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ABC News Prime: Dilemma with schools amid COVID-19; WH continues Fauci criticism; Maxwell in court

well good afternoon my friends the last few months i made it crystal clear that when it comes to long-term care we can't accept the status quo thanks to our front-line heroes the vast majority of homes have now stabilized but we have clearly seen the system is broken and after decades of neglect and under investment the cracks in the system can no longer be ignored what we need is significant investment in the long-term care sector we need to tear down and redevelop old homes and we need to build new ones we need thousands of new long-term care beds and we need them fast when it comes to long-term care it can't be business as usual we need action and we need it now my friends we're committed to building thirty thousand long-term care beds over the next ten years and today we're making a historic investment of 1.75 billion dollars to kickstart the development of long-term care beds in ontario today's announcement will result in an estimated nearly 8 000 new long-term care beds and 12 000 redeveloped long-term care beds these estimated 20 000 beds are the first step in a number of new initiatives we'll be putting forward to meet our target and we will continue to plan for more long-term care beds until we reach our goal and we're getting shovels in the ground we're building new beds and we're upgrading existing ones we're redeveloping homes to modern design standards so our seniors have access to features like private and semi-private rooms and the latest medical technology my friends we inherited a broken system a system where tens of thousands of seniors were left on wait lists for beds a system where seniors are waiting in emergency rooms and hospital hallways a system where many seniors are denied the comfort of air conditioning during the summer months it's unacceptable and we're going to fix it and that's why last week i committed to finding solutions for problems with air conditioning and long-term care homes these are problems that have been around for decades we've begun work on regulations the mandate cooling and existing long-term care homes and today i can announce that working with the long-term care sector our government will dedicate the funding necessary to ensure long-term care homes in need have working air conditioning this is something that should have been done many years ago and with thousands of new and redeveloped beds on the way we're going to mandate air conditioning for all new long-term care projects and redevelopments i am a hundred percent committed to seeing this through no longer will the seniors and the staff in our long-term care homes have to suffer through the summer heat and this important work will take place in every corner of the province from windsor to ottawa from kenora to niagara and everywhere in between no matter where you live you and your loved ones should have access to top-notch long-term care my friends together we will build a better system because our seniors deserve nothing less they deserve a place that feels like home a place that is safe and comfortable thank you and god bless the people of ontario now i'll pass it over to minister fullerton thank you premiere culvert 19 has created unprecedented challenges in many long-term care homes globally and in ontario there are roughly 24 000 beds in ontario's long-term care system that meet design standards from 1972 we can and must do better after many years of neglect by previous governments our government is taking swift action to improve long-term care today we are announcing our new modernized funding model that will break down long-standing barriers and accelerate the construction of urgently needed long-term care projects across ontario from 2011 to 2018 only 611 beds were built that's less than one new bed for every home in the province at a time when the aging population was increasing steadily this was due largely because the current one-size-fits-all approach to funding long-term care development does not account for regional differences and barriers to development including land construction and development charges our new funding model will encourage new beds to be built faster and upgrade existing homes to meet high quality design standards with features like air conditioning and private or semi-private rooms our plan will create four new regional categories that includes large urban urban mid-size and rural we will increase the province's construction funding subsidy tailored to each of the four categories enabling us to address the needs of different communities we will also provide development grants between 10 and 17 percent depending on regional category to cover upfront costs like development charges land and other construction expenses our government will also increase funding to incentivize the construction of basic accommodation beds and continue top-ups for small and medium-sized homes through this new approach we fully expect that several thousand new and redeveloped beds will be built and in use in 2022 i'd also like to provide an update about visiting your loved ones in long-term care i know that this has been incredibly difficult for many including loved ones essential caregivers and families effective immediately up to two people at a time can now visit a loved one in long-term care during an outdoor visit those visitors will no longer be required to take a covid19 test starting on july 22nd indoor visits for two at a time can resume and the previous verbal attestation of a negative coveted test will apply for indoor visits we must continue to be vigilant when visiting our loved ones in long-term care if you're feeling unwell please stay home our government will always work to support our vulnerable populations and by taking immediate steps to get shovels in the ground faster and get seniors into modern comfortable homes sooner we will ensure that they get the quality of care that they deserve thank you okay we'll go to the phone line for questions first question first question comes from randy raff from sage chtv please go ahead hi randy hi premier um i'm wondering this this this air conditioning fund that you've set up will private for-profit operators be able to draw from that fund and if they're able to why would you not just say to them you have to provide air conditioning like you have to supply fire suppression if you don't mind i'll hand this over to the minister thank you thank you so now whatev whatever ownership it is whether it's for-profit municipal or or not-for-profit ultimately it's about resident safety and well-being and their health so we're taking a very resident centered approach to this um that's what matters the most and obviously staffing in the homes as well so we want to make sure that the residents are are well cared for and this has to be across the board and we want to make sure that we are consistent in that expectation follow up okay um and i also want to ask about retirement homes as opposed to long-term care homes we have a home in hamilton the kathmar retirement residents that went right through the recent heatwave with very few rooms air conditioned and finally they came in and fixed the air conditioning and it no longer works four days after it was fixed um what is the government going to do to provide air conditioning in retirement residences so thank you for the question i'm not going to speak foreign minister cho but i can address a question retirement homes are under the ministry of seniors and accessibility but overall i can tell you that as our government works to redevelop homes and make sure that the standards are there so that we can have an expectation that residents whether they're in a retirement home or in a long-term care home receive the quality care that they deserve that keeps them safe and and and addresses their well-being overall so in in retirement homes as well some of them are older buildings and specifically to long-term care that demonstrates the necessity to redevelop the issues surrounding where we put air conditioning in our long-term care homes has to be a thoughtful process there is a concerns around how air flows in those homes and we need to be thoughtful about that process but we want to make sure that top of mind is resident well-being and as you heard the premier say in his remarks it's been decades that this whole sector has been neglected and it's our government that is putting the dollars behind the redevelopment and putting residents at the center um that is the most important part next question next question comes from tina yazdani from city news please go ahead hello um so i wanted to ask what the government's plan is if in a few weeks from now the loosened restrictions on visiting result in further outbreaks at long-term care homes and what kind of feedback have you heard from the operators of the homes about how difficult it might be to enforce the new rules well before i pass it to the minister you know just just speaking to a lot of these families that have people that are in long-term care homes it's heartbreaking to hear their stories they just want to see their their loved ones but we we have to do it safely and put the proper protocols in and make sure that all the guidelines are followed but i'll pass it over to the minister thank you so thanks for the question so we've been working with the sector to understand uh how they can roll out the increased essential visitors essential caregivers plans we recognize the importance that friends and family members have in the well-being of the residents of long-term care and i just want to remind us all that we are still in a state of emergency in ontario we must be vigilant and we need to adapt as time goes on taking the very best evidence and science that there is to inform us as to next steps testing is a big part of that and ontario has been hit harder than some other provinces and there is no doubt about that um and so we want to make sure that the testing is there that our homes can manage the influx of visitors that so rightly want to see their residents and loved ones in long-term care so this is a process that we will be vigilant with and we'll be monitoring and we're working with the chief medical officer of health and public health units to address any any any sparks shall we say that might be occurring in different regions follow up and this next question is from my colleague eric minister for many child care centers being forced to operate at limited capacity after months of closure with no support from the government is not sustainable and could result in the loss of thousands of child care spaces um what is the province's plan on supporting cows for centers well we're focused on child care centers as minister leche mentioned the other day in his announcement we'll have 91 percent of the child care spaces open and i think i mentioned yesterday our goal always is a hundred percent not 91 percent but we're working on the balance of the nine percent but our goal always is to have enough safe uh places for our children to go and that's what parents expect and that's what we're going to do next question next question comes from lucas meyer from newstalk1010 please go ahead hi lucas hi premier thank you very much if i could actually pivot to education um as i'm sure you saw today the tdsb coming out with their draft plans um you know hundreds of millions more for more educators possible cutting of french all together i'm just wondering what have you thought of this you know these are draft plans obviously it's not the final recommendation but you know what have you seen what have you thought of what you read i know our our friends at ctv ottawa reported on you know private schools being perhaps more ready to go going into september so i'm just curious what if you thought of you know the biggest board uh what they're preparing for at least for today well first of all when it comes to education our government's putting 750 million dollars more than any other government including ours last year 750 million dollars more into education and we're putting 250 dollars more per student in saying that with the tdsb we we always uh value their their input in all the other boards right across the the province uh but just keep in mind that uh the tdsb is going to get 55 million dollars more than they did last year and within that 55 million there's 23 million dollars allocated to hire more teachers so we'll assess the the whole area of education as we're doing right now and just just keep in mind when we came out with our announcement and i think it was a great announcement that we're making sure that we're ready for all scenarios that was i think it was june the 17th june 16th and we were averaging 247 cases a day that's the average now a month down the road that none of us can predict but down the road we're averaging just a little over 100 cases and i just wish i had that crystal ball to see where we are in a month down the road or two months down the road but i think the minister has a bang on working with the boards and allowing them to uh come up with different ideas and we always have to look at the worst case scenario god forbid we get hit with a second wave or flu season hits we have to be prepared our goal as a government is to have kids in the classroom five days a week and more more people i talk to be teachers or be it parents and and school trustees everyone's saying hey we want our kids in there five days a a week so that's what our goal is but again i i just can't predict what's going to happen two months down the road and hopefully we'll be able to uh have some really great great results thank you in the case premier though of that you can't go to that full day class you have to go to a high if certain boards have to go to a hybrid model and you have parents that are going to have to adjust to to completely rearranging potentially their work life i mean what's the message to those families and parents now who who are potentially contemplating that reality well the message to the the parents we're working every single day the school boards are working every single day coming up with different scenarios and we have the three different uh scenarios but by the time school opens we'll we'll have it down pat but again uh i i just wish i could i could see you know when that's crystal ball what's going to happen in in two months down the road and hopefully we'll bring the cases even lower below 100 and we'll have a little more certainty i understand parents when i talk to them they want certainty in where they're gonna be in september for their own jobs but for their kids as as well and you know i'm sure we've all talked to kids they're itching to get back to school they're just itching to get back to school and and good for them they want to see their friends they want to start learning in a kind of relatively new normal let's see how that plays out but we're working extremely hard on this next question next question comes from lauren pelley from cbc news please go ahead hello hi there um last week windsor essex officials asked the province to take on the coordination of the response to outbreaks at farms in ethics county uh yesterday they said they're still waiting on a response and livington's mayor suggests it'll take weeks to get these outbreaks under control so will the province take over and how long will provincial resources stay on the ground if so well before i hand it to the minister of health um you know i can't wait to see the people down there tomorrow i'm in constant communication uh with folks down there be the mayor santos or or mayor mcdonald can't wait to see both of them tomorrow and actually talk to the people and i'm going to be visiting a couple farms there tomorrow and hear it first hand and i've talked to the farmers as well literally on a daily basis to and omafra but i want to see firsthand so i'm going to be down there tomorrow i can't wait to see the people uh down in the essex windsor area then i'll be going down again i'll go down there as many times as it takes to uh make sure that we have a secure environment for the workers and the farmers and the and the people that work uh live and work in that region i'll pass it over to the minister well provincially we have been coordinating efforts in the windsor essex area dr heyer has been coordinating that we've been working with a local chief officer public health in in windsor essex along with public health ontario with ontario health and with teams that we've been sending in there we did have an assessment center opened up in leamington we didn't see the volumes of people coming there so we've set up teams that can go from farm to farm we've had a number of teams there we've also worked with red cross and we've also worked with the federal government as well who've been providing the quarantine association for some people some of the workers who have tested positive and need to be self-quarantining for 14 days and receiving medical attention red cross has been helping with food delivery and right now agriculture and rural affairs ministry is still coordinating the approach which is proving to be very effective we're still testing large numbers of people and we're not seeing the numbers of total positives that we saw several weeks ago but the testing is still continuing we're hearing about people going on social media posting that they've made what they're calling mask exemption cards uh they're fake and they're using them to wear them in places where masks are now required by law some of them are reason using the the canadian red cross symbol um this is probably just from israeli again i mean what is your take on that do you think there needs to be stronger laws in place perhaps from a provincial level to make sure people aren't floating the rules in this way yeah i heard about that and i first of all i want to thank the red cross what a great organization and it's unfortunately unfortunate that people are using their logos and i understand they're going to possibly be taking action but you know this this isn't the time to put uh fraudulent cards to get away and and be able to go into the the store uh to be responsible don't don't be a scammer and you know say say that you can't wear a mask and make up some fraudulent cards it's unacceptable in my opinion everyone else is is wearing a mask when you go into stores wear a mask we're face covering if you don't have a mask or a face covering but as far as i'm concerned it's totally unacceptable next question next question comes from natasha mcdonald from radio canada please go ahead hi natasha hi premier um i was wondering if we could get an update on uh the federal contact tracing app so when it was delayed earlier this month you said it was a question of getting all provinces on board but uh now we know that quebec is long launching consultations until august 2nd at least i'm wondering if you know when uh the app will be launched in ontario is it going to be before that date well right now it's in it's with the feds uh you know we we're ready here in ontario and maybe i'll pass the minister of health but we're ready to go on this app i'm i'm proud that i came from ontario i'm proud that uh our folks here in queens park helped out with shopify i'm just grateful for shopify stepping up and helping us out and supporting this app i think it's important that we we have it but we're just waiting for the green light from the federal government maybe the minister can add to this well we are waiting for the federal government to determine when they're going to start rolling out to the app we are ready to go and we intend to have a vigorous uh advertising campaign for it because of course it's it'll be available but it's only going to be useful if large numbers of people download the app and actually use it it's very simple i've seen several demonstrations of it it's very useful even for someone who's not really big into technology so i i really encourage people when it does become available please use it it's completely anonymous it does not identify you personally it only identifies you as a number being somewhere that may be in contact with somebody with coven 19. it's been thoroughly vetted by the information and privacy commissioner it's ready to go it's a great app and it's been developed locally so we're very proud of it and we do hope that everyone in ontario will download it when it does become available oh what my follow up is for minister fullerton uh so back to the fund for air conditioning uh first off i'm sorry if i missed this but could you say how much money will be allocated to this fund and second we know uh for-profit homes have chosen not to upgrade their facilities so how will you ensure you hold them your ministry holds them accountable to make sure they install air conditioning well we've consulted with the sector and studied the long-term care development issues for the past year kovid19 slowed us down a little bit but all the due diligence that we've done to understand this issue has been worked into this redevelopment this modernization funding plan and the air conditioning is part of how we will move forward to make sure that the health and safety and well-being of residents is at the center in terms of an exact number for the fund we have to understand the current regulations the current issues uh surrounding culvert as well and understanding uh even the use of fans uh in our homes um has to be considered how we orient the fan how they can be used there's multiple different ways of cooling homes as well and that has to be understood so in the context of covet 19 it does change some elements but as you've heard earlier in this presser that we will be making sure that homes have air conditioning and i can tell you that there are no homes that have no air conditioning that are covered under the or represented by the oltca but there are issues with some of the older buildings in terms of the electrical system being able to to take more of a load and all of these things have to be considered it is it is complicated last question last question comes from jessica smith from queen's park briefing please go ahead hi jessica hi thanks so much so a few weeks back uh you took a question from cbc's mike crowley he asked if you were planning to give some immunity to businesses uh concerning civil claims related to covet transmission like d.c has done uh since then the opposition has focused on what that could mean for long-term care homes can you update us today on what your plans are on this issue sure with a long-term care home especially the bad actors i just don't believe in protecting bad actors uh and when it comes to other companies right around the the province giving example someone could go in a little mom-and-pop convenience store and walk out and and you know two days later say well i got i got covet in the convenience store that that's just not not fair to small businesses i know the attorney general's office is uh working on this and we'll be rolling out a plan very shortly but i just feel we have to protect the the really good businesses uh the vast majority of them but when it comes to long-term care i don't believe we should protect people that were uh careless follow-up i think so thanks so much so bc's order doesn't cover growth like negligence and it only counts if the businesses were following the public health guidance uh can you give us a sense of here's contemplating the same thing here and to add to that the long-term care association says the homes need this kind of protection because they're having sorry for the testing care by because they're having trouble getting adequate insurance right now uh what can you do to address that problem as well well i'm sorry we're a little muffled on that question i couldn't really i apologize i couldn't really hear that but what are we going to do for long-term care homes is that exactly i apologize sorry about that no no no it's my fault i'm bouncing my baby outside and the truck goes by um so the long-term care home association says that homes need this kind of liability protection because they're having trouble getting adequate insurance that's the root of them okay is there anything the government can do if you're not prepared to give them this kind of liability protection to help them get insurance well we'll sit down with the minister of finance and talk to the insurance companies i think everyone uh deserves insurance number one to to protect the the patients and and protect the nurses so and visitors that come into long-term care so i'll bring this up to the minister of finance and and thanks for bringing that to my attention thank you thank you okay thank you everyone all the best you