E-newsletter- January 15, 2021
Stay Safe. Stay Home. Save Lives.
If there’s one message I want you to take away from my newsletter is the importance of you staying home as much as possible to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our province. On January 12th our government declared a second provincial emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
As part of the state of emergency, additional public health measures have been put in place that includes a Stay at Home Order that requires everyone to stay at home with exceptions for essential permitted purposes or activities, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work where the work cannot be done remotely.
Our government will also reduce outdoor organized public events and gatherings to five people with limited exceptions, consistent with the rules during the lockdown in Spring 2020. The outdoor gathering limit of five is in recognition of the fact that some people live alone and may require the company or support of others for their mental and physical well-being. Anyone gathering outside is expected to adhere to physical distancing measures and are now strongly urged to wear a mask.
For more details on the provincial state of emergency and the additional public health measures put in place, please click here.
Ontario Temporarily Pauses Residential Evictions
On January 14th, the Ontario government issued an emergency order to temporarily pause the enforcement of residential evictions and ensure people are not forced to leave their homes during the provincial declaration of emergency and while the stay-at-home-order is in force.
This is the second time in less than a year that the province has paused residential evictions. This emergency order will also protect homeowners who are facing evictions due to court orders for possession of their properties.
We want to remind tenants who can pay their rent that they must continue to do so to the best of their abilities. We are encouraging landlords and tenants to work together – as they have been doing for the last several months – to ensure that we keep Ontarians safe.
We are making monumental strides in delivering and administering vaccinations across the province. We are now well past 100,000 vaccinations as we have now administered over 159,000 vaccines as of January 14th.
Our government is committed to vaccinating all long-term care residents, staff and essential caregivers in the hotspots of Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex by January 21st, 2020.
Vaccination of residents, staff and essential caregivers of long-term care homes are already underway in many other parts of the province, with the goal to have the first dose in all Ontario homes administered no later than February 15, 2021.
Long-term care remains at the front of the line to receive the vaccine as part of phase 1 of the government’s distribution plan and we are acting quickly and decisively, and we need your help to encourage residents and their essential caregivers to get vaccinated in areas of higher community spread like Toronto.
It is important that we work with community partners to help ensure that our frontline health care heroes are proactively participating in the vaccination program. We would like to request your support and encourage you to please reach out to cultural, ethnic and other appropriate leaders in your communities to encourage long-term care workers to take the vaccine as we prioritize vaccinating all individuals in this group.
As the vaccination rollout continues, it remains critically important that all Ontarians continue following public health advice to protect our communities and most vulnerable populations, and to stop the spread of COVID-19. For more information, click here.
The data for daily and total doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in Ontario is available online, please click here to learn more about Ontario’s vaccination program.
Ontario Launches Innovative Testing Program at Pearson Airport
In partnership with the greater Toronto Airports Authority, the provincial government launched a new innovative, voluntary and free border testing pilot program at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
Since January 6th, eligible international travellers arriving in Ontario and staying in the province for at least 14 days can receive a free and voluntary COVID-19 test. Inbound international travellers can register to participate in the program at torontopearson.com/testing.
Registration can be done in advance of arrival at the airport or upon arrival at Toronto Pearson airport. The province continues to work with the federal government to explore the next stage of the pilot, including a proposed modified quarantine period for participants who test negative.
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly advises that travel out of the province at this time should be limited to essential purposes only.
Expanding Eligibility for Emergency Child Care in Southern Ontario
The government will be expanding eligibility for the targeted emergency child care program to more frontline workers. This expansion helps the parents of school-aged children who may not be able to support their child’s learning/care at home because they are performing critical roles in their communities and are required to report to work in person.
Those eligible for this time-limited and targeted program include health care workers and other essential workers, including first responders, those who work in correctional facilities, and those ensuring vaccines can be administered.
For the full list of those eligible for Emergency Child Care please go here to see which new occupations qualify. We recognize the difficulties this pandemic has imposed on all families, and we are committed to supporting them.
Support for Learner Program Now Available
The expanded Support for Learners program, which now includes secondary students, is now available. Our aim, during these extraordinarily challenging times, is to continue supporting those impacted hardest by the COVID-19 outbreak — Ontario families.
The expanded program will see parents of secondary school students receive a one-time payment of $200 to help with education expenses - over 690,000 students will be eligible for the expanded Support for Learners program.
Eligible parents can apply at https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-support-learners.
Ontario Provides Funding for Autism Training
Our government is making key investments to meet the needs of every student, regardless of the barriers they face. During this pandemic, families are facing incredible difficulty. Most especially parents with children with autism, which is why our government more than doubled funding for ASD and increased special education funding to the highest levels in Ontario history.
We are going further by investing $7.5 million to provide educators with the specialized training they need to better support the educational, social, communication, and behavioural outcomes of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Ontario Launches Guide for Residential Condo Purchasers
The Condominium Authority of Ontario(CAO) has launched a new plain-language condominium guide for purchasers of pre-construction or condominiums across the province to help purchasers make informed decisions. Starting this year, developers across the province will be required to provide purchasers of new or pre-construction residential condos with a copy of the guide and the current disclosure statement.
Our government has worked closely and collaboratively with our stakeholders and other members of the public to explore ways to provide condominium purchasers with helpful information on the purchase process, condo living and governance, issue resolution, and more.
The new condominium guide is available on the CAO’s website at www.condoauthorityontario.ca.
Working with the Trucking Industry to Combat Human Trafficking
As part of its efforts to improve rest areas, the province is working with trucking industry partners to raise awareness about human trafficking, in step with Ontario's Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy. Traffickers are known to use the 400-series highways to move victims across jurisdictions and professionals who work in the trucking industry play a vital role in helping to combat human trafficking.
The province is also proactively partnering with ONroute to educate the public about the signs of human trafficking and raise awareness about the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline. This information is available online and will be posted at ONroute locations, rest areas, carpool lots and truck inspection stations.
Ontario Flows Gas Tax Funding to Municipalities
This week our government announced an investment of $375 million in public transit funding to 109 municipalities through the Gas Tax program to help them deliver public transit service to 144 communities and more than 13 million Ontarians. The City of Toronto will receive over $185 million dollars to support their public transit services through the Gas Tax Program.
Our government is committed to helping municipalities improve transit in every corner of the province and we will continue to work with municipalities to support public transit, which is critical to the economic recovery of our province.
Supporting Businesses in Etobicoke – Lakeshore
I want to thank all the business owners who joined me on January 8th to learn about government supports, including a step-by-step application process, to help them apply for funding for businesses effected by the pandemic.
Applications for the Ontario Small Business Support Grants are now open. This vital program will provide eligible businesses with a one-time grant and provide much needed support to help get them through these challenging times. For more information and to apply to the grants available for small businesses, please visit: www.ontario.ca/COVIDSupport
We are here for you.
Christine Hogarth, MPP
Etobicoke - Lakeshore