Ontario Health Coalition Emergency Press Release

Emergency: COVID-19 Crisis Situation In Ontario Requires Stronger Measures AND Stronger Supports for People Impacted, Today is Deadliest Day of Pandemic So Far


Toronto – Today is the deadliest day of the pandemic so far, 89 people died in the last 24-hour period. By every measure the situation is critical, warns the Ontario Health Coalition, and there can be no question remaining that stronger measures are needed to control the devastation the virus is wreaking. At the same time, stronger supports for people who are the most impacted need to be an integral part of the strategy.



  • Public hospitals, which continue to make superhuman efforts to fill gaps, provide vital leadership and support across the health system, and keep hospital services open at the same time, are now at or above full capacity across the board.
  • In Toronto, physicians are publicly reporting no beds, no resuscitation rooms, ICUs full, nowhere to admit patients.
  • The Burlington field hospital is open and patients from full hospitals in the region are being transferred there.
  • Morgues in London and Windsor are now full.
  • The Ontario Hospital Association is calling the situation “extremely serious” has put into effect its surge plans and is warning that ICU capacity (across the province) will be exceeded in coming weeks. It is planning for large scale transfers of patients.
  • ICUs from Chatham through the GTA are full (both with COVID patients and other patients). Surgeries and other care are being cancelled as a result.


Long-Term Care:-

  • 218 long-term care homes are in outbreak. Despite the continued denial, downplaying and dissembling by the Minister of Long-Term Care, the numbers are truly alarming. There are 160 new cases in the last 24 hours in long-term care, and 34 new deaths. There are 2,488 currently active cases in the last 24-hours (1,258 residents  1,230 staff), the most so far in the second wave. The deaths, which follow infections by several weeks, have escalated dramatically month over month since October.
  • Tragically, we have to report the escalation of deaths in long-term care in the second wave as follows:

October 15 => 39

November 15 => 229 that is 190 in a month

December 15 => 576 that is 347 in a month

January 6 => 1,045 that is 469 in 3 weeks


Statement from the Ontario Health Coalition:


“The Ontario Health Coalition is in full support of stronger public health measures, including stronger safety and infection control measures in open businesses, full public reporting of outbreaks, more effective and coherent shutdowns.


We do not say this lightly. We understand that shutdowns have impacts on health and well-being and that shutdown measures must include much stronger support measures for individuals, families, communities and local businesses.


Just as the terrible toll of the virus impacts some people more than others—racialized communities, working class and low-income people, the elderly, people in supportive congregate care among others – so too the shutdowns impact some groups more than others.


Understanding this, Ontarians need to take extraordinary and stronger measures to save the lives and health of people in our province and at the same time, individuals whose employment has been or will be impacted need full support for income and housing, and local businesses need full supports to survive the pandemic.


Families at risk and people, including young people, with mental health needs, need extra resources and support.


Our government can do a much better job of providing coordination and supports for these protections.


Across the board we need a much more competent response from our provincial government, including:


  • Stronger, more coherent public health measures, including a fast ramp up of testing, contact tracing and quarantine capacity in public health and labs must be undertaken now so that the province can get the spread of the virus under control.
  • There must be fewer contacts among people to reduce community and workplace transmission and stronger public health measures across the board, including shutdowns and stronger safety measures in open businesses, must be undertaken.
  • Ontarians need to stay home as much as possible.
  • The crisis in staffing capacity in long-term care must be addressed without any further delay. We need a large-scale paid recruitment, training and deployment of staff, with improved wages and working conditions for those staff. This needs to start right away. LTC homes must have systematic interventions at a very early point in outbreaks to stabilize staffing and ensure infection control practices are followed; and resources for cohorting must be provided, including field hospitals or similar. Hospital teams must be sent into all of the homes where staffing has fallen to unsafe levels and the military is needed as an emergency measure where hospital overloads are delaying decisions to send in teams. Long-term care homes that are demonstrating negligence and incompetence must face strong accountability measures, orders, fines and license revocations.
  • Wherever possible, public field hospitals or the like need to be staffed and opened to help with the overload of residents in long-term care and retirement homes with COVID-19 and the hospital overload. All-hands-on-deck are needed now. The province must help with a major recruitment drive to get staff to ramp up this capacity.
  • The vaccine roll-out needs to be coherent, competent and much faster. All long-term care and retirement home staff, residents and essential care givers must be vaccinated as a priority without delay. The thousands of health professionals from primary and community care that have volunteered to staff 24/7 vaccination clinics and teams must be integrated into the roll-out to maximize capacity and public health nurses must be included as leaders in the planning because they have the with the experience and expertise for mass-scale vaccine roll out.
  • Community care, which is taking more of the burden of COVID-19 cases as hospitals are full, must be provided with clear directives to ensure staff have proper PPE including N95 masks.”


No, to Mike Harris Order of Ontario

Jan 7, 2021

For Immediate Release-Grey Bruce Labour Council

Opposition to Order of Ontario Appointment, Mike Harris


If they ever existed, the ethical and moral standards associated with the Order of Ontario are now forever tarnished with the possible appointment of former Premier of Ontario, Mike Harris, to the Order of Ontario.

After being elected by a minority of Ontario electors to two terms of unconscionable slash and burn policies Harris was finally tossed from office in 2002. This many years later each day we are forced to witness and endure the damage done to Ontario by Mike Harris and his sycophantic caucus. We are faced with underfunded public services and privatized services that have, with only the rarest of exceptions, approached service and accessibility that existed before their politically motivated privatization.

Illusions propagated by conservative circles and Conservative politicians try and portray Harris and his so called “common sense revolution” as a response to overspending in the public sector. “ Nothing could be further from the truth” notes Grey Bruce Labour Council President, Kevin Smith. Harris had an agenda, and it was to accomplish two fundamental alterations to Ontario. Firstly, attack in as ruthless, amoral and unethical a manner as possible those who would be able to mount a credible obstacle to selling Ontario off. Harris, initially, went after the labour movement and the unions that represented those workers most likely to be harmed by the Harris’ privatization dogma. Harris and his minions knew that any organization, such as labour, that was able to self fund and had over one-hundred years of socially progressive activity would be antithetical to his plans. As a result labour laws and social programs were attacked, not to mention the Harris driven profound lies vilifying of union and labour leadership.

Once sewing the seeds designed to harm unions and the labour movement in general in Ontario had delivered enough in the way of results, Harris and his caucus of corporate “bootlicks” moved to do all that was possible to privatize as many public services as possible. “Not to improve service as the intrinsic conservative myth of privatization goes, but to ensure that the Harris handlers and those who controlled him would be able to fill their pockets at the expense of the Ontario public” says Labour Council VP for Bruce, Dave Trumble.

Fast forward to 2020 and Mike Harris sits on the board of a private long-term care home that has made record profits this year while seniors were laying in filthy rooms, crying out for help and without care as COVID-19 swept through their facilities. The Mike Harris era is a shameful page in the history of Ontario and Harris should be ashamed to face the people of this province and be held accountable for those unnecessary deaths and suffering. He must not be getting awards!

Chris Stephen, Labour Council VP for Grey states that “the reprehensible and boldly insensitive nomination of Harris for any type of award, let alone the Order of Ontario is a slap in the face to all of the families whose loved ones suffered under his leadership. Not to mention the thousands, perhaps millions, who have lost access and services so necessary for health, social services, social assistance, and so much more.”

The Mike Harris government was a tragedy for Ontario and the repugnant legacy of this government remains with us. In our own region we need look no further than the Walkerton water tragedy, slashing school resources or only a few miles away his disgusting attitude toward the crisis at Ipperwash. “I don’t know if any letter or press release could adequately show the damage done by Harris as Premier or since, but it is clear that our great province has many daughters and sons we should be proud of and honour, including teachers, frontline workers, public employees and healthcare workers who have put themselves at risk to save us and aid us during this pandemic - Mike Harris is not on that list and must not be given any award that would suggest he has done anything of value for the people of Ontario”, says Labour Council President, Smith.

The Grey Bruce Labour Council welcomes media inquiries.





COVID Relief Donations

Jan 4, 2021

For Immediate Release-Grey Bruce Labour Council

Grey Bruce Labour Council, Ongoing Donations to United Way of Bruce Grey COVID Relief Fund

Fuelling hope and optimism is the beginning of a new year. In the midst of a global pandemic the beginning of 2021 may even be therapeutic. There is no short cut to worldwide healing and health, but there is a path to helping our community. The Grey Bruce Labour Council and organized labour in Canada have collaborated with the United Way for over six decades to help Canadians in need. The challenge to meet the needs of community members and Canadians in general, as we all collectively fightback against COVID-19, has never been more expansive.

Having donated thirty two hundred dollars to the COVID relief fund in Grey and Bruce in 2020, the Grey Bruce Labour Council is stepping up to the mark again as 2021 commences with a further donation of $1650.oo in aid of the COVID relief fund. According to Gord Cale, Grey Bruce Labour Council Treasurer and OSSTF member,  “as a result of the Province declaring a twenty-eight or more day period of lockdown in our area our concern for the wellbeing of members of our community without housing is again a priority. We have also been made aware that the women’s shelters are faced with both an increase in need and a reduction of resources”.

Grey Bruce Labour Council VP’s and CUPE members, Chris Stephen and Dave Trumble, point to the desire of all the delegates to Labour Council to support the relief fund, but both VP’s see Brother Cale as championing the efforts by continually keeping this fund on our agenda. “Well done brother!” “The pandemic has caused uncertainty and a sense of life’s precarity. The most vulnerable in our community are experiencing the worst that the pandemic is capable of throwing at us. The focus of the COVID relief fund is to support those most vulnerable and it is a great credit to the United Way to see and fulfill this need while it is a privilege for the Labour Council to donate”.

OSSTF member and Labour Council President Kevin Smith, “An engine for positive social change is a well deserved description for organized labour and this one hundred plus year reputation is served very well by the voice of labour in our region, the Grey Bruce Labour Council. The council carefully stewards the resources provided by our affiliated unions. With this in mind, donating to the relief fund is supported unanimously each time it comes to the floor of the council.” Further, Smith notes, “the pandemic has not stopped the Grey Bruce Labour Council from carrying out the much needed work of the council on behalf of thousands of workers and proudly exclaims that labour across Canada is a key facet to getting all of us through the pandemic and unlocking the successes and recovery in a post pandemic world.”

As we proceed with caution into 2021, there is much we must undertake to look after each other. Looking after each other is not an option, it is an undeniable list of things we must collectively do to protect each other and to mount a successful recovery and post pandemic world. Organized labour intuitively and through painful experience knows that our world pre-pandemic did not work for everyone. Taking the time to do as the Labour Council has done in donating or as the United Way does every day is but one of the responsibilities we have to move us all forward.

On behalf of the Grey Bruce Labour Council and thousands of workers in our region, please have a safe and healthy new year.


Let's End 2020 Strong

It’s time to be optimistic and move forward together. (


t’s been a long year. We’d like to hear your thoughts about 2021 and the issues that matter to you. Take this survey and let’s work towards moving Forward Together.

2 min to complete

Proud of What We have Accomplished-Grey Bruce Labour Council

I know everything in 2020 has been different.

Even though we aren’t together – it doesn’t mean you are alone.

I want you to know:

If you’re working for less than $15/hour, almost 4,000 people sent letters to parliamentarians telling them to make you a priority.

If you have a loved one in long-term care, thousands of people demanded a national plan to keep them safe.

And if you lost your job, tens of thousands of people rallied online for a stronger social safety net and better job opportunities for your future.

That’s why I’m urging you -- if you haven’t yet -- to let us know how you’re doing.

This pandemic isn’t over yet and we have much more to do to get the government to deliver on its promises. Fill out our survey and tell me what your priorities for 2021 are.


Wishing you and your family a safe and happy holiday season,

James Pratt
Assistant to the President
Canadian Labour Congress
Standing up for workers and their families

Paid Sick Days



The Ontario Government adjourned early this week without debating the implementation of paid sick days, while Ontarians are still hard at work trying to keep our communities healthy and safe.

Join your local rapid response network to take action. Sign up here.

In this eblast:

  • Ontario Federation of Labour urges all-party support for MPP Sattler’s “Stay Home If You Are Sick Act” Private Members Bill
  • Order pins and posters for International Women’s Day: March 8, 2021
  • Intersectional Gender Equity Strategy
  • #GetConsent booklet in recognition of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence
  • Nominations are open for the 2020 OFL Labour Honour Roll
  • Petition for CP investigation (Train 301) to the Government of Canada
  • Be part of the LGBTQ2 Action Plan
  • Pandemic Resources From Prevention Link
  • Labour Disputes


Ontario Federation of Labour urges all-party support for MPP Sattler’s “Stay Home If You Are Sick Act”

Paid sick days are essential for protecting workers and our communities. Before the legislature adjourned this week, the Ontario Federation of Labor released a statement in support of Peggy Sattler’s “Stay Home If You Are Sick Act.”

Read the full statement here.

Order pins and posters for International Women’s Day: March 8, 2021

The OFL’s March 8 Project supports women’s organizations across Ontario in their work to rise, resist, and organize for equality.

In it’s 11th year, this year’s theme is “Sheros Persist,” in honour of the many women on the frontlines. Support this project by ordering pins and posters. Learn more and order your pins and posters here.

Intersectional Gender Equity Strategy

COVID-19 has forced millions of Ontarians across the province to stay home to stop the spread of the virus. As such, there has also been an alarming uptick in domestic violence incidents across Ontario. We must eradicate domestic violence. Learn how and sign the petition urging the Government of Ontario to develop a Provincial Intersectional Gender Equity Strategy.

Sign the petition urging the Government of Ontario to adopt MPP Andrew’s Motion 89.

#GetConsent booklet in recognition of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

The OFL is pleased to launch its #GetConsent booklet in recognition of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The 16 Days are an opportunity to unite with partners around the world and reflect on what we can each do in our own communities and in our own lives to eliminate the disproportionate violence faced by women, girls and LGBTQ2 individuals. The #GetConsent booklet aims to educate and remind us about our role in creating a culture of consent, in sexual and non-sexual situations.

The 16 Days of Activism is an international campaign that runs annually from November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to December 10 (World Human Rights Day).

Download #GetConsent materials here.

Nominations are open for the 2020 OFL Labour Honour Roll

We are calling on OFL affiliates to submit nominations for this year’s OFL Labour Honour Roll. To be considered eligible, nominees must be former OFL members and trade union activists who are now retired or deceased. We welcome all nominations, but affiliates are encouraged to consider nominating individuals who reflect, promote and defend the diversity of our movement and who will be inspiring role models for generations to come.
All nominations must be submitted by an affiliate of the OFL. They must include a name and short biography for each nominee, as well as a letter explaining the significance of the nominee’s contributions to the broader labour movement. Nominees who were not selected in previous years may be resubmitted for consideration in subsequent years.

Please submit nominations to Judy Chow at [email protected], or by mail, 202-15 Gervais Drive, Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8. The deadline for receipt of nominations is Friday, December 18, 2020, no later than 4 p.m.

Petition for CP investigation (Train 301) to the Government of Canada

Don Ashley, National Legislative Director, Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), is requesting your assistance on an initiative he has been working on with the help and support of Niki Ashton, NDP MP for Churchill—Keewatinook Aski, Manitoba.

You may recall on February 4, 2019, a CP train ran away down the side of mountain near Field B.C. Three TCRC members perished in this tragic accident and we, including their families, still have no answers. The incident was investigated by CP’s private police force. Regardless whether there is negligence or not this is wrong on so many levels. We have been actively trying to get an independent RCMP investigation into this incident to get answers and closure for the families.

For more information and to sign the petition, please go here.

Be part of the LGBTQ2 Action Plan

The Government of Canada recently announced the launch of an LGBTQ2 survey, as a first step towards a federal LGBTQ2 Action Plan. This survey aims to better understand the daily realities and experiences of LGBTQ2 people in Canada in areas such as employment, health care, housing and homelessness, and safety.

To learn more about how you can participate in the anonymous survey by February 28, 2021, go here

Pandemic Resources From Prevention Link

Prevention Link has developed a batch of videos made for worker’s and representatives facing the COVID-19 pandemic. For those needing more information on filing a WSIB claim for COVID-19, attending a WSIAT video or audio hearing from home, knowing your rights at the workplace, and most importantly knowing your rights under Human Rights as it relates to COVID, take a look at our video library!

We have also developed handy factsheets on COVID-19, find them here!

Labour Disputes

Visit the OFL’s Labour Dispute Registry to stay updated and take action to support striking workers.

Right now, learn why workers at SEIU Local 2 are on strike and click here to help.


Ontario Federation of Labour


Ontario Federation of Labour · 15 Gervais Dr, Suite 202, Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8, Canada
Visit us on the web at or call us at 416-441-2731
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You can also keep up with Ontario Federation of Labour on Facebook.

Please consider forwarding this message to your friends! Or tell them to sign up for updates at

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Fixing Long Term Care

It’s the final week to push for health care changes



MPs are going to be heading back to their ridings this week but we need them to act before then. We can’t rest yet.  


I’m motivated because this is the final week to make ourselves heard before the house rises.


Across Canada, long-term care facilities are reaching their breaking points.


Grey Bruce is no exception. It isn’t right. The government needs to fix this now. Help put pressure on decision-makers so workers keeping seniors safe get more support.


Parliament rises at the end of this week. Email your MP today and demand action now before they head back home for the break.


Thanks for all you do,

Standing up for workers and their families

$15 Minimum Wage

Subject: I’ve got a favour to ask, We’re halfway there, can you help us out? It’s time for a $15 minimum wage



Yesterday’s economic update failed to include a $15 minimum wage. The government may be taking action before the holiday break. That means we only have a small window to act.


The goal is to flood MPs and the Prime Minister with 2,500 emails demanding a $15 minimum wage. We’re already more than halfway there!


Can I count on you today?


We’re coming close to almost a year with COVID-19 changing how we do things. It’s been a tough one. But now we need to focus on the folks who have been getting us through this – many of whom make less than $15 an hour.


These are workers who are covering shifts when coworkers need to stay home. They are workers who had to do more with less because of public health restrictions. They are workers who show up to work with a smile behind their mask, ready to support you and your family.


Let’s show up for them and demand the implementation of a $15 minimum wage today.


Thanks for all you do,


Standing up for workers and their families




Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls

Subject: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, November 25

With November 25th being the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, followed by 16 Day of Action, we know that Canada needs an Action Plan to systemically address the multifaceted ways women experience violence in Canada.

 The CLC is hosting a webinar today on just that – join us for the conversation and then to take action.

 Topic: Calling for a National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence

Time: Wednesday, November 25, from 4:00 p.m.- 5:00p.m. EST

Facebook and Registrations Found Here:  

 We know that one major way that we can help women in having the means to access choice and autonomy is through increasing her wage. Women workers from across the country need your help. Join with the thousands from coast to coast who have already sent a message to the government demanding a $15 minimum wage.

We need to ensure our Member of Parliament and the Prime Minister to hear from people here in [REGION]. Let’s make workers’ priorities impossible to ignore in Ottawa.

 Join the call right now, and demand that the federal government:

  • Immediately implements their promised $15 an hour minimum wage; and
  • Coordinates with provinces and territories to ensure workers in all jurisdictions earn a living wage.


We can get this done.