The Province has deployed an emergency management team to Kingsville and Leamington to help coordinate care, accommodation, and food for the workers who have tested positive for COVID-19. This comes as Windsor-Essex reports seven new confirmed cases, with one being from the agri-farm sector, two from community spread, and four which are under investigation. The total number of confirmed cases is now 1, 621. We continue to call on the Government to implement a concrete plan that will support migrant workers and businesses and help Kingsville and Leamington move into Phase 2.
In yesterday’s press conference, the Premier said that migrant workers in the agricultural sector had on the job protections and added “you will get paid” if found to have COVID-19 and need time away from work. This is not true. Under the rules that the Premier laid out, workers who are diagnosed with COVID must keep working to earn a paycheck. I have raised the issue of a lack of wage subsidies for migrant workers in the Legislature, and you can find my question and members statement regarding the matter at this link: http://hansardindex.ontla.on.ca/hansardeissue/42-1/l167.htm.
Our caucus held a successful summit on long-term care last night about how we can move forward to improve the system and put the safety and dignity of our loved ones first. We continue to hear from constituents that they are seeking major, systemic changes. We have been sounding the alarm bells for years about long-term care homes being understaffed and front-line workers, like personal support workers, being underpaid. These issues could be fixed today with swift action from the Government to make life better and safer for seniors right now. We have continuously tried to pass legislation that would implement a minimum standard of care of four hours per day, per resident. We have long called for a find and fix inquiry into the long-term care system so that we can overhaul Ontario's long-term care sector, which is desperately needed. We will continue to advocate for a long-term care system that is community-based, public and not-for-profit.
Our party has also called on the provincial government to find a solution with the federal government that will provide emergency operating relief funding for municipalities. Without emergency operating funding, taxpayers will be looking at deep service cuts and property tax hikes. The provincial government must act quickly to prevent widespread financial ruin in Ontario’s municipalities.
The Ontario Government has launched a free online health and safety training program through Employment Ontario for up to 100,000 workers. The program offers 10 courses, and the topics include ladder safety; slip, trips, and fall prevention; workplace violence prevention; and infection control. If you are a job seeker and you’re interested in this training, contact Employment Ontario: https://www.ontario.ca/page/employment-ontario.
I hope that everyone enjoys their weekend. Please continue to wear a mask in public, wash your hands often, and practice physical distancing. Stay safe and cool!