Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 

Hello Neighbour,

Tomorrow, September 30, is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day for Canadians to come together in grieving the more than 1,300 stolen Indigenous children who never made it home from Canada's residential school system.

Despite Indigenous leaders calling for a provincial day off to parallel the federal one, the government chose to ignore this request. My office will be closed tomorrow (reopening Friday) while my staff and I observe National Truth and Reconciliation Day by participating in local Indigenous-led events and activities to expand our learning about Indigenous issues. I encourage Londoners to participate in some of the local opportunities included in this newsletter, to reflect, learn, and plan concrete actions toward equity and justice for Indigenous people.

Until October 5, classes will be cancelled at London's Lord Elgin Public School after multiple COVID cases were reported. The school board made the decision to ensure the safety of children and staff, marking the first closure of an entire school in the London area this school year. The news comes as parents across the province scramble for access to rapid antigen tests, yet face roadblocks from the province in obtaining the kits they need. My colleagues and I will continue to push for smaller class sizes, better ventilation, mandatory vaccinations for all education workers, and adding the COVID vaccine to the list of mandatory immunizations for all eligible students, as well as equitable access to rapid testing in schools, starting with the communities most impacted by COVID-19. We need to ensure that schools stay open for the sake of our kids.

Queen's Park returns on October 4 and I will be there as the voice of London West. Please send me an email to let me know the issues that matter to you. The Legislature is resuming as Ontario hospitals continue to be overwhelmed, not only for the COVID-19 patients filling our ICUs, but the huge backlog of procedures delayed by COVID, a worsening crisis in mental health and addictions, and the massive shortage of critical care nurses. Children and youth, especially those who are vulnerable like kids with autism, have been hit hard by the pandemic, and our colleges and universities need support from the government to help young people recover from a horrible year—academically and emotionally. That is why I was so angry when I read the recent report of the Financial Accountability Officer detailing $2.6 billion underspending on health care, social services and colleges and universities in the midst of a pandemic.

Before I close, I want to extend my sincere congratulations to new London West Member of Parliament, Arielle Kayabaga. I look forward to working with her to represent the people we both serve, the residents of London West. The challenges we face demand that we work together to deliver more for people, especially on issues like climate, housing, child care and building a fairer economy.

Stay safe and take care,

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:
 

Safe Night Out

This week I announced the re-introduction of my Safe Night Out Act Private Members' Bill, which will protect patrons and staff from sexual violence and harassment at licensed establishments. I was proud to be joined on the Western University campus by Eunice Oladejo from Western USC, Hayden Van Neck from the team that organized Western’s sexual and gender-based violence student walkout, Ricardo Souza of the Fanshawe Student Union, and Dr. AnnaLise Trudell of Anova London, who spoke in support of my bill.

The Safe Night Out Act will

  • require training for all employees and contract staff at licensed premises, not just new hires, so they can recognize and respond effectively to sexual violence and harassment
  • require every licensed premises to have a policy for handling incidents of sexual violence and harassment, and to post a sign that staff are trained
  • eliminate minimum wage exemptions for liquor servers, 80% of whom are women, because servers deserve to earn a living wage for their role in keeping patrons safe, and they should never have to endure sexual harassment for fear of losing out on tips they need to survive

You can read coverage of the announcement in local media outlets:
NDP MPP plans new bill on preventing sexual violence, CTV London
Sattler: Smart Serve changes aren't enough, Ontario needs Safe Night Out Act, Blackburn News
MPP Peggy Sattler hasn't given up on tougher sexual-violence legislation, London Free Press
London MPP addressing alleged sexual assault, CTV London

 

Vaccine Certificate Details

Last week, provincial regulations were updated to require individuals to show proof of vaccination to enter some settings in Ontario. Unfortunately, the government has not communicated the details very clearly, and I have heard from many Londoners, including business owners, who are confused about the rules and requirements.

Settings that Require Proof of Vaccination

  • Indoor areas of restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments (with exceptions for ordering and picking up take-out or delivery)
  • Both the indoor and outdoor areas of food or drink establishments where dance facilities are provided, including nightclubs, restoclubs and other similar establishments
  • Outdoor areas of meeting and event spaces, sports and recreation facilities, concert venues, theatres and cinemas, and racing tracks that have a usual capacity of 20,000 or more persons
  • Indoor areas of meeting and event spaces, with very limited exceptions
  • Indoor areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities, including gyms, fitness/sporting/recreational facilities, pools, leagues, sporting events, waterparks, and indoor areas of facilities where spectators watch events, waterparks, with limited exemptions
  • Indoor areas of casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments.
  • Indoor areas of concert venues, theatres and cinemas.
  • Indoor areas of bathhouses, sex clubs and strip clubs.
  • Indoor areas of horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues.
  • Indoor areas of places where commercial film and television production takes place, where there is a studio audience.

With limited exceptions, you will need to be fully vaccinated to enter these settings, which for most people, means that you have received a complete course of vaccination, and it has been 14 days since your last dose.

Businesses and organizations can find more information about these requirements in the Ministry of Health's Guidance for Businesses and Organizations, as well as in its Questions and Answers document.

Proof of Vaccination

Until October 22, you will need to present a paper or digital version of your vaccination receipt and personal ID showing your full name and date of birth as proof. After October 22, individuals will be able to continue to use a paper or digital version of their vaccine receipt, or they can instead use a paper or digital version of an enhanced vaccine certificate with QR code that will be available from the province. Click here to get more information about showing proof of vaccination.

If you need a copy of your vaccination receipt and you provided a green photo health card when you received your vaccine, you can download your receipt at covid19.ontariohealth.ca. The London Public Library is offering free printing of COVID-19 Vaccination Receipts. Drop in to make use of this service at any branch except Glanworth. Visit lpl.ca/reopen for more information.

If you provided a red and white health card, call the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900 to request that an agent email you a copy of your receipt. If you were vaccinated outside of the province or you did not present a health card, please contact the health unit for help getting the proper documentation.

Please note that businesses and organizations are not permitted to retain the information provided by patrons as proof of vaccination, so they will need to see your documents each time you enter. Please be kind and patient with our local business owners who are doing their part to make our community safe!

Exemptions

The following people are exempted from showing proof of vaccination to enter these settings:

  • a patron entering the setting solely to do one of the following: use a washroom, make a retail purchase, place or pick up an order, pay for an order, purchase admission, or access an outdoor area than can only be accessed by going indoors
  • anyone under 12 years of age
  • youth under 18 who are entering a sports and recreation facility solely for the purpose of actively participating in an organized sport
  • individuals who provide a written document completed by a physician or nurse practitioner that sets out a documented medical reason for not being fully vaccinated and the effective time-period for that medical reason
  • in some cases, people attending weddings and funerals—click here for details
 

Vision Care at Risk

Every day I hear from London West residents who are suffering as a result of the September 1 withdrawal of optometry services. Parents tell me their children are unable to see the blackboard and are struggling in school, or coping with eye pain and headaches. Seniors are unable to drive and facing the loss of independence because they can’t get a new prescription, or worried about worsening eye disease.

As a result of the government’s inaction and failure to negotiate in good faith, parents and seniors are anxious, frustrated and angry. They feel abandoned and betrayed and have asked me how the government can turn its back on children and people over age 65. I have written several times to the Minister of Health, stressing the urgency of the situation and the need for immediate resolution. On September 23, I wrote yet again, urging the Minister in the strongest possible terms to get back to the table. Click here to read my letter.

 

Hospital Safety Zones

I have heard from Londoners who are worried about attending appointments at the hospital because of anti-public health protests. This is simply unacceptable—no one should be harassed while they seek care, visit a sick loved one or serve on the front lines at our hospitals.

I support the COVID-19 vaccine requirements being introduced for certain settings in Ontario. I know that they have consequences for those who choose not to get vaccinated, and that protests are likely to continue. We must keep everyone safe and ensure that these protests do not create barriers to accessing health care.

Andrea Horwath has proposed new legislation to create Safety Zones around hospitals to protect them from anti-public health harassment. We have asked the Premier to to pass the bill and protect Ontarians right away.

 

GO Train Coming to London

Londoners will soon have the option of taking a GO Train to St. Marys, Stratford, Kitchener, or Toronto. The service will begin on October 18 and will consist of weekday service including one trip leaving London in the early morning and one return trip in the evening. The trip from London to Toronto’s Union Station will take approximately four hours and will cost $30 each way. Between London and Kitchener will take approximately two hours and will cost $17.50. Londoners can sign up through Metrolinx for email updates about the service.

While I welcome expanded transit options for Londoners, I expressed some concerns to local media that this service does not effectively open up new opportunities for Londoners to use public transit to travel between cities. The four-hour commute is not a viable option for most people who need to get to work in Toronto, and the eight-hour travel time is certainly not ideal for a day trip.

What we really need—and have been calling for—is more frequent, fast, reliable, and affordable transit options. And we need stronger public transportation connections not just to Toronto and points along the way, but to all of Southwestern Ontario, including the smaller communities in our region. I will continue to fight for stronger transit for Londoners!

 

World Alzheimer's Day

On September 21, World Alzheimer's Day, it was privilege to join the Alzheimer Society of Ontario for a virtual cup of coffee with Michael Portelance, who shared his story of being the primary caregiver for 11 years to his wife with early onset Alzheimer's.

Input Opportunity: The Alzheimer Society of Ontario is looking for feedback regarding virtual service delivery from persons living with dementia and/or care partners of persons living with dementia. Click here to complete the survey before October 1.

 

Around London

Western University's Office of Indigenous Initiatives is hosting a number of events that are open to the public to recognize National Truth and Reconciliation Day:
  • a Haudenosaunee (Oneida) Thanksgiving Address will be broadcast at 9am on Western social media channels including the Indigenous Student Centre Instagram account
  • Professor Cody Groat will host a one-hour public lecture, "Understanding Residential Schools and Reconciliation" at 10am. Due to the personal nature of the session, it will not be recorded or available for viewing on-demand, so interested individuals must register to attend live. Click here for details.
  • Radio Western will broadcast a National Day of Truth and Reconciliation special hosted by Vanessa Ambtman-Smith and Sharon Giroux at 12pm. You can listen online or by tuning in to FM 94.9.
  • In honouring original teachings as Indigenous people and acknowledging the emotional labour attached to work within colonial spaces, the Office of Indigenous Initiatives will hold sacred fire to ensure that we take care of ourselves and our responsibilities to creation. Non-Indigenous allies are welcome to attend the fire as well from noon until dusk. The Chief Fire Keeper of the Eastern Doorway Midewiwin Lodge and Three Fires Confederacy, Virgil Tobias will be taking care of this space during this time.

Three walks will be happening in London, Ont., to honour the first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation this week. Two of the three are organized by N'Amerind Friendship Centre in London.

Registration has now closed for the Orange Shirt Day 5K, but there will be events leading up to the walk starting at 4:15 pm at Springbank Park in London.

The Nibi Walk Honouring the Survivors is approximately 32 kilometres, starting at the former site of the Mount Elgin Residential School and ending at the centre. It begins at 7 a.m. The public may join the honour walkers along the way for this daylong walk, described as an Indigenous, women-led path to healing.

You can find more information about them in this CBC London article.

The Turtle Island Healing Walk is hosting another step towards hope and reconciliation: an Indigenous Pop - Up Market and Indigenous Knowledge Share. The event will take place on September 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, between 6 and 9 PM on Dundas Place.
The Canadian Freshwater Alliance is hosting the Antler River Race in London this Saturday, October 2. Participants of all ages are invited to explore the Antler River ecosystem by completing fun, educational challenges. After registering, a list of family-friendly scavenger hunt challenges will be provided. The activities can be completed at any of your favourite parks along the river. With COVID-19 in mind, the event is self-directed, and outdoors, with no group congregations.
The public is invited to join the London team for Global Bird Rescue, a worldwide event that takes place from September 7 to October 3. You can help by contacting [email protected] to share reports of birds injured or killed by windows, or to volunteer to assist with monitoring buildings for injured birds.
The Mary J. Wright Child and Youth Development Clinic at Western is hosting a virtual opportunity for parents to learn about childhood anxiety and ideas to help their child cope with anxiety and stress. The FREE two-part series includes sessions on October 5 and October 12, both from 7 - 8:30 PM. Click here to register.
TechAlliance is seeking nomintations for the 2022 Limitless awards, which recognize individuals and businesses that overcome barriers, prove resilience, and work creatively within our local innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. Apply or nominate someone by October 18, 2021.
 

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: 

  • Walk-in or make an appointment at the MLHU mass vaccination clinics at Western Fair Agriplex or Caradoc Community Centre
    • 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 226-289-3560 to book, 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

The province has expanded third dose eligibility to align with the most recent National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommendations. The following individuals are now eligible for third doses, at least eight weeks after their second dose:
  • Those undergoing active treatment for solid tumors;
  • Those who are in receipt of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell;
  • Those with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome);
  • Stage 3 or advanced untreated HIV infection and those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; and
  • Those undergoing active treatment with the following categories of immunosuppressive therapies: anti-B cell therapies (monoclonal antibodies targeting CD19, CD20 and CD22), high-dose systemic corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, or tumor-necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors and other biologic agents that are significantly immunosuppressive.
  • The province has eased capacity limits in some settings where proof of vaccination is required to enter, as well as some outdoor settings. Meeting and event spaces, theatres and cinemas, racing venues may now operate at 50% of regular capacity, to a maximum of 10,000 people. Outdoor event venues may not operate at 75% of regular capacity, to a maximum of 15,000 people standing or 30,000 people sitting.
     
  • The Middlesex-London Health Unit has introduced two new Section 22 Class Orders that will come into effect at 12:01 noon on Thursday, September 23, 2021 and be applicable to everyone living in London and Middlesex:
     
    • A new Section 22 Order for Organized Public Events and Social Gatherings reiterates gathering limits specified in Reopening Ontario Act regulations, and clarifies that those limits apply with respect to an organized or informal public event or social gathering, whether it is held on a street or private dwelling, including houses, apartment buildings, condominium buildings and post-secondary student residences.Those limits are, with some exceptions, 25 people indoors or 100 people outdoors at any social gathering or organized public event.

      While these orders mirror provincial regulations, the Section 22 Order opens up new enforcement avenues and carries additional fines for violation.
       
    • A new Section 22 Order for Food and Drink Establishments requires that at food and/or drink establishments, food or drink only be consumed while seated at designated tables that are separated by a distance of at least two metres or by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.
       
  • Middlesex-London Health Unit reported the first cases of COVID-19 in area schools over the weekend. For information about COVID-19 cases and outbreaks associated with school settings, see the school and child care settings tab on the Health Unit’s Summary of COVID 19 in Middlesex-London dashboard which is located on www.healthunit.com/novel-coronavirus. Case counts for schools have been reset for the 2021-2022 school year, but previous school year stats are still available.
     
  • The Middlesex-London Health Unit and Southwestern Public Health released COVID-19 guidance for schools outlining additional COVID-19 preventive measures for school settings. The document includes recommendations on the following:
    • Face coverings
    • Recess and breaks outdoors
    • Staff meetings and staff rooms
    • Shared spaces
    • Cafeteria and lunch protocols
    • Assemblies
    • Singing
    • Wind instruments
    • Inter-School sports and activities
    • Extra-curricular activities
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 Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is developing a new policy statement on the discriminatory display of names, words and images, and wants to hear from the public about this quickly-evolving issue. The proposed content for this policy statement is available online. All Ontarians are invited to provide their input by completing an online survey or writing to [email protected] by October 22, 2021.
     
  • The Ontario Tourism Recovery Program will provide funding to help eligible tourism businesses prepare to reopen safely, develop adaptive and innovative tourism products, retain and create tourism jobs, and support tourism recovery in their region. Applications will open on October 13, 2021. Click here for more information.