Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 

Hello Neighbour,

With Ontario in its third state of emergency and stay-at-home-orders in effect, my heart is with all of the people in London West who worry how their family will cope, and are already struggling with isolation and loss of income. I fear for all the workers who can't do their jobs from home and must go to work every day, with no idea when they will be vaccinated and without access to paid sick days. I am concerned about the many local small businesses that are barely holding on and are shuttering their doors once again, perhaps this time for good. I am angry and frustrated that in a city of more than 400,000 people, only two pharmacies have been designated by the province to administer vaccines.  

Across the province today, 4,227 new cases of COVID-19 were reported, just shy of the single-day record set in January. New cases continued to surge in Middlesex-London, with another 159 cases added to our record-high counts. There were 552 COVID patients in intensive care, the most ever in Ontario. Starting Monday, Ontario hospitals have been directed to "ramp down” all elective surgeries.

In the face of a crisis that has never been so grave, Premier Doug Ford said this morning that "Ontario is doing pretty well right now." 

There is no question that this is a crisis of the government's own making, after the Premier ignored the warnings of experts, failed to take the swift and decisive action necessary, and refused to invest to keep Ontarians safe. Just two weeks ago, the government released a budget that gave hospitals less than half of the funding needed to clear the surgical backlog that had piled up through the first and second waves. Now the Premier must urgently examine all options to get hospitals the staffing and resources they need, and put forward a plan to confront the escalating crisis – including implementing a robust on-site testing program in workplaces, paid time off to vaccinate, paid sick days, class size caps for our schools, faster vaccinations, and more. We also need financial support for the businesses and nonprofits that are making sacrifices to protect public health. 

We are reminded this week that some people among us are facing a much steeper climb back than others. April 7 was Equal Pay Day in Ontario, a day that symbolizes how far into the next year the average woman must work in order to earn what the average man earned the previous year. Of course we know that Indigenous, Black and racialized women, and women with disabilities must continuing working even longer to catch up, and that they have been the hardest hit by pandemic. There can be no recovery from the economic impact of COVID-19 without a deliberate and comprehensive she-covery. You can join me online in a discussion of this important topic at a UNACTO talk next week.

For some brightness amid the dark, please join me on April 28 to celebrate the contributions some outstanding women and girls have made to our own community at my 2021 London West Leading Women Leading Girls Awards!

We will get through this. Take care and stay safe,

 

Although my community office is closed to in-person meetings, we remain available to help with provincial programs and services by phone at 519-657-3120 or by email at [email protected]


In this newsletter:
 

COVID-19 Vaccine Booking System

If you are eligible, please book an appointment.
You must have an appointment to get a vaccine. If you arrive at a clinic without an appointment, you will be turned away.
Ontario has launched a provincial COVID-19 vaccine booking system. PLEASE NOTE: London and Middlesex County will continue to use its local booking system.
 

Around London


I am delighted to announce that I will be hosting the 2021 London West Leading Women Leading Girls Awards online on Wednesday, April 28 at 7pm. 

This energizing and uplifting event brings Londoners together to honour the contributions of women and girls who are making a difference for the people around them.

The awards recognize London women and girls who demonstrate exceptional leadership in working to improve the lives of others, and who have made substantial contributions through their work.

This year, the event is being held virtually and will feature musical performances by the talented Sarina Haggarty.

Join us to celebrate inspiring women and girls in London!

Register to Attend

This week, I joined my fellow London MPPs in hosting Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Education Critic Marit Stiles at a press conference about what is happening in London schools. We called for safety measures including urgent vaccination, smaller class sizes with proper distancing, better ventilation, and a real, broad voluntary asymptomatic testing program that families can access.

Later, the government announced that education workers who provide direct support to students with special education needs will be eligible for a vaccine, but other education workers will only be eligible in select hot spot areas—and London is not included. This is simply not enough to make Ontario's schools safe. Every education worker across the province must have access to a vaccine before the end of the spring break.


The Green London Tour is a month-long challenge to celebrate Earth Day in a new way with the London Environmental Network! They created an activity card filled with environmental actions to do individually or with your household at home, outdoors, or safely in the community - one for each week in April. They are challenging all Londoners to participate in these weekly action cards to raise awareness and demonstrate environmental stewardship in the city, and for the chance to win some awesome local prizes!

The next London and Area Works Job Fair will be hosted as an interactive virtual event on April 20 from 2pm to 6pm. Job seekers can attend for free to connect with hiring employers and free employment agencies.
 
 

At Queen's Park

There was never an “iron ring” protecting residents and staff in long-term care. Deaths could have been prevented but the Ford government did not want to spend the money. Every worker, resident, and family member deserves an apology from this government.

Just prior to the province heading into a provincial lockdown, I once again urged the Ford government to follow the advice of health experts, business leaders, workers, mayors and councils, boards of health and thousands of others, and implement paid sick days. How many more lockdowns will it take for PC MPPs to recognize the urgent need for paid sick days for Ontario workers?

COVID-19 has been devastating to Ontario employment, especially for women. To get out of the she-cession, Ontario needs a she-covery, including childcare, increasing wages in care economy jobs, and measures like permanent paid sick days. On April 15 at 7 pm, I will join the United Nations Association of Canada Toronto Region Branch online for an important talk about post-pandemic Labour Force Resiliency and Wellness, and the importance of decent work. Register on Eventbrite to attend.
 

COVID-19 Developments

 A state of emergency and provincewide stay-at-home order are in effect as of Thursday, April 8, at 12:01 a.m. and lasting for at least one month.
  • You must stay at home, except for essential trips such as to get groceries and other necessary supplies, to exercise outdoors, and to go to work and medical appointments. You can also make trips to deliver goods or provide support to an individual who requires assistance. You can read the full list of permitted trips here.
     
  • It is illegal to gather indoors with anyone you do not live with. Limit close contact to only members of your household, or if you live alone, you can have close contact with only one other household.

  • Outdoor gatherings are limited to 5 people. You must stay at least two metres apart from everyone else and wear a mask or face covering during permitted events or social gatherings.

  • Do not travel outside your region or the province unless absolutely necessary.

  • Businesses must ensure that all employees work from home if they can.

  • Evictions will not be enforced while the stay-at-home order is in place.

  • The majority of non-essential businesses must be closed, except for curbside pickup and delivery and with restrictions. Discount and big box stores will only be open for in-person shopping for groceries, household cleaning supplies, personal care items, pharmacy items and pet supplies.

  • The following stores may operate for in-person retail by appointment only, and subject to a 25 per cent capacity limit, between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. with the delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.:

    • Safety supply stores;
    • Businesses that primarily sell, rent or repair assistive devices, aids or supplies, mobility devices, aids or supplies or medical devices, aids or supplies;
    • Rental and leasing services including automobile, commercial and light industrial machinery and equipment rental;
    • Optical stores that sell prescription eyewear to the public;
    • Businesses that sell motor vehicles, boats and other watercraft;
    • Vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance and vehicle and equipment rental services; and
    • Retail stores operated by a telecommunications provider or service, which may only permit members of the public to enter the premises to purchase a cellphone or for repairs or technical support.
    • Outdoor garden centres and plant nurseries, and indoor greenhouses that engage in sales to the public.

On April 6, the government of Ontario announced that we are moving into Phase 2 of the vaccination strategy, and provided updated plans for Phase 2 vaccine distribution, which included new projected sequencing for vaccine eligibility. Many people can expect to become eligible earlier than previously expected, depending on vaccine supply:

  • Between April 12-18 only, during the spring break, elementary and secondary students, and children attending child care in schools, will have expanded access to asymptomatic testing through pharmacies that offer testing and assessment centres. To book an appointment at a pharmacy, visit the Covid-19 Testing Locations website, and select “pharmacy” as your location type, or book an appointment at a local assessment centre at covidtestinglm.ca.
     
  • The Ontario Science Table's most recent projections are available online, and show that positivity rates are increasing across the province and are now at their second-highest level since the pandemic began. The rise is driven by variants of concern, which the report also shows have more severe consequences and are more fatal than earlier variants. It also shows that COVID-19 patients admitted to ICU are trending younger, and that the pandemic-related surgical backlog in Ontario hospitals continues to grow.
     
  • Ontario hospitals have been directed to postpone all non-emergency surgeries as of Monday, April 12, due to mounting and extreme pressure on our critical care system.
     
  • The Government of Canada is extending the support of the Canadian Red Cross in select long-term care and retirement homes in Ontario. This support was originally scheduled to conclude in March 2021, but will now continue until September 30, 2021. 
 
The response to COVID-19 is evolving rapidly, so please refer to linked sources and the following websites for the most up-to-date information: 
Canada.ca/coronavirus 

You can also find a range of helpful resources on my website at peggysattler.ca/covid19resources.