Taras Natyshak MPP, Essex

Government of Ontario

COVID-19 Bulletin - April 21: Save Main Street, Protecting Health Care Workers, Community Organizations

Published on April 21, 2020

Dear Friends,

As early signs are showing that our social distancing practices are working, it is more important than ever that we continue our efforts.  The flattening of the curve is a result of your efforts.  Our community has come together and has proven that we are stronger together, than individually.  I continue to be inspired and honoured to call Essex County my home seeing the efforts of our community. 

I cannot express enough how thankful I am for our front line health care and essential service workers whom risk their health everyday to make sure we protect our most vulnerable members. Thank you!! 

There were some new developments today that are worth highlighting. Trudeau announced a new fund for community organizations community organizations, and said businesses can start applying for the federal wage subsidy. Companies that wish to apply can use the new CRA calculator to see what they qualify for. In speaking with local businesses, many small and medium-sized businesses floundering, and the federal funds will not meet their needs for support. 

As the Official Opposition of Ontario, the ONDP has called on Doug Ford to step up along side other provinces to provide additional supports, including rent subsidies.

Federal officials have left up to each individual province to ramp up its COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.  Testing and contact tracing will be a key factor in determining when we can reopen the economy.  Lagging behind in testing may save the Province a few dollars today, however delaying testing/tracing infrastructure will only delay opening of our local economy. 

Despite being "Open for Business", Ontario continues to lag when it comes to testing impacting our ability to reopen the economy. 

We are continuing to see more outbreaks in Hospitals and Long Term Care Homes.  An additional 101 health care workers have contracted COVID-19 — including 27 nursing home workers — bringing the total of confirmed health care worker cases to 1,368 in Ontario. The ONDP has been pushing the Ford government to take long-overdue action to better protect workers and residents in long-term care. 

We have to ensure our front line health care workers are protected.  This means providing the correct and sufficient supply of PPE; and to ensure health care workers with COVID-19 are not returned to work after only 72 hours being symptom free. 

At the same time as Ontario is launching a fund to help community organizations deliver food and other essentials to low-income seniors, the province is clawing back money from social assistance recipients.  We cannot rob Peter to pay Paul when it comes to providing support to the most vulnerable members of our community.

The ONDP is calling for the Ontario government to implement solutions for our concerns:

  • The NDP's Poverty and Homelessness critic joined forces with a physician who has worked for decades with people experiencing homelessness, stressing that if the government doesn't immediately increase testing and provide safe places for people experiencing homelessness to isolate, shelters will become the next epicentre of the pandemic
  • The NDP is asking the Ford government to immediately ramp up protective measures in correctional facilities--including more testing and making sure everyone has the PPE they need--to prevent further crises like the one facing Brampton's Ontario Correctional Institute, where at least 60 inmates and eight workers have tested positive for COVID-19.

"Health experts and frontline workers have been clear about what must be done," said NDP Community Safety critic Kevin Yarde,"and the NDP’s letters pleading for action have been ignored. It's beyond time for the government to act on these clear and critical recommendations.

My team and I are hearing the following from the community:

  • People continue raising concerns about the state of long-term care and seniors homes before COVID-19 — a problem the NDP has been raising for years. 
  • Ongoing concerns about small businesses that are failing, with some facing eviction — through no fault of their own — because there is no provincial support in place for expenses like commercial rent.

Email me to let me know how you’re doing, what you’re concerned about at [email protected]

Stay safe,