Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 

Hello Neighbour,

This week’s biggest update is the announcement by the provincial government that more COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted. Here’s what was announced Wednesday by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health: 

    • Starting March 14, mandatory vaccination policies will end for hospitals, child-care spaces, long-term care, and schools. 
       
    • On March 21, Ontario will lift mandatory mask requirements for most settings, including schools. Masking mandates will still be in place for public transit, long-term care, retirement homes and other health-care settings, shelters, jails and congregate living settings. On this date, other measures will also be lifted in schools, including cohorting and daily on-site screening. For businesses, all regulatory requirements will be removed, including passive screening and safety plans. 

  • On April 27, all remaining measures, directives and orders will end – including masking requirements in all remaining settings, any remaining emergency orders under the Reopening Ontario Act and remaining directives from the Chief Medical Officer of Health. 
     
  • Immediate changes to guidance on isolation for those who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19. More on that below. 

We are all eager to get to a place where public health protections are no longer necessary, but there has not been a consensus among experts about the timeline for masking requirements to be lifted. I am calling for masking requirements in schools to remain in place for just a few more weeks, and for the government to take a closer look at the data. This is in keeping with advice from Dr. Peter Juni, the head of the COVID-19 Science Table, and the Children’s Health Coalition, representing children’s hospitals across the province. After the longest closures of any jurisdiction and repeated disruptions to student learning, we need to make sure that schools can stay safely open.

Here in London, people have done their part – from distancing, to masking and getting vaccinated – which has helped us get to a better place. While we need to protect the progress we’ve made, we can also feel hopeful for better days ahead. In the meantime, we are going to be called on once again to look out for one another, as fewer public health measures mean more risk for the most vulnerable among us. Thanks to everyone for leading with kindness as we enter this new phase.  

Please read on for much more, and have a great weekend. 

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:
 

I am thrilled to bring my Leading Women, Leading Girls celebration back in person this Thursday April 21, 2022 at the Byron Legion!

These awards were established to recognize the incredible leadership and accomplishments of women and girls in our community. If you know an eligible Londoner doing exceptional work, please submit a nomination by April 4, 2022.

Check out my website to learn more about the event and how to make a nomination.

Submit a Nomination
 

Around London

On February 27, 2022, I joined the London community to express solidarity with the Ukrainian people and condemn Putin's violent and unprovoked actions. My heart goes out to the Ukrainian members of our community, and to Ukrainians around the world. As Russia’s illegal war on Ukraine continues, the government of Ontario has provided $300,000 in humanitarian aid through the Canada-Ukraine Foundation. I am calling for this to be increased to $3 million to meet the scale of the need, and for individual donations to be matched. Federally, the Canadian government is matching donations up to $30 million through the Canadian Red Cross and announced prioritized immigration applications for Ukrainians fleeing the besieged country. For those with family or friends in Ukraine, information on accessing assistance can be found here. Locally, you can also connect with the London Ukrainian Centre. Slava Ukraini.
 

The London Indigenous Teaching & Sharing Circles is hosting a series of free workshops in the upcoming weeks to educate participants on Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. The workshops were created in collaboration with the Huron Heights Community Association and the London Community Foundation. Click here to learn more and register.
 

The City of London recently released the draft Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP). This document outlines new targets, resiliency measures and how to engage all Londoners in taking action. City Council wants to hear from you about your opinions for this plan! On March 14 at 7pm join other Londoners to discuss what works in the draft CEAP, what’s missing and how to implement the work plans locally. Click here for more information and to register!

 

Join Londoners for the first ever EarthFest in London, happening on Earth Day (April 22nd) at Victoria Park! This event will include speakers, live music, booths and activities, a climate march, and more. Volunteers are needed who are passionate about climate action and community engagement to make EarthFest a success! To view the list of volunteer opportunities and sign up, click here.

 

This year, I will be hosting my London West Community Recognition Awards virtually on Wednesday, March 23, 2022.The awards celebrate the passion and commitment of London West volunteers who work tirelessly to make our community a better place. Click here to read about the 70 inspiring volunteers who have received a Community Recognition Award since 2017!

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create challenges for our community, I am proud of the efforts of the brave and compassionate volunteers who have stepped up over these last two years to support their fellow Londoners. They have nurtured the flame that COVID-19 threatened to blow out. The Community Recognition Awards are an opportunity to show our appreciation for their commitment and service.

I hope you will join me for a virtual celebration of some amazing Londoners!

Click Here to RSVP
 

In the Media

 

Your Voice at Queen's Park

As Official Opposition House Leader and a co-sponsor of Our London Family Act, I have been working with the government to ensure that this crucial legislation is passed into law before the election is called. Please add your name in support of this bill, developed in partnership with London Muslim community leaders and the National Council of Canadian Muslims by collecting signatures on my petition at peggysattler.ca/ourlondonfamilyact. Completed petitions can be mailed or dropped off at my office for presentation in the Ontario Legislature. We need to move beyond words to action to end Islamophobia, white supremacy and hate. 
 
This week, my colleagues and I forced a vote in the Ontario Legislature on a plan to fix Ontario's broken home care system so seniors and people with disabilities can live at home longer. New Democrat MPPs raised a wide range of concerns from across the province that demonstrate why we need to make investments in public, not-for-profit home care. 

We are calling for a strategy that
  • increases access to affordable, high-quality, culturally relevant home and community care services throughout the province
  • establishes provincial standards for the delivery of care across Ontario
  • commits to a public, not-for-profit system
  • ensures adequate staffing levels for nurses, PSWs and other care providers in the sector by closing the pay gap and repealing Bill 124
Home care has been largely privatized by previous governments, which takes public money away from care and staffing, and puts it in the pockets of massive corporations. The current government has made this worse by even letting these corporations develop people's care plans. Our motion on Monday to implement a new home care strategy for Ontarians was voted down by government MPPs.
 
We are all ready for the pandemic to end, but rushing to remove masks too early is concerning for parents of children too young to be vaccinated. I'm asking the Premier to follow expert advice and keep masks in school for just a while longer to help us defeat COVID once and for all. 
 
London has a backlog of more than 7000 delayed surgeries. We need to hire more health care workers to catch up, but this government's policies are driving nurses, PSWs and other staff away. The government voted down a motion calling for
  • $1.3 billion investment to clear waitlists across the province
  • targeted plan to meet rural and small town health care needs
  • health care hiring strategy including the repeal of Bill 124
We must invest in the health care Ontarians deserve.
 

It has been four years since the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruling to end gender pay discrimination against midwives. Why is the provincial government still fighting Ontario midwives in court instead of paying them what them they deserve?
 

On International Women's Day, I highlighted how women's work - often in caring professions - is the most undervalued and the most underpaid. These are the nurses, childcare workers, PSWs, and others who were there for us on the frontlines of the pandemic, and who are vital to our ability to recover from COVID-19. 
 

Over the past couple of weeks, my colleagues have tabled a bill tohttps://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-2/bill-91, reintroduced a bill to address health impacts of the climate crisis, and introduced a bill to fix the barriers that internationally trained health workers face in Ontario. 

A bill on Racial Equity in the Education System, introduced by Laura Mae Lindo, MPP for Kitchener Centre, was passed with all-party support. This bill promotes racial equity in Ontario’s public schools and post-secondary institutions by embedding equity language into the legislation that shapes Ontario’s education systems. It has been referred to a Standing Committee as the next step in the legislative process. 

 

COVID-19 Developments

  • As of March 1, the following changes to public health measures are in effect in Ontario:
    • capacity limits have been lifted in all indoor public settings
    • proof of vaccination requirements have been lifted, though businesses and organizations may choose to require proof of vaccination upon entry
    • other protective measures, such as mask/face covering requirements and passive screening of patrons remain in place
    • businesses and organizations that are open must continue to have safety plans in place
       
  • Provincial guidelines for isolation and contact management have changed. Isolation is no longer required when there is a close contact with a COVID-positive person outside of the household. People in this situation are still advised to self-monitor for symptoms, wear a mask, and avoid visiting high-risk settings or anyone who is at higher risk of illness.  

    In situations where there is close contact with a person within the same household, the same guidance as above applies if the household member: 
    • Has previously tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days; 
    • Is 18+ and has received their booster dose; OR 
    • Is under 18 years old and fully vaccinated. 
       
  • The following changes to public health measures are planned for the coming weeks:
    • On March 14, mandatory vaccination policies will end for hospitals, child-care spaces, long-term care, and schools. 
    • On March 21, Ontario will lift mandatory mask requirements for most settings, including schools. Masking mandates will still be in place for public transit, long-term care, retirement homes and other health-care settings, shelters, jails and congregate living settings. On this date, other measures will also be lifted in schools, including cohorting and daily on-site screening. For businesses, all regulatory requirements will be removed, including passive screening and safety plans. 
    • On April 27, all remaining measures, directives and orders will end – including masking requirements in all remaining settings, any remaining emergency orders under the Reopening Ontario Act and remaining directives from the Chief Medical Officer of Health. 
       
  • Middlesex-London Health Unit Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Alex Summers, recommends wearing a mask after the mandate is lifted in Ontario. The Omicron variant is still spreading in London, and wearing a mask can help protect you from getting sick. 
     
  • To mark the start of March Break, the Middlesex London Health Unit is bringing back their superhero-themed vaccination clinic on March 12, 2022.
     
  • The Middlesex London Health Unit is changing its hours of operations for their two mass vaccination clinics:
    • Caradoc Community Centre: Mondays through Wednesday, from 11:00am to 6:00 pm (as of March 14, 2022)
    • Western Fair District Agriplex: Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 11:00am to 6:00pm (as of March 29, 2022)

Everyone born in 2016 or earlier is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario, and everyone aged 12 and over is now eligible for a third booster dose.

  • Make an appointment at an 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 226-289-3560 to book, 8am - 7:30pm, Monday - Friday)
  • Visit a walk-in pop-up clinic
  • 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)
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.