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Let Ontario's children play ! Open playgrounds now!

This petition made change with 11,148 supporters!


We are parents, grandparents, carers, people who work with children, and otherwise care about children. We are deeply concerned about the decision of the Ford Government to close playgrounds as of April 17, 2021. 

We demand:

  • That the Ford Government immediately reverse the closure of playgrounds and other options for children’s play within parks. 
  • That Local Medical Officers of Health and Local Governments, and child-focused organizations stand up for the health, well-being, and development of the children, and oppose the closure of play within parks. 
  • That Local Governments not fence or tape off public playgrounds or invest resources in the proactive enforcement of playground closures.
  • That the Ford Government implement strategies recommended by experts to curb the third wave, including increasing access to vaccines in the areas experiencing the highest rates of COVID, ensuring access to paid sick leave, and limiting mobility within the Province.

Rationale:

  • Preventing unnecessary harm to children should be of utmost concern to society and our Government. 
  • Children have experienced immediate and long-term harms to their health, well-being and development as a result of COVID control measures. Schools and organized recreational opportunities have already been closed, leaving children with limited opportunities for play. 
  • The vast majority of playgrounds are outside of the 20% of the Province experiencing high spread. Closing playgrounds across the Province will not help to lower transmission in the 20% of areas experiencing 80% of cases.
  • Closing playgrounds in the areas with the greatest burden of COVID is also extremely unlikely to impact the rates of community spread. Scientific evidence and epidemiological data do not support the idea that playgrounds are contributing to infections. 
  • Play is essential for children’s health, well-being, and all aspects of their development. Play is enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child for this reason.
  • Play is how children exercise, and exercise is permitted under the Stay-at-Home order.
  • Public playgrounds are especially important for the health, well-being and development of children who live in apartments and condos, as they have minimal or no access to green space or play equipment.
  • The closure of public playgrounds disproportionately affects children from low income families, as their families are less likely to have private green space and play equipment.
  • There are less harmful measures to address concerns related to the potential for crowding at parks. These include, for example, directing Local Authorities to set limits on the number of users at a park; mandating distancing and mask use on and near playgrounds; and monitoring high use playgrounds to support these measures.

 



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