Rise in September Covid caseload due to provincial government failure

On September 24, a news release put out by the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) on behalf of 38 infectious disease specialists and public health professionals called for the Government of Ontario to: "immediately place restrictions on non-essential businesses and activities that facilitate social gatherings and increase opportunities for exposure, including dine-in restaurants and bars, nightclubs, gyms, theatres, and places of worship. The province must also ask non-essential businesses to have employees work from home and...

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Doug Ford needs a real plan to reopen Ontario schools full-time in September

The pandemic has thrust governments into a more proactive role than anyone would have imagined just a few months ago. As Canada moves beyond the immediate COVID-19 health crisis, policymakers must seize the opportunity to implement bold, forward-looking reforms. These include redesigning income support programs for the unemployed, regulating the labour market in a way that encourages full-time, high wage jobs, and improving the distribution of risk and return between the public, the state, and...

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Canada’s COVID-19 lockdown: Are we approaching the point where the cure is worse than the disease?

The past three months have shown that with major sacrifices, the community transmission of COVID-19 can be slowed down considerably. In Canada, we can rightfully say that we were able to “flatten the curve” to avert a northern Italy, Madrid or New York City scenario. This is something to celebrate. Now we face the collateral damage of the lockdown: delays in medical care for non-COVID patients, harmful educational impacts on our young people due to...

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Canadian cities reinventing themselves as Covid-19 pandemic recedes – but where are our federal and provincial governments?

Covid-19 has struck the world's major cities hard. New York City, Paris, London, Madrid and Milan have all been hit with particularly virulent outbreaks of the virus with devastating consequences for the quality of everyday life for the residents of these cities. In Canada, Montreal is the epicentre of the pandemic while the Greater Toronto Area has been hard hit as well with 62% of Ontario's confirmed cases. Out of necessity, these cities and cities...

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Canada 2.0: Creating the Canada we want

Even when they recede, pandemics and other great crises seldom leave social and economic arrangements as they were. It is now up to Canadians to decide what the legacy of the COVID-19 will be. What kind of economy will emerge from the crisis? Will it be one that honors the dignity of work, rewards contributions to the real economy, gives workers a meaningful voice and shares the risks of ill health and hard times? We...

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How we beat COVID-19 and start opening up the economy

Now is the time for the provinces to sit down together with the federal government and draw up a detailed implementation plan for re-opening the Canadian economy. Every province should be in a position to re-open some of its social distancing closures by the end of May. It is essential, however, that our governments be clear that the process of re-opening the economy poses two separate questions. One question is short-term and relates to how...

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Canadians are tired of isolation and want a return to normal: Here are four things the government can do now to get us there

After a solitary Easter Sunday, Canadians entered another week in social isolation confronted by two contradictory facts. The lockdowns that have transformed daily life across the country are working, slowing the spread of the virus and saving lives. The western provinces are seeing a significant decline in new cases from their peak, while the number of new cases has flattened in Ontario and Quebec. But the lockdowns have brought commerce to a shuddering halt, forcing...

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Low COVID-19 testing rates undermining fight against virus in Ontario

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario has trailed the rest of the country when it comes to testing people for the virus. It’s been a fatal gap in the province’s pandemic response, since a key method of stopping the outbreak involves figuring out who has the virus, and then isolating them and their contacts. Doing public health without adequate testing is like telling the fire department to rush to a nine-alarm blaze, and...

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Canada needs to get employment programs out the door fast to prevent mass job loss

Canada has shut down all non-essential services to stop the spread of the Covid-19. This action has had massive economic consequences which require an equally massive jobs response by our governments. On Friday, April 9, Statistics Canada reported that more than one million people in Canada lost their jobs in March reflecting the first wave of layoffs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Ontario experienced the largest job losses in raw numbers, with the number of...

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How much do we really have to shut down to keep Canada safe? When will life be able to return to normal?

As public demands escalate for governments to do more to combat the ever-worsening novel coronavirus pandemic, two distinct camps seem to be forming: one essentially calling for a lockdown of the country, the other demanding a massive expansion of testing, isolation and monitoring. In other words, some are urging a "close everything down - everyone stay at home" approach with all the economic and social fallout that portends, while others are urging an aggressive effort...

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