November 22nd, 2021

MPP West demands Ford reverse his bad decision on symptomatic COVID testing in pharmacies

QUEEN'S PARK – Sudbury MPP Jamie West demanded that Doug Ford listen to people and workers in the Sudbury riding who are worried about their health and reverse his bad decision to allow symptomatic COVID testing in Ontario pharmacies.

“My office has been flooded with angry calls about the premier’s decision to have symptomatic COVID testing performed in pharmacies,” said West during question period on Monday.

“Pharmacies are where people go when they are at their most vulnerable. It’s where parents wait with a sick child to speak to the pharmacist about an over-the-counter medication. It’s where seniors go to pick-up their prescriptions.

“COVID testing at pharmacies – especially pharmacies in grocery stores – exposes vulnerable people and their families to potentially COVID-positive cases. That doesn’t make any sense to people and workers in my community.”

West shared the views of a customer and a pharmacy staff member who are worried about symptomatic COVID testing in pharmacies.

Customer Leanne said the Ford government is failing to protect people with this wrong decision: “We keep hearing how the PC Government is doing everything in their power to keep us safe. I disagree with this. The main places that people go for essentials are grocery stores and pharmacies. Leave the testing to sites where people are not intermingled.”

West protected the identity of one pharmacy assistant “David” who works at a pharmacy in a large grocery store who has been assigned the additional task of performing COVID tests. David said he has received no additional training or PPE and there's been no additional hiring to help with the increased workload. West reminded the legislature that David’s "hero pay" also ended 17 months ago.

“David is concerned for his health, the health of his co-workers and the health of the vulnerable people he regularly serves. David is also concerned about the grocery store customers because potentially COVID positive people have to walk through the store just to get to the pharmacy,” said West.

“When will the premier finally stop focusing on what is best for his big business buddies and finally focus on protecting community members like Leanne and workers like David?”