Originally published May 19, 2021
QUEEN'S PARK — NDP Education critic Marit Stiles (Davenport) and University-Rosedale MPP Jessica Bell will table a bill Wednesday to ensure children and youth are put front and centre in Ontario’s post-pandemic recovery.
"Children and youth have suffered enormous losses throughout this pandemic. We know many are struggling due to learning barriers, loss of their normal routines, social isolation, job losses and mental health challenges," Stiles said. "Some children have lost loved ones. And children and young people from low-income and marginalized backgrounds have been disproportionately affected."
The Centring Youth in Pandemic Recovery Act will establish a post-pandemic Child & Youth Action plan, created in consultation with youth leaders and experts in education, child development and mental health, as well as boards and frontline workers, to be reviewed every two years by the premier.
It will create a COVID-19 Recovery Youth Secretariat to consider Ontario legislation through a lens that optimizes the well-being of children, youth, and young adults; and a standing committee to report to the government on findings.
"The Ford government has failed to make schools safe for children, and the effects of over a year of learning disruption and loss will have significant ripple effects on our kids and youth for years to come," said Bell. "The government must step up to put children and young adults at the centre of all efforts to boost the province's economy and social services as we move towards recovery."