E-newsletter- December 4, 2020
IMPORTANT UPDATE ON OUR COVID-19 RESPONSE
As you are aware, the reported number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise. Toronto and Peel Region remain in lock-down until at least December 21, 2020. We continue to monitor the movement of the COVID-19 virus and will be decisive to either continue with, or lift the lock-down measure closer to December 21. This decision, as with all of our decisions, will be made on the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, local health officials and other medical experts.
I have received many calls and e-mails asking why we have chosen to allow big box stores to remain open and not smaller retail stores. The decision, though difficult to make, was made with one goal in mind: to limit contact among people by encouraging them to stay home, thus slowing the spread of the virus.
The Premier, the Mayor and the Prime Minister constantly advise people to stay home unless shopping for essentials.
Big box stores sell a variety of goods such as groceries, clothing, pharmaceuticals and so on. This means people can do all their shopping at one big box store rather than going to several stores. Please note, that big box stores are allowed to open at 50 percent capacity and we sincerely hope this will curb the spread of COVID-19.
The sooner we can get this virus under control, the sooner we can open up the economy in all regions of the province.
Until then, we can all help our small businesses by buying online or by telephone and collecting our goods by curbside pick-up or delivery.
ROUNDTABLE ON CRIME PREVENTION
Thank you to all who signed up for my virtual discussion on crime prevention with police officers from 22 Division. Unfortunately, this event was cancelled as the police officers were called away to deal with a community safety issue. I will let you know as soon as we have another date.
GREAT LAKES BREWERY HOLIDAY FOOD DRIVE
Great Lakes Brewery is hosting it’s annual food drive, the “Hops for Hunger” campaign in support of Daily Bread Food Bank.
It launched on December 1, 2020 and will be running for the duration of the month. Great Lakes Brewery will be working hand-in-hand with Daily Bread in a variety of ways, to help raise funds for their hunger relief efforts, while gathering much needed food donations and building community spirit.
SUPPORT FOR LEARNERS PROGRAM
Our aim, during these extraordinarily challenging times, is to continue supporting those impacted hardest by the COVID-19 outbreak — Ontario families. We are focused on what matters most: student success and well-being in the classroom and beyond, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 has imposed many costs on families in this province, which is why we are again providing financial support by placing funds directly in the pockets of working parents. Our government, through the Support for Learners program, is providing a one-time funding of $200 for children and youth aged 0-12 and $250 for children and youth up to age 21 with special needs.
The program will be providing financial relief for families to help offset additional learning costs, whether their children attend school in person, online or a combination of both with support totaling $380 million.
This investment in families builds on the $378 million provided to parents during the first wave of COVID-19. For example, an Ontario family with three children, including one with special needs, would receive $1,300 this year to help cover the costs of an accessible workspace and technology to enable learning online.
We remain committed to helping parents and families with the unprecedented challenges they are facing this school year. You can apply here.
REMINDER ABOUT LAKESHORE WEST GO SERVICE
Beginning Friday, November 27 at 7:00pm, there will be no GO Train service between Long Branch GO and Union Station as construction crews will be carrying out important track work on the Lakeshore GO corridor. Instead, GO buses will be running between Port Credit GO Station and the Union Station bus terminal.
That means if you normally take the GO Train from Long Branch GO, Mimico GO, or Exhibition GO – you will either need to get to Port Credit GO to catch a GO bus or use the TTC to complete your journey.
You can get more trip information on the GO Transit webpage.
INNOVATIVE HOME AND COMMUNITY CARE SERVICES
Our government is investing more than $115 million to support 850 patients across the province with high, complex care needs and provide access to services in the comfort of their own homes, while also expanding virtual care options for patients across the province.
This funding is part of our COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, which will enable the province to respond to future surges and waves of the virus, while preserving hospital capacity.
The new High Intensity Supports at Home program helps patients with high care needs transition from a hospital back to their home or community setting with the right supports, also known as alternate level of care patients.
This program provides integrated, team-based care where multiple types of services are focused on the patient. This can include up to 11 hours a day of personal support services and nursing services per patient. Other community services may include Meals on Wheels, homemaking and transportation to medical appointments.
With this investment, the province will add more capacity in hospitals, provide approximately 484,000 nursing and therapy visits, and approximately 1.4 million personal support worker hours.
As part of Ontario’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in alignment with the Digital First for Health Strategy, Ontario is investing $14.5 million to support the expansion of virtual care for Ontario Health Teams and frontline home and community care service providers:
- $9.5 million will go towards remote patient monitoring programs delivered by various health care organizations and hospitals.
- $5 million will be invested in virtual home and community care capacity by providing funding directly to frontline home and community care service providers
These investments will offer more choices in how patients receive care that is more convenient and simple while allowing patients to continue accessing the routine health care services they need throughout the pandemic.
SUPPORT FOR MENTAL HEALTH
Never has looking after our mental health been more important than now.
Where to Find Help
For Ontarians currently receiving mental health and addictions services and supports, please contact your current service provider to learn about potential virtual care options.
For Ontarians over the age of 18, please contact ConnexOntario at 1-866-531-2600 for mental health, addictions and or gambling supports. Children and youth under 18 can locate mental health services by visiting a Children’s Mental Health Ontario Child and Youth Mental Health Centre (CMHO.org/findhelp), or contact Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) for 24/7 support.
Good2Talk is a free, confidential mental health support service providing professional counselling and information and referrals for mental health, addictions and well-being to postsecondary students in Ontario, 24/7/365. Learn more at www.good2talk.ca.
To access BounceBack Ontario and their guided self-help program using workbooks with phone coaching support, visit bouncebackontario.ca or ask your primary care provider for a referral.
For a full list of publicly-available, confidential mental health and addictions supports in your community, visit Ontario.ca/MentalHealth.
DO’s AND DON’T’s OF THE LOCKDOWN
The City of Toronto has a helpful lockdown guide for Toronto residents during these unprecedented times.
MORE SERVICE ONTARIO APPOINTMENT BOOKINGS
ServiceOntario is now offering appointment booking at 42 of its busiest locations to help reduce wait times and manage customer flow. Due to the risks associated with COVID-19, it is strongly recommended that customers continue to access services available online and only book an in-person appointment if necessary. For transactions that need to be completed in person, appointments can be booked up to two weeks in advance at Ontario.ca/Appointment.
Customers can also access over 40 ServiceOntario.ca services online from the comfort of their home 24/7. For example, drivers can renew their licenses and license plate stickers online at Ontario.ca/RenewSticker, print proof of renewal, and receive products by mail.
Those who need to go to a ServiceOntario centre should maintain at least two meters from other people to help limit the spread of COVID-19, as well as follow the mask policies for indoor public places. We thank you for doing your part to contain the spread of COVID-19. Our government’s top priority is and will always be the health and safety of Ontarians.
If you are in need or know of someone in need of disposable masks, my office still has a small supply generously donated by Amax Health Canada. If you need a mask, you are welcome to come by my office and pick one up (while supplies last). Thank you Amax Health!
Christine Hogarth, MPP