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TORONTO – Steven Del Duca, Ontario Party Liberal Leader, has written to Premier Doug Ford in the spirit of collaboration to suggest important measures the Ontario government can take to combat the spread of COVID-19.
“Combating the spread of COVID-19 won’t be easy,” said Del Duca. “But after consulting with numerous public health experts it is clear to me that we must do everything we can to slow the spread of this disease. By taking decisive action now we can significantly reduce the amount of cases in Ontario. This is critical so that we do not overwhelm our healthcare system.”
Del Duca is suggesting the government:
Exempt Employees from Sick Notes
Using emergency legislation, Del Duca is calling for the government to exempt workers from producing doctor’s notes by changing the employment standards act. This could be a temporary measure.
Re-instate Paid Sick Days, At Least Temporarily
Using emergency legislation, change the employment standards act to provide workers with paid sick leave. This could be a temporary measure.
Create a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Task Force
As recommended already by the Ontario Medical Association, the Ministry of Health should create a task force to advise on appropriate distribution and use of PPE based on evidence and internally recognized best practices. The Task Force should include public health experts and representatives of the Ontario Medical Association, nursing organizations and representatives of other frontline health workers.
Establish a Social Distancing Action Plan
Task the Ministry of Health’s COVID – 19 “Command Table” to develop a social distancing action plan. Measures such as mandatory school closure, enhanced border controls and prohibitions on large gatherings should be considered through the lens of the precautionary principle of public health which asserts that the burden of proof for potentially harmful actions by industry or government rests on the assurance of safety and that when there are threats of serious damage, scientific uncertainty must be resolved in favor of prevention.
“I encourage all Ontarians to take common-sense protective measures. Cancel your non-essential travel, wash your hands frequently and keep an eye on seniors. This is a time for calm evidence-based decision making, there are many things we can all do to keep ourselves safe.”
“We need to come together. Ontario is resilient and I know the government is working hard to combat the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, I think these additional measures will strengthen Ontario’s response and I offer them in good faith,” concluded Del Duca.