Here are today’s new developments:
- Trudeau says his government will look at bringing in 10 days of paid sick leave for workers – a policy which federal Opposition Leader Jagmeet Singh had made conditional upon his party’s support for suspending the full House of Commons sitting schedule - Singh said they will continue pushing the government to make paid sick leave permanent, beyond the pandemic.
- The federal government’s commercial rent relief program for small businesses opens today – the program has been widely panned, with many business owners saying their landlords have refused to sign on. In Ontario, business groups called on Premier Ford to issue a moratorium on commercial evictions, a call he's continuously refused – Ontario Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath again called on Premier Ford to help stop struggling businesses from going under, and to adopt the Official Opposition’s plan to Save Main Street, which includes a 75 per cent commercial rent subsidy.
- Frontline workers still haven't received the pandemic pay top-up that Ford promised some of them a month ago. According to a letter sent by a group of health care CEOs to the Premier, this failure has led to "extreme morale issues" for frontline staff and created conflict for employers – Andrea Horwath issued a statement calling the Premier’s failure to pay workers “unacceptable,” and reiterating the call for all frontline workers to get a pay raise. The wages must flow immediately, she said, and must be retroactive to the beginning of the crisis.
- Ontario's COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise, with today marking the fifth consecutive day that new case numbers surpassed 400. For over a week now, the province's testing numbers have fallen far short of the stated 20,000-test goal - Andrea Horwath said it's clear Premier Ford's strategy of limiting community testing to assessment centres isn't working.
- After months of horror stories coming out of long-term care, the Ford government says it will take over two private, for-profit long-term care facilities that are failing to protect residents against COVID-19 - Andrea Horwath says there are many more long-term care homes that should be put under the province's management. For weeks, the Official Opposition has been calling for Ontario to take over direct management of long-term care homes.
Here are some concerns the Official Opposition is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:
- Official Opposition Municipal Affairs critic Jeff Burch will table a motion in the Legislature this week that would give emergency financial support to municipalities badly impacted by COVID-19. Burch's motion mirrors a proposal put forward by a coalition of Ontario's municipal leaders and frontline municipal workers.
- The Official Opposition is pushing for mass testing of asymptomatic people outside assessment centres, stressing that Ford asking people to simply show up at assessment centres is not enough. Horwath has been calling for broader testing to include everyone in congregate living situations, systematic workplace testing and random sample testing in the community using mobile assessment centres.
- Horwath says Ontario needs a new strategy for bringing COVID-19 testing to people, noting that with testing numbers so low and the economic recovery underway, the government is putting people at risk.