August 13, 2021 – Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) are urging the province to establish a COVID-19 proof of vaccination system. Around the world, certified vaccination records are helping businesses and event spaces to safely open while encouraging more people to get vaccinated. This will help reduce a fourth wave in Ontario as well. Organizations as diverse as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, CFIB, the Ontario Science table, colleges and universities, are all calling for such a system.
“The faster we can enact a proof of vaccination system, the faster we can protect more Ontarians from the effects of the Delta variant,” said Jeff Lehman, Chair of OBCM and Mayor of Barrie. “This will support the safe reopening of our economy and protect our residents”.
OBCM also passed a motion calling on the provincial government to reach an agreement on the $10 per day federal childcare plan to support the economy and reduce household expenses for Ontarians.
Ontario’s strong fiscal management throughout the pandemic creates the opportunity to implement this economy strengthening social program. The OBCM caucus urges the provincial government to join the seven other provinces who have reached agreements in providing quality affordable childcare to families.
Childcare has been unaffordable and inaccessible to families across the province long before the pandemic began. The pandemic compounded this equity issue and resulted in more women exiting the workforce to care for their children.
Ensuring Ontarians have access to affordable childcare will remove a financial burden from families and help kickstart economic recovery.
Affordable Broadband Internet
The COVID-19 crisis has been brought to the forefront the need for all Ontarians to have reliable access to internet. OBCM supports continued efforts to provide proper broadband infrastructure, but also calls for affordable rates as too many Canadians are struggling with high fees for internet services. “COVID-19 has underlined the fact that broadband internet for all our citizens is a basic necessity and essential utility, and access does not simply refer to broadband infrastructure availability, but also to its affordability”, stated Chatham-Kent mayor, Darrin Canniff. OBCM is looking to the Federal government to review the recent decision by the CRTC Commission and replace it with evidence based 2019 Rates Order.
Ontario Childcare Crisis
Whereas accessible, affordable, quality child care and decent work for early learning and child care workers were issues before the pandemic;
Whereas the pandemic has deepened this crisis and compounded the equity issues involved, including women’s workforce participation;
Whereas the federal government outlined funds to build a child care system in their 2021 budget and 6 provinces and 1 territory, led by a variety of political parties, have concluded agreements so far;
Whereas without an accessible, affordable, quality child care system which includes expansion and support for the child care workforce, Ontario cannot build back better and the economic divide for women and low-income families will widen;
Therefore, OBCM expresses support for the Ontario government to immediately conclude an agreement with the federal government on child care based on the proposal by the federal government in the 2021 federal budget.
Proof of Vaccination
THAT OBCM request the Provincial Gov’t establish a system of certified proof of vaccination and testing protocols to be utilized in support of keeping our vaccinated public safe; and our businesses, schools and public institutions free from further shutdowns as future waves of COVID-19 may materialize.
Affordable Broadband internet
Ontario’s Big City Mayors call on the Federal Cabinet, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and ISED Minister Francois-Phillippe Champagne to overrule the CRTC’s reversal and immediately implement the evidence-based 2019 Rates Order.
That OBCM write letters to the Premier of Ontario, the Ontario Minister of Industry, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities asking for their support in this matter.
About Ontario’s Big City Mayors
Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM), formerly known as the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario, includes mayors of 29 single and lower-tier cities with a population of 100,000 or more, who collectively represent nearly 70 per cent of Ontario’s population. OBCM advocates for issues and policies important to Ontario’s largest cities.
Mayor Jeff Lehman, Chair