What a beautiful day to enter Step 1 of our Reopening Ontario Framework. Based on the provincewide vaccination rate and continuing improvements in key public health and health system indicators, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, moved the province into Step One today. Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen includes but is not limited to:
Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 10 people;
Outdoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services, capped at the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
Indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted at up to 15 per cent capacity of the particular room;
Non-essential retail permitted at 15 per cent capacity, with no restrictions on the goods that can be sold;
Essential and other select retail permitted at 25 per cent capacity, with no restrictions on the goods that can be sold;
Outdoor dining with up to four people per table, with exceptions for larger households;
Outdoor fitness classes, outdoor groups in personal training and outdoor individual/team sport training to be permitted with up to 10 people, among other restrictions;
Day camps for children permitted to operate in a manner consistent with the safety guidelines for COVID-19 produced by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health;
Overnight camping at campgrounds and campsites, including Ontario Parks, and short-term rentals;
Concert venues, theatres and cinemas may open outdoors for the purpose of rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted concert, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance with no more than 10 performers, among other restrictions;
Outdoor horse racing tracks and motor speedways permitted to operate without spectators; and
Outdoor attractions such as zoos, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens with capacity and other restrictions.
The province is further expanding eligibility to help stop the spread of COVID-19 variants and protect communities with the highest rates of Delta (B.1.617) variant transmission. Beginning 8:00 a.m. on Monday, June 14, 2021 individuals who live in Delta hot spots in Halton, Peel, Porcupine, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and York public health units and also received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine on or before May 9, 2021 will be eligible to book their accelerated second dose appointment through the provincial booking system (for Peel and Toronto public health units), directly through public health units that use their own booking system and through participating pharmacies.
Aligned with the province’s accelerated second dose plan, all individuals who received AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD COVID-19 vaccine as a first dose will be eligible to receive their second dose at a 12-week interval, regardless of which vaccine product they choose. Clinical trials demonstrated that when two doses of the AstraZeneca are spread out by 12 weeks, it provided an estimated 82% protection against symptomatic disease. When the two doses were given closer together (9-12 weeks), protection was estimated at 69%.
Studies involving mixed schedules with vaccines using different vaccine platforms are ongoing and real-world evidence will also be forthcoming. Immunogenicity data from the UK Com-COV clinical trial is expected later in June 2021 and Ontario's recommendations may be updated upon review of the findings and as more is understood about vaccine supply in Ontario over the summer.
Furthermore, individuals who received a COVID-19 vaccine outside of Ontario or Canada can now provide proof, such as a vaccination receipt or certificate, to their public health unit in order to be registered in the provincial CovaxON system. Once complete, these individuals will be able to book their second dose appointment through the provincial booking system, public health units that use their own booking system or participating pharmacies and primary care settings at an interval that aligns with Ontario’s vaccine strategy.
Ontario will be resuming in-vehicle passenger road tests on Monday, June 14, 2021, at DriveTest centres across the province. As part of Step One of the province’s Roadmap to Reopen, in-vehicle passenger road testing will resume with safety protocols in place at all DriveTest centres across Ontario. To address the backlog of passenger road tests, Ontario will invest more than $16 million to increase road testing capacity provincewide by hiring 167 additional temporary driver examiners, increasing support staff, expanding road testing hours, and introducing Saturday and Sunday road tests where the demand is highest.
To book a Drive Test visit www.drivetest.ca
This weekend, the Ontario Legislature will be meeting to debate and enact Bill 307, the Protecting Elections and Defending Democracy Act, 2021. This legislation re-enacts limits on third party spending in the 12 month period prior to a fixed-date election.
This legislation is necessary to address a recent court ruling that would have resulted in no limits, no disclosure and no caps on billionaires, corporations, special interest groups, and even foreign governments looking to spend millions to influence Ontario's elections.
Political parties are highly regulated. Donations from unions and corporations are banned. Donations from individuals are capped and the names of donors are publicly disclosed. Spending before and during campaigns is capped and regulated. We can not have American-style super PACs with unlimited money, no rules, and no accountability interfering in our elections.
We will use every tool at our disposal to protect our most sacred right - the democratic voice of the people of Ontario.
This weekend is shaping up to be a beautiful one, so let's take advantage of everything Step 1 has to offer - enjoy a small outdoor gathering with friends and family, or stop by a neighborhood patio. Whatever you do, please continue to stay safe by following health and public safety measures.
My constituency office is open for appointments only. In efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we encourage you to continue to contact us at (416) 781-2395 or email [email protected]. We remain ready to assist.
The Ontario government is investing $141 million to extend the temporary wage increase for personal support workers and direct support workers in publicly funded home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services sectors. This temporary wage increase will continue until August 23, 2021, and will help stabilize, attract and retain the workforce needed to provide a high level of care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City of Toronto today announced the ActiveTO major weekend road closures and highlighted other routes that will be available for people to safely get outside for exercise on Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13.
ActiveTO locations this weekend include: Lake Shore Boulevard East (eastbound lanes only) from Leslie Street to Woodbine Avenue, from June 12 at 6 a.m. until June 13 at 9 p.m. Roads within High Park will be closed to vehicles starting at approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, June 10 until 7 a.m. on Monday, June 14. The Bayview multi-use trail, from Mill Street to Rosedale Valley Road, is available to make more space for people outside. Toronto’s has more than 1,500 parks that remain open for exercise every day of the week.