E-newsletter- July 3, 2020
Summer is here!
I hope you had an amazing Canada Day, Etobicoke-Lakeshore!
While it is not the celebration we thought we would have, it was a perfect opportunity to reflect on how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful province and country. I hope you enjoyed a relaxing Canada Day and I look forward to when we can reunite in person.
Small businesses in Etobicoke-Lakeshore closed their doors for 60+ days to fight COVID-19. Now it's our turn to help fight for their recovery. Shop Local! Shop Safe! Shop with Confidence! Read more.
THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS:
KEEPING VULNERABLE PEOPLE SAFE
The Ontario government is providing municipalities and Indigenous community partners with an additional $150 million to continue to protect vulnerable people from COVID-19 by improving homeless shelters and creating opportunities for longer-term housing. This more than doubles the funding currently flowing to local service managers through the Social Services Relief Fund.
More information can be found here.
FUNDING FOR TTC CLEANING
The health and safety of transit workers and passengers is a top priority for our government. We recognize that municipal transit agencies across the province are facing significant financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Ontario Government is providing $15 million to municipalities across the province, including over $7.3 million to the City of Toronto to support additional enhanced cleaning of municipal public transit systems and help reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
This week we introduced the Towing Task Force. The Ontario government is establishing a task force to improve provincial oversight of the towing industry. This is in response to the many concerns raised about incidents of criminal activity and violence in the towing industry. The task force will review several topics related to the towing industry, which could include provincial oversight of safety, consumer protection, improved industry standards, training and background checks.
For more information, please visit: Towing
Many in Etobicoke-Lakeshore live and/or work in multi-storey buildings. We have heard that you want better elevator maintenance with fewer breakdowns, downtime and more information about elevator disruptions to help them make informed choices as homebuyers and renters.
We have heard you and are consulting on proposed regulatory changes under the Technical Standards and Safety Act that would allow the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) to better enforce Ontario’s elevator laws, ensuring that elevators are well-maintained and meet safety requirements. http://news.ontario.ca/mgs/en/2020/07/ontario-reviews-elevator-laws.html
SCHOOL FUNDING AND SCHOOL SAFETY
We have received some calls about the upcoming school year, so I am sharing this message again as this is an important topic for parents.
Minister Lecce announced that our government’s investment in public education is increasing by $736 million more for the 2020-21 school year, with more supports for students as we look towards reopening classrooms safely in the fall. For the 2020-21 school year, Ontario is investing more than $25.5 billion in publicly funded schools through its Grants for Student Needs (GSN), which represents the largest investment in public education in Ontario’s history.
Each year, the Ministry of Education provides funding to school boards through the GSN. Minister Lecce also announced our government is providing funding for the Priorities and Partnerships Fund (PPF), a fund that enables school boards and third-parties to undertake important initiatives and provide critical resources for curricular, extra-curricular, and wrap-around support. In the upcoming school year, the PPF is projected to be $302 million funding approximately 150 initiatives to support students.
Our focus is on what matters: student success and well-being in the classroom and beyond. We are providing $12,525 in per-pupil funding - an increase of $250 per student over 2019-20.
These investments will:
- Prepare students for success by equipping them with the skills and resources they need in STEM, including a new $15 million investment in technology to support the continuity of learning during COVID-19.
- Make financial literacy a key part of our revised math curriculum and a major component of the new grade 10 careers course.
- Increase mental health funding to over $50 million, and increase special education funding to the highest in Ontario’s history – close to $3.2 billion.
We are also investing over $212 million through the new Supports for Students Fund to further support special education, mental health and well-being, language instruction, Indigenous education and STEM programming.
Boards are required to submit their balanced budgets to the Ministry by August 19, 2020. Given the current situation, we are giving Boards flexibility by providing more time to plan and prepare for the upcoming school year.
Priorities and Partnership Fund
Our focus is on the safety and success of our students in the classroom and beyond – and our targeted investments reflect these priorities.
This includes over $56 million for math supports, over $59 million to support students in transitioning to post-secondary education and the workplace, and over $55 million for special education and mental health supports.
We are confident that with these targeted investments and partnerships with innovative Ontario-based organizations, we can confront the challenges of COVID-19 and ensure students are safe and supported when in-person classes resume in the fall.
Going back to school safely
Premier Ford and Minister Lecce released our government’s safety plan for the resumption of classes for the 2020-21 school year, outlining how students can safely return to classrooms and continue their learning in September. The plan provides details on additional funding, providing choice to parents and enhanced online learning. Ontario’s plan to safely reopen schools will provide options for parents – to send their children in-class or to enter online learning – and instill safety at its core.
The plan was created following extensive consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, health experts on the COVID-19 Command Table, medical experts at The Hospital for Sick Children, front-line workers, parents, students, and our education sector partners – including teacher and education worker unions.
While this plan reflects the best medical and scientific advice and recommendations, parents who do not feel comfortable having their children physically return to school will have a choice to pursue online remote learning.
We are taking every precaution, investing more, and listening to the best medical advice in the country to keep students, staff, and families safe. We want to assure parents that safety is our guiding principle and the right supports are being put in place to ensure our students are set up for success.
To ensure schools are safe, we have announced a net new funding for cleaning, cleaning protocols, and financial support to hire additional custodial staff in September. Students, parents, teachers and the community can be assured that the advice of public health authorities will be followed for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, and that our government is committed to ensuring academic success.
The plan can be found at https://www.ontario.ca/page/approach-reopening-schools-2020-2021-school-year
Beginning on July 4, 2020, the province is offering free fishing for two weeks, double the length of last year.
ENJOYING PROVINCIAL PARKS
It is important for people to check what facilities and services are available before visiting a provincial park. To find out what is available at each park, click on the “Parks” drop-down menu at www.ontarioparks.com to view the Facilities and Activities icons.
SUPPORTING RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Businesses across the province have demonstrated that we can still enjoy our beautiful Ontario summer while protecting the health and safety of their patrons. That is why we are temporarily exempting some requirements in the Planning Act so that municipalities can quickly pass temporary by-laws allowing restaurants and bars to create or extend their patios.
The government also amended an emergency order to clarify that, outdoor dining areas can open if they have a roof, canopy, tent, awning or other covering. Municipalities are still responsible for compliance activities, ensuring proper health and safety practices.
For more information, please click here.
CITY OF TORONTO UPDATE
Effective July 7, under the Mandatory Mask or Face Covering Bylaw everyone in Toronto is required to wear a mask or face covering when entering indoor public spaces. Masks or face coverings are now mandatory when travelling on the TTC .
ActiveTO closes many streets. To plan your drive and avoid closures, please visit: ActiveTO.
For more information on the City of Toronto COVID response, please visit: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/
My constituency office remains closed to in-person visits but we are available by telephone 416-259-2249 and by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christine Hogarth, MPP
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