FIGHTING FOR YOU IN THE LEGISLATURE
This weekend, we face the government calling back the Legislature just days after it recessed for one single purpose - to silence critics of their government. Just days after an Ontario Superior Court of Justice struck down major parts of the Government’s changes to the Election Finances Act – saying the Government’s attempt to stop independent groups and people from expressing their views through ads is unconstitutional as violating Canadians’ Charter right to freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, the Premier announced his government will take the unprecedented step of using a constitutional override clause (the Notwithstanding clause) to allow them to override the court’s decision, and the constitutional rights of Ontarians with the purpose of muzzling criticism in the lead up to the election. Other provinces have limits on activities like third-party advertising that are reasonable and do not violate the constitution, and the Premier has made no attempt to balance the rights of groups to express their critical opinions leading up to the next election.
Throughout this last legislative session, the Premier used his caucus majority to ignore the people of Ontario and the public health experts. We should be using this time in the Legislature to help Ontario families and making sure that this third wave is our last. It’s clear that the Premier and his Cabinet have the wrong priorities. We need a plan in place to make schools safe and to help struggling students. We need to ensure that seniors in long-term care have a proper quality of life. We need to help small businesses recover from the longest shutdowns in Canada.
Our caucus is calling on the Government to debate issues that are actually priorities for Ontarians, including the need for 14 paid sick days, staffing up to offer a minimum of four hours of hands on care to every long-term care resident, a safe schools plan, a strategy to accelerate second doses, supports to help businesses and workers make it to their reopening day — and stay open, and investment to address the surgery backlogs. The government has the power to agree to debate these priorities through unanimous consent, or shut it down to plow ahead with their constitutional override. As members of the Official Opposition caucus, we will remain focused on doing everything we can to put people’s real priorities first, and oppose the government’s attempt to silence everyday people.
SECOND DOSES OF ASTRAZENECA
As it stands, Ontarians who received the first dose of AstraZeneca have to wait at least 12 weeks before they can receive their second dose, whether the second dose is another AstraZeneca dose or a Moderna/Pfizer dose. Experts have suggested that this interval should be shortened so that more people can get their second dose faster. Folks who did the right thing and got their first AstraZeneca shot are anxious to receive their second — the government shouldn’t be leaving them behind when the experts say there’s a better way. We are calling on the provincial government to consider expert advice to bump up AstraZeneca second doses, in order to stop the spread of variants and try to avoid another wave.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 7 new cases of COVID-19 today, along with the loss of a community member, with 2 of the cases coming from close contact with a confirmed case, 3 cases being community acquired, and 2 cases are under investigation. Currently, there are 132 active cases of COVID-19 in the community with 65 of these cases coming from variants of concern. There are 15 people from Windsor-Essex in the hospital with 12 cases being in acute care and 3 being in the ICU. There are now 16,130 total resolved cases of COVID-19 in the region. In Ontario, 590 new cases of COVID-19 were reported, compared to 411 cases yesterday and 469 cases on Wednesday.
SENIORS COMMUNITY GRANT
Starting Friday, June 11, 2021, non-profit organizations, municipalities, and community groups can apply for the latest round of funding for the Ontario Seniors Community Grant Program. Recipients can receive $1,000 to $25,000 towards initiatives that support seniors as we continue through the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants can apply through Transfer Payment Ontario (formerly Grants Ontario) online at Ontario.ca/GetFunding. The deadline for all applications is July 15, 2021 at 5PM.
GRADUATION CEREMONIES FOR THE WINDSOR-ESSEX CATHOLIC DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD
The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board made the decision that it will not host in-person graduation ceremonies this year for Grade 8 and Grade 12 students and they will proceed with virtual ceremonies. Regrettably, while the Premier announced last week that graduation ceremonies could be held outdoors, this did not leave enough time for teachers and administrators to plan safe outdoor ceremonies.
Please continue to stay safe by washing your hands, wearing a mask when you’re out in public, and practice physical distancing of 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.