Suppress The Virus Now Coalition Statement

Mirka Loiselle

The Suppress The Virus Now Coalition is a network of community groups, labour groups, and individuals in Ontario. We have come together out of a shared concern about the Ontario provincial and Canadian federal governments’ approach to the COVID-19 crisis since the pandemic hit in March 2020. Now, as the second wave drags on, we demand that those governments stop prioritizing corporate profits over the health and well-being of our communities. We refuse to endorse any approach that accepts the needless death of elderly people and those living and working in long-term care; of disabled, chronically ill, and immunocompromised loved ones; of Indigenous Peoples in Ontario and across the country; of the Black, migrant, and racialized communities who have borne the brunt of COVID-19 infections in the GTA; of underhoused, precariously housed, and houseless neighbours; of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated community members; and of the health-care and other essential workers who are on the front lines.

ANY PANDEMIC STRATEGY THAT RESIGNS ITSELF TO AVOIDABLE SICKNESS AND DEATH IS RACIST, ANTI-BLACK, ANTI-INDIGENOUS, SEXIST, ABLEIST, AGEIST, AND UNACCEPTABLE. IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE #COVIDzero CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED BY HEALTH-CARE WORKERS, WE DEMAND THAT OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS EXPLICITLY ADOPT THE HUMANE GOAL OF ELIMINATING COMMUNITY SPREAD OF COVID-19.

Policing, threats, and rhetoric that blames individuals for systemic failures and conditions outside of their control are neither effective nor ethical tactics to deal with this pandemic. Instead, we must turn to principles of solidarity and community care, and toward robust, expansive, and inclusive social supports so that we can all make it through this crisis. Social and economic inequalities have been exacerbated by the pandemic, but rather than returning to a “normal” where a select few lives are privileged over others, we must build the conditions for all to live and thrive. This rebuilding must centre the needs of those most impacted by the pandemic and by the ongoing violence of the Canadian state.

We call for a just, equitable #COVIDzero approach that includes (but is not limited to): 

  • At least seven employer-paid sick days for all workers on a permanent basis, plus an additional 14 paid sick days during public health emergencies.
  • Adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for all workers, including respirator masks (e.g. N95s, FFP2s) for all workers in indoor workplaces until COVID community transmission ends, now that we know the virus can remain airborne indoors for hours.
  • The right of all workers to refuse work due to unsafe workplace conditions, and to be eligible for income supports like the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) after such work refusals.
  • Expanded eligibility for pandemic-related state assistance such as the CRB, including for temporary migrant workers, undocumented people, gig economy workers, sex workers, and others.
  • An immediate ban on evictions; rent cancellation and forgiveness of arrears; a moratorium on encampment policing; and safe, accessible winter housing for unhoused people who want it.
  • An immediate end to the criminalization, racial profiling, and raids that harm migrant and non-migrant sex workers, including anti-trafficking initiatives and repressive bylaws affecting sex workers and workers in massage parlours.
  • Safe and accessible options for isolation when home isolation is not an option, and transparent communication about options that are already in existence.
  • Immediate investment to improve ventilation, reduce class sizes, and offer COVID testing to students and education workers; and robust assistance for students, educators, caregivers, and families when school closures are necessary, like now.
  • Redistributing 50% of all police budgets toward resourcing social and health supports in Black, Indigenous, and people of colour communities.
  • An immediate end to deportations, and regularization and full immigration status now for all migrants, refugees, international students, workers (including temporary or seasonal migrants), and undocumented people in the country.
  • Immediate federal support and funding for clean water access, appropriate health care, and COVID supports for all Indigenous people on and off reserve, and the recognition of Indigenous sovereignty across the country, including heeding demands to immediately classify oil, mineral, and gas extraction as non-essential work, and to hit pause on extraction, exploration, and environmental assessment processes.
  • Immediate decarceration of people from provincial, federal, and immigration detention facilities, and simultaneous access to sanitation and protective equipment, harm reduction supplies, free communication resources, and appropriate and consensual post-incarceration support for all incarcerated people.
  • Permanently increasing Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) rates to match CERB ($2,000/month).
  • Making temporary, uneven pandemic pay boosts permanent by raising the minimum wage for all.
  • Taking profit out of long-term care, replacing for-profit corporations with an entirely non-profit and public system. Enforcing national standards that ensure that long-term care workers – who are disproportionately racialized women – have a living wage, health and wellness benefits, and a safe and secure job, in order to provide high-quality care to residents.
  • Making public transit safe by halting fare inspection, investing in mask distribution, and putting more buses on high-traffic routes to allow for physical distancing.
  • Increasing research and supports dedicated to COVID “long-haulers,” people still suffering from the effects of the virus months after infection.
  • Greater involvement of community groups in public health decision-making, respecting communities’ knowledge about their own life circumstances, and more consistently inviting their representatives into decision-making processes led by researchers and civic officials.

As the pandemic puts our society’s racial and class divides on ruthless display, it is urgent that we all show up with our neighbours to demand a just, equitable pathway to #COVIDzero that leaves no one behind.

To add your name (individual and/or organization) to this statement, and/or to get involved with the coalition’s work, please complete this short form.

We are an Ontario-based group, but the need for a just, equitable #COVIDzero strategy transcends local boundaries. We invite collaboration with people struggling towards the same goal elsewhere. We also encourage groups outside Ontario to adopt and adapt this statement freely for your own purposes.

In Ontario, here are some ways you can plug into powerful community organizing and take action:

This statement endorsed by:

  • No More Silence
  • Doctors for Defunding Police
  • Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO)
  • Latinx, Afro-Latin-America, Abya Yala Education Network (LAEN)
  • Butterfly - Asian and Migrant Sex Worker Support Network
  • Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project
  • Ontario Parent Action Network
  • Ontario Education Workers United
  • Showing Up For Racial Justice Toronto (SURJ-TO)
  • Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
  • Courage Coalition
  • Spring Magazine
  • No Pride in Policing Coalition
  • Workers’ Action Centre
  • Fight for $15 and Fairness
  • Decent Work and Health Network
  • Rising Tide Toronto
  • Toronto New Socialists
  • Leadnow
  • The Leap
  • No One Is Illegal Toronto
  • Fridays For Future Toronto
  • Artists For Climate & Migrant Justice and Indigenous Sovereignty
  • OHIP For All
  • People’s Health Movement - Canada
  • Christian Peacemaker Teams
  • Student Christian Movement of Canada
  • Queer Ontario
  • Ontario SAFE
  • ARP Books
  • The Bridge Engagement Center
  • Davenport Mutual Aid Network
  • Lunik Cooperative
  • Health Providers Against Poverty
  • Climate Justice Victoria
  • Migrant Workers Alliance for Change
  • Horizon Ottawa
  • Socialist Project
  • Between the Lines
  • MiningWatch Canada
  • Toronto IWW General Membership Branch
  • Fernwood Publishing
  • Shelter & Housing Justice Network
  • Victoria Council of Canadians
  • ENOUGH
  • Scarborough Youth United
  • FoodShare Toronto
  • Mi’kmaq Elder Wanda Whitebird
  • Matthew Green, NDP Member of Parliament for Hamilton Centre
  • Monica Forrester, Outreach and Communication Coordinator at Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project
  • Robyn Maynard, author of Policing Black Lives, PhD student and Vanier scholar at the University of Toronto
  • Rinaldo Walcott, writer and university professor
  • Idil Abdillahi, Assistant Professor School of Disability Studies and Advisor to the Dean in ABR at the Faculty Community & Social Services, Ryerson University
  • Sue Ferguson, Associate Professor Emerita, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Stephanie Nixon, Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
  • Gary Kinsman, queer activist and author, member of the No Pride in Policing Coalition
  • Deborah Cowen, Professor, University of Toronto
  • Todd Gordon, Associate Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Nigel Barriffe, Executive Officer, Elementary Teachers Toronto
  • Erin Humphry
  • Daniel Sarah Karasik
  • Mirka Loiselle
  • John Riddell
  • Laam Hae
  • A.W. Peet
  • Suzanne Weiss
  • Mani Moksha
  • Sandra Sarner
  • Jocelyn Piercy
  • Sarah Mikhaiel
  • Timothy Ellis
  • Richardo Harvey
  • John Clarke, Packer Visitor in Social Justice, York University
  • Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Professor, Critical Development Studies & Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
  • Atia Haq, Registered Psychotherapist
  • Fitsum Areguy, Textile Magazine
  • Lex Burgoyne
  • Simran Ghuman
  • Irene Bindi
  • Selena Hofmann
  • Nahum Mann
  • Carrianne Leung
  • Maria Samper
  • Nicholas Bonokoski 
  • Constance Reed
  • Emily Van Ryn 
  • Marketa Havlik
  • Nazbah Tom
  • Natasha Moller
  • Ollie D’Agostino
  • Schellie Gris 
  • Sasha Redden
  • Steve Boyd
  • Jen Cypher
  • Natalia Santilli
  • Reid Millar
  • Kitty Rode 
  • Monique Beaudoin
  • Sarah de Leeuw
  • Mary Jean Hande
  • Barbara Rotschild 
  • Kennedy Benitez
  • Kyber Ballantyne
  • Kelly T
  • James Polak
  • Jon McPhedran Waitzer
  • Tina Newlove
  • Catherine Brasch
  • Darlene Juschka
  • Anna Willats
  • Karin Baqi
  • Day Rayko
  • D'Arcy Briggs
  • Giovanna Rosal 
  • Nicole Godin
  • Kate Hazell 
  • Alyssa Scanga
  • R. Letson
  • Megan LaPierre
  • Aaron Brown
  • Helena Kita
  • Bryn Kennedy
  • Jack Hicks
  • Sinéad Rafferty
  • Katie Ovens
  • Nicole Parsons
  • Julia Piotrowski
  • Rima Berns-McGown, MPP, Beaches-East York
  • Rusa Jeremic, Community Worker
  • Gregory Cook
  • Olivia Wezyk
  • Neveen Nancy Sourour
  • Marilyn Gilbert
  • Chloe Amhurst
  • Brian Stasso
  • Katrina Burrows
  • Marcel Nelson
  • Charlie Lior
  • Amy Ede
  • Michaela Stang
  • Marley Kajan
  • Catherine Gendron
  • Rodney Lott
  • Darcy Ballantyne
  • Joan Telfer Faux
  • Nate Edwards
  • Michelle Cunnington-Fletcher
  • Mitchell Shore
  • Rebecca Hall
  • Erika Morey
  • Rohini Patel
  • Michelle Parker
  • Julia Ostertag
  • Kieran Maingot
  • Rebecca Payne
  • Martha Josephian
  • Zuzana Betkova
  • Laura Murray
  • Binish Ahmed
  • Kashmir Gulposh 
  • Samantha King, Queen’s University 
  • Madeleine Ritts
  • Kristi Allain, Associate Professor, Sociology, St. Thomas University
  • Grace Smith 
  • Elizabeth Carlson-Manathara
  • Dianna K. Goneau Inkster
  • Adam Lewis
  • Joanna Liv
  • Anna Lippman
  • Daniel Thompson-Blum 
  • Salina Lorne Stange
  • Erin Henderson
  • cheryl sobie
  • Josh Brooks-Budhoo
  • Lisa Alves
  • Jennifer McAuliffe
  • Jessica Ford
  • Lee Berkowitz
  • Kristen Pyszczyk
  • Toby King
  • Jennifer Evans
  • Meghan Beatty
  • Sarina Theakston
  • Lori Goldblatt
  • Carol Devoss
  • Wilma Groenen
  • Bethany Gibson
  • Mitzi O’Keefe 
  • Siobhan NiLoughlin
  • Molly Johnson
  • Adrian Sheepers
  • Kelly Zorzi
  • Tina Rader
  • Victor Desroches
  • Henry Evans-Tenbrinke
  • Susan Dodd
  • Jeffrey Good
  • Martha Ruben
  • Angelika Jantz 
  • John Fisher
  • Alison Symington
  • Jack Solar
  • Barbara Rotschild 
  • Ann Douglas
  • Florence Stratton
  • Marcia MacDonald
  • Sunday Harrison
  • margo may taylor
  • Susan Edmonds
  • Evelyn Violini
  • Lisa Alexis 
  • Roger Bradley 
  • Jenn mezei
  • Harry Smaller
  • Martha Saunders 
  • Sara Victoria Lopez
  • Paul Marking
  • Marilyn Somers
  • Dorothy Wigmore
  • Dittmar Mundel
  • Perri Gorrara
  • Carl Rosenberg
  • Alex Hennig
  • Louise Lecouffe
  • Victor Gladish 
  • Shas Cho 
  • Karla MacIntyre
  • Bruce Gorvett 
  • Nancy Johnson
  • Jason Thompson
  • Donna Marsh
  • Shannon O'Toole, Community Health Care Worker
  • A.L. Watts
  • Barbara Mitchell-Pollock
  • Chloe Willes-Speakman
  • Raheleh Farhadi
  • Sheila Colla, PhD
  • Bernice Heather, B.Ed. Secwepemc Matriarch
  • Dave Abbey
  • Cate Prichard
  • Toni Dryfhout
  • Yvanna Kroitor
  • Judith Keene
  • Barbara Eagle
  • Stephen Crozier
  • Sagewalker
  • Elle Jada
  • Zachary Baribeau
  • Daryl Hayward
  • Helmut Kuhn
  • Sylvia Pivko
  • Tim Cizej
  • Roz Isaac
  • Sister of Mercy 
  • Martha Wilson
  • Laura Tripp
  • Agnes Richard
  • Jeff Wasson
  • Kate Chung
  • Emily Kieffer
  • Nancy Issenman
  • Andre Ching
  • Paul van Arragon
  • Michelle Cerqua
  • Maureen McCarthy 
  • Trish Starling
  • Kelleigh Wright
  • Véronique Darwin
  • Toni Dryfhout
  • Teneile Warren
  • Katelyn Smith
  • Camilla Penney
  • Davida Monk
  • Caitlin Smith
  • Joshua Thompson 
  • Errol Sharpe
  • Wendy Pappas
  • Sheila A. Miller
  • Barbara Bradbury
  • Janice Billy
  • Kate Moore
  • Steph Benn
  • Margaret Edwards 
  • Emma Clarke
  • Eduardo queiruga, Immigrant Settlement Worker
  • Mark-Anthony Del Brocco
  • Elizabeth Sarjeant
  • Laura Beer
  • Robert Beer
  • julie nicholson
  • Arlene Moscovitch
  • Alphonse Bennett
  • Lauren Stallard
  • Shannon lee
  • Patricia Pasten
  • Lori Spring
  • Rosemary Merkley 
  • Sandra Bardocz
  • Jerry Waese
  • Marina Mikhail
  • Emily Green
  • Cynthia Wright
  • Anne O’Connell, Associate Professor, York University 
  • Julia Barnett
  • sue goldstein
  • Lisa Thibodeau
  • Lee Rickwood
  • Wayne Antony
  • Carolyn S. Wilson
  • Amy Thibodeau 
  • Lorraine Leslie
  • Jean Catherine Steinberg
  • smadar carmon
  • Emily Simone 
  • Tanya Andrusieczko
  • Gita Madan
  • Aviva West
  • Ailidh Carpendale
  • Fiona Jeffries
  • JP Hornick
  • Stephanie Skilling
  • Simone Rosenberg RM
  • Jessica Antony
  • Audrey Donovan
  • William C. Fox
  • Thunder Cloud Advocate & Counsellor
  • Pesha (Pat) McKendry
  • Elizabeth Angeconeb
  • Clarissa Lassaline
  • Ceilidh Wood
  • Rob Deighan
  • Polly Summerhayes
  • Alisha Atri
  • Tommy Taylor, Community Worker 
  • Megan Long
  • Mārta Ziemelis
  • Kiké Roach, Unifor Chair at Ryerson
  • Terri De Guzman 
  • Joseph Fassel
  • Ryan Kolman
  • Kathleen Hare
  • Raghu Krishnan
  • Adrian Murray
  • Claire Wilkins
  • Linda Briskin
  • Skip Hambling
  • Paul Lavallee
  • Kai Stellar
  • Sarah Redikopp
  • Charlie Sirbu 
  • Allan Harrison
  • Kaleb Horn
  • John Crunkleton
  • Shira Lurie 
  • Mel Soares
  • Jordana Plotnick
  • Amy Gordon
  • Sabrina Gannon
  • Lynne Sky
  • B Sappong 
  • Riley Vainionpaa 
  • Deborah McLachlin
  • Toby King
  • Robin Luckwaldt
  • Charlotte Scott 
  • David Kidd
  • Aster Ito
  • Tijana Spasic
  • Annie Lujan
  • Victoria Eberhardt
  • David Neigh
  • Helena Kita

(nb. Endorsements are by both active members of the Suppress The Virus Now Coalition and supporters.)

To add your name (individual and/or organization) to this statement, and/or to get involved with the coalition’s work, please complete this short form.

Update, January 28, 2021: Demand #6 was updated to specify that repressive bylaws affect all sex workers, not only workers in massage parlours. The list of ways to plug in was updated with the campaigns of Green Jobs Oshawa, the Ontario Health Coalition, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, and #MakeReveraPublic. 

Update, March 15, 2021: The list of ways to plug in was updated to include the COVID Long Haulers Support Group Canada and their petition.

The Suppress The Virus Now Coalition is a network of community groups, labour groups, and individuals in Ontario, standing together to demand that our elected officials explicitly adopt the humane goal of eliminating community spread of COVID-19.