TORONTO, April 17, 2021 – Now is the time to pull out all the stops to drive down the spread of coronavirus. As we do so, we must not forget about kids. Children’s learning, development and mental health is enormously at risk – and marginalized, racialized and vulnerable children are at even further risk of harm.
We agree with Premier Ford that the situation is dire and support the stay-at-home order. We are thankful for frontline healthcare workers who are going above and beyond right now to help Ontarians. Getting community spread under control is essential to save lives and reduce pressure on ICUs, and to help us save the school year.
This doesn’t have to mean taking away safe, outdoor places for families and children.
Children’s Health Coalition is calling on the government to keep playgrounds and other outdoor recreational amenities open with masking for kids and families. Scientific evidence suggests this can be done safely.
Kids have already shouldered so much through the pandemic; they need a place to play and be kids. These new measures will be particularly challenging for families living in condos and apartments with no outdoor space available.
We are also calling on government to halt the expanded police powers, which have unfairly and historically targeted Black, racialized and Indigenous people, including health care and essential workers.
Finally, we support the recommendations of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Table: paid sick days for essential workers, doubling down on vaccination and testing in hot-spots, and only having absolutely essential workplaces open.
Our front-line healthcare workers are rising to the challenge right now and working so hard to care for Ontarians. We thank them for everything they are doing, and we are committed to advocating for government and individuals to all do everything in their power to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
We recognize the government has to make very challenging decisions in an unprecedented situation; we urge them to consider our recommendations.
About the Children’s Health Coalition: The Children’s Health Coalition is a growing collective of children’s health organizations, including CHEO, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, SickKids, McMaster Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital – London Health Sciences Centre, Children’s Mental Health Ontario and Empowered Kids Ontario.