We could end this cycle of opening up and shutting down with planning and concerted action by the provincial government, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.
“This routine almost feels like an April Fool’s joke on Ontarians,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. “We could stop this cycle once and for all if the Ford government just took the actions that we, and so many experts, unions, and community organizations, have continuously called for.”
With new modelling warning Ontario could see 6,000 new cases a day by the end of this month and a 4-week shutdown set to begin, CUPE Ontario is urging the government to immediately:
- Develop a comprehensive and detailed vaccine rollout plan that prioritizes hard hit, racialized communities;
- Ensure that the rollout is backed up with resources for local Public Health units and community organizations;
- Dedicate sufficient funding to ensure robust contact tracing and accelerated rapid testing;
- Mandate and supply appropriate PPE for all workers;
- 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.
“A shutdown and some tweaks to capacity limits in retail just won’t get the job done, and, frankly, it does little more than scapegoat everyday people and let’s the government off the hook” said Hahn. “We need improved workplace safety and paid sick days for every worker to prevent alarming cases like the Amazon warehouse in Brampton that saw over 600 cases a couple weeks ago.”
“Now’s the time to recognize that we’re in this vicious cycle because of consistent political failure – and that we can get out of it with political will.”