April 2, 2020
The health and well-being of all Ontarians is the government’s number one priority. As your Member of Provincial Parliament, I want to share the most recent update and the government’s response to COVID-19.
In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep people home, the Provincial Government has extended the Declaration of Emergency and associated emergency measures, including the closure of non-essential workplaces and restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people and stopping price gouging on necessary goods such as disinfectant products. These actions are based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and a decision that was not made lightly.
I want to thank all the frontline workers – nurses, doctors, pharmacists, cashiers, grocery clerks, janitors, truck drivers, construction workers to name a few who continue to serve the people of Etobicoke-Lakeshore and our province during this challenging and unprecedented time.
I also want to thank all the residents in Etobicoke-Lakeshore who are practicing social distancing and staying home but this is reminder that we ALL must practice social/physical distancing. That means if you are leaving your house for necessities or to get fresh air PLEASE leave 2 metres/6 feet between others and if you live in a condo or apartment, wait for the next elevator.
Be kind, be patient and help out a senior in need. We are in this together and we will get through this together.
Updates at a glance:
Last edition I spoke about the provincial government’s Action Plan introduced by the Finance Minister on March 25 – for more information on Ontario’s $17 billion action plan to support people and the economy through the COVID19 outbreak visit Ontario’s Action Plan 2020: Responding to COVID-19. This economic and fiscal update was the first phase in the government’s plan to respond to and address the COVID-19 outbreak, and ensure the necessary resources are in place to protect the health of Ontario’s people and economy.
HELP FOR BUSINESSES:
The government is spending $1.9 billion in relief for employers that have been negatively affected by COVID-19. The measure, which will run through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), will see premium payments deferred for six months for all businesses in the province. To find out more, click here.
The Premier announced new penalties to end price gouging identify the individuals that are raising prices significantly on the necessary goods Ontarians are dependent on to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19.
Effective immediately, the government has issued an emergency order that retail businesses and individuals in Ontario cannot charge unfair prices for necessary goods.
Consumers can report evidence of price gouging at 1-800-889-9768 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, or by filing a report online.
Earlier this week Minister Lecce announced that school and child care centres will remain closed to protect the health and safety of students and staff. Public schools will remain closed to teachers until Friday, May 1, 2020, and to students until Monday, May 4, 2020. Private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed until April 13, according to the Declaration of Emergency, which only allows closures to be extended for one 14-day period at a time. Select centres designated to support frontline health care workers and first responders will remain open.
To ensure continuity of learning, the government is launching the second phase of Learn at Home. Developed in conjunction with education partners, we are establishing clarity for parents, enhanced education supports, and creating opportunities for teachers and educators to connect with students. The second phase of Learn at Home features a new set of expectations for the education community. To learn more visit ontario.ca/learnathome.
A new emergency order to ensure that our long-term care residents have the available help and resources to combat COVID-19 was announced. A $243 million fund will create additional surge capacity in homes, while supporting 24/7 screening, more staffing and supplies and equipment to help with prevention. These new measures enable an increase in flexibility for long-term care homes and loosens up these homes to redirect their focus to other primary tasks.
We are also investing $20 Million over two years to protect seniors in retirement homes through increased infection control and active screening.
70 YEARS or OLDER:
We are advising that people 70 years of age or those with an underlying health condition to self isolate and only leave that residence when absolutely necessary. To assist our seniors, the government is investing $10 million to help community organizations in coordinating subsidized deliveries of meals, medicines and other necessities to seniors will be made readily available. Ontarians are here to help and together we will get through this. One such organization that is demonstrating the Ontario Spirit is Neighborhood Helper. For those self-isolating and find it difficult or unsafe to travel, these volunteers will help deliver your groceries and medications. Contact them at HELP@AMYA.CA or call 1-855-435-7811 if you know someone that needs their help.
UPDATE ON CONSTRUCTION SITES:
The welfare of our construction workers is a top priority for the government. With the COVID-19 always being susceptible to change, we are working to ensure that workers have the tools they need to help keep job sites safe. Ontario's Chief Prevention Officer released an updated guidance list to provide clarity to employers to better understand their responsibilities and what is required to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the job site.
If health and safety concerns are not resolved internally, a worker can seek enforcement by filing a complaint with the ministry's Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.
PROTECTING OUR FRONT LINE WORKERS:
Protecting the health and safety of health care workers and the patients they care for is imperative. During this COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that the appropriate steps are taken to protect the health and safety of all health care workers, patients and the public utilizing the precautionary principles of preventing exposure to and transmission of COVID-19. It is equally important that health and safety measures including access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are available. The government is continuing to aggressively pursue all efforts to increase the supply of PPE to match anticipated demands.
This is why Ontario is launching a new $50 million Ontario Together Fund to help businesses assist in developing more innovative solutions in order to manufacture essential medical supplies and equipment which includes but not limited to ventilators, testing equipment, gowns, coveralls and face shields. If your business can help, we want to hear from you. To share your proposal visit Ontario Together.
UPDATE – QUEENSWAY HEALTH CENTRE:
The Queensway Health Centre’s Urgent Care Centre (UCC) will be temporarily closed and that they ask that patients requiring emergency care to go to their nearest Emergency Department or call 911. This decision was not taken lightly but is part of the continued efforts to respond to COVID-19. During this temporary closure, the centre will be adding more hospital beds, increase testing and assessment capacity and provide more virtual care options to prepare for an influx of COVID-19 patients. We thank the leadership and team at Trillium Health for their on-going service to our community.
POSTSECONDARY SCHOOL & OSAP:
The government will temporarily defer loan payments and interest accrual for Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).
These measures would allow us to temporarily suspend loan repayment between March 30, 2020 and September 30, 2020 and initiate a six-month interest-free moratorium. This means that borrowers would not be required to make any loan payments during this period and no interest would accrue on their student loans.
In addition to temporary OSAP deferred payments, the government has finalized an agreement with eCampus Ontario to ensure students will be able to complete their term without interruption. Starting this April, college and universities in Ontario will have access to an online exam proctoring tool that can be used on a voluntary and as needed basis for final exams.
We are also providing $25 Million in one time funding to support publicly assisted colleges, universities, and Indigenous Institutes with institutional specific priorities in response to COVID-19.
COLLECTIVE BARGANING UPDATE:
The Ontario Government is pleased to announce a tentative deal has been reached between the Crown, Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO) teachers, Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA), Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and the school board trustees' associations.
All three levels of government are working together to assist you and your family. For the latest updates on support for individuals and families, please visit:
We are in this together. Stay safe and stay healthy,