The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting just one case of COVID-19 today, which came from an agri-farm sector worker. Our region now has 2,357 cases of COVID-19 with 71 deaths and 2,064 cases resolved.
I spoke to AM800 yesterday about our region remaining in Stage 2 while the rest of the province has moved on to Stage 3. You can read the full article here.
There will be a candlelight vigil for Lebanon tonight to honour those who died and were injured in the massive explosion that killed at least 100 people and wounded thousands this week. The vigil is set to take place at 7pm at the Knights of Columbus Peace Monument at Riverside Dr and Ouellette Ave. Due to COVID-19, organizers are asking attendees to bring face masks and practice social distancing.
Our office continues to hear complaints regarding the long lines at Windsor Service Ontario offices. We acknowledge how frustrating the long waits can be and we continue to raise these issues of accessibility to the Deputy Minister's office. My colleague, MPP Lisa Gretzky, also discussed the issues with the delays, and you can read more about it here.
The unemployment rate in the Windsor area moved to 12.5 per cent in July after sitting at 15.2 per cent in June. Our caucus issued a statement today in response to the latest Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey for July, saying that while Ontario’s job market is slowly recovering, we are not seeing the full-time jobs being created that we need to mount a strong and inclusive economic recovery. You can read the full statement here.
Education experts are echoing what our caucus has been saying regarding the provincial government’s back to school plan; it’s not good enough. The Executive Director of People for Education today said that the province’s spending of $300-million towards the return to classes is nowhere close to enough and there needs to be more money spent with a focus on more teachers and support staff to ensure smaller class sizes so everyone can social distance. You can read that article here.
Allocating funding from the joint federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement, the provincial government announced $234.6 million for child care and early years facilities. Our caucus has called on the provincial government to pitch in and, at a minimum, match the federal funding dollar-for-dollar, to bring that funding up to a level that helps centres hire more Early Childhood Educators, get additional spaces in place and ensure cohorts are smaller and safer. At the last count, only about 40 per cent of child care centres were operational, and only at a reduced capacity. That means parents – especially women – won’t be able to go back to work.
I hope everyone has a good weekend, but please remember to continue practicing social distancing, wear a mask or face covering when out in public, and wash your hands often.