E-newsletter- August 28, 2020
With the summer drawing to an end, we are all turning our attention to back to school and for some, back to work. I hope you can spend some of what’s left of summer on a local patio, supporting our neighbourhood businesses.
This week, I co-hosted a virtual town hall with the Premier and Education Minister. Residents were invited to call in with any questions or voice concerns. If you were one of the 12,000 people who participated I hope you found the evening informative.
Here are a few highlights from the past two weeks:
Additional Funds Enhance Ontario's Robust Back to School Plan
The Ontario government's back-to-school plan, developed in consultation and endorsed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health officials, is being further enhanced by additional federal investments and resources to support the return to class in the fall. The federal announcement provides $381 million to Ontario, on top of the nearly $900 million provided by the province to support provincial back-to-school plans. For more information, click here.
Ontario’s investments lead the nation in supporting priorities like more cleaning, distancing, testing, and hiring of staff to ensure a safe reopening of our schools this September.
The funding will support several priority provincial initiatives.
- $200 million to support our reopening plan implementation including complementing our already robust plan by hiring additional custodians, supporting HVAC in schools, internet connectivity for students, additional PPE, and the temporary hiring of educators as required.
- $70M in support of student transportation, including the Driver Retention Program (DRP) as well as route protection and to help reduce the number of students on buses.
- $12.M in special education and mental health supports that will allow boards to hire and train additional staff and provide more mental health supports for students.
- $12.5M to create an additional 125 nursing positions in public health units across the province to help schools manage potential COVID-19 cases.
- $36M in remote learning support to ensure that every school board offering virtual learning has a dedicated principal and administrative support for both its secondary and elementary virtual schools.
As stated earlier, this is in addition to the $900 the Ontario government has invested to keep everyone safe in our schools. That means that school boards will be able to pay for:
- Up to 500 public health nurses, phased in to assist schools and boards in local health protocols;
- Masks and personal protective equipment;
- Additional teachers and teaching assistants;
- Additional school custodians and enhanced cleaning supplies;
- Cleaning for school buses and personal protective equipment for bus drivers;
- Additional supports for students with special education needs;
- Additional health and safety training for school-based staff
- Mental health supports.
We are also setting aside $50 million for any future pandemic learning needs, to ensure that Ontario is prepared for every scenario this fall.
Ontario leads the country in investment in our schools with the most comprehensive plan to keep students and staff safe.
Our plan will be strengthened by this additional support, while we work together with all levels of government to face this global health crisis and economic recession. Also announced last Tuesday, we are putting students first by investing in new schools and renovations, creating a better learning environment for our students. Our government is investing over $500 million to build 30 new schools and make permanent additions to 15 existing facilities across the province, ensuring that students have modern learning environments that support their success and well-being.
This investment will also generate nearly 900 new licensed child care spaces, as part of our commitment to creating up to 30,000 new child care spaces in schools over the next five years. Our focus throughout this process has been on the most urgent and pressing capacity or condition needs, and the projects we have approved will ensure school boards have the capacity to deliver high-quality learning to their students over the long term. Schools like Bishop Allen Academy need further investments which is why I shared in the last newsletter that I invited the Minister of Education to tour the school and speak with staff on pressing issues the school currently faces.
Touring a school with the Premier and fellow Etobicoke MPP Kinga Surma as we talk about our government’s plan to reopen schools.
Electricity Relief for Small Businesses and Charities
Yesterday we announced an $8 million COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) that will provide financial relief for small businesses and charitable organizations that are behind in their energy bills as a result of COVID-19.
CEAP-SB will be available to small businesses and charitable organizations who have fallen behind by at least two billing cycles, but whose accounts were in good standing when the provincial state of emergency was declared in March. Small businesses and charitable organizations can apply for CEAP-SB on the Toronto Hydro or the Enbridge Gas web sites starting August 31.
We are Hiring More Police Officers
Last week our government announced an investment of $25 million to hire 200 Ontario Provincial Police officers. This new investment will provide OPP frontline officers with the additional resources they need to better protect communities while safeguarding their own mental health and well-being.
This recruitment initiative responds to one of the key recommendations of the OPP Independent Review Panel’s final report to safeguard the health and wellness needs of the OPP workforce by addressing shortages in the workplace. These new frontline officers will fill vacancies where the need is greatest, in regions that are short-staffed. This will provide much-needed support to our existing officers and ensure public safety always comes first.
Frontline police officers are leaders in their communities, and our government is determined to continue providing them with the supports, resources, and tools they need to do their jobs. This new support also builds on our recent investment of $2.6 million to hire additional OPP psychologists and other mental health workers.
Ontario Partners with Federal Government and 3M on New Mask Manufacturing Facility
Ontario is the workshop of Canada, and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have unleashed our world-class manufacturing might to meet the PPE demands for healthcare professionals and frontline workers. As we continue planning for the future, including a potential second wave, we are proud to announce that 3M, a global leader in PPE production, has selected Brockville, Ontario for their new facility to manufacture N95 respirators and melt-blown filtration fabric.
The Government of Ontario and the federal government are supporting 3M’s capital investment of $70 million by contributing $23.33 million each, including a five-year agreement with 3M for the provision of 50 million respirators annually to meet current demand and enhance future preparedness. These respirators will be shared equally between the federal and Ontario governments.
Our province’s decision to pursue a made-in-Ontario approach for critical medical supplies, such as N95 masks, is rooted in our commitment to ensuring the health and safety of the people of Ontario, and Canada, during these unprecedented times. This partnership with 3M is an important step to meeting current and future needs and ensuring a readily available stockpile of N95 masks. This investment is essential in the creation of new manufacturing capabilities, new jobs, and a strengthened domestic supply chain for vital PPE as Ontario continues on its path economic recovery.
Convention Centres, Restaurants and Recreation Facilities update:
Professional Meeting and Event Facilities: Our government is taking another step to safely reopen the economy by easing restrictions for facilities that rent out professional meeting and event spaces. On August 21, professional meeting and event facilities were approved by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and are permitted to privately rent out separate indoor spaces for up to 50 visitors. Provided public health measures and restrictions are followed, including at least two metres of physical distancing between all persons.
Outdoor meeting and event facilities remain subject to the 100-person gathering limit for the whole outdoor area. While professional meeting and event facilities are permitted to reopen as part of Stage 3, allowing more meetings or events at a time will enable these businesses to welcome back more visitors, support their financial viability, and allow more hospitality employees to return to work. The province, in consultation with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (OCMOH), worked with professional meeting/event facilities to develop a guidance document that safely allows businesses to apply gathering limits for each separate meeting or event space within their facility. Our government will continue to work with all businesses to ensure that, as the province gradually reopens, Ontario will be in the best position to welcome the world back to the province.
Restaurants and Bars Client Logs: Recording the name and contact information of patrons in restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments, and tour and guide services, supports case and contact tracing which can help to limit further spread of COVID-19.
Endorsed by the Public Health Measures Table, the new regulatory change allows restaurants, bars and other establishments including tour guide services to only record the name and contact information of one person in every party instead of every person of the group. This is less burdensome for operators and should not impede a public health unit’s ability to do case and contact tracing. It remains critically important for everyone to continue following public health advice as more businesses and services continue to reopen in Stage 3.
Recreation Facilities: Ontario is allowing greater access to indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities. This will provide the public with more access to health and wellness and support the sector in getting more employees back to work.
As Ontario safely reopens, we’re providing over $8 million to 66 provincial and multi-sport organizations through the Ontario Amateur Sport Fund – supporting the delivery of high-quality programming & competitions benefiting athletes, coaches & officials.
Ontario has released a sport and recreational guidance document to help facilities operate safely. Review the guidelines and learn more: https://www.ontario.ca/page/guidance-facilities-sports-and-recreational-fitness-activities-during-covid-19
As these facilities are now reopening with increased access, we will continue to work with sport and recreation organizations across the province on their safe return to play. For more information on the current return to play protocols, you can visit ontario.ca/page/return-to-play.
Ontario and Municipalities work towards a strong Economic Recovery
The Ontario government joined hundreds of municipal officials for a successful virtual 2020 Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference this week. It demonstrated the critical partnership between the province and municipalities and the willingness to work towards a safe and strong economic recovery.
The province is investing $30 million through the Connecting Links Program to help municipalities build, repair or replace roads and bridges across Ontario that connect to provincial highways. This investment will help create jobs and keep people and goods moving as the province continues to recover from COVID-19.
Ontario Strengthens Supports for Human Trafficking Victims and Survivors
Our government’s $307 million anti-human trafficking strategy is helping young women and children escape a living nightmare and rebuild their lives. Ontario’s new investment of $7.65 million over five years will ensure victims and survivors of human trafficking can access the services they need when they need them.
These new funds will expand financial assistance provided by front-line victim services organizations to human trafficking victims and survivors. Covering essential expenses like accommodations, meals, dental care, transportation, mobile phones and court-related expenses. We are partnering with police, prosecutors and front-line victim service providers to comprehensively respond to the shocking growth of these crimes.
This investment strengthens our partnerships with front-line victim services to ensure victims and survivors have the support they need while we work to combat human trafficking, hold offenders accountable and end these heinous crimes.
To learn more about this announcement, please click here.
Ontario Extends Orders under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020
Our government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is extending orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA) until September 22, 2020. The extensions will provide the necessary flexibility to address the ongoing risks and effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and ensure important measures remain in place to protect vulnerable populations, such as seniors, people with developmental disabilities and those with mental health and addiction issues. For more information, click here.
COVID-19 Updates on Landlord and Tenant Board Operations
The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) is gradually expanding services this month, although, all in-person service counters remain closed until further notice. Where possible, use email to contact the LTB.
Since August 1, 2020 the LTB began issuing eviction orders, consent eviction orders as well as continue to schedule urgent and non-urgent eviction matters that began mid-month. To learn more visit this link.
Final Canadian Armed Forces Report on Long-Term Care:
Our government has received a final report from the Canadian Armed Forces on the status of the long-term care homes to which they were deployed.
In their observations, the Canadian Armed Forces reported that nearly all concerns raised in their initial May report have been resolved and that the province is well equipped to oversee improvements going forward. Outstanding concerns are largely related to the training of new staff and to the supervision necessary to ensure consistent infection prevention and control measures. Both areas will continue to be monitored closely by the ministry and home management. For more information, please visit here.
Our Etobicoke Family:
This week all three Etobicoke MPP’s (Premier Ford, MPP Surma and I) toured several Etobicoke establishments. We saw a live demonstration of rapid sanitization technologies at Apotex, toured Buttonwood Elementary School with Minister of Education Stephen Lecce and visited one of our very own Etobicoke-Lakeshore business, Ya YA Foods Corp.
Presenting congratulatory scrolls to six friends who created CanoeCovid. The fundraiser surpassed its goal of $60K and all the proceeds will be donated to Food Banks Canada as well as indigenous communities affected by COVID-19.
Reminder of LAMP’s 21st Annual Awards of Merit Event. All submissions are due today by 5:00 PM.
For convenience, you can complete this submission online by visiting this LINK.
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Have a wonderful weekend and remember:
Shop Local, Shop Safe, Shop with Confidence!
Support Local Business!
Christine Hogarth, MPP