E-newsletter- April 30, 2020
I hope you are well and staying safe.
Last Friday, we paused for a moment of silence and wore red as part of the #WearRedFriday to remember the victims of the tragedy in Nova Scotia. Our thoughts, hearts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims and all Nova Scotians. Some of our colleagues, friends and families have been impacted and we stand with them as we grieve this terrible tragedy. This senseless act hurts everyone across our country. We all mourn with Nova Scotia.
While the world that we know now differs so much from the one we are accustomed to, we continue to keep the safety and wellbeing of our citizens our utmost priority. The road ahead might have more bumps. But nothing can take away how strong we have become together.
I understand that there is an information overload during COVID-19, so I’ve launched a new website to make your life a bit easier. You can click here to stay informed, apply for supports and to sign up for updates.
My constituency office staff are also available by telephone 416-259-2249 and by email Christine.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christine Hogarth, MPP
For the latest information, please visit:
Please continue to stay home except for essential reasons, such as:
Ø Access health care services;
Ø Shop for groceries (please shop alone, if you are able);
Ø Pick-up medication at the pharmacy;
Ø Walk pets or get exercise; and
Ø Support vulnerable community members.
ONTARIO JOBS AND RECOVERY
I know many are eager to get back to their normal routines. While we now have our destination in sight, we have not yet arrived. Now is the time to remain vigilant. The progress made to date is a direct result of staying home and practicing physical distancing.
The government is planning a stage-by-stage approach to reopening the economy to ensure there are appropriate measures in place so workplaces can open safely. Public health officials will carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health.
Our Jobs and Recovery Committee is developing a framework for a gradual, measured and safe re-opening of our province based on the latest data, trends and advice from our Chief Medical Officer of Health, business community and municipal partners. I held our first meeting on April 27 with the Minister of Finance and the Chairs of our local BIAs. If you are interested in joining this committee and taking part in our next virtual consultation, please contact my office.
Ontario is in a strong position thanks to the actions of individuals. A successful reopening of our province requires people and employers to continue doing their part, so our hard work and sacrifice pays off. We are almost there. And we will get there by continuing to work together. For more information click here.
SMALL BUSINESS RENT RELIEF
Our government is acting to ease the financial pressures faced by small business and property owners during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are committing $241 million to partner with the federal government and deliver more than $900 million in urgent relief to small businesses and their landlords through a new program, the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA).
The OCECRA will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing potential rent shortfalls because their small business tenants have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. More details on this program will be available in the next few weeks, you can view the press release here.
REMOVING REGLATORY BURDENS FOR BUSINESS
The government has been committed to reducing the regulatory burden on people and businesses across the province. Now, we're redirecting those efforts to remove regulatory burdens in response to the fight against COVID-19 by launching the "COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers" website to gather suggestions on regulations that are making it harder to:
- Retool operations to produce health-related products and supplies
- Assist our healthcare system in meeting emergency needs
- Keep our supply chain operating and critical products moving
Help us tackle the barriers that are making it harder to retool a business or keep critical supplies moving in response to COVID-19. Send your ideas to COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers and let's make it easier for your business to join the fight against COVID-19.
Today, we released, released new safety guidelines to protect workers, customers and the general public from COVID-19 as we prepare for a gradual reopening of the provincial economy. We are providing specific guidelines to numerous sectors to assist employers in their responsibility to provide safe and healthy work environments. We want workers to have confidence that the Government will investigate if they feel unsafe on the job.
School closures have been extended to May 29, to ensure we keep students safe. To maximize learning, all PA days and exam days will be converted to instructional time, and summer learning opportunities will be expanded. For more information visit here.
SUPPORTS FOR SENIORS
As we face some of the darkest times in our province's history, we have a duty to protect and care for the most vulnerable in our society. That’s why, the government is doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments to help vulnerable low-income seniors during the COVID-19 outbreak. Individuals will receive up to $166 per month and couples will receive up to $332 per month.
The Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility has announced $11 million for a new Ontario Community Support Program in partnership with the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA). The program will ensure vulnerable seniors and persons with disabilities in need have access to essentials they need to live at home, such as food and medicine. This funding will be used to:
- Expand existing Meals on Wheels programs throughout the province.
- Work with businesses, charities and volunteers to increase local capacity to provide delivery services to vulnerable Ontarians.
The government announced it is further expanding the list of essential workers eligible to receive free emergency child care during the COVID-19 outbreak. Since emergency child care was introduced last month, almost 100 child care centres have re-opened along with 40 Licensed Home Child Care Agencies in communities across the province. The list of open child care centres and eligibility can be found here.
This week the Premier announced pandemic pay for the broader public service. This temporary pandemic premium pay will provide additional support and relief, encouraging staff to continue working and attracting prospective employees to help maintain safe staffing levels and the operation of critical frontline services.
This increase in wages was one way we could support those on the frontlines, but more importantly it was a way for us to say thank you to those who have been working tirelessly to keep us safe and healthy during these uneasy times.
SPARK Ontario is partnering with the Ontario government to connect volunteers with opportunities to support seniors, people with disabilities and other Ontarians requiring assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
All not-for-profit organizations supporting the response to COVID-19 can post volunteer opportunities at sparkontario.ca so potential volunteers can be put to work quickly.
SPARK Ontario is a free, bilingual online platform that connects your organization with potential volunteers. Almost 25,000 volunteers have already reached out looking for ways to help!
Need help posting your opportunities? Click here
Interested in volunteering? Sign up at sparkontario.ca
Looking for resources and support for your program or want more information about volunteering in your community? Connect with your local volunteer centre.
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE
Mental health and addictions concerns are among the many challenges Ontarians are currently facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Ontario branches remain ready to serve the public and will continue to provide in-person, phone-based or online / web conferencing supports and programs during the pandemic.