February 17th, 2021

NDP looks for all-party support to pass three urgent COVID-19 support bills Wednesday

QUEEN’S PARK — Andrea Horwath’s Official Opposition will ask all MPPs to pass three bills Wednesday to give people some of the help they need to get through the pandemic.

On Tuesday, the government shot down NDP attempts to pass its paid sick days bill; a bill to staff up and give long-term care residents four hours of daily care and attention; and an NDP bill that would guarantee people in care access to their essential caregiver. On Wednesday, the Official Opposition will look for all-party support to pass an evictions ban during the pandemic, an equity strategy, and a plan to make schools safe.

“People need more help to get through the pandemic, and more hope that we can end this. Instead of putting us at risk of repeating the cycle of sickness and lockdowns, we’re asking Doug Ford to make a different choice this time — a choice to invest in public health,” said Horwath. “We’re looking for all-MPP support Wednesday on motions and a bill that would help stop the spread, keep a roof over people’s heads, make schools safer, and give working folks and vulnerable people more support to get through this.”

Evictions ban
Suze Morrison (Toronto Centre) and Jessica Bell (University- Rosedale) introduced a bill to amend the Residential Tenancies Act to prohibit evictions until one year after the pandemic is declared over by the province's Chief Medical Officer of Health.

“Families across Ontario are at risk of losing their homes, through no fault of their own, after losing income due to COVID-19. The pandemic is raging on, and it’s not safe to force people to find shelter, apartment hunt, crash with friends or family, or survive on the street while the virus is spreading in our communities,” said Morrison.

"Over 14,000 people have had their lives turned upside down by evictions during this pandemic. By forcing people to look for a new home or risk homelessness, Doug Ford is needlessly contributing to the unsafe spread of COVID-19,” said Bell.

Equity strategy
Faisal Hassan (York—South Weston) will introduce a motion to guarantee the implementation of culturally-appropriate strategies that support marginalized communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, including measures to curb the spread of the virus and prioritization in the vaccine rollout.

"My community of York—South Weston and many others like it have been identified as COVID-19 hot spots for months due to the high proportion of vulnerable residents — many of them frontline workers who don't have the luxury of working from home. The Ford government has resisted investing in more testing and infection control measures in hot spot neighbourhoods. They refuse to cap ridership on overcrowded transit or give workers paid sick days because they don’t want to spend the money on our neighbourhoods. We must ensure high-risk communities are supported with culturally-sensitive strategies that keep residents safe,” said Hassan.

Safe schools
Marit Stiles (Davenport) will introduce a motion to make Ontario schools safer by capping class sizes at 15, bringing in comprehensive in-school COVID-19 testing and improving air quality in schools.

"Parents, students, teachers and education workers are doing incredible work to stay safe and stop the spread. They can’t go it alone, though. They need and deserve a government that believes in investing in education to help keep everyone safe and stop the spread of COVID-19. Doug Ford doesn’t want to make the investment to take necessary action, so he’s refused to cap class sizes or implement a comprehensive asymptomatic in-school testing program. We want to change that, to give our kids a better chance of finishing this school year without more interruptions, or more illness,” said Stiles.

The Official Opposition will use unanimous consent motions to call on all MPPs to pass these bills and motions on Wednesday morning at roughly 10:30.