Transcript: Question Period: Monday, May 03, 2021 | May 04, 2021

A still camera shows the Ontario Legislature. A caption on screen reads "Question Period."

Few members sit inside the chamber. They wear facemasks.

The Speaker stands. He's is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short light brown hair. He wears a black robe.

He says IT IS NOW TIME FOR ORAL QUESTIONS. I recognize the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

The caption changes to "Andrea Horwath. NDP. Leader of the Official Opposition."

Horwath is in her fifties, with straight blond hair in a bob. She wears a gray blazer over a pale pink shirt, and a silver pendant necklace.

She says THANKS, VERY MUCH, SPEAKER. MY QUESTION THIS MORNING IS FOR THE MINISTER OF LONG-TERM CARE. WE'VE NOW HAD THREE REPORTS ON THE GOVERNMENT'S FAILURE IN LONG-TERM CARE. OF COURSE THE FIRST WAS THE CANADIAN ARMED FORCES REPORT LAST YEAR. LAST WEEK WE HAD THE AUDITOR GENERAL'S REPORT AND OF COURSE ON FRIDAY OF LAST WEEK WE RECEIVED THE LONG-TERM CARE COMMISSION'S REPORT, A REPORT THAT WAS REALLY DEVASTATING, SPEAKER. QUITE HORRIFYING AND PAINFUL TO READ IN TERMS OF SOME OF THE THINGS THAT PEOPLE WHEN WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN LONG-TERM CARE. THE REPORT SAYS "ALARM BELLS SHOULD HAVE BEEN RINGING LOUDLY IN ONTARIO. THERE WAS NO PLAN TO PROTECT RESIDENTS IN LONG-TERM CARE." SPEAKER, IT WAS THE MINISTER'S JOB TO PROTECT SENIORS IN LONG-TERM CARE. SHE FAILED. WILL SHE DO THE RIGHT THING AND RESIGN?

The caption changes to "Honourable Merrilee Fullerton. PC. Minister of Long-Term Care."

Fullerton is in her forties, with long wavy blond hair and bangs. She wears a blue blazer over a white blouse.

She says THANK YOU SPEAKER. AND I WANT TO FIRST OF ALL COMMEND THE COMMISSION FOR THEIR IMPORTANT AND INSIGHTFUL WORK AS WELL AS THE WORK DONE BY THE AUDITOR GENERAL TO REALLY GO BACK AND UNDERSTAND WHAT BROUGHT US TO THE PANDEMIC TODAY AND WHAT WE CAN DO MOVING FORWARD WITH THE GUIDE ANXIOUS AND WE WERE VERY CLEAR, BOTH THE AUDITOR GENERAL AND THE COMMISSION REPORT ABOUT THE MANY YEARS OF NEGLECT OF THIS SECTOR, LEADING UP TO THE SORRY STATE THAT OUR GOVERNMENT FOUND THE LONG-TERM CARE SECTOR IN. AND WE ARE WORKING VERY HARD FROM THE VERY BEGINNING TO MAKE SURE THAT THE STAFFING CRISES THAT PREDATED THE PANDEMIC WAS ADDRESSED, THE CAPACITY ISSUES, THE 38,000 PEOPLE ON A WAIT LIST, ALL OF THESE THINGS NEEDED TO BE ADDRESSED AND THAT'S QUITE FRANKLY WHY I CAME INTO POLITICS, IS TO FIX A SYSTEM SO BADLY NEGLECTED BY PREVIOUS GOVERNMENTS AND OUR GOVERNMENT IS DOING THE WORK. THANK YOU.

Horwath says WELL SPEAKER, THERE'S NO DENYING THAT CUTS AND NEGLECT BY THE HARRIS GOVERNMENT, THE MCGUINTY, WYNNE, DEL DUCA GOVERNMENTS, NOBODY IS DENYING THAT THAT'S THE CASE, THERE'S NO ARGUMENT THERE. BUT THE REPORT CLEARLY SHOWS THAT THIS FORD GOVERNMENT WAS MAKING CUTS THAT COST LIVES. THEY LITERALLY GOT RID OF THE COMPREHENSIVE INSPECTIONS BACK IN 2018. IN 2019, THEY WERE CUTTING LONG-TERM CARE AND PUBLIC HEALTH. IT WAS THIS MINISTER'S RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT OUR SENIORS IN LONG-TERM CARE. SHE FAILED AT THAT JOB. WILL SHE NOW STEP DOWN FROM HER JOB?

The Speaker says MINISTER OF LONG-TERM CARE.

Fullerton says THANK YOU SPEAKER. AS I SAID, THE COMMISSION HAS PROVIDED VERY IMPORTANT INSIGHT INTO THE MANY YEARS OF NEGLECT. AS A FAMILY DOCTOR, THIS IS DEVASTATING TO ME, TO BE ABLE TO WANT TO BE ABLE TO HELP, TO HAVE MEASURES TAKEN THAT SIMPLY DID NOT ACCOMPLISH THE NECESSARY PREVENTION THAT WAS REQUIRED AND THE COMMISSION TALKS ABOUT MEASURES, ADDITIONAL MEASURES THAT WE CAN TAKE TO ADDRESS THIS. THIS IS FOUNDATION AMOUNT. THIS WAS ALSO A COLLABORATIVE APPROACH. MANY, MANY GROUPS INVOLVED, PUBLIC HEALTH ONTARIO, ONTARIO HEALTH, MINISTRY OF HEALTH, MINISTER OF LABOUR OR, TRAINING AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT, OUR LOCAL HEALTH I WANT UNITED NATIONS NETWORKS AND THE LIST GOES ON AND ON, THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE HAVE BEEN WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK TO ADDRESS THE CRISES RELATED TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. AND THIS IS HAPPENING AROUND THE WORLD. OUR GOVERNMENT IS THE FIGURE GOVERNMENT IN THE HISTORY OF THIS PROVINCE TO MAKE THE INVESTMENTS NECESSARY TO OVERCOME THE PREVIOUS YEARS OF NEGLECT. WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO THIS. WE WILL MOVE FORWARD WITH LONG-TERM CARE. WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO THE WORK UNTIL THIS SECTOR IS SHORED UP THE WAY IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE YEARS AGO.

The Speaker says FINAL SUPPLEMENTARY.

Horwath says WELL THE MINISTER DOESN'T WANT TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT THE COMMISSION DESCRIBES AS THIS GOVERNMENT'S FAILURE AND SO I'M GOING TO REMIND HER OF SOMETHING THAT THEY SAID. "WITH THE LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE FIRST WAVE AND A SUMMER TO FORTIFY LONG-TERM CARE, IT WAS REASONABLE TO ANTICIPATE THAT THE SECOND WAVE WOULD BE LESS PUNISHING THAN THE FIRST. THAT WAS NOT THE CASE. THE COMMISSION SHOWED THERE WAS NO STAFFING PLAN PUT IN PLACE BY THIS GOVERNMENT. THERE WAS NO INFECTION PREVENTION AND CONTROL PLAN, NO FUNDING FOR EXTRA RESOURCES IN THAT REGARD. HOMES WERE LEFT TO SELF-ASSESS THEIR ABILITY TO DEAL WITH COVID-19 THAT WAS THIS MINISTER'S JOB. IT WAS HER JOB TO PROTECT SENIORS IN LONG-TERM CARE. SHE FAILED. WILL SHE DO THE RIGHT THING AND RESIGN NOW?

The Speaker says MINISTER OF LONG-TERM CARE.

Fullerton says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. DESPITE THOSE REMARKS BY THE MEMBER OPPOSITE, THEY ARE SIMPLY UNFOUNDED. OUR GOVERNMENT HAS CONTINUED... IT'S ABSOLUTELY UNFOUNDED WHAT YOU HAVE JUST SAID. OUR GOVERNMENT HAS CONTINUED TO WORK WITH OUR SECTOR. THE SURVEY WAS ONE OF MANY, MANY MEASURES TAKEN. WE LEARNED LESSONS IN THE FIRST WAVE, AN UNKNOWN VIRUS, GLOBAL SHORTAGES OF MANY, MANY THINGS AND WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEMS IN THIS SECTOR. THE REMARKS BIT MEMBER OPPOSITE ARE ABSOLUTELY UNFOUNDED. THE COMMISSION POINTS OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN TO THE LONG STANDING SYSTEMIC ISSUES. WE RORKD TO SHORE UP THE STAFFING IN THE SECTOR, HIRING 8,600 AND MORE STAFF INTO THE SECTOR WITH OUR PANDEMIC PAY. AND THE SURVEY INFORMED THE FALL PREPAREDNESS PLAN. EACH OF OUR LONG-TERM CARE HOMES WAS RECEIVING THE SUPPORT THAT OUR GOVERNMENT COLLECTIVELY WAS WORKING SO WHEN SHE TALKS ABOUT THE THINGS THAT...

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH. ONCE AGAIN THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION.

Horwath says MY NEXT QUESTION IS ALSO FOR THE MINISTER OF LONG-TERM CARE. I DID HOWEVER SENT RG ACCEPTED HER OVER THE DIRECT QUOTE FROM THE COMMISSION THAT OUTLINES THE ISSUES I JUST RAISED IN MY LAST QUESTION BUT THIS QUESTION IS ABOUT THE ONGOING FAILURE OF THIS MINISTER AND THIS GOVERNMENT IN LONG-TERM CARE. IT'S VERY, VERY CLEAR THAT STAFFING REMAINS A HUGE PROBLEM IN THIS SECTOR. WE KNOW THAT THE STAFFING LEVELS ARE IN FACT LOWER THAN THEY WERE IN THE FIRST WAVE OF COVID-19 BUT STILL THIS GOVERNMENT IS NOT SUPPORTING THE WORKING FOLKS THAT WORK IN THE SECTOR AND IN FACT WHAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS DONE IS BASICALLY CALL INTO QUESTION THEIR ABILITY TO GET THIS SECTOR DEALT WITH. THEY HAVE NOT YET PUT IN PLACE WHAT THE COMMISSION SAYS THEY SHOULD DO IMMEDIATELY, INCREASING THE WAGES OF STAFF PERMANENTLY, MAKING ZHUZH THOSEE ARE FULL TIME, PERMANENT JOBS. MAKING SURE PEOPLE HAVE THE STAFFING NECESSARY IN LONG-TERM CARE TO RECEIVE FOUR HOURS OF HANDS-ON CARE NOW, NOT IN 2025. NOBODY BELIEVES THAT THIS MINISTER WILL MAKE THOSE CHANGES, THAT SHE WILL BRING THOSE CHANGES TO ONTARIO. WILL SHE RESIGN NOW?

The Speaker says MINISTER OF LONG-TERM CARE.

Fullerton says THOSE REMARKS ARE STUNNINGLY IGNORANT AND I SAY THAT...

The Speaker says I'M GOING TO CAUTION THE MINISTER ON HER LANGUAGE AND ASK HER TO QULIEWD HER RESPONSE.

Fullerton says IF YOU WANT TO HAVE ADEQUATE STAFFING IN LONG-TERM CARE, IF YOU WANT TO HAVE THE NECESSARY SUPPORT FOR RESIDENTS, YOU NEED TO ACTUALLY TRAIN THE STAFF AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WE'RE DOING. TO GET TO FOUR HOURS OF CARE, YOU NEED PEOPLE WHO WANT TO WORK IN LONG-TERM CARE, WHO ARE TRAINED TO WORK IN LONG-TERM CARE, AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WE'VE DONE. WE HIRED OVER 8,600 INTO LONG-TERM CARE, AT THE END OF THE FIRST WAVE, INTO THE SECOND WAVE, THOSE MEASURES WERE TAKEN. WE HAVE 6,000 NEW AND 2200 ALREADY. WE CAN NOW 8,000 COMING THROUGH THE DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD AND PRIVATE CAREER COLLEGES. WE'RE USING THE PUBLIC COLLEGE SYSTEM TO TRAIN. WE WILL HAVE 10,000 WITHIN A YEAR. THAT IS FAR MORE THAN ANY PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT EVER DID. WE ARE fixing THIS PROBLEM.

The Speaker says LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION WILL COME TO ORDER. AND THE LEADER TO ASK HER SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Horwath says THE COMMISSION WAS ALSO CLEAR ABOUT THE PROFIT MOTIVE IN LONG-TERM CARE. "IT'S DIFFICULT TO SEE HOW ONE CAN BUILD EXCELLENCE AND CARE WHEN CARE IS ONLY A MEANS TO PROFIT. NOW IS TIME TO REVISIT THE BUSINESS OF LONG-TERM CARE ." YOU KNOW THE FORD GOVERNMENT SHOULD HAVE BEEN PULLING LICENCES, THEY HAVE BEEN HAVE BEEN TAKING OVER THOSE FOR-PROFIT HOMES BUT THEY DIDN'T DO ANY OF THAT. SNED WHAT THEY DID WAS STOP THE INSPECTIONS AND THEN REMOVE ANY LEGAL LIABILITY FROM THE PRIVATE FOR-PROFIT LONG-TERM CARE SECTOR. THEY DID EXACT LIT OPPOSITE OF WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING. HOW CAN THIS MINISTER WHO HAS APPROVED US THE FOR-PROFIT MODEL IN LONG-TERM CARE HAVE THE TRUST OF THE PEOPLE OF ONTARIO THAT THEY WILL DO THE RIGHT THING AND GET RID OF THE PROFIT MOTIVES? NOBODY BELIEVES THEY WILL. WILL...

The Speaker says MINISTER OF LONG-TERM CARE.

Fullerton says THANK YOU, SPEAKER AND I THINK THE MAGNITUDE OF THIS PROBLEM HAS BEEN BUILDING FOR MANY, MANY YEARS. THAT'S CLEAR FROM THE AUDITOR GENERAL. IT'S CLEAR FROM THE COMMISSION'S REPORT. AND WE ARE TAKING ACTION ON THIS. THE COMMISSION IS VERY, VERY CLEAR, THAT IT'S ABOUT BEING MISSION-DRIVEN, THAT IT DOESN'T MATTER WHETHER IT'S FOR-PROFIT OR NOT FOR PROFIT OR MUNICIPAL. IT'S ABOUT THE MISSION. IF YOU READ... IF YOU BOTHER TO READ THE REPORT, IT IS ABOUT BEING MISSION-DRIVEN. AND OUR GOVERNMENT IS ON A MISSION TO REPAIR LONG-TERM CARE, THAT HAS BEEN SO BADLY NEGLECTED OVER MANY, MANY YEARS AS DEMONSTRATED IN THE AUDITOR GENERAL'S REPORT. IT IS VERY, VERY CLEAR AND IT IS OUR GOVERNMENT THAT IS LOOKING AT NEW WAYS OF UNDERSTANDING HOW WE CAN SEPARATE THE OPERATIONS... IT IS THIS GOVERNMENT THAT IS REPAIRING AND REBUILDING LONG-TERM CARE, DESPITE THE NARRATIVES BEING PUSHED OUT...

The Speaker says THE HOUSE WILL COME TO ORDER. LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION, FINAL SUPPLEMENTARY.

Horwath says SPEAKER, SOME OF THESE STORIES IN THAT COMMISSION REPORT BY FAMILY MEMBERS AND BY STAFF WERE NOTHING SHORT OF HORRIFYING. AND I DO WANT TO THANK THOSE FOLKS WHO RETRAUMATIZED THEMSELVES BY SHARING THEIR STORIES. HERE IS ONE, AND I QUOTE... "OF ALL THE PICTURES I HAVE OF MY MOTHER OVER THE YEARS, THE ONE THAT'S BURNED IN MY MIND FOREVER IS HER LYING THERE IN A WET DIAPER, WITHOUT EVEN A BLANKET TO COVER HER, WITH HER ARM UP, STRETCHED IN THE AIR, BEGGING FOR WATER AND ASKING GOD WHY HE HAD FORSAKEN HER." SPEAKER, THIS CAN NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. IT WAS THIS MINISTER'S JOB AND SHE UTTERLY FAILED. WILL SHE DO THE RIGHT THING NOW AND RESIGN? STEP DOWN FROM THAT POST. SHE CERTAINLY HAS NOT DONE HER JOB.

The Speaker says MEMBERS WILL PLEASE TAKE THEIR SEATS. MINISTER OF LONG-TERM CARE TO RESPOND.

Fullerton says THANK YOU SPEAKER, AS I'VE SAID MANY TIMES, I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. I TOOK RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS BEFORE I EVEN GOT TO POLITICS, UNDERSTANDING AND RESEARCHING LONG-TERM CARE FOR ALMOST 14 YEARS, TO UNDERSTAND WHAT WE CAN DO.

The Speaker says EACH REPEATEDLY ASKED FOR ORDER. I WILL HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO MOVE TO WARNINGS IF MEMBERS CONTINUE TO IGNORE MY REQUESTS FOR ORDER. AND THAT MR. APPLY IT ALL MEMBERS. MINISTER OF LONG-TERM CARE, PLEASE CONCLUDE YOUR RESPONSE.

Fullerton says THE KEY COMPONENT TO ADDRESSING THIS PROBLEM AS WE ARE DOING IS THE ACTION OF TAKING RESPONSIBILITY. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE DOING. AND I WENT THROUGH THIS WITH MY OWN FAMILY MEMBERS. IT IS DEVASTATING. CERTAINLY, ANOTHER LEVEL BEING WITH THE PANDEMIC. AND I CAN ONLY TRY TO UNDERSTAND WHAT FAMILIES, RESIDENTS AND STAFF HAVE GONE THROUGH. BUT I UNDERSTAND THE NEGLECT OF THE LONG-TERM CARE SECTOR AND WHAT IT HAS MEANT FOR SO MANY PEOPLE, INCLUDING MY OWN FAMILY. AND THAT'S WHY WE ARE REPAIRING A BROKEN SYSTEM, WITH UNPRECEDENTED HISTORIC MEASURES, NOT ONLY PLANS FOR STAFFING CAPACITY, IPAC...

The Speaker says THANK YOU. THE NEXT question. The member for Brampton Centre.

The caption changes to "Sara Singh. NDP. Brampton Centre."

Singh is in her thirties, with long curly black hair. She wears a red blazer over a black shirt.

She says GOOD MORNING SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS TO THE DEPUTY PREMIER. THE COVID CRISIS IN BRAMPTON CONTINUES TO SPIRAL OUT OF CONTROL. EIGHT OF OUR NEIGHBOURHOODS NOW HAVE POSITIVITY RATES OF OVER 20 percent. THAT'S MORE THAN THE PROVINCIAL... DOUBLE THE PROVINCIAL AVERAGE, SPEAKER. FOR EXAMPLE IN COMMUNITIES IN THE POAFL CODE L6Y WE SEE A SHOCKING POSITIVITY RATE OF 24 percent. IN THE POSTAL CODE L6S WE SEE POSITIVE RATES OF 20 percent AND UPWARDS. SPEAKER BRAMPTON NEEDS HELP. WE ARE A CITY FULL MUCH ESSENTIAL WORKERS WHO KEEP THIS PROVINCE MOVING. BUT THE CONSERVATIVES STILL REFUSE TO STEP UP AND HELP. OUR WORKERS DON'T HAVE ENOUGH PAID SICK DAYS. THEY DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO VACCINES. AND OUR HOSPITALS ARE OVERWHELMED. AND EXPERTS HAVE BEEN CLEAR, THE INEQUITY IN THIS GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSE HAS MEANT THAT PEEL HAS NOT RECEIVED ITS FAIR SHARE AND WE HAVE BEEN LEFT BEHIND. HOW MUCH LONGER IS THE PREMIER GOING TO LET OUR CITY BURN BEFORE SHE FINALLY GETS OFTEN THE SIDELINES AND DOES SOMETHING TO HELP THE CRISIS IN OUR...

The Speaker says MINISTER OF HEALTH.

The caption changes to "Honourable Christine Elliott. PC. Minister of Health."

Elliott is in her late fifties, with shoulder-length blond hair. She wears a black jacket over a printed dress.

She says THANK YOU, SPEAKER AND I WOULD SAY TO THE MEMBER OPPOSITE THROUGH YOU, MR. SPEAKER, THAT WHAT YOU'RE SUGGESTING IS SIMPLY NOT THE CASE. WE RECOGNIZE THAT PEEL, BRAMPTON CONTAINED WITH PEEL, IS A HOT SPOT AREA. AS IS TORONTO AND TO SOME EXTENT YORK. HOWEVER, WE MADE THE DECISION FOLLOWING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF OUR MEDICAL EXPERTS LAST WEEK, BECAUSE WE ARE RECEIVING CONSIDERABLY LARGER QUANTITIES OF THE FIERKS TO DEDICATE 50 percent OF THE VACCINES COMING IN OVER THE NEXT TWO WEEKS TO BE DEDICATE TODAY THOSE HOT SPOT ABORIGINALS. THERE ARE 114 ACROSS ONTARIO BUT PEEL DEFINITELY HAS A NUMBER OF THEM. AS A MATTER OF FACT, WE ARE GOING TO BE DURING THE MONTH OF MAY ALONE ALLOCATING 432,960 DOSES TO PEEL REGION, WHICH WILL MAKE PEEL THE PUBLIC HEALTH UNIT WITH THE SECOND HIGHEST DOSES PER CAPITA IN THE PROVINCE AND THAT COMES SIMPLY...

The Speaker says RESPONSE.

Elliott says SO THERE IS A VAST NUMBER OF VACCINES BEING DELIVERED TO PEOPLE, RECOGNIZING IT'S ONE OF THE HOT SPOTS, RECOGNIZING THAT BRAMPTON WITHIN PEEL IS A HOT SPOT AREA.

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Singh says SPEAKER, WHILE THE CONSERVATIVES CONTINUE TO IGNORE BRAMPTON, OUR COMMUNITY IS NOW TAKING IT UPON THEMSELVES TO DO THE PREMIER'S JOB. THE SAVE PEEL MOVEMENT IS MADE UP OF FRONTLINE WORKERS, TEACHERS, COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS, HEALTH CARE WORKERS AND EVERYONE IN BETWEEN ALL WORKING TOGETHER TO TRY TO CONVINCE THIS GOVERNMENT TO FINALLY STEP UP AND GET US THE SUPPORT WE NEED. SO MY QUESTION AGAIN SPEAKER, THROUGH YOU TO THE DEPUTY PREMIER: WHEN IS THIS GOVERNMENT GOING TO FINALLY STEP UP WITH THE SUPPORTS WE NEED TO SAVE PEEL? THAT MEANS REAL PAID SICK DAYS, PRIORITIZING VACCINATIONS TO OUR COMMUNITIES AND GIVING US THE SUPPORTS WE NEED TO KEEP OUR FAMILIES AND ESSENTIAL WORKERS SAFE.

Elliott says THANK YOU. THE NUMBER MUCH VACCINES BEING ALLOCATED TO BRAMPTON AND PEEL REGION, THE SECOND HIGHEST IN THE PROVINCE. WE ALSO HAVE OVER 150 PHARMACIES IN PEEL, 7 OF WHICH ARE GOING TO BE RUNNING 24-7 AND SIX OF THOSE 24-7 PHARMACIES ARE IN BRAMPTON. WE ALSO HAVE FOUR HOSPITALS OFFERING THE VACCINES, HOT SPOT POP-UPS ADMINISTERING VACCINES. WE'VE HAD WORKPLACE CLINICS AS WELL AT MAPLE LEAF FOODS, AMAZON AND 40 PRIMARY CARE SITES IN PEEL REGION. SO WE HAVE THE QUANTITIES OF VACCINES COMING IN AND WE ALSO HAVE COUNTLESS PLACES FOR PEOPLE TO RECEIVE THOSE VACCINES AND WE ENCOURAGE EVERYONE OVER 18 WHO IS NOW ABLE TO RECEIVE A VACCINE IN A HOT SPOT AREA TO PLEASE APPLY AND PLEASE HAVE YOUR VACCINE DONE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

The Speaker says THANK YOU. THE NEXT question. The member for Scarborough-Agincourt.

The caption changes to "Aris Babikian. PC. Scarborough-Agincourt."

Babikian is in his sixties, clean-shaven and balding. He wears glasses, a gray suit, white shirt, and purple plaid tie.

He says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. MR. SPEAKER, MY QUESTION IS FOR THE MINISTER OF HEALTH. THROUGH YOU, SPEAKER, MY RIDING OF SCARBOROUGH AGINCOURT, LIKE ALL OF SCARBOROUGH, HAS BEEN HARD HIT BY COVID-19. WE KNOW THAT VACCINES ARE THE WAY OUT OF THIS PANDEMIC. BUT UNTIL NOW, WE HAVEN'T HAD THE SUPPLY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN ONTARIO'S HOT SPOTS. CAN THE MINISTER TELL THIS HOUSE WHAT WE ARE DOING TO TARGET OUR HOT SPOTS, COMMUNITIES LIKE SCARBOROUGH? THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

The Speaker says MINISTER OF HEALTH.

Elliott says THANK YOU, SPEAKER AND THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO THE MEMBER FOR SCARBOROUGH AGINCOURT FOR THAT VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION. DUE TO A STABLE AND RELIABLE INCREASE IN VACCINE SUPPLY THIS WEEK, WE ARE EXPANDING OUR BOOKING ELIGIBILITY FOR COVID-19 VACCINATION APPOINTMENTS ACROSS THE PROVINCE. AS OF THIS MORNING AT 8 A.M., INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE 18 AND OVER IN 2021 AND LIP IN ONE OF THE HOT SPOT COMMUNITIES WILL BE ABLE TO BOOK A COVID-19 VACCINE APPOINTMENT AT A MASS IMMUNIZATION CLINIC THROUGH THE PROVINCIAL ONLINE BOOKING SYSTEM OR DIRECTLY THROUGH PUBLIC HEALTH UNITS, USE THEIR OWN BOOKING SYSTEM. AND I'M VERY PLEASED TO ADVISE SPEAKER THAT AS OF THIS MORNING, SINCE 8:00 A.M. OVER 73,500 APPOINTMENTS HAVE BEEN BOOKED. THIS IS GREAT NEWS FOR THE PEOPLE OF ONTARIO AND AGREEMENT NEWS FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE LIVING IN THE HOT SPOT AREAS.

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY.

Babikian says THANK YOU, MINISTER, FOR YOUR RESPONSE. IT IS CRITICAL FOR THE PEOPLE IN MY RIDING TO GET THESE VACCINES INTO ARMS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. CAN THE MINISTER PLEASE TELL THIS HOUSE WHAT WE ARE DOING TO SUPPORT HIGH RISK ONTARIO YANGS NOW THAT WE FINALLY HAVE THE SUPPLY TO EXPAND OUR VACCINE PRIORITIZATION?

The Speaker says MINISTER OF HEALTH.

Elliott says WELL THANK YOU AGAIN FOR THE QUESTION. SPEAKER, BEGINNING THURSDAY MAY 6TH AT 8 A.M. MORE GROUPS THROUGHOUT THE PROVINCE WILL BE ELIGIBLE TO BOOK A COVID-19 VACCINE EMPLOYMENT THROUGH THE PROVINCIAL ONLINE BOOKING SYSTEM AND CALL CENTER OR DIRECTLY THROUGH THE PUBLIC HEALTH UNITS THAT USE THEIR OWN BOOKING SYSTEM. THESE GROUPS INCLUDE INDIVIDUALS TURNING 50 AND OVER IN 2021, INDIVIDUALS WITH HIGH RISK HEALTH CONDITIONS, PEOPLE WHO CANNOT WORK FROM HOME WHO FALL UNDER GROUP 1, INCLUDING REMAINING ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL WORKERS, AND FIRST NATIONS, INUIT AND METIS INDIVIDUALS IN ADDITION TO THE OTHER CHANNELS PREVIOUSLY AVAILABLE TO BOOK THEIR APPOINTMENTS. WE CONTINUE TO INCREASE THE SPEED AND SCALE OF OUR VACCINATION PROGRAM AS WE RECEIVE THE SIGNIFICANT NEW SUPPLIES FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. ONTARIANS.

The Speaker says NEXT question. The member for London West.

The caption changes to "Peggy Sattler. NDP. London West."

Sattler is in her late fifties, with short wavy white hair in a bob. She wears glasses and a black blazer over a black shirt.

She says MY QUESTION IS TO THE DEPUTY PREMIER. EXPERTS SAY THIS GOVERNMENT'S ELEVENTH HOUR CAPITULATION ON PAID SICK DAYS WAS TOO LITTLE TOO LATE TO HAVE AN IMPACT ON REDUCING THE SPREAD. IN A PANDEMIC THAT REQUIRES 14 DAYS TO SELF-ISOLATE, 3 PAID DAYS WON'T KEEP WORKERS HOME WHEN THEY ARE SICK. ONCE THE 3 DAYS ARE USED UP, WORKERS WHO TEST POSITIVE OR HAVE TO QUARANTINE MUST GO WITHOUT PAY AND WAIT UNTIL THE FOLLOWING WEEK TO APPLY FOR THE FIRM PROGRAM, THEN WAIT SOME MORE UNTIL THE BENEFIT ARRIVES. IF THIS GOVERNMENT CARED ABOUT WORKERS, THEY WOULD HAVE MADE SURE THAT WORKERS CAN STAY HOME WHEN THEY HAVE COVID WITHOUT RISKING THEIR OWN FINANCIAL SECURITY. THAT MEANS COVERING 14 PAID DAYS OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE EMERGENCY LEAVE. WHY DID THE GOVERNMENT NOT DO THIS?

The Speaker says MINISTER OF LABOUR, TRAINING AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT.

The caption changes to "Honourable Monte McNaughton. PC. Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development."

McNaughton is in his early forties, clean-shaven, with receding short brown hair. He wears glasses, a blue suit and shirt, and a spotted pink tie.

He says WELL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH, AND I FIRST WANT TO BEGIN BY THANKING THE MEMBER OPPOSITE, HER PARTY AS WELL AS THE OPPOSITION PARTIES FOR SUPPORTING OUR LEGISLATION LAST WEEK TO BRING IN 23 PAID SICK DAYS FOR WORKERS IN ONTARIO. MR. SPEAKER, I'M PROUD TO SAY THAT WE WERE ABLE TO PASS THAT LEGISLATION BECAUSE OF THE SUPPORT OF ALL MEMBERS IN THIS HOUSE AND IN REGARD TIME. MR. SPEAKER, THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF ALL WORKERS REMAINS A GOVERNMENT... OUR GOVERNMENT'S TOP PRIORITY. THAT'S WHY THE VERY FIRST ACTION WE TOOK AS A GOVERNMENT WAS TO BRING IN JOB PROTECTED LEAVE. IF ANY WORKER HAS TO STAY HOME BECAUSE OF COVID-19, THEY CAN'T BE FIRED FOR THAT. WE ALSO ELIMINATED THE NEED FOR SICK NOTES. AND MR. SPEAKER, WE INTRODUCED LAST WEEK OUR PAID LEAVE PLAN TO ENSURE THAT WORKERS ACROSS THE PROVINCE HAVE 23 PAID SICK DAYS.

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY.

Sattler says SPEAKER, GIVEN THE FRUSTRATION THAT THOUSANDS OF ONTARIO SMALL BUSINESSES ARE EXPERIENCING WITH THE SMALL BUSINESS GRANT PROGRAM, THERE'S NOT A LOT OF EMPLOYER CONFIDENCE THAT THEY WILL BE REIMBURSED QUICKLY BY THE WSIB FOR THE THREE PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND SICK. THEY HAVE FACED UNDER STAFFING PROBLEMS. A MS. ITCH NEW WORKLOAD WILL BE REQUIRED TO ADMINISTER THE NEW PROGRAM WHICH MEANS HIRING AND TRAINING SUFFICIENT STAFF. INJURED WORKERS ARE ALREADY WAITING FAR TOO LONG FOR CLAIMS TO BE RESOLVED. WILL THIS GOVERNMENT COMMIT TO PROVIDING ADEQUATE STAFFING AND TRAINING RESOURCES FOR WORKERS AT THE WSIB TO ADMINISTER THE NEW PROGRAM SO THAT STRUGGLING SMALL BUSINESSES AREN'T STRETCHED EVEN FURTHER AND INJURED WORKERS AREN'T FORCED TO WAIT EVEN LONGER?

The Speaker says MINISTER OF LABOUR.

McNaughton says WELL, MR. SPEAKER, AGAIN I THANK THE MEMBER OPPOSITE AND HER PARTY AS WELL AS THE INS FOR SUPPORTING OUR LEGISLATION SO WE CAN GET THAT PIECE OF LEGISLATION LAST WEEK THROUGH THE LEGISLATURE QUICKLY. BUT MR. SPEAKER, ONE OF THE REASONS WHY OUR PLAN IS BALANCED IS THE FACT THAT SMALL BUSINESSES AND EMPLOYERS ARE GOING TO GET REI AM BURGSED. AND MR. SPEAKER, WE'VE SEEN A NUMBER OF PRIVATE MEMBERS BILLS COME FORWARD AT QUEEN'S PARK OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS THAT WERE GOING TO PUT 100 percent OF THE COSTS ON SMALL BUSINESSES, WHICH WOULD HAVE FORCED THOUSANDS OF SMALL BUSINESSES INTO BANKRUPTCY AND WOULD HAVE ENSURED THAT WORKERS WOULD NOT HAVE HAD A JOB TO GO BACK TO WHEN WE GET THROUGH COVID-19. OUR PLAN ENSURES THAT WORKERS GET PAID QUICKLY AND SMALL BUSINESSES AND EMPLOYERS GET REIMBURSED QUICKLY AS WELL.

The Speaker says THE NEXT question. The member for Ottawa-South.

The caption changes to "John Fraser. Liberal. Ottawa South."

Fraser is in his late forties, clean-shaven, with wavy white hair. He wears a black suit, blue shirt, and striped red tie.

He says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER. MIGHT HAPPEN QUESTION IS FOR THE MINISTER OF LONG-TERM CARE. ON FRIDAY THE INDEPENDENT LONG-TERM CARE COMMISSION RELEASED THEIR FINAL REPORT. AMONGST OTHER THINGS, IT HIGHLIGHTS A LACK OF A SENSE OF URGENCY. IT GOES ON TO SAY THE PROVINCE'S RESPONSE WAS SLOW, REACTIVE, CRITICAL DECISIONS CAME TOO LATE. DAYS MAKE A DIFFERENCE, DELAY IS DEADLY. THERE ARE 85 RECOMMENDATIONS MADE BY THE COMMISSION. THERE ARE SPECIFIC PROVISIONS AROUND ACCOUNTABILITY AND ENFORCEMENT. IT SAYS REPEATED FINES OF NON-COME MEANS MUSTING MET WITH CONSEQUENCES OF SEVERITY INCLUDING MANDATORY MANAGEMENT ORDERS AND TRANSFER OF LICENCES SO SPEAKER, THROUGH YOU, WILL THE MINISTER BE ADOPTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS WITH REGARDS TO ACCOUNTABILITY AND ENFORCEMENT?

The Speaker says MINISTER OF LONG-TERM CARE.

Fullerton says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. AND THANKS TO THE MEMBER OPPOSITE FOR THAT IMPORTANT QUESTION. GENERAL LIP THE NEGLECT OF THE LONG-TERM CARE HAD BEEN FOR MANY YEARS THE COMMISSION ON LONG-TERM CARE IS VERY CHEER ABOUT THAT, AND LOOKING AT HOW WE CAN MAKE SURE THAT OUR STAFF ARE SUPPORTED IN LONG-TERM CARE AND THAT RESIDENTS, THEY CAN IN TURN SUPPORT RESIDENTS IN LONG-TERM CARE, REQUIRES NOT ONLY TRANSPARENCY, GOOD COMMUNICATION AND ENFORCEMENT BUT IT ALSO REQUIRES THE SPENDING THAT IS REQUIRED TO SHORE UP THE STAFFING AS OUR GOVERNMENT IS DOING. 115 MILLION DOLLARS TO CREATE 8,200 MORE PSWS FOR LONG-TERM CARE, TO THE PUBLIC COLLEGE SYSTEM. ANOTHER 8,000 THROUGH THE DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD AND PRIVATE CLEAR COLLEGE. THIS IS GOING TO AMOUNT TO 10,000 MORE STAFF FOR LONG-TERM CARE. THIS IS UNPRECEDENTED IN THE HISTORY OF LONG-TERM CARE TO ADDRESS THESE STAFFING CHALLENGES. AND ALSO, YOU KNOW, THE CAPACITY. SO ABSOLUTELY, TRANSPARENCY IS KEY AS WELL AS ACCOUNTABILITY. IT MUST BE ALSO THROUGH SUPPORTIVE MEASURES THAT ALLOW THE WORKERS TO DO THEIR JOBS. THANK YOU.

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY.

Fraser says SPEAKER, I HEARD A YES THERE. AND I DO WANT TO REMIND THE MINISTER THAT WE DID TAKE WAY LONGER TO STAFF UP BETWEEN THE FIRST AND SECOND WAVE THAN OTHER PROVINCES, VERY CLEARLY, LIKE QUEBEC. BUT YOU HAD THE TOOLS BEFORE THIS. PANDEMIC.BILL 160 PASSED IN DECEMBER 2017. THE BILL CREATES GREATER STANDARDS IN LONG-TERM CARE HOMES AND ENFORCES GREAT ESH PENALTIES FOREIGN HOME OTHER THAN FORCE WHO DO NOT ADHERE TO THESE STANDARDS. IT OUTLINED NEW RULES ON THE TREATMENT OF RESIDENTS AND RAISED THE BAR ON ACCOUNTABILITY. THE BILL RECEIVED ROYAL AIS NOT BUT YOU NEVER ENACTED IT. YOU DECIDED AGAINST THE INCREASED ACCOUNTABILITY AND INSPECTIONS, AGAINST STRONGER PENALTIES FOR HOME OPERATE ATTORNEYS. YOU DECIDED AGAINST INCREASED CARE STANDARDS AND PROTECTING OUR MOST VULNERABLE. SO SPEAKER THROUGH YOU, SIMPLE QUESTION... BILL 160 IS THERE, IT'S READY TO GO. WILL THE MINISTER ENACT IT?

The Speaker says MINISTER OF LONG-TERM CARE.

Fullerton says THANK YOU SPEAKER. FIRST OF ALL I WOULD LIKE TO CLARIFY SOME OF THE COMMENTS MADE BY THE MEMBER OPPOSITE. OUR GOVERNMENT WAS ABLE TO HIRE 8,600 AND MORE PEOPLE INTO LONG-TERM CARE BETWEEN THE FIRST WAVE AND THE SECOND WAVE THROUGH THE PANDEMIC PAY. WE WERE SHORING UP LONG-TERM CARE AS WE WERE DEALING WITH NOT ONLY THE PRE- EXIST CRISIS OF STAFFING BUT THE PANDEMIC. THE MEMBER OPPOSITE LIKES TO USE QUEBEC AS AN EXAMPLE. THEY DID NOT HIRE PSWS. WE WERE CREATING MANY SUPPORTS FOR OUR LONG-TERM CARE HOMES AS WE WENT AND I THINK THAT'S IMPORTANT TO CLARIFY. OUR GOVERNMENT WILL CONSIDER THE RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE COMMISSION AND WE WILL DEFINITELY MAKE SURE THAT WE TAKE THEIR RECOMMENDATIONS TO HEART. THEY ARE VERY INSIGHTFUL AND ONCE AGAIN, I WANT TO THANK THE COMMISSION FOR DOING THIS IMPORTANT WORK AND FOR BEING TRANSPARENT ABOUT IT AND FOR GETTING IT DONE ON TIME. THANK YOU.

The Speaker says THE MEMBER FOR SCARBOROUGH AGINCOURT.

Babikian says THANK YOU MR. SPEAKER. MR. SPEAKER, MY QUESTION IS FOR THE SOLICITOR GENERAL. IN MY RIDE BEING AND ACROSS SCARBOROUGH, I HEAR FROM MANY CONSTITUENTS LIKE CHILD CARE WORKERS WHO CANNOT WORK FROM HOME. THEY ARE AN EXCUSE TO GET THEIR VACCINES SO THEY CAN CONTINUE TO PROVIDE HIGH QUALITY CARE TO OUR CHILDREN.

The Speaker says ORDER.

Babikian says CAN THE MINISTER PLEASE TELL THIS HOUSE WHAT WE ARE DOING TO SUPPORT...

The Speaker says ORDER. GOVERNMENT HOUSE LEADER WILL COME TO ORDER. MEMBER FOR OTTAWA SOUTH WILL COME TO ORDER. MEMBER FOR DON VALUE I WEST WILL COME TO ORDER. THE RESPONSE, SOLICITOR GENERAL.

The caption changes to "Honourable Sylvia Jones. PC. Solicitor General."

Jones is in her sixties, with straight blond hair in a short bob. She wears glasses, a pink blazer and a black blouse.

She says A REALLY IMPORTANT QUESTION AND FRANKLY A NEW PATHWAY THIS COMING WEEK, SO THANK YOU FOR THE MEMBER FOR SCARBOROUGH AGINCOURT FOR RAISING IT. AS THE MINISTER OF HEALTH SAID, STARTING ON THURSDAY, THIS THURSDAY MAY 6TH AT 8 A.M., EVEN MORE ONTARIANS WHO CANNOT WORK FROM HOME WILL BE ELIGIBLE TO BOOK THEIR VACCINE APPOINTMENTS. THOSE INCLUDE REMAINING ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL WORKERS, INCLUDING EDUCATORS, CUSTODIAL, BUS DRIVERS AND ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF. REMAINING WORKERS RESPONDING TO CRITICAL EVENTS INCLUDING POLICE, FIRE, SPECIAL CONSTABLES, CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETY WORKERS, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE RESTORATION WORKERS AND REMAINING INDIVIDUALS IN THE CHILD CARE SETTINGS INCLUDING ALL LICENCEES, EMPLOYEES AND STUDENTS ON EDUCATIONAL PLACEMENTS WHO INTERACTION DIRECTLY WITH CHILDREN IN LICENSED CHILD CARE CENTERS AND IN AUTHORIZED RECREATION AND SKILL BUILDING PROGRAMS, LICENSED HOME CARE, CHILD CARE AND IN HOME SERVICE PROVIDERS, EMPLOYEES OF HOME CARE, CHILD AGENCIES, FOSTER CARE, AGENDA WORKERS, INCLUDING CUSTOMER CARE PROVIDERS. YOU KNOW SPEAKER, WE'VE VACCINATED FIVE MILLION ONTARIO ADULTS AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO THAT AS OUR SUPPLY INCREASES. THANK YOU.

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY.

Babikian says MR. SPEAKER, THANK YOU TO THE MINISTER FOR THAT ANSWER. I AM KNOW MANY OF MY CONSTITUENTS ARE EXCITED TO FINALLY BE ABLE TO BOOK THEIR VACCINE APPOINTMENT. THERE IS FINALLY A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL FOR SCARBOROUGH AGINCOURT. IN ADDITION TO CHILD CARE WORKERS THERE ARE MANY MORE ESSENTIAL WORKERS IN SCARBOROUGH. CAN THE MINISTER TELL THIS HOUSE IF THERE ARE ANY ADDITION GROUPS THAT WILL BE ABLE TO START BOOKING THIS THURSDAY? THANK YOU.

The Speaker says SOLICITOR GENERAL.

Jones says THERE ARE, SPEAKER AND I'M VERY PLEASED TO SHARE AS I SAID 5 MILLION ONTARIO ADULTS HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED THEIR FIRST DOSE AND STARTING ON THURSDAY, WE HAVE AN ADDITIONAL GROUP THAT ARE ELIGIBLE TO BOOK ONLINE. FOOD MANUFACTURING AND DISTRIBUTION WORKERS, AGRICULTURE AND FARM WORKERS, FUNERAL, CREE MET ORIUM AND CEMETERY WORKERS, BORDER INSPECN OFFICERS, LABOUR INSPECTORS AND WSIB FIELD WORKERS. WE SAID FROM THE VERY BEGINNING WHEN WE MADE OUR PROVINCIAL FRAMEWORK THAT INDIVIDUALS WHO COULD NOT WORK FROM HOME WOULD GET ACCESS TO THE VACCINE AS SOON AS WE HAD SUFFICIENT SUPPLY. I'M THRILLED TO BE ABLE TO SHARE WITH THE HOUSE TODAY THAT THAT HAPPENS THURSDAY. THANK YOU.

The caption changes to "Honourable Ted Arnott. Speaker."

The Speaker says NEXT QUESTION. THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION.

Horwath says THANKS, SPEAKER. ITCH ANOTHER QUESTION FOR THE MINISTER OF LONG-TERM CARE. SPEAKER, I QUOTED A STORY FROM A RESIDENT. HERE IS A COUPLE FROM PSWS IN LONG-TERM CARE, FROM THE COMMISSION REPORT. AND I QUOTE, "COULDN'T GET TO A RESIDENT FAST ENOUGH THAT WAS ASKING FOR SOME WATER, SO HERE I AM, STILL STRUGGLING WITH THE THOUGHT OF IS SHE THIRSTY STILL ON HER JOURNEY? BECAUSE I COULDN'T GET THE WATER TO HER FAST ENOUGH. BY THE TIME I'M GOING FOR THE WATER, SOMEONE ELSE IS CALLING OR CALLING OUT." ANOTHER QUOTE, "HOW MANY PSWS, HOW MANY HEALTH CARE WORKERS HAVE TO GIVE UP THEIR LIVES BECAUSE WE CAN'T GET IT TOGETHER? I DON'T THINK WE HAVE TO BE. WE SHOULDN'T HAVE TO DIE IN ORDER TO DO OUR JOB SO THERE HAS TO BE A WORKABLE ISOLATION PLAN. PEOPLE WERE CRYING OUT FOR THIS MINISTER TO DO HER JOB. IT WAS HER JOB TO PROTECT RESIDENTS IN LONG-TERM CARE AND PROTECT LONG-TERM CARE FROM COVID-19. SHE FAILED AT THAT JOB. WILL SHE DO THE RIGHT THING AND RESIGN TODAY?

The Speaker says MINISTER OF LONG-TERM CARE.

Fullerton says THANK YOU SPEAKER. YOU KNOW, AND I... IT IS DITCH STATING TO LISTEN TO THE STORIES AND TO UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPENED AND I THINK IT IS THE VERY REASON WHY I'M HERE IN POLITICS TODAY, IS TO ADDRESS THESE LONG STANDING ISSUES AND WHY NOBODY ELSE WAS DOING IT BEFORE THIS, I DO NOT KNOW. MY RESIGNATION WOULD NOT REPLACE A SINGLE WARD BED. IT WOULD NOT CREATE A SINGLE VACCINE FOR SOMEONE. IT WOULD NOT STOP A SINGLE NEW VARIANT FROM EMERGING. BUT WHAT I CAN DO AND WHAT OUR GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN DOING IS REPARK AND REBUILDING AND ADVANCING LONG-TERM CARE, EVER SINCE WE BECAME GOVERNMENT. AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO THAT. WE ARE SHORING UP THE STAFFING, THE LONG NEGLECTED STACHG, WE ARE BUILDING COMPACHT, WE ARE ACCELERATING BUILDS. WE ARE USING NEW METHODS OF CONSTRUCTION. WE ARE UNDERSTANDING THE NEEDS OF FAMILIES AND REGULARS DENTS UNLIKE ANY PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT BEFORE US.

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY.

Horwath says SPEAKER, YOU KNOW, THE STORIES THAT ARE OUTLINED, THE HORRIFYING DEVASTATING STORIES IN THE COMMISSION AGRICULTURE REPORT AREN'T NEW. THE SAME STORIES WERE BEING TOLD TO THE GOVERNMENT BY THE CANADIAN ARMED FORCES, AND AS THE COMMISSION SAID, INSTEAD OF SPENDING THE SUMMER SHORING UP LONG-TERM CARE, THIS MINISTER CHOSE NOT TO DO SO. THIS GOVERNMENT ACCIDENT RG DIDN'T WANT TOSPEND THE MONEY. ANOTHER STORY "SHE LIKELY WOULD HAVE DIED FROM NEGLECT, SHE LOST OVER 20 POUNDS IN A MATTER OF WEEKS AND WAS NEARING DEATH BY STARVATION BECAUSE WE WERE LOCKED OUT AND UNABLE TO HELP HER WHILE STAFF WERE OFF RECOVERING FROM COVID-19." THIS MINISTER'S JOB WAS TO PROTECT THAT WOMAN AND EVERYBODY ELSE IN LONG-TERM CARE FROM COVID-19, SHE FAILED AT THAT JOB. WILL SHE DO THE RIGHT THING AND STEP DOWN? SHE DOES NOT BELONG AS THE MINISTER OF LONG-TERM CARE. SHE FAILED UTTERLY, SPEAKER.

The Speaker says MINISTER OF LONG-TERM CARE.

Fullerton says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. IN FACT, IF YOU GO BACK AND READTHE TESTIMONY OF THE COMMISN OF LONG-TERM CARE YOU WILL SEE THEM TALK ABOUT THE MAGNITUDE OF THE SECOND WAVE AND THE INADEQUACIES THAT HAD BEEN LEFT FOR MANY, MANY YEARS IN LONG-TERM CARE, THAT THE SECOND WAVE MAGNITUDE WAS SO GREAT IT COULD NOT BE OVERCOME. AND THAT LEVEL OF COMMUNITY SPREAD IN WAVE 2 WAS VERY SIGNIFICANT, AND SO WE ARE HERE NOW, AS A GOVERNMENT, COMMITTED TO LONG-TERM CARE, TO THE REBUILDING AND THE REPAIR AND ADVANCING IT AND THAT IS VERY CLEAR FROM THE HISTORIC INVESTMENTS, ALMOST 10 BILLION DOLLARS TO SHORE UP THE STAFFING. OUR COMMITMENT TO FOUR HOURS OF DIRECT CARE PER RESIDENT, THE CAPACITY ISSUES, THE DOLLARS THAT HAVE BEEN SPENT FOR THE IPAC AND WORKING WITH THE DIFFERENT ENTITIES RESPONSIBLE FOR THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM, HEALTH CARE ONTARIO, MULTIPLE MINISTRIES MAKING SURE THAT EVERY STONE IS TURNED TO REPAIR AND REBUILD LONG-TERM CARE. THAT IS OUR MISSION, THAT IS WHAT WE WERE DOCK BEFORE COVID, THAT IS WHAT WE WERE DOING DURING COVID AND THAT IS WHAT...

The Speaker says THANK YOU VERY MUCH. NEXT question. The member for CAMBRIDGE.

The caption changes to "Belinda C. Karahalios. NB. Cambridge."

Karahalios is in her thirties, with long curly brown hair. She wears a white blazer over a white blouse.

She says THANK YOU SPEAKER. GOOD MORNING. MIGHT HAPPEN QUESTION IS FOR THE MINISTER OF CHILDREN, COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES. ON APRIL 23RD IT WAS REPORTED THAT ON SURGEON APRIL 18TH TWO OOCH OFFICERS APPROACHED A GROUP MUCH PARENTS AT A PARK, DEMANDING FOR PATIENTS THEIR NAMES AND DATE OF BIRTH AND THEY NOT RG THEN WENT ON TO THREATEN THE PARENTS, TO LET THEM KNOW IN THESE TYPE OF SITUATIONS THEY'RE LIASING WITH THE CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETY. HE DIDN'T EXPLAIN WHAT THE SITUATION WAS, THAT THE PARENTS WERE NOT... STATING THAT THE OPP MAY LIAS WITH CHILDREN'S AID IF SOCIAL DISAPPEARING OR MASK WEARING IS NOT DONE BY PARENTS. DOES THIS GOVERNMENT BELIEVE IT IS THE JOB OF THE OPP TO SPY ON PARENTS IN PARKS WITH THEIR CHILDREN, COLLECT THEIR INFORMATION AND GO RUNNING TO CHILDREN'S AID IF IN THEIR OPINION THE APPROPRIATE MASK WEARING OR SOCIAL DISTANCING IS NOT OCCURRING?

The caption changes to "Honourable Paul A. Calandra. PC. Government House Leader."

Calandra is in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short gray hair. He wears a blue suit, white shirt and blue tie.

He says CLEARLY I AM NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO TALK ABOUT INDIVIDUAL INSTANCES THAT MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE OCCURRED. THE PROPER INVESTIGATION SHOULD BE LEFT TO THE OPP AND OR THE JURISDICTION IN WHICH THE ALLEGED INCIDENT OCCURRED. WHAT I CAN TELL YOU IS THAT WE ALL NEED TO UNDERSTAND AND APPRECIATE THAT THERE IS CURRENTLY A STAY AT HOME ORDER IN PLACE, THERE ARE A NUMBER OF FACILITIES, INCLUDING A NUMBER OF MUNICIPAL, PROVINCIAL ASSETS THAT HAVE BEEN CLOSED TO DISCOURAGE PEOPLE FROM GATHERING TOGETHER. SO THAT WE CONTINUE TO STAY SAFE AND KEEP PEOPLE PHYSICALLY DISTANCED FROM EACH OTHER AND IF WE CANNOT, THEN WEAR MASKS. ALL OF THESE PIECES TOGETHER ENSURE THAT WE CAN AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE LIMIT THE TRANSMISSION OF THE COVID-19 AND THE VARIANTS OF CONCERN AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO THAT TO PROTECT OUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION.

Karahalios says SPEAKER, IT APPEARS THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS LOST THE PLOT. I WOULD LIKE TO REMIND THIS GOVERNMENT THAT IT IS PARENTS, NOT THE OPP, NOT THE MINISTER, AND NOT THE PREMIER, BUT PARENTS THAT ARE THE PRIME RIP EDUCATORS AND CAREGIVERS OF THEIR CHILDREN. IN THE SAME NEWS REPORT THE MINISTRY OF CHILDREN, COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES SAID IT HAS NOT PROVIDED SPECIFIC GUIDANCE TO CHILDREN'S AID TO REPORT PARENTS WHO ARE NOT COMPLYING WITH CURRENT STAY AT HOME ORDERS. BUT THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH. WHAT I WANT TO KNOW IS SINCE THE NEWS REPORT, HAS THIS GOVERNMENT INSTRUCTED CHILDREN'S AID AND THE OPP TO BACK OFF WHEN IT COMES TO HOW PARENTS ARE PARENTING THEIR CHILDREN ON THINGS LIKE MASK WEARING AND SOCIAL DISTANCING?

The Speaker says GOVERNMENT HOUSE LEADER.

Calandra says I THINK THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN VERY CLEAR RIGHT FROM THE ONSET, THAT THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT PARENTS AND CHILDREN IS TO ABIDE BY THE REGULATIONS THAT HAVE BEEN PUT FORWARD BY OUR MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO. I THINK WE ARE BOTH IN AGREEMENT, BOTH MYSELF, THE GOVERNMENT AND THE MEMBER OPPOSITE THAT PARENTS ARE OF COURSE BEST PLACE TO KEEP THEIR CHILDREN SAFE, AND AT THE SAME TIME MR. SPEAKER, IT'S THE GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSIBILITY TO HELP AND PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO ENSURE THAT PARENTS KNOW EVERYTHING AND... EVERYTHING THAT THEY MUST KNOW IN ORDER TO HELP KEEP THEIR CHILDREN SAFE. I THINK WE ALL HAVE THE EXACT SAME GOAL, MR. SPEAKER, KEEPING OUR CHILDREN SAFE, KEEPING THE PROVINCE SAFE AND WE'LL CONTINUE ON THAT PATH. THANK YOU.

The Speaker says NEXT question. The member for SCARBOROUGH AGINCOURT.

Babikian says MR. SPEAKER, MY QUESTION IS TO THE MINISTER OF HEALTH. MR. SPEAKER, DESPITE AN INCONSISTENT VACCINE SUPPLY TO DATE, OUR GOVERNMENT HAS CONTINUED TO BUILD A SOLID FOUNDATION IN ONTARIO'S VACCINE ROLLOUT. WITH THE FOCUS ON AGE AND RISK, ALLOWING US TO REACH USUAL MOST VULNERABLE POPULATIONS AND HAVE A MEASURABLE IMPACT. CAN THE MINISTER OF HEALTH UPDATE THIS HOUSE ON THE STATUS OF OUR VACCINATION PROGRAM FOR THE MONTH OF MAY? THANK YOU.

Elliott says THANK YOU AND THANKS ONCE AGAIN TO THE MEMBER FOR THAT QUESTION. I WAS PLEASED TO REPORT, SPEAKER, TO THIS HOUSE THAT LAST THURSDAY WE WERE ON TRACK TO ACHIEVE OUR GOAL OF ADMINISTERING FIRST DOSES OF COVID-19 VACCINES TO 40 percent OF ONTARIANS AGED 18 OR OVER, WHICH WAS ACHIEVED. AS OF TODAY, OVER 5.3 MILLION DOSES HAVE BEEN ADMINISTERED ACROSS THE PROVINCE. IMPORTANTLY, MR. SPEAKER, OVER 91 percent OF ONTARIANS AGED 80 AND OVER HAVE RECEIVED AT LEAST ONE DOSE, OVER 25,000 FIRST AND SECOND DOSES HAVE BEEN ADMINISTERED IN 31 FLY-IN FIRST NATIONS COMMUNITIES IN MOOSANEE AND 95 percent OF LONG-TERM CARE RESIDENTS ARE NOW IF YOU PLEASELY VACCINATED PROVIDING A LAYER OF PROTECTION TO THOSE WHO NEED IT MOST. MR. SPEAKER THE BEST VACCINE FOR ANYONE REMAINS THE FIRST VACCINE THAT YOU'RE OFFERED AND I HOPE THAT EVERYONE IN ONTARIO WILL THAT I CAN AT THAT UP SNGZ THEY'VE REACHED THE REQUIRED AGE AGE.

Babikian says MR. SPEAKER I AM PROUD OF WHAT OUR GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH DESPITE UNPREDICTABLE SUPPLY OF VACCINE TO DATE. NOW THAT WE HAVE MORE VACCINES BEING DELIVERED THIS MONTH, CAN THE MINISTER TELL US HOW WE ARE GOING TO RESPOND OUR CAPACITY TO VACCINATE EVEN MORE ONTARIANS? THANK YOU.

The Speaker says MINISTER OF HEALTH.

Elliott says YES, AND THANK YOU AGAIN TO THE MEMBER FOR THE QUESTION. APPROXIMATELY 800,000 DOSES OF THE PFIZER COVID-19 VACCINE ARE EXPECTED TO ARRIVE IN ONTARIO EACH WEEK AT THE START OF MAY, RAMPING UP TO 940,000 DOSES PER WEEK BY THE END OF MAY MUCH THIS RELIABLE INCREASE IN VACCINE SUPPLY ALLOWS OUR GOVERNMENT TO FURTHER ACCELERATE OUR VACCINE ROLLOUT AND GET MORE SHOTS INTO ARMS. BECAUSE OF THIS, LAST FRIDAY WE LAUNCHED A PILOT THROUGH SELECT PHARMACY LOCATIONS IN HOT SPOT COMMUNITIES TO ADMINISTER THE FIERKS TO INDIVIDUALS AGED 55 AND OVER. EACH LOCATION WILL RECEIVE APPROXIMATELY 150 DOSES PER WEEK TO HELP TO CONTINUE TO PROVIDE PROVINCE-WIDE CAPACITY TO VACCINATE AS MANY INDIVIDUALS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. MR. SPEAKER, WITH A STRONG AND STEADY SUPPLY OF VACCINES ON THE WAY, WE WILL CONTINUE PROVIDING ACCESS TO INDIVIDUALS ACROSS THE PROVINCE. THANK YOU.

The Speaker says THANK YOU. THE NEXT question. The member for Algoma-Manitoulin.

The caption changes to "Michael Mantha. NDP. Algoma-Manitoulin."

Mantha is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short gray hair. He wears glasses, a gray suit, white shirt, and gray plaid tie.

He says THANK YOU SPEAKER. LAST WEEK, WE LEARNED THAT THE PREMIER'S PERSONAL POLLSTER AND PROFESSIONAL LOBBYIST NICK CAVALAS HAS BEEN QUIETLY POCKETING OVER 100,000 dollars A YEAR OF TAXPAYER MONEY TO ADVISE THE CONSERVATIVES. THAT'S ON TOP OF THIS 120 MILLION DOLLARS HE'S GOTTEN IN GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS FROM THE PREMIER IN THE LAST FEW YEARS, SPEAKER. SPEAKER, MY QUESTION IS TO THE DEPUTY PREMIER: WE KNOW IT'S JUST NOT NICK. CORY TIN HE CAN I IS ALSO ON THE PC PARTY PAYROLL. WHY DOES THE GOVERNMENT THINK THAT LOBBYISTS AND PC INSIDERS DESERVE A BIGGER SAY AROUND THE TABLE THAN EXPERTS AT THE SCIENCE TABLE?

The Speaker says GOVERNMENT HOUSE LEADER.

Calandra says CLEERVEL, WE DON'T, MR. SPEAKER. THIS IS WHY THIS LEGISLATURE HAS BEEN MEETING FOUR MONTHS NONSTOP TO BRING FORWARD AN AGGRESSIVE PANDEMIC RESPONSE. I REMIND THE MEMBER OPPOSITE THAT INDEED HIS PARTY VOTED WITH THE GOVERNMENT UNANIMOUSLY IN FACT, ALL MEMBERS OF THIS LEGISLATURE VOTED WITH THE GOVERNMENT ON A NUMBER OF PROPOSALS AT THE ONSET OF THIS PANDEMIC, MR. SPEAKER. IT'S THE JOB OF THE GOVERNMENT TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER AND ADDRESS ISSUES WITH RESPECT TO GLOBAL HEALTH AND ECONOMIC PANDEMIC, THE LIKES OF WHICH WE HAVE NOT SEEN IN OVER A HUNDRED YEARS, MR. SPEAKER AND I'M VERY PROUD OF THE FACT THAT WE HAVE DONE THAT, WHETHER IT'SEN STATES OF EMERGENCY WHICH WE'VE RECEIVED UNANIMOUS CONSENT FOR, WHETHER IT'S ON BUDGETS, WHICH WE SUPPORTED THE UNANIMOUS SUPPORT OF THIS HOUSE FOR AND MOST RECENTLY THE MINISTER OF LABOUR WHO WAS ABLE TO BRIDGE GAPS BETWEEN ALL MEMBERS IN THIS LEGISLATURE AND BRING FORWARD A BILL ON SICK PAY WHICH RECEIVED THE UNANIMOUS CONSENT OF EVERY MEMBER OF THIS LEGISLATURE AND SPEEDY PASSAGE, MR. SPEAKER. WE'RE GETTING THE JOB DONE FOR ALL ONTARIANS AND MORE OFTEN THAN NOT WE'RE DOING IT TOGETHER.

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY.

Mantha says SPEAKER, AGAIN TO THE DEPUTY PREMIER: WHILE LOB YITIONS AND PC INSIDERS ARE STEERING THE SHIP AROUND THE CABINET TABLE, ONTARIANS ARE ASKING WHAT THE PREMIER AND HIS MINISTERS ARE DOING. TURNS OUT THEY ARE ALL OUT FUNDRAISING MUCH FIRST THE PREMIER LEFT A CABINET MEETING TO EXPAND POLICE POWERS AND SHUT DOWN PARKS TO FUND RAISE. HIS THIRD FUNDRAISER THAT MONTH. NOW THE MINISTER OF LABOUR HAS ANOTHER 1,000-DOLLAR PER PLATE FUNDRAISER PLANNED THIS WEEK. SPEAKER, 100,000 dollars PER PLATE PAYS A LOT OF SICK DAYS. JUST SAYING. SO MY QUESTION AGAIN, THROUGH YOU TO THE DEPUTY PREMIER... WHY? WHEN WE'RE IN THE WORST CRISIS OUR PROVINCE HAS EVER SEEN, WHY IS THIS GOVERNMENT'S TOP PRIORITY FILLING THE PC PARTY BANK ACCOUNTS?

The Speaker says GOVERNMENT HOUSE LEADER.

Calandra says OF COURSE, MR. SPEAKER, WE'VE BEEN WORKING VERY, VERY HARD. I'LL TELL YOU WHAT I HAVE BEEN DOING, ON THE WEEKEND OF COURSE I WAS ABLE TO SPEAK TO A SMALL BUSINESS IN MY COMMUNITY THAT HAS HAD A CHALLENGING TIME. WHO OPENED UP JUST AS THE PANDEMIC WAS STARTING, A BRAND NEW SHOE REPAIR BUSINESS FOR STOUFFVILLE AND BACKTASH I WANT HIM TO KNOW THAT WE ARE SUPPORTING AND HELPING HIM. I SPOKE TO PARENTS, LISA AND MARGARET, WHO VARIOUS TOLD ME ABOUT THE CHALLENGES THAT THEY'RE FACING, AND UNDERSTANDABLY THE CHALLENGES OF CHILDREN AT HOME WHILE THEY'RE TRYING TO GET THEIR KIDS THROUGH SCHOOL, WHILE STILL DOING THEIR JOBS, MR. SPEAKER. AND I KNOW THOSE ARE STORIES THAT WE'VE HEARD FROM A NUMBER OF PEOPLE. THE MEMBER FOR NORTHUMBERLAND-PETERBOROUGH WAS TELLING US WITH RESPECT TO...

The Speaker says OPPOSITION WILL COME TO ORDER.

Calandra says THE GREAT WORK THEY'VE BEEN DOING ON VACCINATIONS. WE HEARD FROM THE MINISTER OF HEALTH TALKING ABOUT THE WORK DONE TO GET ALL THE FIRST NATIONS VACCINATED IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO. THERE'S A LOT OF WORK TO BE DONE.

The Speaker says THANK YOU. NEXT question. The member for York Centre.

The caption changes to "Roman Baber. Independent. York Centre."

Baber is in his late thirties, clean-shaven, with short brown hair. He wears a dark gray suit, white shirt, and striped blue tie.

He says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. MY QUESTION IS TO THE PREMIER. SIX MONTHS AGO THE PREMIER STARTED TALKING ABOUT VACCINES AS ONTARIO'S EXIT STRATEGY OUT OF THE PANDEMIC. HE DID SO KNOWING THAT DISTRIBUTION WOULD TAKE AT LEAST SIX MONTHS TO A YEAR. BUT ALMOST IMMEDIATELY, ON CUE, SHIFTED THE BLAME ONTO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. BUT NOW WE HAVE A MAJOR PIVOT. DURING HIS PRESS CONFERENCE ON FRIDAY THE PREMIER USED THE PHRASE "VACCINE RESIFERS ANT VARIANTS" THREE SEPARATE TIMES. DOES THAT MEAN THAT THE VACCINE IS NOT A STRIKE EXIT STRATEGY MOYER AND IF THIS GOVERNMENT BELIEVES THAT THE LOWRN IS THE ONLY WAY TO FIGHT COVID DO VACCINE RESISTANT VARIANTS MEAN THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE IN LOCKDOWN FOREVER?

Elliott says IN FACT THE VACCINATIONS AND THE PROGRESS THAT WE'VE BEEN MAKING ON VACCINATIONS HAS TAKEN US VERY FAR. OVER FIVE MILLION ONTARIANS HAVE NOW RECEIVED THE VACCINE AND WE ALSO KNOW THAT EVEN IF YOU HAVE YOUR FIRST DOSE YOU HAVE MUCH GREATER PROTECTION AGAINST COVID THAN IF YOU DO NOT. AND EVEN IF YOU DO CONTRACT CROAFD AFTER YOUR FIRST VACCINATION THE ETCHED HAS SHOWN THAT YOU'RE NOT LIKELY TO REQUIRE HOSPITALIZATION AND IT WILL IN ALL LIKELIHOOD SAVE YOUR LIFE. SO WE ARE GOING TO CONTINUE, WE ARE RECEIVING MORE VACCINES NOW FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. IT IS TRUE THAT DURING THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY WE WERE RECEIVING FEWER DOSES OF THE PFIZER VACCINE BECAUSE OF SOME OF THE WORK THEY WERE DOING ON ONE OF THEIR WAISH HOUSES IN EUROPE BUT THESE VACCINES ARE COMING IN IN GREATER QUANTITIES NOW. WE'RE ALSO LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE VARIANTS MUCH CONCERN BUT THE EVIDENCE SO FAR SUGGESTS THAT EXCEPT FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN VARIANT WHICH IS NOT HELPFUL WITH RESPECT TO USING VAZ WE ARE DOING WELL WITH VACCINES AND THEY WILL PROVIDE THE PEOPLE OF ONTARIO WITH THE PROTECTIONS THEY NEED.

Baber says THE PREMIER USED THE PHRASE "VACCINATION RESCISSION ANT VARIANTS." IT SHOWS THE GOVERNMENT NEVER HAD AN EXIT STRATEGY SLOW THE SPREAD TURNED INTO STOP THE SPREAD, STOPPED THE SPREAD TURNED INTO UNTIL WE ALL GET VACCINATED WE MUST STAY HOME AND NOW IT'S COME TO THIS 0 MOMENT, A REPEATED THREAT BY THE PREMIER OF VACCINE RESISTANT VARIANTS. WE DEMAND OUR LIVES, OUR LIVELIHOODS AND OUR LIBERTIES BACK!

The Speaker says MINISTER OF HEALTH.

Elliott says WELL, IN ANSWER TO THE MEMBER'S QUESTION, WE HAVE HAD A PLAN FOR PROTECTING THE HEALTH AND WELLBEING OF ONTARIANS SINCE THIS PANDEMIC BEGAN. WE ULTIMATELY WISH TO RECEIVE THE VACCINES WHICH WE ARE RECEIVING NOW. WE ARE SUPPLYING PEOPLE WITH THE VACCINATIONS AND I'M VERY PLEASED THAT SO MANY PEOPLE ARE COMING FORWARD, VOLUNTARILY TO RECEIVE THE VACCINES, BECAUSE THAT'S NOT HAPPENING IN EVERY JURISDICTION. IN ONTARIO, IT IS AND WE WERE VERY GRATEFUL FOR THAT, FOR PEOPLE COMING FORWARD TO RECEIVE THEIR VACCINES. HOW MUCH WE ALSO KNOW THAT WE NEED TO PREVENT THE TRANSMISSION OF COVID-19 AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE DOING WITH THE STAY AT HOME ORDER. THAT IS TO PROTECT PEOPLE, AGAIN TO KEEP PEOPLE FROM CATCHING EITHER ONE OF THE VARIANTS MUCH CONCERN OR THE ORIGINAL COVID, IF I MAY CALL IT THAT. THAT IS ALSO IS HE IMPORTANT. LIMITING TRANSMISSION AND GETTING PEOPLE VACCINATED AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO STOP UNTIL EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN ONTARIO WHO WISHES TO RECEIVE THE VACCINE GETS ONE.

The Speaker says THE NEXT question. The member for Davenport.

The caption changes to "Marit Stiles. NDP. Davenport."

Stiles is in her forties, with feathered blond hair in a bob. She wears a bright red blazer over a white shirt.

She says THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. MR. SPEAKER, THIS QUESTION IS FOR THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION. SPEAKER, INTERNAL E MAILINGS PUBLISH BY THE TORONTO STAR THIS MORNING SHOW HOW A TEACHER'S TWITTER POST SEINE THE GOVERNMENT SPINNING INTO DAMAGE CONTROL. THE TWEET SHOWS A CROWDED 34 DESK CLASSROOM WITH BARELY ANY ROOM FOR STUDENTS TO MOVE BETWEEN DESKS, LET ALONE STAY SAFELY DISTANCED. IT'S JUST ONE OF MANY SUCH EXAMPLES THAT HAVE BEEN SHARED BY EDUCATION WORKERS AT A TIME WHEN THIS GOVERNMENT WAS REPEATEDLY REFUSING TO CAP CLASS SIZES. SPEAKER, IS THE MINISTER FINALLY READY TO ADMIT THAT HOLDING BACK NEEDED SUPPORTS FOR SCHOOLS LED TO THE CYCLE OF SCHOOL CLOSURES, THE ABSOLUTELY DISGRACEFUL MESS THAT CONTINUES TO THIS DAY? THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER.

The Speaker says MINISTER OF EDUCATION.

The caption changes to "Honourable Stephen Lecce. PC. Minister of Education."

Lecce is in his thirties, with short dark hair and a stubble. He wears a gray suit, white shirt, and orange tie.

He says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER. WHAT I CAN CONFIRM TO THE MEMBER OPPOSITE IS THAT ONTARIO HAS ONE OF THE LOWEST CASE RATES FOR YOUTH UNDER 20, BECAUSE OUR GOVERNMENT FOLLOWED THE ADVICE, INVESTED IN A PLAN WITH THE FULL STAMP OF APPROVAL BY THE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH. IN FACT MR. SPEAKER, THERE IS A 1.6 BILLION DOLLAR PLAN TO HELP US HIRE 7,000 NET NEW STAFF, 3400 MORE TEACHERS, 95 percent OF AIR VENTILATION SYSTEMS IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO IN PUBLICLY FUNDED SCHOOLS AS REPORTED BY THE BOARDS HAVE BEEN IMPROVED. MR. SPEAKER, WE DOUBLED THE PUBLIC HEALTH NURSE ALLOCATION SUPPORTING OUR SCHOOLS. WE LAUNCHED ONE OF CANADA'S ONLY PROVINCE-WIDE ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING PROGRAMS AND WE PURCHASED AND IMPLEMENTED 33,000 HEP A UNITS TO IMPROVE AIR VENTILATION BECAUSE WE FOLLOWED THE ADVICE, BECAUSE WE INVESTED AND BECAUSE OUR PREMIER AND OUR GOVERNMENT ARE COMMITTED TO KEEPING STUDENTS SAFE IN THIS PROVINCE.

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENTARY.

Stiles says OUR SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED ACROSS THIS PROVINCE. WE ARE IN THE THIRD LOCKDOWN. WHAT DOES THIS MINISTER NOT UNDERSTAND ABOUT THIS? ALL THROUGHOUT THIS PANDEMIC, THE MINISTER HAS BEEN MORE INTERESTED IN APPEARANCES THAN IN ACTUALLY KEEPING STUDENTS AND EDUCATION WORKERS SAFE. THEIR APPROACH HAS FAILED. 27 percent OF SCHOOLS HAD AT LEAST ONE CASE OF COVID BEFORE THE RECENT CLOSURE, INFECTIONS AND RELATED ISOLATION REQUIREMENTS CAUSED ABSOLUTE HAVOC FOR FAMILIES. LOOKING AHEAD SCHOOL BOORPDZ HAVE BEEN TOLD TO PLAN FOR LAYOFFS THAT THEIR RESERVES WILL NOT BE REPALESTINE ISSUED AND THEY STILL DON'T HAVE DETAILS ABOUT THIS YEAR'S FUNDING BREAK DOWN. CAN THE MINISTER TELL US HOW THIS IS GOING TO HELP KIDS RECOVER FROM THIS PANDEMIC?

Lecce says MR. SPEAKER, IN THE WORPDZ OF THE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH LAST MONTH OUR SCHOOLS DISH WOULDN'T DISMISS THE PUBLIC HEALTH LEADER OF ONTARIO AT A TIME OF CRISIS, I WOULD ACTUALLY HAVE CONFIDENCE IN HIM AT A TIME WHEN WE NEED OUR INSTITUTIONS TO HAVE THAT CONFIDENTIAL AND...

The Speaker says TAKE YOUR SEATS. MEMBER FOR YORK CENTRE COME TO ORDER. MINISTER OF EDUCATION, CONCLUDE YOUR ANSWER.

Lecce says IT IS MOST CONCERNING TO HEAR THAT LEVEL OF DISTRUST IN OUR PUBLIC HEALTH UNITS. BUT WHAT THE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH SAID OUR SCHOOLS ARE SAFE, WE WANT TO KEEP THEM SAFE. THAT'S WHY WE PUT IN PLACE A PLAN THAT HIRED MORE STAFF. OUR COMMITMENT GOING FORWARD IS WE ARE GOING TO HAVE MORE STAFF, CONTINUED INFER IMPROVEMENTS IN AIR VENTILATION. AND SPEAKER WE HAVE UNDER OUR GOVERNMENT, UNLIKE UNDER THE FORMER LILLEHAMMER GOVERNMENT INCREASED MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORTS BY 400 percent, BECAUSE WE KNOW THE RISKS, THE CHALLENGES FOR OUR STUDENTS AND FOR OUR STAFF. WE WILL BE THERE FOR STUDENTS AS WE LOOK TO SEPTEMBER. WE'VE BEEN PLANNING OVER THE PAST MONTHS FOR THAT, BEING READY FOR WHEREVER THIS PANDEMIC TAKES US.

The Speaker says NEXT question. The member for Don Valley West.

The caption changes to "Kathleen O. Wynne. Liberal. Don Valley West."

Wynne is in her fifties, with short curly blond hair. She wears a gray blazer, white shirt, and silver pendant necklace.

She says MY QUESTION ALSO FOR THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION AND FOLLOWS OPT LAST QUESTION. AS OF TODAY NONE OF THE SCHOOL BOARDS IN ONTARIO HAVE RECEIVED THE DETAILED INFORMATION REGARDING THE FUNDING FOR NEXT YEAR, ALTHOUGH THAT INFORMATION IN THE FORM OF THE GRANTS TO STUDENT NEEDS WAS PROMISED A MONTH AGO. SPEAKER THIS DELAY WILL ALREADY HAVE CAUSED TURMOIL IN BOARD PLANNING. HOW MANY TEACHERS, HOW MANY SUPPORT STAFF, HOW MANY ADMIN AND CLEANING PERSONNEL, THESE QUESTIONS SIMPLY CANNOT BE ANSWERED UNTIL BOARDS RECEIVE THE GSN. SO COMPOUND THE PROBLEM THIS YEAR, BOARDS HAVE NOT RECEIVED THE GUIDANCE THAT THEY'VE ASKED FOR ON HOW TO PLAN FOR THE COMING SCHOOL YEAR. WHAT ABOUT THE PUBLIC HEALTH EXPECTATION AND WHAT ARE THE SCENARIOS BOOSHEDZ SHOULD BE MODELING? THESE ARE QUESTIONS THAT BOARDS NOW ALREADY IN MAY CANNOT ANSWER. SPEAKER, STUDENTS, TEACHERS, SUPPORT STAFF IN ALL 72 BOARDS IN ONTARIO HAVE BEEN UNDER ENORMOUS STRESS THIS YEAR. WHAT WILL THE MINISTER DO TO DOO ENSURE THIS DOES NOT HAVE AN...

Lecce says THANK YOU TO THE MEMBER OPPOSITE FOR THE QUESTION. INDEED THE PRIORITIES FUND AND ONTARIO'S VOTING RECOVERY PLAN WILL ALL BE UNVEILED IN SHORT ORDER TO ENABLE OUR SCHOOL BOARDS TO BE READY FOR WHATEVER SCENARIO THIS PANDEMIC TAKES US. WHILE THERE'S A PROMISE OF HOPE WITH AS THE SOLICITOR GENERAL CONFIRM EDUCATORS THIS WEEK NOW BEING ELIGIBLE, CHILD CARE EDUCATORS, LAST WEEK LICENSED CHILD CARE EDUCATORS BEING ELIGIBLE FOREIGN THEIR VACCINE, THAT GIVES US HOPE AS WE LOOK TO SEPTEMBER. BUT WE HAVE BEEN PLANNING, WORKING CLOSELY WITH THE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH TO ENSURE EVERY PUBLIC HEALTH INTERVENTION THAT HAS HELPED KEEP CASE RATES DOWN, WHICH IT IS NO CONVINCE DENSE THAT ONTARIO HAS ONE. LOWEST CASE RATES OF YOUTH UNDER 20 IN THE COUNTRY BECAUSE WE PROVIDED SCHOOL BOARDS WITH THE FUNDING THEY NEEDED TO COMBAT THIS PANDEMIC SO WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO DO THAT. I ASSURE THE MEMBER THAT'S COMING IN SHORT ORDER.

The Speaker says SUPPLEMENT.

Wynne says I IT'S INTERESTING THAT THE MINISTER TALKS ABOUT THE FUNDING THAT WAS PUT IN PLACE TO COMBAT COVID, WHICH WAS INADEQUATE BUT THAT FUNDING HAS BEEN REMOVED. AND THIS YEAR'S BUDGET THE GOVERNMENT CLAIMS THAT IT'S INCREASING FUNDING TO SCHOOLS IN THE PROVINCE, IN FACT WHILE THE PANDEMIC IS STILL IN FULL FORCE IN ONTARIO, THIS GOVERNMENT IS CUTTING OVER A BILLION AND A HALF DOLLARS FROM EDUCATION. THAT FUNDING PAID FOR BOARDS TO SUPPORT THE FACILITIES, THE REALITIES OF COVID INCLUDING SOME THOUGH NOT ENOUGH EXTRA STAFFING. NOW WITH NO GUIDANCE ON HOW THEY SHOULD PLAN FOR NEXT YEAR, THE LATE RELEASE OF FUNDING INFORMATION AND FACING THE REMOVAL OF SUPPORTS THAT SCHOOLS ACROSS THE PROVINCE MAY STILL NEED, BOARDS ARE FACE BEING FUNDING CUTS. TON OF THAT BOARDS ARE FACING REALITY THAT THE RESERVE FUNDS HAD BEEN EARMARKED FOR LOCAL SCHOOL PROJECTS THAT THEY HAD TO DIP INTO THIS DEAL WITH COVID PRESSURES ARE NOT GOING TO BE RESTORED. THERE WAS NOTHING IN THE BUDGET TO INDICATE THAT THE GOVERNMENT UNDERSTANDS THAT THE USE OF REAP SERVE FUNDS WAS A SHORT TERM FLAWED SOLUTION TO AN SOCIAL MEDIA PROBLEM BUT THAT LONG-TERM PROBLEM STILL EXISTS. SPEAKER, WHEN WILL THE GOVERNMENT RESTORM THE RESERVE FUNDS TO BOARDS SO THEY CAN FULFILL THEIR COMMITMENTS TO LOCAL SCHOOL PROJECTS?

The Speaker says MINISTER OF HEALTH.

Elliott says THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAKER. MR. SPEAKER, THE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH OF THIS PROVINCE HAS CONFIRMED THAT SCHOOLS HAVE BEEN SAFE IN THIS PROVINCE. THE CHALLENGE WE FACE IN ONTARIO IS A SPIKE IN COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION THAT HAS STAYED UP. I CAN CHANNEL WITHIN OUR ICU CAPACITY AND WE'RE ALL RESPONDING AND DOING 0 OUR PART. WHAT WE HAVE DONE IN OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM IS LISTENED TO THE SCIENCE, PUT IN PLACE EVERY PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURE POSSIBLE, QUALITY PPE, THE COHORTING OF STAFF, SCREENING, ACTIVE SCREENING OF CHILDREN BEFORE THEY ENTER SCHOOLS. WE'VE HIRED 7,000 NEW STAFF AND I CAN ASSURE THE MEMBER AND ALL FAMILIES IN THE PROVINCE, WE WILL BE THERE FOR SCHOOL BOARDS IN SEPTEMBER, FOR OUR CHILDREN, FOR OUR SCHOOL AND FOR THE FAMILIES WHO DEPEND ON OUR PUBLICLY FUNDED SCHOOLS. WE WILL HAVE MORE TEACHERS AND IMPROVEMENTS TO AIR VENTILATION AND MEL IN THE AIR OF LEARNING FOCUSED ON MATH AND LITERACY, THE AREAS THAT WE'VE SEEN REGRESSION GLOBALLY FOR STUDENTS. WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO INVEST BACK-UPS WE KNOW IT MATTERS TO FAMILIES IN THIS PROVINCE.

The Speaker says MEMBER FOR TORONTO CENTRE.

The caption changes to "Suze Morrison. NDP. Toronto Centre."

Morrison is in her late thirties, with straight brown hair in a bob. She wears a gray cardigan over a red dress, and a silver pendant necklace.

She says THANK YOU, MY QUESTION IS TO THE PREMIER. THE URBAN INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY IN TORONTO HAS BEEN DEVASTATED BY COVID-19. ACCORDING TO PRELIMINARY DATA, INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IN TORONTO HAVE BEEN HOSPITALIZED AT MORE THAN THREE TIMES THE RATE OF THE GENERAL POPULATION AND THE RATE OF INFECTION FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IS 23 percent HIGHER. BUT DESPITE THAT, INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ACROSS ONTARIO ARE NOT RECEIVING EQUITABLE ACCESS TO VACCINES. UNDERCURRENT PROVINCIAL GUIDELINES, INDIGENOUS PEOPLE LIVING OFF RESERVE ARE BEING ASKED TO WAIT FOUR TIMES LONGER PHENOMENON THEIR SECOND DOSE THAN THOSE ON RESERVE AM THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO BE DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN AND DISCRIMINATING AGAINST INDIGENOUS PEOPLE JUST BECAUSE THEY DON'T LIVE ON RESERVE. WHEN WE KNOW THAT ALL INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ARE EQUALLY AT RISK. WILL THE PREMIER COMMITTED TO TO END THIS RACIST AND DISCRIMINATORY APPOINTMENT AND OFFER ALL INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ON RESERVE OR OFF EQUITABLE ACCESS TO THEIR SECOND DOSES OF THEIR VACCINES?

The Speaker says MINISTER OF HEALTH.

Elliott says THANK YOU, SPEAKER. WE ARE ENSURING EQUITABLE ACCESS TO A VACCINE TO ALL OF THE PEOPLE OF ONTARIO, AND I WOULD START WITH THE INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY IN THE OPERATION OF FLY-IN COMMUNITIES WITH OPERATION REMOTE UNIT. IT WAS LED BY DR. HOMER TIEN AND ORGNE WITH PEOPLE FROM THE COMMUNITY AND MAKING SURE THAT ALL OF THOSE RESIDENTS WERE VACCINATED. HOWEVER, I CAN ALSO ADVISE THAT CHIEF... REGIONAL CHIEF ROSEANNE ARCHIBALD IS ALSO A MEMBER OF THE TASKFORCE ON IMMUNITY AND I CAN ADVISE YOU, SHE HAS BEEN A VERY VOCAL...

The Speaker says OPPOSITION WILL COME TO ORDER...

Elliott says THAT INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ALSO RECEIVE THEIR VACCINATIONS IN A TIMELY MANNER IN THE WAY SAY AS THE PEOPLE ON RESERVES HAVE SO CHEECH ARCHIBALD IS A LARGE proponent of that.

Watch: Question Period: Monday, May 03, 2021