Statements from Mayor Mrakas

2021
April
April 9: Statement on the passing of His Royal Highness Prince Philip

It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, this morning. On behalf of the Council of the Town of Aurora, I want to express my deepest sympathies to The Queen, and to the entire Royal Family, as they mourn the loss of a loved one.

His Royal Highness Prince Philip served the public faithfully for over seventy years - a lifetime by any measure - and his legacy will live on.

Flags at all Town facilities will be lowered to mark Prince Philip’s passing.

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April 7: Response to the Provincial Government announcement on the "Stay-at-Home Order

With respect to today’s stay-at-home order announcement, while I am disappointed we need to move in this direction, I appreciate that the Premier’s approach is closer to an actual lockdown. I have maintained that if you are to “lockdown”, it should be across the board and not penalize a select few businesses. This stay-at-home order will be different as it limits big box stores to just groceries and pharmacies. Something that I along with other Mayors have been asking for. A level playing field that truly limits any openings to the core essentials.

I recognize the next several weeks will be difficult. However, for the continued safety of our residents and to take the pressure off the hospitals, we must effectively use this time as communities and as a Province to ‘ramp up’ our vaccinations. We are ready at the municipal level with the infrastructure to get the vaccines into as many willing arms as possible. We have clinics, mobile sites and pharmacies ready to go and administering the vaccine with capacity for much more. But we need our Federal Government to get us the much needed supply. During this stay-at-home order let’s get all of our most vulnerable and essential workers vaccinated so that when we get out of this stay-at-home order it will be the last time we ever have to shut anything down.

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April 1: Response to the Provincial Government announcement on the "shutdown" 

As I have maintained all along, we need to put the proper protocols in place to manage the spread of the virus. I also understand there is an urgency with respect to hospitalizations and ICU capacity. However, what I am struggling with is how this most recent set of restrictions will address this.

There are several regions which have been under these same restrictions for the last few months, yet the case counts and hospitalizations in those areas are growing. If we want to address the issue of ICU and hospital capacity, we need to target the right places. While I respect the decisions of the Premier and Cabinet; these are tough decisions for the province as a whole, I am truly disappointed in this decision that will do nothing but hurt our small local businesses (restaurants, gyms, personal services).

This is being called a province wide ‘shutdown’, yet retail is open, malls are open, industrial and manufacturing are open, you can go play a round of golf with 3 others…what exactly is being shut down? This is not a shutdown; it is a closure of a select group of business who are largely not responsible for the spread. How many cases have been in a manufacturing/industrial setting? How many in local grocery stores? Many more examples and yet they have not been shut down.

Why are we shutting these select businesses and penalizing them? Why take away their incomes? Dr. Kurji has told us, we know these closures have a huge impact on people’s well-being and mental health. Let’s focus on enforcing protocols and restrictions where the data shows the transmission is occurring. We all want to keep everyone safe as we continue to vaccinate, but we need to revisit our approach to this and not just close certain select businesses. This approach, in my opinion is not going to help, and only hurt our small businesses who are hanging on by a thread.

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2019
May 2: Mayor Mrakas’ response to provincial announcement on Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan

The news released today by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in regards to The Housing Supply Action Plan is simply shocking.

Following hard on the heels of its decision to close the Local Planning Appeal Support Centre – the agency that was to provide legal assistance to residents/ratepayers seeking to object to development applications in their communities - the Province has announced sweeping changes to land-use planning legislation. Under the guise of supposed efficiency and improved access to affordable housing, the Province is reverting back to the old playbook of rules under the abolished Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) for approving development applications.

The review and reform of the OMB was a decades long process that resulted in a new regulatory framework. A significant element of that new legislative framework was to give greater weight and consideration of Municipal Council decisions as they relate to land-use planning. The final version of the legislation secured all party support. Its approval was a unanimous decision.

Should the proposed legislation pass as is, municipalities will again be relegated to the sidelines when it comes to land-use planning decisions for their own communities.

Once again, an unelected, unaccountable body will get to decide what’s best for our community when it comes to growth and development. This is not a decision “for the people.”

The ability to manage growth in our communities has just taken a just step backward and I consider it to be completely unacceptable.

As the Chair of the OMB Reform Working Group and Planning Matter, I will be reaching out to my colleagues and plan to meet as soon as possible on this matter.

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Small Urban GTHA Mayors' statements

2021
 
April
April 9: Small Urban GTHA Mayors remind residents to get vaccinated based on eligibility

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors met today to discuss the current stay-at-home order, vaccine rollouts and the importance of getting vaccinated.

It is imperative for people to book their vaccination appointment based on the eligibility criteria as established within the public health unit where they reside. Regional variations in eligibility criteria can occur due to various circumstances such as the location of identified hot spots. The Mayors remind their residents that the best vaccine is the one first available to you.

We are grateful to the Federal and Provincial governments for taking a targeted approach during Phase 2 of the vaccine distribution plan and call on them to consider vaccinating those residents living in small urban communities that require travel to and from identified “hot spots” for employment purposes. Furthermore, we call on our Provincial and Federal partners to provide additional clarity on where and how the vaccines are being distributed across Ontario.

We remind residents that during the stay-at-home order, only socialize with those living in your household, enjoy the outdoors within your local community while following your local public health regulations and only go out for essential items.


 

March
March 15: Small urban GTHA Mayors welcome vaccine rollouts across communities

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors met this past Friday to discuss how vaccine rollouts are occurring in each of the communities they represent.

We encourage each person to receive a vaccination to protect themselves from Covid19 and we are grateful that the Federal Government is expecting over 2 million does of vaccines by the end of March. Distribution details will be forthcoming but rest assured that vaccines are on the way and we are ready to administer them.

The Province also announced that to date over 1,000,000 vaccines have been administered and between April 2021 and July 2021, it is estimated that nine million more Ontarians will be vaccinated.

Further details can be found at:https://news.ontario.ca/en/backgrounder/60570/populations-eligible-for-phase-twocovid-19-vaccination

Be assured that we will not rest until all of our residents that want the vaccine are vaccinated.

In the interim, residents are reminded to follow public health guidelines and take the vaccine that is recommended by their public health units based on eligibility.

Please be patient and remember to stay safe at all times.


 

February
 
February 1:  Small urban GTHA Mayors encouraged by lockdown measures lifted

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors met yesterday and were encouraged by the lockdown changes announced by the Province. Lockdown restrictions have been lifted in several Regions represented by the Small Urban GTHA Mayors, and York Region and Peel are expected to open February 22nd. The diligence and patience by both residents and small business owners has helped make this possible, but we must continue to follow the safety protocols whether we are in Grey, Red, Orange, or Green.

Our goal has been and continues to be the safety of our residents and supporting our local businesses to bounce back from this pandemic. Small businesses are the economic backbone of our communities and we must support them by continuing to be vigilant and avoid a potential third wave of this pandemic.

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors meet regularly to discuss issues of importance to their communities, and in the coming months we will be discussing transportation infrastructure, broadband connectivity, and provincial planning matters. By working collectively, while advocating for our residents, we are able to better respond to emerging issues.


February 5: Small urban GTHA Mayors meet with Premier Doug Ford and Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors met yesterday with Premier Doug Ford and Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, about impacts of Covid-19 in each of their communities, specifically as it relates to provincial regulations, vaccine rollouts and small business.

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors called on the Premier to consider vetting proposed regulation changes with Heads of Council as there is often confusion as to what is and is not permitted, such is the case with outdoor recreational activities. The Premier continued to urge people to stay at home as much as possible, but confirmed that some outdoor leisure activities are permitted as long as they’re not organized team sports, and masks and appropriate distancing are in place. The same can be said about residential construction, inspections can proceed by local building officials on open residential construction projects.

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors reiterated their commitment to supporting the Province on vaccine rollouts and are ready to work with Public Health Units in ensuring that the most number of residents receive the vaccine as soon as they are made available. There will be no shortage of staff to help administer the vaccines in a timely and organized manner and it is imperative that we reach everyone, including those living in group settings. Rapid testing is available to these groups and testing should be done each and everyday to stop the spread of Covid-19 and its variants.

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors agree with the decision to test and screen incoming travellers for Covid-19 and support the Premier in urging the Federal government to implement changes to Paid Sick Leave regulations for those affected in order to help stop the spread of the virus through local transmission.

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors reminded the Premier of the toll this pandemic has taken on small business and emphasized considering small business to reopen by appointment only as soon as possible while still abiding by the appropriate safety measures.

It is only by working collaboratively with all levels of government that we will move ahead of this pandemic and are grateful for the partnerships established in reaching the common goal of keeping our communities safe and healthy.


January
January 20: Small urban Mayors call on the province for equality for all of our businesses 

Today the Small Urban GTHA Mayors met virtually with Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott and President and CEO of Southlake Regional Health Centre, Arden Krystal for an update on the impacts of Covid-19 on our provincial health care system and reiterate our steadfast commitment of support.

We informed the Minister that our communities remain ready to spring into action to help roll out the vaccine to our general population. With our facilities currently closed, set up should start immediately so that we will be ready to get our residents vaccinated without delay once supply is available.

We also echoed the concerns of our local small businesses who have been disproportionately impacted and call on the provincial government, to level the playing field and only allow essential items to be sold in big box stores during the lockdown. Also, that they consider implementing shopping by appointment and/or revisiting capacity in local businesses based on building square footage. We hope to see these measures considered at the earliest appropriate time to ensure equality for all businesses.

On behalf of the Small Urban GTHA Mayors, we reaffirm our commitment to our government partners, residents and small businesses and remain committed to supporting and promoting the public health guidelines currently in place and at all times following the data and science.


January 8: Small urban GTHA Mayors statement on impacts of increased COVID-19 cases

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors met virtually yesterday to discuss the Provincial
lockdown measures currently in place until January 23rd.

Positive Covid-19 cases are mounting in our communities at an alarming rate and there
is an ongoing concern that these are primarily attributed to social gatherings occurring within private residences and through travel abroad. We would remind residents to only socialize with those living in your own household and to limit your outdoor visits to essential shopping for groceries and medical items. The Mayors call on the Federal government to clamp down on unnecessary travel to and from Canada in order to help curb the spread of Covid-19 across the Country.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed every facet of our lives, from how we work, go to school, and even how we shop and access services. Small businesses are an essential component to the economic vitality of small urban communities and have been hit particularly hard, especially new businesses that opened after March 15, 2020. The Federal Covid-19 business relief programs exclude these businesses, leaving them with no financial lifeline. We call on our Federal partners to amend guidelines to allow new businesses equal access to the financial supports available.

With the vaccines being rolled out in the coming months, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We will continue to work together to ensure our municipalities and facilities are ready to be used as vaccinations centres when the Province needs them.

As always, we continue to rely on the expert advice from our Chief Medical Officers of Health and together with our Federal, Provincial and Municipal partners, we are optimistic that we will find long term solutions that provide economic opportunities for our local businesses while working to ensure we overcome this second wave to emerge stronger and healthier.


2020
December
December 15: Small urban GTHA Mayors remind residents to stay safe during the holidays

Today the Small Urban GTHA Mayors met virtually to discuss Covid-19 restrictions
and their impacts across our communities. We want to assure our residents that we hear the concerns being expressed; from shoppers leaving their lockdown zones to shop elsewhere, to businesses struggling to keep up with ever-changing rules.

Together, we are responding to these concerns and have written to The Premier and
The Honourable Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, asking for
information on what criteria is used to determine moving out of a Grey Lockdown Zone.

It is only by working together that we can best respond to our residents and businesses
and implement plans that will guide us towards recovery from this pandemic.

On behalf of the Small Urban GTHA Mayors, I would like to wish everyone a safe and
happy holiday season. We remind you to follow Health Unit guidelines and remain vigilant during this time. Practice physical distancing, wash your hands and do not socialize indoors with anyone outside of your household, unless it is one family member that may be living alone. Shop locally, using curbside pick-up, and support local small
business.


 

December 8: Small urban GTHA Mayors call on province to remove Section 6 within Bill 229

Today the Small Urban GTHA Mayors met for the first time to discuss several issues
affecting each of our communities from Covid-19, pandemic recovery to the removal
of Schedule 6 within Bill 229.

Section 6 within Bill 229 is being considered in the legislature today without any
consultation with Conservation Authorities or Heads of Council.

If passed, the Province will have the ability to issue any permits directly to applicants
that could threaten environmentally sensitive protected lands and wetlands.
Conservation Authorities are in place to assess development applications on a case by
case basis using scientific measures that will positively impact and protect our naturally
sensitive areas.

We are calling on the Province to immediately remove Section 6 of Bill 229 and instead,
begin a dialogue and consultation with Heads of Council, and Conservation
Authorities on issues and concerns impacting our communities across the Province. Open consultation and dialogue between our levels of government have proved to be a valuable exercise to reach our mutually common goals in the past and we believe the contents of Section 6 are significant and require more consultation.

Moving forward The Small Urban GTHA Mayors will be meeting on a regular basis to discuss and respond to issues affecting our communities as a collective including Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19, broadband, and the greenbelt.

It is imperative that our voices are heard by all levels of government in order to best serve our residents and protect our communities.


 

GTHA Mayors 

2021
April
April 12: GTHA Mayors and Chairs call for additional COVID-19 vaccine supply

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

As the GTHA faces a third wave and our hospitals work to help people, our municipalities continue to administer all vaccine available from the provincial and federal governments. We remain fully committed to our job as municipalities which is to put as many vaccines into as many arms as we can, as quickly as we can, vaccine supply permitting. As much clarity as possible with respect to vaccine supply is obviously central to our ability to carry out this task.

We support the efforts announced by the province to make sure residents in postal code hot spots have increased access to vaccine. We strongly support any action by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario to increase vaccine supply right now so that we can vaccinate more people in these hot spot areas and on the provincial priority list.

We are also very supportive of Premier Ford's goal of vaccinating 40 per cent of Ontarians by May 5 and we await further details on how we can collaborate together to make that happen, including on questions of vaccine supply. We believe that achieving this goal will require increased supply for the GTHA and the deployment of additional human resources.

Recognizing the scale of this undertaking means it will take time, we want residents across the GTHA to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The GTHA Mayors and Chairs continue to urge all residents who are eligible to receive the vaccine right now to sign up for their vaccine appointment.


 

April 6: GTHA Mayors and Chairs encourage people to get vaccinated when they are eligible
Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The cities represented by the GTHA Mayors and Chairs are extremely concerned about the third wave and the increasing case counts we are seeing in the region. We look forward to continuing dialogue with the province concerning public health measures as we try to win the war against this virus.

As the Province enters the second stage of the vaccine rollout, the Mayors and Chairs, who are proud to have led in the effort to administer hundreds of thousands of vaccines so far, would appreciate greater clarity on the matter of the vaccination of different groups of essential workers.

We all share the view that essential workers and vulnerable populations and communities should be prioritized for purposes of vaccine distribution. People who have no choice but to go to work are often by definition going to be placed at greater risk and we look forward to achieving greater clarification with the province to ensure we can prioritize these groups while still continuing to vaccinate progressively younger age groups.

The GTHA Mayors and Chairs urge all residents who are eligible to receive the vaccine right now to sign up for their vaccine appointment. We want residents across the GTHA to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

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March
March 29: GTHA Mayors and Chairs request additional COVID-19 vaccine supply

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The cities represented by the GTHA Mayors and Chairs are making considerable efforts to vaccinate residents laid out in the provincial government’s priority list as quickly as vaccine supply permits.

The GTHA Mayors and Chairs raised the need for a more reliable and increased supply stream of the vaccine from the federal and provincial governments with a focus on hot spots that are facing larger case counts. During the meeting, the participants called on the provincial and federal governments to work together to prioritize regions, including the GTHA and other areas across the country, that are facing greater impacts from the virus by increasing their supply of the vaccine. Current numbers clearly indicate this region is a COVID-19 hot spot and we believe vaccine allocation should take that into account, in the GTHA and in other hot spot areas in the country.

The GTHA Mayors and Chairs urge all seniors age 70 and older to sign up for their vaccine appointment. We want our seniors to get vaccinated as soon as possible. With availability of appointments across the region, the GTHA Mayors and Chairs made a request to the province to increase marketing and advertising efforts to encourage people to sign up and to address vaccine hesitancy. We will also be staying in close touch in the days ahead with respect to ongoing provincial eligibility requirements.

GTHA Mayors and Chairs discussed their concerns about the high case counts over the past week and the increased number of cases that are being identified as the variants of concern. In response to these increased case counts, and as cities continue to move forward in the provincial framework, the GTHA Mayors and Chairs are reminding residents to stay vigilant and to continue to follow the public health guidelines.

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March 22: GTHA Mayors and Chairs continue to encourage residents to get their COVID-19 vaccine when eligible

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The Mayors and Chairs continue to work with the provincial and federal governments to administer the COVID-19 vaccines to residents across the GTHA. While we await larger supply of vaccines, municipalities are moving forward in efforts to vaccinate priority groups laid out by the provincial government.

There was considerable discussion concerning the rollout of vaccinations in pharmacies. Mayors and Chairs in areas not yet part of the pharmacy vaccination program strongly urged the provincial government to expedite the equitable expansion of this initiative especially in light of increased security of vaccine supply. Local health authorities have strong existing relationships with pharmacies from programs like flu vaccinations.

The GTHA Mayors and Chairs welcome the news announced last week that allows for seniors age 75 and older to sign up for their vaccine appointment. Recent news from the federal government shows lower case counts among 80 and over residents across the country which demonstrates how vital the vaccine is in lowering case counts and spread among vulnerable residents.

On the matter of re-opening, the request to consider modifications to the Grey category restrictions on outdoor fitness and recreation was reiterated.

By increasing vaccination efforts in the GTHA and the commitment to stay vigilant in following public health guidelines, we will ensure a safer reopening for the region. The Mayors and Chairs are strongly encouraging residents to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible and as vaccine supply allows.

There was also a request made for more consistent messaging and more timely communication by the province to local governments including advance notice to Mayors and Chairs of changes in policy or new initiatives.”

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March 15: GTHA Mayors and Chairs encourage all residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine when eligible

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The Mayors and Chairs are committed to working with the provincial and federal governments to administer COVID-19 vaccines to residents across the GTHA. The federal government acquires and supplies COVID-19 vaccine, the provincial government rolls out the vaccine and sets the vaccination framework, and municipalities are committed to doing the on the ground work to get shots in arms. We are ready to ramp up our efforts as supply increases.

Right now, municipalities across the GTHA are focused on working with their hospital and healthcare partners to get residents 80-years-old and older vaccinated. Vaccine supply continues to be an issue which constrains our pace but prospects look brighter provided supply numbers are reliable.

The Mayors and Chairs strongly encourage all residents to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible and as vaccine supply allows. We recognize that the overall vaccination effort will take time and hope our residents will continue to be mindful of public health guidance including avoidance of St. Patrick's Day parties later this week.

Following the rules and getting vaccinated will protect you and your loved ones and help us stop COVID-19 so that the entire GTHA can move ahead with a safe reopening."

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March 8: GTHA Mayors and Chairs welcome additional supply of COVID-19 vaccine

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The Mayors and Chairs are committed to working with their local public health units, hospitals, and community health partners to distribute COVID-19 vaccine to residents. They urge residents to obtain local information on vaccinations from the municipality in which they live, to understand there will be differences between municipalities in a big region and that all local vaccination efforts are dependent upon vaccine supply.

Late last week, the Government of Canada announced additional vaccine supply would be arriving in the coming days and weeks and the Government of Ontario confirmed it would be distributing that vaccine as quickly as possible along with providing extra doses to communities hit hard by COVID-19. The Mayors and Chairs stated that as soon as that supply of vaccine is in hand, they will deliver.

This is great news for our efforts to get shots in arms. We want our residents to have access to vaccine as quickly as possible but all of our efforts do depend on vaccine supply.
The vaccinations work. We are already seeing the benefits of vaccinations in our long-term care and retirement homes. But they must be combined with a continued cautious approach to public health guidance and common sense as this is a battle which is not yet over.

During today's meeting, the Mayors and Chairs also discussed the importance of coordinating our efforts around communications across municipalities and with the province to help inform residents about the safety of the vaccines, the importance of being vaccinated when eligible, and how to get vaccinated.

The Mayors and Chairs also expressed their gratitude for the financial assistance, including transit funding, received primarily from the Ontario Government last week. Together with vaccinations, this funding will clearly put us on the road to recovery, knowing some additional assistance will be needed for 2021 since property taxes cannot on their own finance the extraordinary burdens caused by the pandemic.

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March 1: GTHA Mayors and Chairs Committed to COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

All GTHA municipalities are working to support the provincial and federal governments in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and preparing for the arrival of what we anticipate will be substantial additional supply. The Mayors and Chairs urge all residents to get vaccinated when they are eligible. The vaccine will protect you and your loved ones. The safe reopening of the GTHA for the long-term with no further threat of lockdowns will ultimately rely on as many people being vaccinated as possible. We believe it is important that the people we collectively serve receive consistent messaging with respect to the availability of vaccinations (including information around when, who, where, why).

All municipalities on the call, representing millions of people, are anxiously awaiting confirmation by the Province that they will be compensated for the millions of dollars in expenditures involved in delivering the vaccinations.

Supporting the vaccine rollout is one more example of the important work municipal governments and their local health units are doing in the fight against COVID-19. We are continuing to have good, positive discussions with the federal and provincial governments about additional support for municipalities facing other financial pressures (ie. transit and housing) due to the pandemic.

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February

February 22 - GTHA Mayors and Chairs committed to safe reopening, working to avoid further lockdowns


Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The Mayors and Chairs discussed their concerns about the continuing challenge posed by COVID-19, the variants and the possibility of a third wave. We support the safe reopening of schools to in-person learning that has been completed across the region and thank everyone involved in this effort to date including students, their families, and their teachers.

While some parts of the GTHA have started to reopen, others remain under lockdown and the province's Stay at Home order based on public health advice. The Mayors and Chairs support a cautious and safe reopening. We want to ensure that we keep the spread of the virus and the variants under control so that we avoid a third wave and ensure this lockdown is the last lockdown. We urge all residents to continue following the public health advice in their area and to avoid region hopping at this time. It was observed that the relaxation of remaining restrictions on outdoor winter recreational amenities might help prevent region hopping.

We also urge the Government of Ontario to work with us to ensure that as a transition to being more open takes place across the region, that we have in place measures needed to ensure its success including testing and other workplace related measures. The Mayors and Chairs would also welcome an increased public information campaign from the Province reminding people to shop smart, not to make it a family outing, and to continue to stay home as much as possible even in areas of increased reopening.

The Mayors and Chairs welcome the fact the Government of Canada announced the extension of several pandemic benefits. Extending the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit to four weeks from the previous two weeks will help. This is a good step in the right direction. Sick pay has been identified as a crucial issue and the Mayors and Chairs continue to call on both the provincial and federal governments to hammer out an even more effective solution for increased sick pay funding.

All GTHA municipalities are preparing to support the provincial and federal governments in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine once additional and substantial supply has arrived. This is one more example of the work municipalities are doing on the frontline to help the overall fight against COVID-19. The Mayors and Chairs seek assurance from the Government of Ontario that the provincial COVax registration and scheduling system will be up and running well ahead of the commencement of mass vaccinations. We encourage all residents to get vaccinated when they are eligible – this will be crucial to protecting people's health and in turn crucial to the successful rebuild of the GTHA economy.

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