The latest horrifying projections are a direct result of the ongoing political failure of our government, and that was just followed by a failure to save lives with paid sick leave and a host of other measures, says CUPE Ontario.

“We could be seeing up to 40,000 cases a day in the province by mid-February and Doug Ford just failed to announce what we truly need today,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. “Every expert has made it clear that we need paid sick leave, especially during an infection disease emergency. It’s unconscionable that this government is yet again failing to take the advice and to keep us safe.”

CUPE Ontario, representing 280,000 public sector workers, is additionally calling on Doug Ford to recall the legislature immediately and to spend the at least $12-billion the Ford Conservatives have sitting in reserves to:

  • Develop a real, comprehensive, and detailed vaccine rollout plan that’s communicated clearly to the public;
  • Ensure that the rollout is backed up with resources for local public health units and community organizations;
  • Ensure robust contact tracing and accelerated rapid testing;
  • Finally take action with supports needed to address the growing crisis in long-term care;
  • Actually listen to education workers and put in the supports needed, like smaller class sizes, to ensure a safe return to school as soon as possible;
  • Legislate paid sick time for all workers;
  • And develop a comprehensive action plan to address the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on racialized communities.

“The Ford government said he’d build an iron ring around long-term care homes, but things have only gotten worse,” said Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Ontario. “Forty per cent of the facilities in the province are experiencing outbreak and it’s completely avoidable. And we are tragically on track to lose far more of our parents and grandparents, and those who care for them, in the second wave during the first. The Ford Conservatives need to immediately ensure the resources to establish 4 hours of daily care per resident, end for-profit care, guarantee full time work and paid sick time for workers with permanent wage increases, immediately recruit tens of thousands of front-line workers, and pay workers commensurate with their value – to simply follow the successful lessons of other provinces.”

“By focusing on a stay-at-home order, reduced hours for stores, and requiring non-essential workers to work from home, this government is scapegoating everyday people and evading responsibility,” said Hahn. “Now that the province has declared a state of emergency, it needs to use its powers to immediately take the measures we desperately need. And the Tories need to understand: with Emergency Powers comes total responsibility. What happens in the next few months will be 100% on their heads.”