by MPP Jim McDonell
The government is moving quickly to fight the spread of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant detected in the province. We are working closely with the federal government, establishing border restrictions for people travelling to Canada from ten African countries. As we learn more about this new variant, further changes are expected, and you should check the latest travel requirements before booking a trip outside the country. The new variant is a reminder the pandemic continues to evolve. Please continue best practices of physical distancing indoors, wear a mask if that is not possible, wash hands frequently and get your dose if you have not done so.
I hosted a vaccine information session with Dr. Paul Roumeliotis on Monday night in a very informative virtual forum to answer questions from local parents and guardians on the vaccination of children between the ages of 5-11 years old. Dr. Paul explained the process that gives vaccines their high efficacy in building the immune system, noting that the children’s dose is one-third of the adult shot. We were joined by Dr. Marilyn Crabtree and pediatrician Dr. Leah Nchama and answered numerous questions submitted by our online audience. Dr. Nchama said vaccinating children will be a “turning point” in our efforts to minimize the virus’ impact, encouraging all to take advantage of our health unit’s vaccination program. In addition, third dose booster shots have been opened to those 50 years old and older, with at least six months since their second vaccination. Please check www.EOHU.ca for new walk-in clinics for children and their parents and by calling 1-800-267-7120 for all other vaccination information. Book your appointment at www.Ontario.ca/bookvaccine.
Ontario is amid a housing shortage, driving up prices and making homes unaffordable for many. Our government has worked with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and major stakeholders to remove expensive and time-consuming red tape. As a result, new legislation has significantly increased the investment in residential housing, which experienced an increase of more than 25 percent in 2020. However, with Ontario’s population increasing by approximately 100,000 people per year, more needs to be done. As a result, the province has established the Premier’s provincial-municipal housing summit on December 16 to look for new ways to increase housing supply and reduce costs for homeowners.
We announced this week that the Request for Proposals (RFP) have been issued to prequalified Internet Service Providers to connect all unserved and underserved areas in the province. The first portion of the RFP involves a pre-auction submission to ensure qualified participants have the financial wherewithal to deliver successful auction bids. The RFPs are the next step in our program to provide high-speed internet to all parts of the province by 2025.
Ontario is bringing electric vehicle (EV) fast chargers to every ONroute location in the province, making life easier for current and future EV drivers while boosting our world-class auto sector and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This week we released news of a new agreement with Ivy Charging Network, ONroute and Canadian Tire, to install new electric vehicle (EV) chargers to all ONroute locations along highways 401 and 400. Chargers at 17 ONroute locations will be open in time for summer 2022, with another three ONroute locations opening before the end of 2022. The final three locations will see the construction of EV charging stations after planned renovations. These units will harness Ontario’s clean energy advantage by utilizing our 94 percent emissions-free electricity supply. With EV fast chargers installed at all ONroute locations, drivers will be able to travel the province with confidence that they can reach their destination, allowing more families to rediscover Ontario!
As always, stay safe and get vaccinated if you have not done so.
MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry