Liberal MPP sought COVID-19 vaccination exemption for personal support worker

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Ontario Liberals are being accused of doing one thing and another after their Thunder Bay MPP demanded special treatment for an individual aid worker facing unemployment for refusing to vaccinate against COVID-19 .

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Michael Gravell (Thunder-Bay Superior North) made the request in an October 14 letter to Health Minister Christine Elliott and Long-term Care Minister Rod Phillips, despite Liberal Party policy, urging Premier Doug Ford to make full immunization mandatory for all health Gaya- Care and education worker.

Elliott’s office targeted Liberal leader Steven Del Duca as he released correspondence on Wednesday.

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“Steven del Duca is saying one thing to the liberal media and another behind closed doors,” it said in a statement.

In reference to the bill, a private member of Liberal MPP John Fraser (Ottawa South) said in the statement, “Del Duca Liberals are publicly advocating privately against mandatory vaccines and their consequences for a bill for compulsory vaccines.” Will carry on.”

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Del Duca, who has repeatedly been critical of New Democrat leader Andrea Horvath for his August flip-flops on the need for mandatory vaccinations, did not comment.

But the Liberal Party issued a statement calling Gravell’s email “inaccurate and completely out of line”. It noted that “we were the first party to invoke the vaccine mandate, and our position has not changed at any point.”

Later on Wednesday, Gravell issued a mea culpability, saying he “stands firmly behind” the party’s call for mandatory vaccination against COVID-19.

“In my attempt to assist a constituent, I made a mistake,” said a statement from the veteran MPP and former cabinet minister, who was not in the legislature on Wednesday. “I regret doing that.”

Gravell said he did not mean to “undermine” the bill from Fraser’s private member, who previously told reporters “our policy is clear” and later spoke to Thunder Bay MPP about the gaffe.

Phillips recently announced that all nursing-home workers in Ontario — including individual support workers who help feed, toilet, bathe, dress and groom residents — will be fully vaccinated by November 15. Must leave or lose your job.

Gravell was forwarding an email from a constituent who has been an individual aid worker in the community of Terrace Bay for 30 years and “has chosen not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and is now at risk of job loss due to this decision.” facing.”

“As an MPP, I hope to build some housing for workers who refuse vaccines, such as (component) in Ontario,” he wrote. “I know routine tests are allowed as an option by some workplaces. Any help or advice your Ministries can give to PSWs who do not want the vaccine, and want to keep working, would be greatly appreciated. “

Gravell’s email did not specify where the employee was employed.

Before Gravell’s email was released, del Duca tweeted about Fraser’s bill up for debate in the legislature Wednesday afternoon.

“This is what we’ve advocated for months, and it’s time for Doug Ford to listen to the science table recommendation and stop saying no.”

The science table of volunteer experts advising Ford released a brief on Tuesday calling for all hospital workers to be fully vaccinated. The brief was in response to Ford’s request for input from hospital officials and others in the health care sector on whether vaccinations should be mandatory for all hospital workers.

“Data from Public Health Ontario shows that a significant number of COVID-19 cases originate inside hospitals. Infection prevention and control efforts by hospitals to reduce the spread … will likely help reduce the risk of transmission, but they are not perfect and require constant vigilance,” Table wrote in his brief to Ford. Is.

“Vaccines, by contrast, provide consistent and ongoing protection to both health care workers and patients,” the brief added.

“There is already significant fatigue and irritation among hospital health care workers. If their non-vaccinated colleagues are unable to work because of the COVID-19 infection, they will be more stressed and at risk of burnout. “

Rob Ferguson is a Toronto-based reporter who covers Ontario politics for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @RobFerguson1
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