QUEEN’S PARK — NDP Health critic MPP France Gélinas asked Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott why frontline health care and other essential workers are not able to get proper PPE for work.
In question period on Tuesday, Gélinas referred to accounts by health care workers of consistent shortfalls of critical PPE like masks and gowns - especially N95 masks, which the NDP believes workers have a right to, based on the precautionary principle.
"The premier insists appropriate PPE are available, so can he explain why frontline workers are telling us that they are struggling to access them? Why are so many workers getting infected, getting sick and dying?" Gélinas asked.
“In my constituency of Nickel Belt, I have been contacted by a chiropodist, occupational therapist, physiotherapists, nurses, family physicians and PSWs; all of them cannot access the PPE they need to be properly protected to do their jobs. Workers in long-term care homes from across Ontario are still struggling to access PPE that are either kept under lock and key, or not available at all."
In April, the Ontario Nurses’ Association brought four Ontario long-term care homes to court for allegedly restricting or denying nurses access to PPE in their facilities. The Ontario Medical Association urged the government to distribute PPE and critical supplies to community-based physicians and other health-care workers in medical clinics, long-term care facilities, primary care practices and other community-based organizations.