By MPP Toby Barrett
Recent weeks have seen billions and billions of provincial and federal dollars rolled out to not only help support the health and well-being of citizens, but also to provide support for jobs, employers, and our economy.
In recent weeks we have seen global economies grind to a halt. We have seen health care systems overwhelmed. We have seen heartache and loss. And we have seen countries lose this battle.
This is a battle we all must fight. We must get ahead of this virus and we must beat this virus.
The health and safety of everyone must come first. If you can, please stay home – only leave if necessary. The health of your friends, your children, your parents and your grandparents depend on this.
You must self-isolate. Be smart – stay apart!
Last week, Premier Ford announced the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces in the Province of Ontario.
This was a tough decision – a decision that was not made lightly, and not without a tremendous amount of consultation within the business and health care communities.
We must take all the necessary steps to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Essential businesses include, but are not limited to agriculture and food, pharmacies, trucking and transportation, power generation, manufacturing, telecommunications, construction, financial services…
This means an army of essential workers across Ontario is working hard behind the scenes to keep food on our tables, stock on our shelves, and the heat and light on in our homes.
We owe so much to our truck drivers, farm workers, oil refinery and steelworkers, grocery and pharmaceutical workers, our people who build things during these tough times.
A business information line is now open at 1-888-444-3659.
We offer our heartfelt thanks to those who are working around the clock to keep the rest of us safe and healthy. Thank our police and military, our paramedics, firefighters, and our personal support workers, our nurses, our doctors, our cleaning staff and all frontline health care workers.
The battle against coronavirus is being fought in our hospitals and long-term care homes.
We are taking steps to protect you and your loved ones while our system is strong and to ensure it remains strong in the days and months ahead.
We’ve deployed money and resources to the front line and have put in place measures that reduce unnecessary visits to primary care facilities.
Further to that, and by way of example, Ontario launched an interactive self-assessment tool for those concerned they have contracted COVID-19. This easy-to-answer series of questions is found on Ontario.ca/coronavirus. The questions help people determine if they are negative, or if they should phone Telehealth Ontario, or access emergency services.
Our personal support workers are dedicated to make sure our loved ones are supported during this stressful and difficult time. Their hard work for the people they serve does not go unnoticed.
Our government has been clear that we are prepared to do whatever it takes – the health and safety of people and their food security in Ontario is our top priority.
Toby Barrett is the MPP for Haldimand-Norfolk