|Oakville North-Burlington Update – June 4th, 2021|
“At a time when our top priority is putting the third wave behind us so that we can safely enter Step One of our Roadmap to Reopen, we can’t risk increased cases and potential downstream impacts on hospitals and ICUs. Making this tough decision now will allow kids to safely enjoy camps and outdoor activities this summer, and a safe return to school in September.” – Premier Ford
|Remote Learning to Continue across Ontario for the Remainder of School Year|
To best protect Ontario families from the fast growing B.1.617.2 variant, and to allow for higher rates of vaccination of students, staff, and families, the Ontario government has made the difficult decision to continue with remote learning for all elementary and secondary students across the province for the remainder of this school year. This will allow the province to continue its focus on accelerating COVID-19 vaccinations to support a safer summer and return to in-person learning in September for the 2021-22 school year.
Recent modelling presented by the Science Advisory Table revealed that if Ontario reopened schools to in-person learning the province could see an increase of 6% to 11% in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases. It is unknown how many of these would be the new, more dangerous B.1.617.2 variant first identified in India, which has entered the province through Canada’s borders.
An increase in cases and the spread of variants would also threaten Ontarians’ hard-fought progress in beating the third wave and could delay the safe return to many summer activities for kids, including day and overnight camps, sports leagues and public pools, among other important activities that support children’s physical and mental wellbeing.
Schools will continue to remain open until the end of June for in-person learning for special education students who cannot be accommodated through remote learning.
Students have worked incredibly hard throughout the pandemic, with important milestones like graduation ceremonies impacted. Ontario students deserve this positive conclusion to their academic journey, safely.
The government will allow school boards to invite graduating students in elementary schools (by class) and secondary schools (by homeroom/quadmestered class) to return to school in June for a short, outdoor celebration, where physical distancing is possible.
|Emergency Child Care|
With schools in Ontario closed for in-person learning, emergency childcare (ECC) will continue until the end of June to align with the end of the elementary school year. Before and after school programs will remain closed and will continue to not charge parent fees, which is prohibited during the remote learning period.
Licensed childcare centres may resume serving school-aged children for full-days in programming over the summer months, in accordance with the Ministry of Education’s health and safety guidance. Those before and after school programs that operate as a camp over the summer will be permitted to do so and will follow health and safety guidance from the Ministry of Health.
|Vaccine Update – 9 MILLION+ Doses|
Vaccines remain the best defence against COVID-19 and to date, more than 9.36 Million doses have been administered in Ontario and a plan to accelerate second doses has just been released. Youth aged 12 and over are currently eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the provincial booking system and call centre, as well as at select pharmacies administering the Pfizer vaccine.
These measures will ensure that all Ontarians aged 12 and older who want to, can be fully vaccinated by the end of summer, including students and educational staff.
Ontario Updating AstraZeneca Second Dose Guidance
The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is providing updated guidance for individuals who received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and who have not yet received their second dose, to allow for the mixing of COVID-19 vaccines if desired. This decision is in alignment with updated guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommendation.
Shortened interval for second dose appointments for individuals 70+
As of 8:00 a.m. on Monday, June 7, 2021, individuals aged 70 and over in 2021 as well as individuals who received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) on or before April 18, 2021 will be eligible to schedule an appointment to receive their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at a mass immunization clinic through the provincial booking system and call centre. Some public health units using their own booking system may expand eligibility sooner.
Beginning today, these groups are eligible to receive their accelerated second dose appointment through participating pharmacies and primary care settings participating in the rollout. In addition, individuals who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and are opting to receive a either a second dose of AstraZeneca or a mRNA vaccine can now schedule their second dose appointment at a participating pharmacy.
|Ontario Expanding Mental Health Services for Children and Youth|
The Ontario government is providing over $31 million to help improve access to specialized mental health treatment services, reduce waitlists and wait times, and support the mental health and wellbeing of children and youth by addressing the increased demand for services during COVID-19. This funding is part of the government’s commitment to invest $3.8 billion over 10 years to implement the Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario’s plan to build a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions system to serve Ontarians of all ages.
This funding will stabilize and expand existing services and will ensure child and youth clients can receive in a timely manner the appropriate care in the right setting, improving outcomes and avoiding hospital admission.
|Ontario To Appoint New Chief Medical Officer of Health|
The Ontario Legislature passed a motion to appoint Dr. Kieran Moore as Ontario’s next Chief Medical Officer of Health to succeed Dr. David Williams upon his retirement on June 25, 2021. Dr. Moore’s experience will be critical as we gradually lift public health measures as part of our Roadmap to Reopen. Thank you, Dr. Williams, for your leadership throughout this pandemic and for your dedication to the health and safety of Ontarians.
|Ontario Easing Restrictions on Long-Term Care|
Thanks to high levels of vaccination in long-term care homes and improvements in key public health care indicators, Ontario is allowing long-term care residents to enjoy more social connections with their loved ones. The changes take effect Wednesday, June 9.
Working with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Directive #3 has been updated, as well as the Ministry of Long-Term Care’s visitor policy and guidance document.
|June 5th is World Environment Day|
June 5th is World Environment Day, an annual event dedicated to raising awareness to protecting the environment! I am very pleased that the Ontario Legislature passed my motion to expand Ontario’s Greenbelt. Our green spaces are the living, breathing hearts of our communities and expanding the Greenbelt will protect more of our land and waters for future generations! On World Environment Day let’s reflect on the beauty of our green spaces and environment and be grateful for everything nature provides us.
|Ontario Enhancing Blue Box Program|
The Ontario government is improving blue box recycling by expanding service to more communities, standardizing the list of materials that can be recycled across the province and saving municipalities money by having producers of products and packaging fully responsible for the cost and operation of the program. The province is also expanding collection to more parks, playgrounds, and transit stations, more than tripling the number of public space recycling bins funded under the current program so there are more opportunities to recycle at home and on the go.
The changes to the program will also transition the costs of the Blue Box program away from municipal taxpayers by making the producers of products and packaging fully responsible for managing the life-cycle of their products, resulting in an estimated savings of $156 million annually for municipalities.
|Ontario Making it Affordable and Easier to Visit Ontario Parks|
The Ontario government is making it easier and more affordable to get safely outdoors and enjoy nature by providing free day-use permits at 115 provincial parks from Monday to Thursday until September 2, 2021. Starting June 7, visitors will also be able to guarantee access to 17 select provincial parks to avoid long line-ups during popular and busy visitation times by obtaining a daily vehicle permit in advance. Doing so will help avoid crowding and help make it safer for the public to enjoy Ontario Parks!
Get your daily vehicle permit at http://www.ontarioparks.com/dayuse/getapermit
|Ontario Passes Bill to Strengthen the Fight Against Human Trafficking|
This week, the Ontario Legislature passed the Combatting Human Trafficking Act, 2021. This legislation will strengthen efforts to increase awareness, protect victims, intervene early, support survivors and hold offenders accountable. Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes worldwide and it is important that we are equipped to fight this crime and support victims and survivors with every tool at our disposal.
|Ontario Celebrates National Indigenous History Month|
June is National Indigenous History Month. The start of this month follows the tragic discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children in B.C. As we celebrate Indigenous history, let us honour these children by deepening our collective understanding of the histories and resiliency of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
Minister of Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford has stated that the Ontario government is committed to making further investigations into former residential school grounds in Ontario. The Government of Ontario will work in partnership with the federal government and Indigenous communities in support of this important work.
|Governments Providing Additional Supports for Ontario Beekeepers|
Honey bees are important to Ontario’s food supply as they play a critical role in maintaining healthy ecosystems by pollinating trees, plants and flowers that in turn feed people and animals. To support and strengthen the health of managed honey bees and grow Ontario’s beekeeping sector, the Government of Ontario is launching a new targeted beekeeper intake under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
|June 1st to be Known as Ontario Day Each Year|
Thanks to my colleague MPP Michael Parsa, each year on June 1st will be known as Ontario Day! Ontario is home to approximately 14.5 million people, and accounts for 38% of Canada’s population. Ontario is a rich and diverse province, whose residents have made very valuable contributions to Canada’s history. This will be an excellent opportunity for us to celebrate and recognize Ontarians both past and present who have contributed to Canadian society and culture.
|May is Community Living Month|
May is Community Living Month and this Monday I took a break to thank the frontline workers who support Ontarians with intellectual disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for everything you do to protect our most vulnerable citizens!
|Effie in the Community|
This week at the Select Committee on Emergency Management Oversight, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones gave a status report on COVID-19 in Ontario and spoke about the extension of emergency orders under the Reopening Ontario Act. I had the opportunity to ask questions regarding the COVID19 B.1.1.7 variant, which is now the dominant strain in both Ontario and British Columbia because the previous border measures of the federal government were insufficient to prevent the importation.
The Solicitor General expressed concern about the potential impact the variants could have on Ontario’s reopening plans and reinforced the importance of strong measures to protect our borders, as we continue our vaccination campaign and move slowly and safely toward reopening our province.
|It was my pleasure to speak in the Ontario Legislature this week about the importance of the Millcroft neighbourhood in Oakville North-Burlington. I support the residents and families who live in the Millcroft community in their goal to preserve their green spaces and believe that the Greenbelt and our parks are essential for the health of our communities. We must preserve them. |
Click here to watch the video
|As Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Long Term Care, I was pleased to participate on the Standing Committee on Estimates which reviewed the spending plans of the Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care. After decades of neglect by successive governments, I also thanked the Minister of Long-Term Care, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton for her leadership to protect the health and safety of vulnerable residents in long-term care and for making much needed investments to ensure they receive the respect and care they deserve. Addressing issues like overcrowding, homes built to outdated design standards, chronic staffing issues, and underfunding, these investments will help provide our loved ones with the quality of life and vital supports they need.|
|Oakville North-Burlington Spirit Awards|
In recent months, I have been proud to honour a number of volunteers who have contributed to our community during the COVID-19 crisis. Thank you for your community spirit. If you would like to nominate a member of our community who has gone above and beyond to contribute to the community during the pandemic, please contact my office and let me know.