Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 

Hello Neighbour,

As August comes to a close, I hope you are finding time to enjoy the final days of summer.

This week, many families are stocking up on school supplies for the return to in-class learning, or dropping off first-year college and university students to start their next chapter. In my conversations with teachers, students and parents, many have shared their excitement about going back to the classroom. At the same time, they are worried about the troubling rise in Delta variant cases, and what will happen when students return to school.

As MPP for London West, I continue to call on the Ford government to do everything possible to ensure that schools can remain open and that students and education workers are protected from COVID-19. This means smaller class sizes, improved ventilation, COVID-19 immunization requirements for eligible students, vaccine mandates for education workers, and paid sick days for parents to care for sick kids at home. With Health Canada expected to approve COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12 by the end of 2021, the Ontario NDP is also urging the province to get to work now on a plan to meet the anticipated high demand, so we can get shots into arms as quickly as possible. We cannot afford to repeat the slow and chaotic roll-out we saw when vaccines were first approved for adults.

Vaccinations are a critical strategy in the fight against COVID-19 and today the Middlesex-London Health Unit marked an encouraging milestone, with over 75% of our region’s population aged 12 and older now double-vaxxed. However, with cooler weather keeping more of us indoors in the fall, the highly-contagious Delta variant poses even greater risk. That is why, despite the absence of provincial direction, more local organizations like London Health Sciences Centre are stepping up with strict vaccine mandates. And with Quebec and BC showing how vaccine certificates can increase vaccination rates, it is also why the Ford government must stop delaying any further on the implementation of proof-of-vaccination certificates.

But vaccines alone, without strong public health measures, will not keep us safe. Even those who are fully vaccinated must remember to keep masking when indoors, maintain physical distancing from people you don't live with, and avoid indoor gatherings. And if you are able, please get vaccinated. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns, and take advantage of one of the many pop-up clinics available.

As always, thank you for reading. Take care and stay safe.

 

My community office is available to help with provincial programs and services by phone at 519-657-3120 or by email at [email protected] In-person meetings can be arranged by appointment only. 


In this newsletter:
 

Eye Care Services at Risk

I have heard from thousands of Londoners who are deeply concerned about the loss of OHIP-covered eye care services as early as September 1. Ontarians need and deserve high-quality eye care, but decades of chronic government cuts have resulted in inadequate public funding that does not address the rising costs of delivering optometry services with the latest technology and best practices.

If patients lose access to routine vision care, we will undoubtedly see an increase in severe eye and vision complications, especially among those who have high-risk conditions that require regular monitoring of their eye health. It will also put more pressure on emergency and health care services, which are already stretched thin. The government must act now to save eye care.

I have presented petitions at Queen's Park and written to the Minister of Health urging her to negotiate in good faith with Ontario's optometrists to avoid disruption of vision care services. You can read my most recent letter here.

If you have any questions about the loss of OHIP-covered optometry services, please reach out to my community office.

 

Amateur Sports Leagues

In the past weeks, there has been an increase in the COVID-19 cases associated with amateur sports leagues, clubs and camps in London. I am grateful for the leadership of the Greater London Hockey Association for requiring immunization for all eligible coaches, volunteers, bench staff, and participants.

To ensure that sports remain as safe as possible this fall, the Middlesex-London Health Unit is strongly recommending that all amateur sport leagues or event operators adhere to the following enhanced public health guidance:

  • If all participants on a team or league are fully vaccinated, it is reasonable for cohorts to be larger and for inter-team play to continue. However, if any member of the group is unvaccinated, cohorting is essential.
  • Keep participant cohort groups as small as possible (maximum of 12-15 people per cohort).
  • Strongly consider reducing or stopping inter-team or inter-league play.
  • Minimize pre- and post-event activity gathering time; plan to arrive immediately before the activity and leave immediately following it.
  • Screen participants for symptoms before every practice or game.
  • Ensure masks are always worn whenever participants are not engaged in activities on the field of play.
  • Require that any participant who is eligible be vaccinated.
 

Around London

After a chilly drive-in event for London's first ever MuslimFest last fall, it was wonderful to gather with the community in person this year! On August 15, I joined Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and my London NDP colleagues Terence Kernaghan and Teresa Armstrong at the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario, where we enjoyed meeting with MuslimFest founder Tariq Syed, and chatting with vendors, volunteers and visitors!
It was a pleasure to join the Pakistani Canadian Association of London to celebrate the 74th Independence Day of Pakistan. London’s vibrant and generous Pakistani community has enriched the social, cultural and economic fabric of our city for decades, and we share their pride in the statehood of their nation. We also share their profound loss, as we remember with sadness the Salman-Afzaal family and commit to doing everything possible to end Islamophobia and hate.
I enjoyed a great discussion with OUSA president and Western University Students' Council VP Eunice Oladejo. We spoke about Ontario’s post-secondary education priorities, including gender based violence and the sexual violence campus survey, race-based data, and work-integrated learning for students with disabilities and international students. We also discussed London transit. I am looking forward to seeing Eunice and Western USC engaged at Queens Park this year!
I continued my #PatiosWithPeggy series through August, and enjoyed IvanoPoblano with Mojdeh Cox, the Old South Village Pub with Trevor Johnson, and Fatty Patty's Bar and Grill with Malvin Wright. There are so many fantastic restaurants in London West, and I wish I could visit them all!
I was filled with awe and admiration for the amazing London Olympian ambassadors who brought our city such joy and pride in Tokyo! It was an absolute honour to meet three-time medallist Maggie Mac Neil (shown with her mother, Dr. Susan McNair, who is my family doctor), the greatest athlete in the world Damian Warner (who trained at Farquharson arena with Montcalm and Oakridge teacher coaches), and Team Canada flag bearer Miranda Ayim (who has just moved to live in Byron in London West). So proud! 
Enjoyed celebrating with participants of the Fox Hollow Retirement Residence Backyard Summer Camp, along with Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, Raymong Cho, and Deputy Mayor Josh Morgan. Many thanks to the staff for making the day so memorable!
The London Environmental Network has launched a new Greener Homes London program, offering virtual one-on-one Home Checkup calls with Londoners to help you make your home climate-friendly. 
Greening Sacred Spaces London is hosting a celebration of the Fall Equinox in Victoria Park with Tracey Whiteye. The event will include storytelling, songs and prayers, a water ceremony and more.
ACFOLA is working with the School of Education at Western University to start an online tutoring and mentorship program to help grade 9 - 12 students with Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) subjects. ACFOLA may be able to provide devices to students without access to a computer. Please express interest in the program by emailing [email protected] with STEAM in the subject line.
The Libro Social Enterprise Incubator provides an opportunity to learn from Pillar Nonprofit Network Social Enterprise staff and other social entrepreneurs as you develop a sustainable model for your social enterprise. The incubator is open to entrepreneurs and staff members, and will run from September 30 to December 16. Applications are open now and due by Friday, September 3, 2021 at 11:59 PM. Click here for more information.
 

COVID-19 Developments

Everyone born in 2009 or earlier is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario, as well as for an accelerated second dose. It has never been easier to get vaccinated in London:

  • Walk-in or make an appointment at any MLHU mass vaccination clinic
    • Call the Boys & Girls Club transit services at 519-434-9119 (8am - 5:30pm, Monday to Friday) to book a ride if you have mobility issues and cannot get to a clinic yourself
    • You can also get vaccinated in your car at a mass clinic (call to book: 226-289-3560, 8am - 7:30pm, Monday - Friday)
  • Visit a community pop-up clinic in your area of the city
  • Make an appointment at a participating pharmacy
  • If you cannot leave your home, arrange a vaccination at home (call 519-663-5317, 8am - 7:30pm, Monday - Friday)

Third Doses

Third doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are available to those at highest risk, including transplant recipients, patients with hematological cancers on active treatment, people who receive an anti-CD20 agent, and residents of high-risk congregate settings. Click here to see more details regarding eligibility for a third dose.
 

Children’s Hospital COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic

This clinic offers vaccinations for youth with needle anxiety, general anxiety that may require extra support, behavioural needs that may require extra time, and sensory needs that may require low stimulation, limited people and a private room.

To book an appointment, visit www.covidvaccinelm.ca, enter Gate #2 (select “I attest that I am over 12 years of age or am turning 12 years old in 2021.”), then select The Children’s Hospital COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic. Parents, caregivers and other household family members of youth attending the clinic are welcome to be vaccinated at the same time.


  • The Middlesex-London Health Unit is reporting that in the past week, there has been a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, increased test percent positivity, two outbreaks at downtown London bars, and increasing transmission among participants in amateur sports leagues, clubs and camps. The risk of COVID-19 spread associated with the Delta variant is significant, and it remains important to continue following public health advice: avoid indoor gatherings, limit indoor contact with people who don’t live in your household, wear a mask, stay six feet from others, and most important of all, get vaccinated.
     
  • The province has extended its temporary wage increase for personal support workers and direct support workers until October 31, 2021. The wage enhancement unfortunately only applies to workers in certain settings. If you feel you have been unfairly excluded, or you have not yet received the wage enhancement despite being eligible, please reach out to my office.
     
  • In response to evolving data around the Delta variant and based on the recent experiences of other jurisdictions, the provincial government, in consultation with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, will continue to pause the exit from the Roadmap to Reopen. The Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts will continue to monitor the data to determine when it is safe to exit the Roadmap and lift the majority of public health and workplace safety measures currently in place.
     
  • MLHU is reminding Londoners that under provincial regulations, individuals must be screened for COVID-19 prior to entering a business or organization. Screening can be either passive or active, depending on the setting and the current level of the COVID-19 Response Framework. Please visit the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s website for more guidance for your business or workplace.
For the most up-to-date information, please refer to linked sources and the COVID-19 information provided at the Middlesex-London Health Unit website, COVID-19.Ontario.ca, London.ca/covid-19, Canada.ca/coronavirus. You can also find a range of helpful resources on my website at peggysattler.ca/covid19resources.
 

New & Noteworthy

  • The Virtual Model Parliament program for high school students with the Legislative Assembly of Ontario is designed for civic-minded Ontario students in grades 10 to 12, who are interested in current events and provincial issues. This unique experience brings students from across the province together online for a 10-week program from September to December. Students in grades 10 to 12 (in Ontario) can apply online before September 15, 2021. Click here to learn more on the Legislative Assembly website.
     
  • The Ontario Trillium Foundation's Community Building Fund - Capital Stream will begin accepting applications on September 1, 2021. The fund supports the repair, renovation or retrofitting of existing sport and recreation faciliites to address local community need or public health requirements identified through COVID-19. The application deadline is September 29 at 5pm. Click here to learn more.