Letter to Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Long-Care Fullerton on Sunnycrest Nursing Home Outbreak

Ryan Turnbull Member of Parliament

December 2, 2020 

The Honourable Doug Ford, M.P.P.
Premier of Ontario

The Honourable Merrilee Fullerton, M.P.P. 
Minister of Long-Term Care

Dear Premier Ford and Minister Fullerton: 

Re: COVID-19 Outbreak at Sunnycrest Nursing Home in Whitby 

I am deeply concerned about the recent outbreak at Sunnycrest Nursing Home in Whitby. The rapid increase in cases and lack of communication with families has left many in my community scared and worried for the well-being of their loved ones.

I have been in touch with the Minister of Public Safety, the Minister of Health, and the Minister of Seniors to convey my serious concern for the situation. 

I also want to emphasize my support for an independent public inquiry into the state of Ontario’s long-term care system. 

For too long, the issues and challenges in our long-term care system have gone unnoticed or ignored. The pandemic has only exacerbated issues that already existed and stretched an already fragile system to the breaking point.  

I know you both agree, our seniors, the people who built this country, deserve better.  

Urgent action is needed for the residents of Sunnycrest Nursing Home to get the COVID-19 outbreak under control and ensure the recovery of those who have contracted the virus.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Ryan Turnbull 
Member of Parliament for Whitby 

c.c.: 

The Honourable Christine Elliott, M.P.P., Deputy Premier and Minister of Health 
Lorne Coe, M.P.P., Whitby

Updated Statement on COVID-19 Outbreaks in Whitby

Ryan Turnbull Member of Parliament

I have heard from a number of constituents concerned about the COVID-19 outbreak at Sunnycrest Nursing Home. As someone whose own mother is in a senior’s residence, I want you to know how alarmed I am at the rapid increase in cases at this facility and the stories I am hearing from constituents about conditions at the facility.

Though long-term care is managed by the Ontario Government, I have reached out to Sunnycrest to offer my support on anything the federal government can do.

I have been in contact with Federal Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, Federal Minister of Seniors, Deb Schulte, and Federal Minister of Public Safety, Bill Blair to convey my serious concern. The Federal Government remains ready to assist if called upon by the Ontario government.

I have written to Premier Doug Ford and Ontario’s Minister of Long-Term Care, Merilee Fullerton conveying my deep concern for the situation and repeating my support for an independent, public inquiry into Ontario’s long-term care system.

We must all work together to protect our community. We simply cannot allow those who built our country to be treated this way.

Letter to Ministers Advocating for Dedicated Infrastructure Support for Post-Secondary Institutions

Ryan Turnbull Member of Parliament

November 19, 2020

Hon. Navdeep Bains, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6

Hon. Catherine McKenna, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6

Dear Ministers:

RE: Dedicated Infrastructure Support for Post-Secondary Institutions

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians have been able to count on our government to support them. Thank you to you both for your leadership over the past months as we have shifted our focus to getting through, and rebuilding from this pandemic.

As Canadians have made changes to their lives and plans to adapt to the realities of COVID-19, post-secondary institutions have found themselves hard hit with declining revenues in addition to pandemic-related expenses. Many have been forced to run significant deficits due to COVID-19.

We can all agree that post-secondary institutions are vital to Canada’s economic development and make immeasurable contributions through the innovation that they produce.  Currently, post-secondary institutions require direct support. Dedicated support streams for post-secondary institutions grappling with the economic effects of the pandemic would ensure the long-term viability and health of our institutions and would ensure that the innumerable benefits they bring to our communities continue.

Furthermore, I have heard from these stakeholders that post-secondary institutions are unable to apply for funding independently from municipal governments, and currently having to compete with other municipal infrastructure projects. This makes obtaining funding particularly challenging for post-secondary institutions as they must compete against a long list of local government priorities.

I urge you to consider a direct financial support stream for post-secondary institutions, similar to the Strategic Infrastructure Fund, as well as administrative changes required to allow them to apply for funding available to other public-sector organizations.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Ryan Turnbull

Member of Parliament for Whitby

Letter to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland on Business Supports for Businesses Opened during the Pandemic

Ryan Turnbull Member of Parliament

November 19, 2020

Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Dear Minister:

RE: Business supports for businesses opened during the pandemic

I have appreciated your responsiveness and commitment to helping businesses, workers, and all Canadians through this pandemic. I am very appreciative of the support programs we have rapidly put in place.

I am proud of the resilient entrepreneurs and business owners who have been able to keep their businesses open during this challenging time. I am especially proud of those who have started new businesses, a testament to boldness and tenacity even in ideal circumstances.

After connecting with some of my constituents who have opened new businesses during this pandemic, it was brought to my attention that the eligibility criteria for some of our business support programs excludes those businesses opened after March 2020. While I understand that the purpose of the supports, including the CEBA, and CEWS, were intended to help existing businesses survive the pandemic, this eligibility criteria puts those businesses that have opened in recent months at a disadvantage. As we aim to build back better and recover from the coronavirus recession, it is imperative that we provide new businesses with the same supports as businesses that were in existence on March 1st, 2020.

I am requesting that your officials review the eligibility criteria for the CEWS and the CEBA to allow new enterprises to qualify.

I sincerely appreciate how responsive you and your department have been to the feedback and concerns expressed by Members of Parliament and I want to thank you sincerely for that.

Yours very truly,

Ryan Turnbull
Member of Parliament for Whitby

Letter to Minister Qualtrough on Student Loan Repayment

Ryan Turnbull Member of Parliament

November 16, 2020

Hon. Carla Qualtrough, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Dear Minister:

RE: Canada Student Loan Repayment

Throughout this pandemic, our Government has taken strong action to support Canadians. Through measures such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) enhancement of the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ), and a 6-month interest-free moratorium on Canada Student Loans, our Government has been there for Canadians and we will continue to be.

As you know, the moratorium on repayments for Canada Student Loans ended on September 30, 2020. With the second wave of COVID-19 upon us, it is imperative that we support students and new graduates. One of the best ways that we can do that is to extend the moratorium on student loan repayment so that students and recent graduates can focus on getting through this pandemic.

I have heard from many students and recent graduates in Whitby about how extending this moratorium would provide them with more flexibility, peace of mind, and resources during this uncertain time.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Ryan Turnbull

Member of Parliament for Whitby

Roundtable Discussion on the National Autism Strategy

Ryan Turnbull speaks in the House of Commons

Reflections on the Throne Speech 2020

The Speech from the Throne delivered this past week by the Governor General outlines many significant wins for Canadians. Many of the commitments and directions conveyed in the Speech were the result of consultation and advocacy work by myself and my fellow Liberal caucus members. I really do see it reflecting and responding to the needs of Canadians, while signalling major progressive changes on the near horizon as we eventually emerge from this worldwide pandemic. 

There is a sense in which I and others were hoping for even more bold measures for the future to be outlined in that Speech but the context shifted dramatically leading up to the Throne Speech. Whereas two weeks earlier COVID-19 had been relatively successfully held at bay and case numbers were dwindling, numbers began to shoot up sharply as the season changed and students began to return to school. It was clear that getting Canadians safely through this pandemic needed to be a continued priority.

Below, I outline some of substantive features of the recent Speech from the Throne that demonstrate again our Government is listening and responding to the needs of Canadians. These are all directions that I personally fought for and strongly advocated for as a member of the governing Liberal Party caucus. I always say it’s good to be ambitious and many of my constituents’ ambitions are reflected in this inspiring Speech from the Throne. I know that my constituents here in Whitby are ready for our government to lead us through an era of crisis, to overcome this pandemic and to take on transformative changes that will help Canada become stronger and more resilient. This challenging time will be defined in how we define it, it’s up to all of us! We can emerge from this stronger and more capable of taking on the biggest challenges of our time.

A National Standard for Long-term Care 

Probably one of the biggest “wins” in the Speech from the Throne is the strong commitment our Government has made to developing a National Standard of Care for Long-term Care. One of my first official acts as the Member of Parliament for Whitby on the Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) Standing Committee was to make a motion to study how we could improve Long-term Care. This includes building more facilities and having more highly qualified health care workers to ensure a higher standard of care. This motion seems like eons ago and was well before the current COVID-19 pandemic, which adds additional urgency. The Motion I put forward got Unanimous Consent, something I’ve learned is extremely challenging to achieve in Parliament. 

Just prior to the pandemic, I hosted a consultation in my riding with Seniors whose perspectives I listened to and whose input my team and I summarized and wrote up into a briefing, which I subsequently presented to the Minister of Seniors, the Honourable Deb Schulte. One of the highest-level priorities was improving care for seniors, developing more affordable housing options and developing a strategy for developing the human resources necessary for ensuring that Senior Care of all types would have enough skilled workers to meet the demand.

In addition, I put forward a policy resolution on a National Standard for Long-term Care for the Liberal Caucus’ policy development process and worked with my fellow MPs to combine our similar resolutions into one stronger policy resolution, which could garner more support, and it was successful in being one of the highest priorities in that process. 

I also wrote a letter to Minister Schulte and put out a public statement calling for our Government to prioritize a National Standard for Long-term Care as we move forward, given the many inadequacies in our current system that have been laid bare during this pandemic. 

Lastly, in the lead up to the Throne Speech, I participated in consultations with the Honourable Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity to voice the need for the National Standard for Long-term Care to be a prominent feature in the Throne Speech. 

Hearing the words spoken by the Governor General on this topic, echoing what I and others had advocated strongly for, was truly fulfilling, and now of course there is much work to be done to fulfill this commitment.

Pulling together