Here are today’s new developments:
- Statistics Canada released stark job numbers today, reporting Canada lost more than one million jobs in March.
- Ontario lost about 403,000 jobs in March; the province is putting together a committee to look into economic recovery post-pandemic.
- Canada had prepared a report over a decade ago predicting a coronavirus-like pandemic, with steps to overcome it. The government clearly underestimated the implications of COVID-19.
- Models released this morning forecast how the COVID-19 pandemic could pan out on a national scale, with numbers dependent on how rigorously Canadians maintaining social distancing – Prime Minister Trudeau said we should expect to see multiple waves of COVID-19 over the coming months (likely involving various waves of social distancing measures), and that a return to normalcy will happen once a vaccine is ready.
- Ontario has yet to mandate that long-term care workers limit their work to one home, as a way to slow the spread of the virus. Many PSWs hold multiple jobs to make ends meet -- the Official Opposition's proposal for saving lives in long-term care include immediately raising salaries for workers like PSWs and nurses to a minimum of $22/hour.
- Again today, there are reports that not enough testing is taking place. CBC reports that shortages of swabs prompted testing centres to refuse to test 25 per cent to 30 per cent of those who showed up this past week.
Here are some concerns the Official Opposition is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:
- In light of grim unemployment numbers and reports of floundering small and medium-sized businesses, the Official Opposition continues to call on the provincial government to provide more direct support for people — like direct financial help, and an 80% rent subsidy, as well as business rent subsidies and remote work set-up funding to help employers keep folks on the payroll.
- The Official Opposition called on the Ford government to fund accommodation costs for frontline health workers afraid to go home after their shifts each day because of a loved one at home who is immunocompromised.
- Andrea Horwath called on Premier Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott to immediately increase Ontario’s woefully low COVID-19 testing numbers, and broaden our tight testing criteria — the Ford government has spent weeks saying testing will be ramped up, but has yet to make that happen.
Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:
- Ontarians with disabilities and their families are anxious about their health and ability to pay their bills during the pandemic. Ontario's policy of clawing back supports like EI from a person's ODSP cheque means families who qualify for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will see their ODSP support wiped out--the Official Opposition is calling on the government to stop Ontario's clawback policy.
- People are worried about keeping up with their auto insurance payments. With Ontarians driving far less and accidents fewer and farther between, the Official Opposition is calling on the Ford government to give Ontarians a 50 per cent break on auto insurance for three months.
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