March 18th, 2020

Horwath welcomes federal funds, urges Ontario to step up with direct funding to help families

NDP will support legislation Thursday, but says it falls well short

QUEEN’S PARK — Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Official Opposition New Democrats, released the following statement on Wednesday:

Thursday afternoon, the Legislative Assembly will reconvene to deal with emergency legislation for workers who need to miss work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NDP supports the job protection provision, and the ban on required doctor’s notes. We will vote in favour of the bills, and we will provide the consent needed to pass them in one day. But they fall well short of what is needed.

The NDP has been pushing for leave from work to be paid, not unpaid, along with other measures. The government refused to accept the NDP’s suggestions or amendments to this legislation — things we’ve long been calling for — but we won’t give up on getting people the help they need.

Ultimately, the measures being agreed to can only be seen as a small first step.

These small changes simply cannot be the only help this government gives to families, small and medium-sized businesses, and community-based organizations and charities, who are all growing increasingly concerned — and rightfully so.

Today’s announcement by the federal government of an $82-billion support package for Canadians is welcome relief. But it took too long to arrive, is too slow to flow, and it’s simply not enough money. It’s time for the Ontario government to step up and do its part by providing direct funding to protect families from missing meals or rent and mortgage payments, protect the most vulnerable people and organizations that support them, and prevent small businesses from going under.

We are all in this together, and we will get through it together.