HAMILTON — As Premier Doug Ford marches Ontario into another lockdown, Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling for urgent action take on the Omicron crisis and help people get through it safely.
“We can’t go back in time and reverse Premier Doug Ford’s bad decisions — but we are urging him to take actions right now to effectively take on this crisis— get schools open safely, send reinforcements into health care, and help workers and small businesses make it to the other side of this,” said Horwath.
Ford’s newest lockdown was avoidable, said Horwath, and will deeply hurt people now.
“Parents are horrified — another school shutdown is a massive blow to kids’ wellbeing. And our health care system is so under-staffed, health care heroes are run off their feet and getting sick, and folks are worried that if a loved one is hurt or sick, care may not be there. On top of that, countless workers and small businesses can’t take another Ford lockdown,” said Horwath.
“Doug Ford knew exactly what was coming, but didn’t prepare schools or hospitals, and didn’t take any precautions to prevent a lockdown. He didn’t want to slow down big box holiday shopping, or invest in health care workers or more protections in schools. He made the same bad choices he made a year ago, and we’re all paying the price for that.”
Horwath said the legislature should be recalled immediately, but that urgent actions cannot wait. She’s laying out calls to get schools safely open, send reinforcements into health care, and help workers and small businesses get through Ford’s lockdown.
To get schools open safely, Horwath and the NDP are calling for:
- Rapid tests for teachers and students
- Smaller class sizes
- In-school vaccine clinics with permission from parents
- Mandatory vaccination for all teachers and education workers and adding the COVID vaccine to the student immunization list
To control the spread, Horwath and the NDP are calling for:
- Paid sick days and family care days
- Ramping up PCR COVID testing and allowing people to get COVID tests again
- High-quality, free PPE for all frontline workers, including N95s
To shore up health care, Horwath and the NDP are calling for:
- The repeal Ford’s low-wage policy, Bill 124, which is driving health care workers away
- Give all health care workers a danger pay bonus
- Request help from the federal government and Canadian Armed Forces to support understaffed hospitals
To support workers and small businesses being hurt by Ford’s latest lockdown measures, Horwath and the NDP are calling for:
- A direct small business grant for all impacted small Ontario businesses
- Supports for workers that lose income
- An eviction ban