QUEEN’S PARK – MPPs Percy Hatfield (Windsor—Tecumseh) and Lisa Gretzky (Windsor West) stood up in the Ontario legislature Wednesday to urge Doug Ford to provide emergency resources without delay to the local public health unit.
On Tuesday the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported that local public health capacity will soon be “on the verge of collapsing”, and officials noted that they just don’t have enough staff to do critical contact tracing and case management in the community, and more school outbreaks are adding to the pressure on their staff.
“There are now 25 schools in Windsor-Essex where cohorts have been dismissed, and yet class sizes still have not been reduced. Local public health staff are working 12 to 15 hour days, seven days a week. They are doing the best with the limited resources they have. We need help urgently,” said Hatfield during question period Wednesday at the legislature.
“Will the minister get the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit the resources they need immediately and prevent this looming collapse?,” Hatfield asked the health minister.
“Health care workers are burnt out. Small businesses are barely hanging on and can’t afford another lock down. The people of Windsor continue to make sacrifices while this Conservative Government fails to step up,” said Gretzky.
Gretzky reminded MPPs that the Windsor-Essex Public Health Unit has been underfunded for years. Before COVID-19, it one of the lowest-funded public health systems in the province, which was made worse when Doug Ford decided to cut their funding by $1.5 million.
“This Conservative government didn’t prioritize public health and prevention measures before the pandemic, and they’ve failed to step up with the support we need now. They’re sitting on $9 billion in unused COVID-19 relief funding while exhausted frontline workers are scrambling to keep the virus at bay, people are getting sick and people are dying,” said Gretzky.
“Will the minister immediately give our health unit the resources they need to stay on top of screening, testing, and tracing, along with the other public health services they provide to keep our community safe?,” asked Gretzky.
Video of Hatfield and Gretzky's questions to the health minister