WORKER & SMALL BUSINESS UPDATES - COVID 19 

 
Today the Premier announced changes to the provincial approach to long term care facilities including retirement homes where we have seen so many deaths. There will be more aggressive screening and testing, a provision for medical teams to move into facilities with outbreaks, overall greater investment in immediate care and of course the need to have people only work in one facility at a time are very necessary given the large number of deaths that we have seen. Premier’s announcement is here:

https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/04/ontario-ramping-up-protection-for-long-term-care.html?utm_source=ondemand&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=p

People need to note that Ontario put out new rules intended to limit staff who work at long-term care (LTC) facilities to work at just one home, but they don’t come into effect for a full week (not until April 22), and contain a dangerous loophole, allowing temp agency LTC workers to continue working at multiple locations.

Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath stressed: “Workers from temp agencies make up a significant part of long-term care staffing, as a result of a staffing crisis. Restrictions much tighter than these should have been put in place weeks ago. We cannot waste a second now, and we cannot allow this government to leave huge loopholes open.

Troubling guidelines have been put out by the Ontario government’s Ministry of Health for health care workers returning to work after testing positive for COVID-19, which allow staff who have the virus but are asymptomatic to return to work.  This causes a lot of concern and the Official Opposition has called for this to be rescinded. Full comments here: https://www.ontariondp.ca/news/ndp-ford-government-must-immediately-fix-dangerous-return-work-guidelines-health-care-workers

This morning Councillor Paula Fletcher convened a virtual press conference calling for action to help small businesses survive the corona crisis. I was happy to be part of this along with representatives from local small businesses in Toronto-Danforth. We are calling for a 4-month moratorium on commercial evictions and a provincial rent subsidy program to keep our local businesses alive.

You can see the whole press conference on YouTube at this address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x788-T2y1Uc 

Or you can read this article.