table OR going to work with symptoms or needing to take a COVID-19 test.
We first made this recommendation to the Government in March 2020 and it has since been recommended by leading public health experts, including the Governments own COVID-19 Science Table.
For over a year our caucus has been asking question after question to the government about paid sick days.
As a result of the lack of a provincial program, after two different provincial budgets, my colleague Michael Coteau has introduced a private members bill on this subject. It is scheduled to be debated on Thursday.My hope is that enough members of the Government will support the bill so that we can make paid sick leave a reality.