My office and I have been receiving a number of calls and emails surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine. I know how important it is to many of you to receive a dose as soon as possible.
As part of Ontario's vaccination plan, all 34 public health units, including the City of Toronto, are preparing to open or expand mass immunization clinics to accommodate additional priority groups. Each local public health unit will be responsible for determining the locations where vaccines are administered. In Toronto, the city has announced the location of the first nine mass vaccination sites, including the North Toronto Memorial Community Centre in our riding. These locations will be complemented with mobile and pop-up sites.
The Ontario government will be launching a telephone and online booking system for vaccinations on March 15th, starting with appointments for Ontario citizens 80 and over and expanding beyond that in five-year increments as quickly as vaccine supply allows. This system will handle bookings for all vaccination sites in all public health units. Until the provincial booking system launches, each public health unit will continue to focus on vaccinating Phase 1 immediate priority groups, including health care workers identified as highest priority, and essential caregivers.
When all reasonable steps have been taken to complete first-dose vaccination for those groups, and if vaccine supply allows, each health unit can immediately begin vaccinating remaining Phase 1 populations, including adults 80 and older; staff, residents and caregivers in retirement homes and other congregate care settings for seniors; and adult recipients of chronic home care.
You can see our detailed rollout plan and up-to-date information at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/getting-covid-19-vaccine-ontario. This link will be updated regularly as the vaccine rollout progresses. It is also important to note all timeframes in this plan are based on anticipated deliveries of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines alone. As additional vaccines are approved and delivered by the federal government, the plan will be updated accordingly.
Today, the Ontario government announced regulatory amendments that support working families and improve the child care and early years sector and advance the province's dual priorities of accessibility and affordability for parents.
The regulatory amendments, which take effect on March 8, 2021, will:
Exempt certain authorized recreational providers from their three-hour operating limit, improving access to select before and after school programs for families with school-age children.
Enhance health and safety protections in licensed child care settings, such as requirements to support contact tracing by local public health, new requirements for home-based child care and updates to the safe storage of potentially poisonous and hazardous items.
Reduce regulatory/administrative burden on child care operators by removing redundant and unnecessary requirements for all providers.
February 22nd was National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. The Ontario government introduced theCombatting Human Trafficking Act, new legislation and amendments to existing legislation to build upon the province's $307 million Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy. This proposed legislation reinforces Ontario's commitment to fight human trafficking and demonstrates continued leadership in responding to this pervasive crime. To read more about these important changes read here.
February is Heart Month, a month that speaks very closely to me. During these most challenging times, we still need to have healthy behaviours to keep ourselves fit, and to keep our hearts healthy. The pandemic may be discouraging some people experiencing heart disease or stroke in Ontario from seeking medical care. Health care providers across the province have been reporting that people are now presenting in hospital in more advanced stages of illness.
If you need it, please continue to seek medical care. Our hospitals and health care providers are doing everything possible to keep you safe and the risk of ignoring symptoms of heart conditions or stroke is far greater than the risk of seeking the medical care you need. Make sure to keep your scheduled medical appointments and let your health care practitioner know if you experience any changes to your health.
Because every minute counts, it’s important that everyone knows the signs of heart attack and stroke. Heart attacks most often present as chest discomfort, especially for men, but for women, it can present as pain in below the chest, or in the back. Nausea, sweating, shortness of breath and lightheadedness are all also symptoms of heart attack. For stroke, watch for drooping in one side of the face, weakness in one arm and slurred speech. If you or someone you’re with experiences any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 right away. Stay healthy, by keeping your heart healthy!
Yesterday, the Jewish Community here in Eglinton-Lawrence, Ontario and around the world observed the joyous Jewish festival of Purim. Even during these challenging times, Purim is a great reminder that good will always prevail. To those celebrating, Chag Purim Semeach! Enjoy those great hamantashens!
In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and in adherence to the Stay-At-Home Order, my constituency office remains closed for in-person visits. My constituency staff and I will be working remotely at this time. We remain ready to assist. You can continue to contact us at (416) 781-2395 or email [email protected].