December 4, 2020, Ontario appointed members to the Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force. The task force also held its inaugural meeting this afternoon to discuss priority populations for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The meeting was attended by Premier Doug Ford, and as a result, the Premier did not hold his daily press conference.
This afternoon, Ontario announced that three public health regions would be moved to levels of the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework with stronger public health measures.
Earlier today, the Ministry of Long-Term Care approved a new voluntary management agreement between Lakeridge Health and Sunnycrest Nursing Home in Whitby. The agreement is intended to help address the current spread of COVID-19 at Sunnycrest, and will remain in effect for 90 days, with a possible extension if necessary.
Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Vic Fedeli, also issued a statement in response to today’s monthly employment release by Statistics Canada, which highlighted that employment in Ontario increased by 36,600 in November.
In addition, the government announced funding for the Niagara Parks Commission to support the region during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force Membership
This morning, Ontario announced the appointment of the membership of the Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, which will be chaired by General (retired) Rick Hillier, former Chief of Defence Staff for the Canadian Forces.
The formation of the task force was announced on November 23rd. It has been struck to oversee the delivery, storage, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the province.
The following nine members were appointed to the task force today:
- Dr. Dirk Huyer, Ontario’s Chief Coroner and Coordinator of Provincial Outbreak Response;
- Dr. Homer Tien, trauma surgeon and President and CEO, Ornge;
- Dr. Maxwell Smith, bioethicist and assistant professor, Western University;
- Dr. Isaac Bogoch, infectious diseases consultant and internist, Toronto General Hospital;
- Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald of Taykwa Tagamou Nation;
- Dr. Regis Vaillancourt, Director of Pharmacy and Integrated Pain Services, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario;
- Linda Hasenfratz, CEO, Linamar Corporation;
- Angela Mondou, President and CEO, TECHNATION;
- Mark Saunders, former Toronto Police Chief.
The task force held its inaugural meeting this afternoon, which was attended by the Premier and included a discussion on priority populations for receiving the vaccine.
Moving forward, the task force will partner with several ministries to advise the government on areas related to operations and logistics, federal-provincial and Indigenous relations, health and clinical domains, behavioural science, public health and immunization, ethics, and information technology and data.
Additional information on the experience of task force members is available here.
Three Regions Re-Classified at Stricter Public Health Levels
This afternoon, the Ontario government announced that three public health regions would be re-classified at new levels of the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework with stricter public health measures.
Effective Monday, December 7th at 12:01 a.m.:
- Middlesex-London Health Unit and Thunder Bay District Health Unit move to Orange-Restrict;
- Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ride District Health Unit moves to Yellow-Protect.
All other public health regions will remain at their current level. A full list of classifications by region can be viewed here.
Funding for the Niagara Parks Commission
The government also announced up to $12.81 million in one-time funding for the Niagara Parks Commission to help support the region during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding is intended to protect jobs, keep some attractions open, ensure compliance with public health protocols, and support policing and road maintenance activities. This investment will support the Niagara region in remaining a top tourist destination, and will contribute to the recovery of Ontario’s tourism sector.