Ontario parties offer visions of how to best prepare for a future pandemic

TORONTO – The sixth wave of COVID-19 is starting to recede and Ontario’s political parties are offering ideas for how best to prepare the province for a future pandemic.

The Progressive Conservatives made billions in hospital funding commitments in the weeks leading up to the election and added more than 3,000 acute care beds during the pandemic in order to shore up the health system.

The Tories also tout work they have done to bolster domestic production of personal protective equipment, boost personal support worker wages, and give nurses a $5,000 retention bonus.

But the NDP and Liberals say the wage commitments for personal support workers fall short and have promised more, and that a one-time bonus for nurses won’t help retention as much as repealing Bill 124, which capped compensation increases for public sector workers.

Both parties are promising 10 paid sick days so that workers can be secure in staying home while ill, while a temporary program from the Progressive Conservatives involving three paid sick days is set to expire in July.

The NDP and Liberals are also promising to hold a public inquiry into the province’s COVID-19 response.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 12, 2022.

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