TORONTO – Ontario must take a zero-tolerance approach to anti-science rhetoric and public health non-compliance, which is threatening people’s lives and putting Ontario’s small businesses and economic recovery at risk.
“Doug Ford’s softness on public safety is costing us lives, money and time and trying the patience of people who have done the right thing,” said Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca. “This ends when we say it ends. No more nonsense. No more exceptions. No more delay. We must act with strength and determination to put this threat behind us.”
The Ontario Liberal Party’s “Mandate Safety” plan is calling for increased public safety measures that will protect communities, drive vaccine acceptance and accelerate our economic reopening, by:
Aggressively promoting vaccine acceptance and combatting anti-science misinformation
- Call for an immediate meeting of Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) to discuss how to protect communities from anti-vax abuse, harassment, violence, and blocked access to services – ensuring the right to public assembly is maintained within existing legal limits on harassment, access to service and incitement to violence.
- In consultation with the OACP and the Ontario Hospital Association establish temporary exclusion zones around hospital entrances in order to protect both people’s right to peacefully protest as well as the rights of patients and frontline health care staff to safety and security.
- Work with Public Officers of Health to increase fines for non-compliance with existing Covid related public health orders.
- Work with the federal government to combat misinformation and disinformation related to vaccines and the COVID-19 pandemic, and their impacts on public health and radicalization.
- Invest in public health education and outreach for communities where vaccine confidence and access remains a challenge, and offer that support to parents through our publicly funded schools.
- Protect business owners from human rights challenges by adding requirements for the use of COVID-19 vaccine certificates as a regulation under the Emergency Act.
Strengthening vaccine mandates and protecting workers
- Strengthen vaccine mandates for health care and education workers to remove testing loopholes for those without medical or Ontario Human Rights Code exemptions.
- Mandate vaccines on all provincially regulated trains and buses, for passengers and operators.
- Mandate vaccines for all employees of workplaces where customers are required to be vaccinated.
- Mandate vaccines for Ontario students born in or before the year 2009 and establish public health unit vaccine programs in every Ontario school, to administer vaccines on-site to eligible students, education workers and family members.
- Provide workers with 10 provincially funded paid sick days, allowing people to stay home when they or their children or care recipient are not well or exposed and follow all other public health measures.
Preparing Ontario for the next phase of COVID-19
- Increase funding to Ontario colleges and universities to expand health care-related programs and prevent future shortages in the field.
- Establish a comprehensive and transparent plan for the mass immunization of children born after 2009, so that when a vaccine is approved for use in that age group, Ontario children can be vaccinated without delay.
- Provide a revised timeline for increased capacities under new vaccine certificate guidelines and further financial support to small businesses.
- Increased access to at-home testing for all Ontarians, and for our schools.
- Preparing for access to booster shots when they are available.
- Increased support for COVID-19 burdened hospitals.