While the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for all of us, it has highlighted the long-standing barriers Canadians with disabilities have faced for decades.
Since the start of the pandemic, many have faced higher costs in accessing food, medication, social services and health care.
Earlier this month, I hosted a roundtable to discuss support for people living with disabilities in our community. We heard from service providers and community advocates on how to continue building a community that is inclusive by design and that enables an environment of belonging for all Canadians.
It was important to hear their perspectives as we work with the provinces and territories on improving supports for Canadians living with disabilities, create dignified employment opportunities, and support accessible spaces here in Burlington and across the country.
The past year has highlighted the inequalities in our society. As I have been doing the past five years, I will continue to press for policies and programs in Ottawa that will help create more equity in Burlington and right across the country.
Recently, we also passed an important milestone in our fight against COVID-19: Over 50 per cent of adults in Canada have now received their first vaccine.
Everyone 18 and older is now eligible to book their vaccine at halton.ca. We are on track for all adult Canadians to receive their first dose by the end of June, and their second dose by the end of September.
I know the relief and gratitude I feel every time I speak with someone in our community who has received their first shot. It gets us all one step closer to doing the things we love with the people we love.
It will be important to ensure that as the vaccine campaign ramps up, we continue to follow public health measures so that we can get to a point where 75 to 80 per cent (and higher) of our population is vaccinated and we can safely reopen.
The Pfizer vaccine has also been approved for youth ages 12-17 and the region is currently working with the school boards on the rollout plan for young people in our community.
This has been an exceptionally hard year, but we are on track to get back to a more normal way of life. It is up to us: This is our shot.
Let’s get vaccinated and keep following public health guidelines to overcome this pandemic.
Karina Gould is the MP for Burlington. She can be reached at [email protected].