June 3rd, 2020

Horwath calls for emergency order on immediate collection of race-based data

QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on Doug Ford to issue an emergency order to begin the immediate collection of race-based data when it comes to health care delivery in Ontario.

Horwath called on Ford to listen to Dorothy Rodriques, the widow of Leonard Rodriques, a Black personal support worker who died from COVID-19 after not getting proper personal protective equipment at work, and after being sent home from the hospital despite debilitating COVID-19 symptoms.

“Leonard was a dedicated and beloved husband, father and colleague. But when Leonard got sick, the family experienced barrier after barrier in accessing appropriate care, and after his death, the trauma only continued,” said Horwath. “Dorothy said, ‘We are not able to tell if this, the neglect from our healthcare system, is a pattern or a one off because there is no data to support it’.”

In a letter to NDP MPP Faisal Hassan (York South—Weston) asking for help, Dorothy has called for the immediate collection of race-based data by the Ford government.

“Will the premier listen to Dorothy?” Horwath asked in question period Wednesday, after reading portions of the gut-wrenching letter, in which Rodriques wrote: ‘‘Canada has gone too long covering their eyes to racial discriminations by refusing to collect data that challenges Canada's racial bias… we need a plan of action.”

Leonard Rodriques spent 30 years of his life caring for vulnerable Ontarians as a PSW. “His death sent a ripple effect through his home, his community, and our province,” said Horwath. “His spouse is pleading with the government to act. And she is not alone.”

Horwath echoes and supports calls from health experts from across the province for anti-Black racism to be declared a public health crisis, and called on Doug Ford to agree that systemic racism exists, and issue an emergency order for the collection of race-based health data in Ontario.