Labour minister thinks a September target possible

·1 min read

When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, Monte McNaughton believes there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

The MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, who also leads Ontario’s Labour, Training and Skills Development ministry, thinks the province will be immunized by the fall.

“I think the vaccines will be given out by September,” McNaughton told The Herald.

General Rick Hillier, Canada’s former Chief of Defence, has been chosen to lead Ontario COVID019 vaccination roll out.

McNaughton, who is part of the inner sanctum at Queen’s Park, says he thinks Ontario has done a good job handling the pandemic thus far — despite heavy criticism levelled at Doug Ford for delaying a second lockdown.

“I think the province has done a great job,” McNaughton says, adding all levels of government have pulled together.

And despite the off-the-charts numbers in the GTA, McNaughton says Ontario still has fewer cases per capita than anywhere in Canada, with the exception of the Atlantic provinces.

He recognizes the pandemic has created “huge struggles” for families and small businesses.

“We just need to hang in there a while longer,” McNaughton says.

In addition to keeping overseeing the monumental effort of keeping Ontario’s labour force safe during the pandemic, McNaughton is also offering retraining for any workers that have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

The province has committed $77-million in second career grant funding to offset the losses.

McNaughton is hoping people will change lanes and adopt a new in-demand career, such as personal support worker.

The first vaccines in the riding were dispensed at Middlesex Terrace in Delaware but it is not yet known when additional vaccines will arrive in Chatham-Kent.

Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald