Letter to the Premier and Minister Elliott regarding Vaccine Availability in Durham Region

Ryan Turnbull Member of Parliament

March 29, 2021

Honourable Doug Ford
Premier of Ontario

Honourable Christine Elliott
Deputy Premier and Minister of Health

Dear Premier and Deputy Premier:

Re: Vaccine Availability in Durham Region

Thank you for your public service through one of the most challenging crises to face our country and communities in a century.

I write today with concern regarding the equitable distribution of vaccines to Durham Region. I appreciate that you have the difficult task of ensuring that vaccines are distributed across the province and to the hardest impacted areas and this can be tough to balance. However, as you know Durham Region has been hovering between the Red and Grey zones since the stay-at-home order was lifted. As the Member of Parliament for Whitby, I have heard from constituents and community leaders with concerns about the local vaccine supply.

With Canada and Ontario receiving increased deliveries every week, it is critical that we get as many vaccines into the arms of residents as possible as quickly as possible. I know Durham Public Health is ready and able to receive increased vaccine shipments.

I am writing to request immediate action in three areas:

  • Ensure Durham Region is receiving an equitable share of the vaccines available to the Province
  • Immediately include Durham Region in the pharmacy pilot program
  • Work with Durham Region Public Health to lower the age of eligibility for those who can             receive a vaccine

These measures will allow more members of our communities to be vaccinated during a time when over 30% of new cases are a variant of concern. I am hearing from people daily who are ready to receive their vaccine.

Thank you for your time and consideration of these requests.

Yours Sincerely,

 Ryan Turnbull

Member of Parliament for Whitby

cc:
His Worship Mayor Don Mitchell, Town of Whitby
John Henry, Chair of the Regional Municipality of Durham
Dr. Robert Kyle, Medical Officer of Health, Durham Region
Chris Leahy, Deputy Mayor and Regional Councillor, Town of Whitby
Rhonda Mulcahy, Regional Councillor, Town of Whitby
Elizabeth Roy, Regional Councillor, Town of Whitby
Steve Yamada, Regional Councillor, Town of Whitby
Durham Region MPs
Durham Region MPPs

Statement on Call Display Issues

February 19, 2021

It has come to my attention that when constituents receive a phone call from my constituency office in Whitby the display on some Android phones comes up as Jim Flaherty.

The late Jim Flaherty was a decent and honourable public servant who served our community and country with distinction for many years. There is no intention of disrespecting or dishonouring the Late Jim Flaherty or his legacy.

I have been working with the House of Commons Information Technology team to find a solution to this problem. Bell Canada has changed the name on their network to reflect my name.

Unfortunately, this particular change must come from Google directly to be displayed properly on Android devices. My team has been in touch with Google to advocate for this change to take place.

We are sorry for the unintended impact on anyone that this situation may have caused.

Sincerely,

Ryan Turnbull Member of Parliament for Whitby

Event: Pre-Federal Budget Consultation

Event: Discussion with Healthcare Workers

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.

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.

Statement by Ryan Turnbull, MP for Whitby on Rent Assistance and Commercial Eviction Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 25, 2020

Statement by Ryan Turnbull, MP for Whitby on Rent Assistance and Commercial Eviction Ban

WHITBY – Ryan Turnbull, joined by local business owners and community leaders, Member of Parliament for Whitby, made the following statement today:

“Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us today.

“We gather today on the traditional territory of the Missisaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, which is covered by the Williams Treaties.

“The provincial government has put in place a commercial eviction ban to protect small businesses in the COVID-19 pandemic in the Protecting Small Business Act. I have heard from many small business owners in Whitby whose livelihoods are threatened by illegal evictions and many more who are worried about what happens when the commercial eviction ban is lifted at the end of this month.

This is not about party politics, but instead about working across party lines and orders of government to find solutions for the residents and business here in Whitby. Small business owners, their employees, their suppliers, and their families are all counting on us to help them during this pandemic.

“The federal and provincial governments worked together successfully to develop the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program and I am calling on them to continue to work together, as I know they have been, to offer further rent support. I am also asking for the provincial government to extend the ban on commercial evictions until December 31st.

“The CECRA, or Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance, is working. I have heard from businesses in Whitby who have benefited from this vital help. Landlords should be participating in this program, and it is in the interests of small business owners and landlords to keep businesses in our community thriving. I have personally called landlords multiple times to ensure that their voices and any concerns they have about the design of this program are heard.

“I have also written a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to advocate for this, and I’ve also, just yesterday, written a letter to Ontario’s Minister of Finance Rod Phillips which you can find on my website at TurnbullWhitby.ca.

“Small businesses, we all know, are at the heart of our economy. They are innovators, they’re job creators. More than ever, these small businesses will be vital to our building back better and ensuring that our economy bounces back successfully.

“I have launched a broad consultation on how we, in Whitby, can cultivate the most innovative ideas for building back a stronger, more resilient, more sustainable economy and I have committed to delivering those best ideas to the Prime Minister myself. I hope you’ll help me and lend your voices to the many chorus of voices in Whitby and across the country in looking forward to our economy recovery plan.

“Thank you very much.”

Local business owner, Benito Suppa of Durham Escape Rooms, added:

“COVID-19 has impacted everyone from business owners and families, to employees and landlords. The struggle for us is not being able to operate our business fully. Consumers and our guests have not been able to do things and there is still some consumer confidence lacking. We need to do things to ensure that business owners can continue operating as we navigate through COVID-19.”

Whitby Councillor Jo-Anne Drum added:

“Our small businesses are the heart of our community. I firmly believe the downtowns are the barometer of the community. Now is the time to all of us to band together to give a hand up to our small businesses and remove barriers. We need to make it a better journey for them in order succeed.”

-30-

For more information, please contact

Bryan Crockett, Office of Ryan Turnbull
bryan.crockett.514@parl.gc.ca
905.242.8125