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All Ontarians 18+ eligible for vaccine come May 24

May 7, 2021   ·   0 Comments

The light at the end of the tunnel has grown brighter following the Province of Ontario’s announcement that all Ontarians 18 years of age and up will be eligible for their first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this month.

The announcement, which was made by Health Minister Christine Elliott on Thursday, came amid calls from the Region of York for more vaccine supply.

The acceleration of the vaccine rollout is due to an expected increase in vaccine supply from the Federal Government.

By the start of this month, it was expected that 800,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine would begin arriving per week, ramping up to 940,000 doses per week by the end of May

“Ontario’s vaccine rollout is continuing to focus on getting vaccines to those most at risk,” said Minister Elliott. “With a stable and reliable supply of vaccines on the way, we will continue expanding access to the vaccine in communities across the Province, especially those areas that continue to be hit hardest by COVID-19. The best vaccine remains the first one you’re offered and I strongly encourage everyone to sign up as soon as it is their turn.”

During the weeks of May 3 and May 10, 50 per cent of the vaccines are expected to be designated for hot spots, with an emphasis on mobile teams, pop-up clinics, mass immunization clinics, hospitals, primary care and pharmacies.

As of Friday, April 30, Ontarians 55+ were eligible to book a vaccine appointment, a move coinciding with a pilot program to distribute Pfizer to the same demographic in select pharmacies in Peel and Toronto.

PAID SICK DAYS ANNOUNCED

After months of calls from medical processionals and frontline workers, the Provincial Government has announced the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, which would offer up to three paid sick days per employee.

The announcement came last Thursday from Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. If the Benefit (CRSB) is passed by the Legislature, employers would be required to provide their employees with up to $200 of pay for up to three days if they are missing work due to COVID-19.

Such a program would be retroactive to April 19, 2021 and effective through September 25, 2021.

The three paid sick days would “ensure employees can pay their bills as they help stop the spread of the virus, including by “getting tested, waiting for their results in isolation, or going to get their vaccine,” said the Province.

“Our government has long advocated for the Federal government to enhance the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit program to better protect the people of Ontario, especially our tireless essential workers,” said Minister McNaughton. “It is a tremendously positive step that the Federal government has signalled their willingness to continue discussions on the CSB. Now we can fix the outstanding gap in the federal program so workers can get immediate support and stay at home when needed.”

The announcement, however, was called a “half-measure” in some quarters, including the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario.

“Three days of paid sick time, administered through the already overburdened Workplace Safety and Insurance Board is nowhere near what is needed to save lives,” they said. “It continues to leave occasional educators and other education workers, who have worked without paid sick leave through the pandemic, unprotected.

“This is the same government that moved quickly to eliminate paid sick days from all Ontario workers soon after taking office. The plan they announced today does not undo the harm they did by taking these away in October 2018. Educators, front-line workers, advocates and the province’s own advisory table have been asking for a robust paid sick leave program for over a year. Repeatedly, the Ford government dismissed these calls, deferring responsibility to the federal government, and shamefully voting against paid sick leave 21 times.”

LOCAL STATS
As of Monday, May 3, New Tecumseth has seen a total of 1,290 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. 1,035 cases are now marked as recovered and there have been 17 fatalities.

Between April 27 and May 3, there have been 73 new cases of the virus reported.

47 of the new cases are attributed to close contact or community transmission.

By Brock Weir


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