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Recovering From COVID-19

LEARNING THE LESSONS OF COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense losses for Ontarians. More than 12,000 people in Ontario lost their lives. Nearly 4,000 vulnerable seniors died in pain and isolation in long-term care. Small and medium- sized businesses struggled to pay their staff; children and young adults struggled with academic and emotional setbacks due to ongoing school closures; health care workers are burnt out; people are waiting in pain and anxiety for delayed surgeries.

The Ford government ignored expert medical advice and refused to invest to make long-term care homes safe or keep frontline workers safe by implementing paid sick days. He let local businesses go under while favouring his wealthy buddies in big box stores. He refused to give PSWs and nurses a permanent raise and make their jobs stable with benefits. He refused to implement a comprehensive ban on evictions or invest to fix the backlog of surgeries. He voted against paid sick days for workers more than 25 times.

It was incredible to see Ontario’s frontline workers, like those in health care, retail, manufacturing and transit, step up during this difficult time. Many risked their own safety to protect their communities, keep our supply chain running and put food on our tables. Ontarians did everything they could to keep each other safe, from staying home to reduce the spread to looking out for vulnerable friends and neighbours.

Unfortunately, neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives heeded the lessons from the SARS crisis, leaving Ontario labs understaffed and without a stock of personal protective equipment. Our hospitals and long-term care homes were direly understaffed.

The Ontario NDP has a plan to make sure we learn the lessons from this pandemic, to strengthen our health care system and prepare for future health crises.

COMMITMENT

Public inquiry into COVID-19: By launching a full, independent, judicial public inquiry in all aspects of Ontario’s COVID-19 response – from the failures in long- term care to the lack of protective equipment – we’ll be ready for any future health crises.

COMMITMENT

Introduce a new Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and other pandemic legislation to strengthen our ability to respond to crises.

COMMITMENT

Ensure Ontario is prepared for future public health emergencies, with measures including
▪ Expanded paid sick days
▪ Retention pay
▪ Proper stockpiles of PPE
▪ Triage protocols that are accountable to vulnerable communities
▪ Suspension of evictions
▪ Protection for health workers from harassment

COMMITMENT

We will require annual reporting to the legislature of public health emergency preparedness.

COMMITMENT

Stability for small businesses:In the event of any future public health restrictions, New Democrats will be a stable, transparent, and predictable partner to businesses, and provide timely and proportional support that’s easy to access.

COMMITMENT

Ensure the thousands of Ontarians who suffer from Long Covid are no longer on their own. We’ll make sure they are supported by their primary care providers and broader health teams in their path to recovery and we’ll invest in research to better understand causes, symptoms, and treatment.