Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 

Hello Neighbour,

Yesterday the Premier announced that hospital workers will not be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. An email I received from a London West constituent expresses the concerns that many of us share: "Really? I have to be double-vaccinated to eat inside a restaurant but healthcare workers get a walk? Wrong on so many levels." I completely agree. This is a disgraceful failure of leadership by the Ford government, especially after the October 22 announcement that vaccine certificates could be lifted as early as mid-January, signalling to the small minority of people who refuse to be vaccinated that they should just wait it out.

It is clear that the premier is catering to anti-vaxxers at the risk of our vulnerable loved ones - in ICUs, in pediatric wards with sick babies, in the homes of people like palliative care patient Diane Sims, and anywhere at all in our health care system. He is ignoring the advice of the Science Table, which stated clearly that the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks causing staff shortages is far worse than the planned shortages caused by removing the few remaining unvaccinated workers. And he is disregarding the concerns of the vast majority of health workers who have already rolled up their sleeves to get their shots, and may be worried about the safely of their workplace when they must work, eat and spend the day side-by-side with unvaccinated co-workers.

Londoners are grateful to our local hospitals and to organizations like Participation House, for implementing vaccine mandates for their workers. And of course, we are grateful to our friends, family and co-workers, 85.6% of whom are fully vaccinated (as of October 30), and 89.2% of whom have received one dose.

With Queen's Park back in session, I have continued to advocate for the people of London West on many issues, from presenting petitions urging immediate action to restore OHIP-funded eye care, to calling for help for Londoners to book their drive test. Please don't hesitate to contact my office if you have a problem or a concern related to the provincial government.

Finally, with Treaties Recognition Week being observed in Ontario from November 1 to 7, I hope you will take a few minutes to watch my colleague MPP Sol Mamakwa's video explaining the significance of this week.

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:
 

Fighting for Gig and Contract Workers

Did you know that thousands of Ontario workers are denied basic workplace rights—like a minimum wage, vacation pay, WSIB coverage and severance—because their employers incorrectly classify them as "independent contractors" rather than employees? This can happen in any sector, but is especially common among app-based gig workers, cleaners, construction workers, personal service workers, and many low-wage jobs.

Right now, the Employment Standards Act (ESA) is unclear and confusing about who is an employee. My new bill, the Preventing Worker Misclassification Act, will make it clear that these workers are employees. It will make Ontario the first province to legislate the gold standard ABC test for worker classification, which sets out a clear, easy to understand three-part test for determining whether someone is an employee and puts the onus on the person hiring to prove that a worker is not an employee.

The legislature will debate and vote on my bill in a couple of weeks. Add you name here to join the fight to end the exploitation of gig and contract workers.

You can read media coverage about my bill from the London Free PressGlobal News, and 106.9 The X.

JOIN THE FIGHT
 

Fall Economic Statement

The Ford government’s November 4 budget update slashes $500 million from education. It doesn’t permanently raise personal support worker (PSW) wages, it doesn’t end the government’s low-wage policy, and it doesn’t do anything to help local businesses hire, raise wages and expand. There’s nothing to help with the cost of housing and child care, or to lower the price of gas, auto insurance or hydro bills. Once again, the Premier proved today that he is not here for everyday families. The Official Opposition will never stop fighting for the investments Ontarians need today, including:

  • An end to the low-wage policy
  • Measures to rein in the high cost of living
  • A plan to urgently hire and retain tens of thousands of health care and long-term care workers
  • Funding to clear the massive backlog of surgeries to help people waiting in pain
  • Support for kids’ safety and recovery at school, both academically and emotionally
 
Make an appointment at my community office to have your vaccine certificate printed and/or laminated for free. Contact my office at PSattler-CO@ndp.on.ca or 519-657-3120.
 

Around London

Andrea Horwath visited London to propose a major, province-wide health care hiring and retention plan. London Health Sciences Centre alone is short 82 critical care nurses, leaving LHSC unable to operate all of its 700 critical care beds. Nurses are leaving their profession at double the rate that they were before the pandemic, and the people of Ontario need action.

We have proposed a solution that includes plans to train more health care workers, fund health care settings to have more staff on site to avoid burnout and provide the best care, ensure health care jobs are full time with fair wages, and scrap Ford's unfair wage cap that, given inflation, is effectively forcing a pay cut for health care workers each year.

I was pleased to attend Farm & Food Care Ontario’s annual Breakfast on the Farm at Western Fair District, which showcased the incredible bounty available right here in our own backyard. Thanks to local farmer Norm McNaughton for educating me on dairy farming.
It was an emotional and hopeful day commemorating the first-ever National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in London. Many thanks to Atlohsa and other local organizations for bringing Londoners together to honour residential school surivivors, mourn the children who never returned home, and celebrate Indigenous culture. It was a pleasure to catch up with my old friend Warren Huff, former Thames Valley District School Board Indigenous trustee, who is now a Chippewas of the Thames First Nation Councillor.
On Saturday, November 6, Londoners of all ages are encouraged to vote to turn their favourite Neighbourhood Decision Making ideas into real projects for their neighbourhood. This year, 230 ideas were submitted by residents, neighbourhood associations, student groups and Londoners looking to make their neighbourhoods even better. Of the ideas submitted, 86 have been turned into project proposals which will be included on Saturday’s ballots.

There are three ways to vote on Saturday, November 6:
  • online at getinvolved.london.ca/NDM at any time during the day
  • In person between 10 am and 4 pm at one these locations:
    • City Hall, 300 Dufferin Avenue
    • South London Community Centre, 1119 Jalna Boulevard
    • Stronach Arena, 1221 Sandford Street
    • Hamilton Road Seniors’ Centre, 525 Hamilton Road
    • Medway Arena & Community Centre, 119 Sherwood Forest Square
  • by calling 519-661-8410 between 10 am and 4 pm
The London Chamber of Commerce has launched an exciting shop local campaign to help Londoners rediscover the amazing small businesses that are the backbone of our community. The #MyLdnOnt campaign will run from October 2021 to January 2022, and features and ongoing contest called Like a Londoner, where you can win prizes by posting on social media about how you shop, dine, play and more in London! Find more details at londonchamber.com/myldnont, or on Instagram or Facebook.
 

Your Voice at Queen's Park

The government’s failure to implement across-the-board vaccine mandates for health care and education is hurting Londoners. Home care patients like Diane Sims are forced to choose between refusing the care they need or letting unvaccinated workers into their homes. And London-area student athletes were not able to compete at WOSSAA or OFSAA because of Ontario's patchwork of school board vaccine requirements. The government should listen to experts, patients, parents, school boards and workers, and implement Ontario-wide vaccine mandates!
I am appalled that it is now two months since children, seniors and other vulnerable Ontarians have had access to eye care, and MPPs are still presenting petitions calling on the government to get back to the table to negotiate a fair deal with optometrists.
Nurses working through a provincewide shortage of health care workers are feeling burned out and underappreciated. I shared the story of one local nurse who says there is no incentive for anyone to stay in the profession, but they are doing their best to keep showing up because they know their communities need them. Nurses deserve our support in return. I voted in favour of a motion to repeal Bill 124 and launch a massive hiring and retention plan, but the vote failed. We will keep fighting for nurses and a stronger health care system for all Ontarians.

The lack of oversight and accountability for privatized home care has failed patients like Caspar. He deserves an explanation and an apology from the Minister for the abysmal treatment he received, and all Ontarians deserve a home care system that will be there when they need it. It’s time to end privatized home care and start putting patients first.

Many thanks to the amazing families who gathered at Queen's Park to advocate for everyone living with diabetes to have affordable access to the continuous glucose monitoring devices that will best help them manage their condition. Supporting people with diabetes and their caregivers to live a more normal life not only benefits them, but also helps our healthcare system and our economy.
  • The legislature recently voted on a motion to stop giving new or renewed licences to the for-profit long-term care corporations that devastated seniors during the pandemic. Sadly, the vote failed.
     
  • My colleague MPP Terence Kernaghan introduced a new bill to stabilize rents and crack down on renovictions, a phenomenon that has pushed so many people from their homes here in London.
     
  • The government has announced that they will at last allow Ontario's minimum wage to reach $15 this January, and Ontario will finally join every other province in getting rid of a lower minimum wage for liquor servers. By cancelling the planned $15 minimum wage three years ago, the government has taken more than $5,300 out of the pockets of Ontario workers to date. While any increase is welcome, new data from the Ontario Living Wage Network shows that $15 is no longer adequate to support a family in Ontario, including in London, where the living wage is $16.55.
 

Flu Shots Available

The 2021-2022 flu shot is available now for everyone. Flu shots are free, and most people can get a flu shot at a participating pharmacy, except children 6 months to 2 years old, who can get a shot from a doctor or nurse practitioner.

You do not need a health card to get a flu shot, but not all pharmacies will provide the shot without one. If you do not have a health card, you should call ahead to your pharmacy to check.

For the 2021/2022 season, if you're 65 and older, there are three different flu shots available:

  • The standard-dose vaccine protects against four strains of flu virus
  • The adjuvanted vaccine protects against three strains of flu virus and contains an adjuvant (a substance added to a vaccine that helps the recipient develop an improved immune response).
  • The high-dose vaccine, (also called "Fluzone® HighDose Quadrivalent") protects against four strains of flu virus, but in higher doses.

All three flu vaccines are safe, effective and offer strong protection to seniors. Talk to your doctor, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or public health unit about which option is best for you.

Visit ontario.ca/flu for more information about protecting yourself and others from the flu.

 

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

Eligibility for third doses, or "booster" doses, of the COVID-19 vaccine has recently been expanded to include the following vulnerable populations if at least six months have passed since their last dose:
  • Individuals aged 65+ who live in naturally occurring retirement communities (click here to see a list of eligibility London communities) - NOTE: these individuals can book a third dose five months after their second dose
  • Individuals aged 70 and over (born in 1951 or earlier)
  • Health care workers and designated essential caregivers in congregate settings (including long-term care home and retirement home staff and designated caregivers)
  • Individuals who received a complete series of a viral vector vaccine (two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine or one dose of the Janssen vaccine)
  • First Nation, Inuit and Métis adults and their non-Indigenous household members
Click here to see a full list of those eligible for a third dose.
  • The federal government has confirmed that Ontario's enhanced vaccine certificate can be used as proof of vaccination for inter-provincial and international travel. As of November 8, Canadians with mixed vaccination will be considered fully vaccinated for the purpose of travelling to the United States.
     
  • At the direction of the Middlesex-London Health Unit, proof of vaccination is required for anyone over the age of 12 who enters an indoor area of sports or recreational fitness facility to participate in, coach, officiate, or watch, organized sport.
     
  • The government has outlined key dates when remaining public health restrictions may be lifted, but did not provide details about what specific criteria would need to be met to either lift or restore public health measures.
     
  • With the COVID-19 vaccine expected to soon be available for individuals 5 to 11 years old, SickKids is providing a COVID-19 Vaccine Consult Service, a by-appointment, toll-free phone service that provides a safe, judgement-free space to have an open conversation about the COVID-19 vaccine for children and youth. Consultations are provided by a team of pediatric Registered Nurses and are available in multiple languages, using over-the-phone language interpretation.
     
  • Beginning November 15, 2021, all in-home long-term care staff, support workers, students and volunteers will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, unless the individual has a valid medical exemption. Newly hired staff will be required to be fully vaccinated before they begin working in a home, unless they have a valid medical exemption. Homes will begin conducting random testing to help detect possible breakthrough cases of COVID-19 as early as possible.
     
  • The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has launched a new mobile app to help make workplace health and safety resources on COVID-19 more accessible to workers in Canada and to help prevent further virus spread. The app allows the user to search, share and/or save items from a variety of tip sheets, infographics, videos, and guidance documents.
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.