Why is the government moving ahead with consultations on eliminating health units and implementing budget cuts at exactly the time when our public health units should be focused on the important work that they have to do here for the people of Ontario?
Our goal is to make sure that we have comprehensive response planning that includes effective surveillance, prompt laboratory testing, appropriate care and treatment, evidence-based public health measures and transparent communications.
But I will have more to say in the supplementary.
In a letter, the president of the Association of Local Public Health Agencies asked the government to “provide official direction to pause the modernization process at least until the COVID-19 emergency is declared over, a full analysis of the response has been conducted and the lessons learned have been applied.”
In fact, this letter went to the Minister of Health—in case she hasn’t seen it, I’ll send it over to her via a page so she can have a look at it. My question is: Will the government do exactly as they’ve asked?
But as you will know, Speaker, speaking through you to the leader of the official opposition, Mr. Jim Pine is conducting his consultations with our public health units. And recognizing the extra work that they’re under right now in response to the coronavirus, we are ensuring that Mr. Pine’s consultations are stepped back to allow those public health units to be able to do their work.
So yes, we are responding to their concerns. We are taking a longer period of time with those consultations, because this is a higher priority right now for the people of Ontario.
Now more than ever we know that our public health officials need to focus on that incredible work that they are doing, not spend time fending off the Ford government’s latest cuts. In their letter, public health agencies note: “The chronic inadequacy of resources to meet our daily obligations is regrettably brought into stark relief when they need to be diverted to emergency response duties.”
They implore the government to reverse their funding cuts, at least until this crisis is over. Will the Premier and the Minister of Health listen to public health units, reverse the cuts and merger plans, and just give them the support they need as they work overtime to keep Ontarians safe?
We are working in concert with our public health units. We are working with our federal counterparts. Our goal, as I would say through you, Speaker, again to the leader of the official opposition, should be your goal as well to make sure that the people of Ontario are protected.top | new search