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SENATORS’ STATEMENTS — The Region of Waterloo, Ontario

June 8, 2021

Honourable senators, today I wish to thank individuals and teams from my home community, the Region of Waterloo, with the response they have given to COVID-19, some at great personal sacrifice. I have spoken to all of these folks. Today, I wish to share this rescheduled message in the Senate.

To Steven Mai of Eclipse Automation who retooled to develop desperately needed N95 masks;

Rita Tuerk, Susan Butcher and Carol Miller, who continue to make gowns and masks; and Roman Hatashita, from Hatashita International, who designed and manufactured 10,000 three-layer masks for our Olympic and Paralympic Teams while they compete in Tokyo;

Peter Menary and his staff at Len’s Mill, who took thousands of bolts of fabric to make gown and mask kits for frontline workers. They made over 80,000 masks and 15,000 gowns;

To Mark Shaver, Caleb Ashley and Jeremy Hedge from The Canadian Shield, who retooled to make hundreds of thousands of face shields;

To Erin Moraghan, who shifted her work to provide free online workouts, including apps for our frontline workers. She also sold clothing to raise funds for the local women’s crisis centre;

To Rod Gimpel and Darryl Kuwabara, who shared their gifts of music and storytelling and produced many hours of virtual concerts;

To Carla Johnson, Darryl Fletcher, Jayne Herring, who worked together to provide the delicious Lunch Is On Us program feeding all frontline staff at the Cambridge Memorial Hospital;

Sam MacDonald and Jeff Lotz of Deep Trekker, who developed UV light robotic machines used to scrub, sanitize, and sterilize hospital rooms;

And to the Waterloo Region District and Waterloo Catholic District School Boards; the transition to distance education for over 100,000 students has been a challenge for educators, leaders, families and, most importantly, our young people. Of special note, the work of IT departments was 24-7. They are often forgotten but they moved heaven and earth to make virtual learning for students and staff work;

Hundreds of restaurants who shifted again and again to online ordering and delivery;

The House of Friendship, Nutrition for Learning, the food banks that found new ways to support our most vulnerable, especially in the winter. Of note, Dare Foods stepped up to donate 100,000 boxes of Bear Paw Cookies to Food Banks Canada;

ATS Automation produced filtering face respirators, ventilator components and COVID-19 test kits.

There are many more businesses and leaders that have stepped up.

The end of COVID is not here yet. Vaccination and other challenges continue. We can feel cautious hope moving in the right direction. Fatigue, connecting and the mental health of Canadians is always of great concern. Resilience and stamina are being challenged. Let us continue to support the efforts and great work of so many who continue to rise and even thrive during these times. Thank you. Meegwetch.

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