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TORONTO – March 25, 2020 -- As regular routines are upended and in-person social activities and community programming are suspended to help slow the spread of COVID-19, social and community supports become even more essential. This is especially true for those who are already vulnerable. It’s why we’re sharing our Social Prescribing pilot project’s final report with you today. Here are three implications of our report on the current responses to COVID-19:

Dear Hon. Minister Elliott and Hon. Minister McNaughton,

We write to raise urgent concerns impacting migrant workers in our province. Seasonal farm workers are members of our communities and play an important role in maintaining Ontario’s food supply. Health workers providing services to these populations are sounding the alarm about inadequate supports for seasonal workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Dear Hon. Premier Ford and Deputy Premier and Hon. Minister Elliott,

The Alliance for Healthier Communities thanks Ontario’s government for waiving the three month OHIP waiting period and covering the costs of COVID-19 service for uninsured people who do not meet the criteria for coverage. This is a critical step in ensuring that anyone in need of care during the COVID-19 crisis can access it. We thank Ontario’s government for taking this monumental step and modelling leadership for all sectors in this time of crisis.

Dear Minister Elliott,

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer has called for decisive action to “flatten the curve” of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 outbreak and alter the course of the pandemic in Canada to allow our health system the time and resources to respond. We commend the provincial government for declaring a state of emergency and making funds available to support service providers in responding to the crisis. However, there are critical gaps in Ontario’s response, and we all need to do more.

Dear Minister Elliott,

We write to you today regarding COVID-19’s impact on the ongoing opioid overdose crisis. We are organizations operating and supporting overdose prevention and supervised consumption services in Ontario. We affirm the importance of these services and remain committed to providing essential supports to communities that face surmountable barriers in accessing health care.

Today, March 2, marks the first annual Black Mental Health Day, recognized by communities across Ontario.

The Ministry of Health is consulting communities across the province about Public Health and Emergency Health Services modernization. The consultations are led by Jim Pine, provincial advisor, Alison Blair, Assistant Deputy Minister for Emergency Health Services and Executive Lead for Public Health Modernization, and David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario.

Dear friends and colleagues,

After more than fifteen years of relentless, smart and courageous leadership, Alliance Chief Executive Officer Adrianna Tetley is retiring.

Adrianna gave the Board of Directors her notice to retire in September 2019. She is committed to a smooth transition without the need of an interim CEO.  Our goal is to have the new CEO in place by June 2020.

The Alliance for Healthier Communities welcomes the launch of the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program – which will increase access to dental care for roughly 100,000 seniors living on low incomes across the province.

The Alliance for Healthier Communities strongly condemns the racist and anti-immigrant sentiment characterizing the 2019 federal election.