QUEEN’S PARK – Mike Schreiner, released the following statement in response to Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore’s recommendation that all Ontarians wear masks in indoor settings.
“Our pediatric healthcare system is in crisis yet just like during COVID, the Premier is letting politics get in the way of taking the action needed to curtail it.
We saw the Premier’s failure to act boldly in the early days of COVID lead us down a path of lockdowns and mandates. How bad does the healthcare crisis have to get before this government takes action?
Dr. Moore was clear today that pediatric ICUs are under ‘extraordinary pressure’ due to the triple threat of COVID, influenza and RSV.
In the province’s major pediatric hospitals, important surgeries are being delayed, sick children are being transferred to non-pediatric units where they may not receive optimal care. Parents are terrified that their child will fall ill and won’t be able to receive treatment.
Yet, there is an obvious disconnect between how Dr. Moore describes the current situation in pediatric healthcare and how seriously the government is willing to deal with it.
The Premier’s dismantling of an independent science advisory table, and his failure to invest in healthcare workers and the healthcare system has brought us to this point. What is worse, is that he and the Health Minister have been virtually silent on the crisis in pediatric ICUs.
Many infectious diseases experts have been calling for mandatory masking – and some Ontario universities have already taken that step – but again the government is passing the buck to others to decide whether to require staff and students to wear masks in schools and daycares.
Public health crises demand bold and clear leadership from the government.
I am calling on the Premier to implement a real plan to address the healthcare crisis that includes:
- Immediate and targeted financial investments in our pediatric hospitals
- Immediately repealing Bill 124, which caps healthcare workers wages, to address the mass exodus of nurses and frontline health workers in Ontario
- Clear and concise communication to the public, including parents, on a vaccination and masking strategy and the plan is to ensure their kids can get the healthcare they need, with a government commitment to publicly support public health measures as needed.