QUEEN’S PARK — After Doug Ford relaxed public health protections in recent weeks, additional lockdown measures now seem inevitable. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on Doug Ford to include specific measures to make sure people and small businesses make it through.
Horwath is calling for:
- Immediate direct concrete financial support to compensate small businesses and help with costs like rent and payroll
- Paid sick days for every Ontarian
- An immediate and urgent recruitment plan to hire at least 10,000 PSWs, with a permanent $5 per hour raise
“Mr. Ford refused to ramp up testing capacity and tracing this summer, and not only nixed public health restrictions as cases were spiking, but claimed this reckless plan was backed by experts who actually opposed it,” said Horwath.
“Now we are in a position where we need much stronger public health measures in hot zones; but it would be wrong for Mr. Ford to tell businesses and working folks that they’re just on their own. For small businesses and the people who work there who have little to no income coming in, Mr. Ford needs to help.”
The government is sitting on $9.3 billion in unallocated pandemic support money, more than $7 billion of which came from the federal government, according to the province’s Financial Accountability Officer. At the same time, the pandemic is worsening every day in hot zones like Brampton and Scarborough, where Ford’s chronic under-investment in local hospitals and public health, and his continued failure to invest in enough testing and contact tracing have left communities reeling.
“Ontarians deserve so much better than to be left to make it to the other side of this pandemic with no help,” added Horwath.
“If I were premier today, I’d be providing direct, concrete financial help to small businesses, workers would have paid sick days so no essential worker has to go to work sick, and we would have launched an aggressive recruitment strategy to staff up long-term care homes with thousands of PSWs and infection control experts this summer, which would still be underway.”