E-Newsletter – COVID-19 Update
May 29, 2020
My constituency office staff are available by
telephone 416-259-2249 and by email [email protected].
For the latest COVID-19 information visit:
AND COVID-19 support link and chat line:
It was another busy week helping out in the community along with a two day session at the Ontario Legislature.
We passed MPP Robin Martin’s Private Member’s Bill, Bill 141 Defibrillator Public Access and Registration Act 2020. This Act will create a registry of publicly accessible defibrillators and establish requirements relating to the installation, maintenance, testing and availability of defibrillators in designated locations. We also debated a motion to authorize Standing Committees to begin virtual studies and to authorize the Legislature to sit in June and July. We believe that question period must continue and summer sittings allow the government to introduce important legislation as required to help Ontario recover and rebuild in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This week we saw small business owners opening their doors and thousands of people are back to work, adapting to the new normal. As they do, we will continue to work with our key partners to help these businesses open safely and responsibly to ensure the health of all citizens is protected.
As we start to reopen more of the economy and public spaces, we know more people will be returning to workplaces, using public transit, going to stores and enjoying the outdoors.
More than ever, it’s critical to remember that our best defense against this deadly virus is continuing to follow public health advice. This includes washing your hands often, staying at home if feeling ill and practicing physical distancing by staying at least two metres apart. Where physical distancing is not possible, it is recommended – on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health – that individuals wear a face covering to help reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. We released specific recommendations on how to choose, wear and care for appropriate face coverings used in public if staying two metres apart is not possible.
Earlier this week we read the heartbreaking allegations in the report provided by the Canadian Armed Forces that describe in horrific detail the situation of five long-term-care homes at a time of crisis. Upon receiving the report the Premier launched a full investigation, the results of which will be turned over to the police.
Our government is taking further measures to protect our most vulnerable, including starting the process to take over temporary management of the five long-term care homes. Ramping up inspections of high-risk homes and implementing additional random spot checks on long-term care homes across the province will commence. The Premier has also called on the federal government and the Canadian Armed Forces to extend their current mission for at least another 30 days and thanked the brave men and women in the armed forces who have helped to stabilize the province’s hardest-hit LTC homes.
We are using every tool at our disposal to address this crisis, we will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes.
Part of this action includes expediting the implementation of an independent commission. This commission will be open and transparent, with a public hearing, witnesses and a public report. Our commitment to the residents of long-term care homes and their families is that we will do everything in our power to protect our most vulnerable seniors to ensure they get the care they deserve.
Our government has been clear, all options remain on the table to address this crisis including to pull licenses, to shut down facilities and whatever else it takes.
Our seniors and their families deserve nothing less than action and answers, and we will deliver them.
For more information, please visit: http://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/05/ontario-taking-action-at-high-risk-long-term-care-homes.html
MORE ON LTC HOMES
Premier Ford, Minister Fullerton and Minister Elliott announced the following action is being taken in long-term care homes across the province:
- Effective immediately, we have begun the process of taking over the temporary management of an additional five long-term care homes: Eatonville Care (Etobicoke), Hawthorne Place (North York), Altamont Care (Scarborough), Holland Christina Homes (Brampton) and Orchard Villa (Pickering). Our government had previously taken over two others.
- We are deploying six teams of two inspectors for a period of two weeks to each of the five homes identified in the Canadian Armed Forces report as well as Camilla Care (Mississauga). These inspectors will conduct rigorous inspections and continue monitoring these homes.
- Over the next 21 days, we will conduct further inspections in other high-risk homes facing the greatest challenges in managing their outbreaks.
- Over the next 30 days, the Ministry of Long-Term Care will conduct random spot checks of both high-risk homes and other homes across the province.
- We are expediting the establishment of our independent commission to July.
This past week the government extended all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until June 9, 2020.
Read more: HERE.
We recognize how important testing is in defeating COVID-19 and we have made clear that testing is a priority. The sooner we can identify cases, the sooner we can stop the spread of this virus.
We have been actively working with our partners across the province to address our testing and lab capacity to ensure we can move forward with the most aggressive testing strategy in the country.
Our testing strategy to date has been guided by our world-class health care experts who have continually advised us on when to expand the testing criteria. I shared your emails with the Premier about the lack of testing and he was equally as frustrated as I was. We have now expanded testing to all those who feel they need a test.
If you feel you should be tested, please visit one of the assessment centres.
Here is a list of locations (please scroll to the bottom of the link):
As we work to reopen our economy, the ministry of health has been working diligently with our health care partners to ensure a safe process was in place. Following discussions, we have amended Directive #2 to allow for the reopening of health practices around the province.
We have also asked that health care providers follow the appropriate health regulatory college guidance when reopening. Health Care Providers must also consider which services should continue to be provided remotely and which services can safely resume in-person with appropriate hazard controls and sufficient PPE.
To be clear, a health care provider's decision to reopen should be guided by the best available clinical evidence. Since the start of this outbreak, our government has been committed to providing the highest quality of care for those in Ontario during these uncertain times.
List of Regulated Health Professions
It's important to note that this does not mean that all health services will be available on May 27. Rather, health regulatory colleges are now in the process of developing guidance to ensure high-quality and safe clinical care that must be met before services can resume. Colleges will also provide advice on which services can and should be provided virtually.
HELP FOR HOSPITALITY WORKERS AND APPRENTICES
As the economy gradually reopens, our government is helping people affected by COVID-19 get back to work, including those in the skilled trades and hospitality sector.
Earlier this week we announced that we are investing in Ontario’s first Virtual Action Centre to support laid off and unemployed hospitality workers. It is helping apprentices by providing grants to purchase tools, protective equipment and clothing for their trade, along with forgiving previous loans to purchased tools.
Our government is forgiving more than $10 million in outstanding loans owed by apprentices for tool purchases made at the beginning of their careers. About 19,000 apprentices will benefit from loan forgiveness. Our Government is also providing $10 million for an Ontario Tool Grant to help new apprentices purchase the equipment they need to start their careers.
Further, our government’s new UNITE HERE Virtual Action Centre will allow laid-off workers in the hospitality sector access to services entirely online and over the phone. This allows workers to get support while maintaining physical distancing.
We are committed to doing whatever it takes to help affected workers get back on their feet and get the training they need to successfully re-enter the labour market as we restart the economy.
For more information, please visit: HELP IS HERE.
SMALL BUSINESS AND THE ONTARIO SPIRIT
Do you know an Etobicoke business that has stepped up in remarkable ways to support our community during COVID-19?
Ontario is launching the Small Businesses, Big Hearts initiative to recognize small businesses throughout the province that have gone above and beyond to support their communities during COVID-19. If you have a story to share, please email [email protected].
COVID-19 BY NEIGHBOURHOOD
The City of Toronto has produced a new tool that displays the number of COVID-19 cases by neighbourhood. You can view the toll here:
AT-HOME WORKOUTS – YMCA
YMCA is connecting people to at-home workouts, children’s programs, physical activity and personal wellness resources.
The content is created by YMCA volunteers and instructors from across Canada who are committed to helping Canadians stay healthy and connected to their communities. Activities are tailored for all levels and audiences including individual adults, kids and families.
You can learn more by visiting: www.ymcahome.ca
Stay safe and enjoy your weekend.
Christine Hogarth, MPP