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A parent picks up school supplies at Applewood Heights Secondary School during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Ontario says students can opt to take all their classes online when the new school year begins in September. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

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The voice

Re Canada Needs A Single Voice On Vaccines (May 6): Every time I give someone a COVID-19 vaccine, I think to myself that there’s another person I may have saved. The confusing, potentially damaging mixed messaging from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization reminds me of a quote from lyricist Tom Lehrer: “I wish people who have trouble communicating would just shut up.”

Val Rachlis MD, Toronto

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Ahead of their time

Re If Paid Sick Leave Isn’t A Burning Matter Of Corporate Social Responsibility, Then What Is? (April 30): I am the owner of a warehousing and distribution company specializing in food products for the Canadian market. We are an essential service. We are proud to provide our employees with paid time off for sickness during COVID-19, as well as paid time for testing, vaccination and quarantine when necessary.

In these difficult times, we were delighted to hear that the Ontario government would be providing for this paid time off. Then we learned that if a firm was providing it prior to April 19, it is ineligible to receive this help. This means that our competitors that did not offer a paid program previously will now be able to at no expense.

This gives them a considerable advantage paid for by taxpayers. This is absolutely unfair to us and we call on the government to open this program to all employers of essential workers.

Peter Singer Chairman, Emblem Logistics; Brampton, Ont.

Borderline

Re Ontario Attacks Ottawa In Ad Campaign (May 7): At the Peace Bridge, there was no “welcome back to Canada.”

The agent proceeded to subject us to the same questions we had studiously answered on the ArriveCAN app. She seemed totally uninterested in our negative COVID-19 tests and that we had been fully vaccinated in Florida; she did threaten us with fines or jail time for failure to comply.

Needless to say we endured a two-week quarantine at home just like every other traveller, with bot-calls, e-mails and live agents pestering us daily to ensure we were home and compliant. A security guard even knocked on the front door one day.

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It makes one wonder how these measures are eroding public trust, not to mention associated taxpayer money.

Patricia Langmuir Taylor Toronto

Back to school

Re Ontario To Offer Online Learning Option For Entire 2021-22 School Year (May 5): Parents should have as many options as possible when it comes to their children’s education. As someone who would much prefer his children be educated in the classroom, I am concerned that we have heard nothing yet about plans for proper in-person learning – not the “hybrid model” – this fall.

The children of friends in Britain have been issued their own cheap and easy-to-use test kits. They test themselves three times a week to ensure they are COVID-19-free when they go to school. I haven’t heard a word about this or any other creative solutions from our officials.

We are nearing the end of a second year of interruption to education. September is just 16 weeks away. We should know that a concrete plan is in place to fully reopen schools for families who want their kids back in class.

Alan Jones Toronto

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Land of plenty

Re TDSB Has A Huge Amount Of Real Estate And A Plan To Fix It. But Is It Adequate? (May 3): The Toronto District School Board is supposed to be responsible for the education of our children, matters such as curriculum, staffing, teaching and learning standards, etc. – not real-estate development.

Even though TDSB lands are occupied by school buildings, they are still public lands. Any that are surplus to education should be developed with the entire community in mind. Educators seem like easy prey for experienced real-estate developers.

As we already have a number of publicly funded and sponsored real-estate development groups in the city, let’s try not to create another bureaucracy for this purpose. The possibility for conflicts, “leakage” or corruption could grow significantly as each new one is formed.

Neville Taylor Toronto

More, please

Re Nurses At The Breaking Point (Opinion, May 1): As health care planners grapple with the twin problems of nursing retirements and burnout, it is worth noting the barriers at nursing colleges that keep foreign licensed nurses out.

Here is just one story of many: A Canadian citizen – who completed her nursing education in Boston, and has worked as a registered nurse in Chicago and cared for COVID-19 patients – has spent three years trying to obtain an Ontario licence. The latest obstacle is an English-proficiency test for an individual whose first language is English. She feels like she already has one foot out the door because no one seems willing to invite her in.

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We should have a process that is standardized and transparent – and timely – if we are ever going to have enough nurses to keep the health care system running now and in the years ahead.

Canada should work harder to attract, not deter, qualified candidates.

Sarah Geiger Ottawa

Big short

Re Statscan Looks To Fill Data Gaps On Race, Gender, Sexual Orientation (May 7): I, like many other dutiful Canadians, submitted the short-form online census recently. Am I alone in wondering what possible use it is?

Apart from basic demographics and some gender issues (that can be gleaned from other sources), I can’t imagine of what use this will be to business and academic researchers.

Bring back the very useful long form. This is not the massive burden that Stephen Harper railed about.

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John Arnott Toronto

Historical precedent

Re A Changing Of The Guard? (Opinion, May 1): The West should have zero moral high ground when it comes to Asia, where it has dropped atomic bombs, waged chemical warfare and caused untold suffering as colonial powers. As for Britain, they might start by apologizing for the Opium Wars, in which they waged war to protect their right to addict the Chinese population to opium.

Arthur Bull Digby, N.S.

Click here

Re Voting Restrictions In The U.S. May Be Bad, But Regulations In Canada Are Even Worse (May 1): Why not join the internet world? Estonians vote on their cellphones. They can do most things online. It takes 15 minutes to register a company.

But you can’t get married online. For that, two people have to show up.

Reiner Jaakson Oakville, Ont.

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