The province has identified 15 communities, including the entire City of Brampton, as “high priority” for additional pandemic support.
On Feb. 9, the province announced that its High Priority Communities Strategy will provide targeted supports to over a dozen Ontario communities hardest hit by COVID-19.
The province says it’s providing $12.5 million to local lead agencies to work in partnership with Ontario Health, public health units, municipalities, and other community partners to help high-risk neighbourhoods contain the spread of the virus.
The following communities have been identified as “high priority:”
- South West Mississauga
- East Mississauga
- North West Mississauga
- North Etobicoke Malton West Woodbridge (Peel)
- North Etobicoke Malton West Woodbridge (Toronto)
- East Toronto
- Scarborough North
- Scarborough South
- Western York Region
- Eastern York Region
- North York West
- Durham West
- Central Ottawa
“We know that COVID-19 has impacted some communities much worse than others due to some of the barriers to accessing critical services,” said Premier Doug Ford in a statement.
“This strategy starts to break down these barriers by offering people assistance in a variety of languages to ensure these communities know where to get PPE, get tested or isolate safely away from loved ones.”
The province says it’s investing up to $42 million under the strategy to create about 1,500 spaces in approximately 11 COVID-19 isolation centres. The voluntary centres provide a range of supports and services, including meals, security, transportation, and links to health and social services, free of charge.
The province also says the strategy will support other populations and communities who are at greater COVID-19 risk, such as Black and other racialized populations.
According to the province, more than 225 community ambassadors are being hired to deliver targeted outreach and communications to members of these communities so that residents are aware of what supports are available to them. The province also says it’s launching more mobile and pop-up clinics and rapid testing in the affected communities.
According to the province, 184 testing sites have been opened and nearly 9,800 PPE kits have been shipped and distributed to community members.
Cover photo courtesy of The Canadian Press