July 31st, 2020

Ford’s COVID-19 response is failing Black, racialized and lower income Ontarians: NDP Black Caucus

Public Health data shows Black and racialized people make up 83% of reported COVID-19 cases in Toronto

QUEEN’S PARK — The Official Opposition Ontario NDP Black Caucus released the following statement in response to new Toronto Public Health data, which shows that Black, racialized and lower income communities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19:

“This new data from Toronto Public Health confirms what health care experts and leaders in Black and racialized communities have been saying since this pandemic began. Systemic racism has real life-and-death impacts on Black and racialized people, especially during times of crisis.

While Doug Ford questioned the existence of systemic racism and claimed he doesn’t ‘believe in collecting race-based data’ in the legislature, his government dragged their feet for months on critical data collection and failed to make targeted health investments in our communities. It is tragic, but unsurprising, that Mr. Ford’s COVID-19 response has continued to utterly fail Black, Indigenous and racialized people in Ontario.

Toronto Public Health data shows that Black and racialized people make up 52 per cent of Toronto, but 83 per cent of the city’s COVID-19 cases. It is clear that anti-Black racism is a public health crisis, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why we joined health experts and Black community leaders in calling on the Ford government to recognize this nearly two months ago.

Province-wide race-based health data collection would enable us to spot infection trends, identify inequities, and invest in under-served communities that are more likely to be affected by the pandemic. Doug Ford still has not committed to collecting this data in the long-term.

Doing this work is how we beat COVID-19, prepare for future outbreaks, and tackle health inequities – not just in Black, Indigenous, racialized or low-income communities, but across the province.

Ontarians deserve a government that takes systemic racism seriously, invests in our communities and services, and takes action to ensure every Ontarian is safe and healthy.”

The Ontario NDP Black Caucus is the first official Black Caucus in the Ontario Legislature. Its members are Lindo (Kitchener Centre), Jill Andrew (Toronto—St. Paul’s), Rima Berns-McGown (Beaches—East York), Faisal Hassan (York—South Weston), and Kevin Yarde (Brampton North).