Joel Harden MPP / Député, Ottawa Centre

Government of Ontario

Letter to Minister Elliott re: Aqua Therapy

Published on January 7, 2021
I wrote to the Minister of Health with an urgent appeal on behalf of Melanie Coughlin, a constituent who needs pool access for medically essential aquatherapy to manage her condition.
People with disabilities must be accommodated during the province-wide shutdown.
Text of the letter is below: 
Ministry of Health
5th Floor
777 Bay St.
Toronto, ON M7A 2J3

January 4, 2021

Dear Minister Elliott,

I hope this letter finds you well.

I write on an urgent matter as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa Centre, and as Ontario’s Critic for Seniors, Accessibility and Persons with Disabilities.

Ms. Melanie Coughlin, a resident of Ottawa Centre, has contacted our MPP office requesting help to access crucial therapy during the current lockdown. I immediately reached out to officials in Minister Raymond Cho’s office, who, as I understand it, have reached out to your office.

Ms. Coughlin lives in a power wheelchair, and requires twice-weekly aquatherapy to address a neuromuscular condition. This therapy ensures Ms. Coughlin retains proper breathing, which is a major concern in the current pandemic. Her story has been covered in the Ottawa Citizen.

Under the lockdown, however, Ms. Coughlin is unable to access aquatherapy. The pool in her building has been inoperable since the last lockdown (a matter which is currently before the Landlord and Tenant Board), and the municipal pool she had used is now closed.

Our office has reached out to the leadership team at Carleton University, Ms. Coughlin’s employer, and they are willing to accommodate her aquatherapy needs if an exemption can be granted from the Province.

I am seeking your help for Ms. Coughlin, and would impress this is a time-sensitive matter. She has been without therapy for two weeks, and could face hospitalization if this continues.

I thank you for reading this urgent appeal, and look forward to a reply as soon as possible. Time is indeed of the essence.
My very best,

Joel Harden
Official Opposition Critic for Seniors, Accessibility and Persons with Disabilities
MPP for Ottawa Centre