E-newsletter - November 20, 2020
IMPORTANT UPDATE ON OUR COVID-19 RESPONSE
As you are aware, the reported number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise.
As such, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers, our government has taken the difficult but necessary steps of putting Toronto and Peel back into lock-down, effective this Sunday at midnight for a minimum of 28 days. For more details please visit, Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework, but here is an overview of what this will look like:
- Schools, before and after school programs, and child cares will remain open;
- Post-secondary schools open for virtual learning with some exceptions;
- No indoor social gatherings except with members of the same household;
- Individuals who live alone, may have close contact with one other person;
- Outdoor social gatherings limited to 10 people;
- Weddings, funerals and religious services, can have up to 10 people indoors and 10 people outdoors;
- Retail permitted to be open for curbside pick-up or delivery only;
- Supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, discount and big box retailers, liquor and beer stores, safety supply stores, and convenience stores may open;
- Restaurants and bars may continue to provide takeout, drive-through and delivery only;
- Personal care services (hair salons, spas) closed;
- Casinos, bingo halls, cinemas and other gaming establishments closed; and
- Indoor sports and recreational facilities, including pools, closed with exceptions.
On November 16, 2020, we announced that we are doubling our support for businesses, making $600M available for eligible businesses for costs associated with municipal and education property taxes and energy bills. We launched a portal for businesses to apply for temporary property tax and energy cost rebates. Information on how to apply, and a detailed list of eligible businesses can be found at Ontario.ca/covidsupport.
If you have any questions about what will be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
FLU SHOTS AND COVID-19 TESTING SITES
Did you get your flu shot? If you are over 55, your local pharmacy might have some, but call them first. If you are under 55, your family doctor or a walk-in clinic may have some, but again, call first. You can also book your flu shot and find a local clinic.
Here is a list of local COVID-19 testing sites.
ROUNDTABLE ON COMMUNITY SAFETY
November is Crime Prevention Month. As such, I am hosting a virtual discussion with police officers from 22 Division. If you are interested in community safety, I encourage you to sign up for this important event.
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT LAKESHORE WEST GO SERVICE
Beginning Friday November 27 at 7pm, 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 CO 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.
FINANCIAL RELIEF FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
COVID-19 has brought severe challenges and economic difficulties to families and employers. Since the beginning, we have promised to be there to help those struggling the most and we are expanding that support.
The plan consists of the proposed Main Street Recovery Act and Ontario’s Small Business Strategy, alongside new programs and policy changes. Altogether, it offers a comprehensive package of supports, services, and modernization opportunities to help more small businesses recover from the economic effects of COVID-19. The plan includes:
- A one-time grant of up to $1,000 for eligible main street small businesses — in retail, food and accommodations, and other service sectors — with two to nine employees to help offset the unexpected costs of personal protective equipment (PPE);
- Ontario’s Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Network, which links 47 Small Business Enterprise Centres across the province as places where small businesses can access tailored advice and information on local, provincial and federal programs;
- Digital Main Street Squads to help small businesses grow online;
- Mental health supports for families, frontline workers, young people, children, and Indigenous communities;
- Ontario’s Small Business Recovery Webpage to provide single window access to small business supports.
The Main Street Relief Grant is now live. It’s a one-time grant of up to $1,000 for eligible main street small businesses with two to nine employees to help offset the unexpected costs of personal protective equipment (PPE).
You can also apply for the: Property Tax and Energy Cost Rebate Grants, this provides a rebate to eligible businesses for their property taxes and energy bills.
For more information and to find out if you are eligible, please visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs and to apply: https://www.app.grants.gov.on.ca/msrf/#/
For additional resources for your business, click here.
INCREASED FUNDING TO EXPAND MOBILE CRISIS SERVICES TO RESPOND TO MENTAL HEALTH EMERGENCIES
We are proud to be investing over $37 million to significantly expand access to mental health services across the justice system, including hiring more staff, expanding mobile crisis services and safe bed programs across the province, and supporting the creation of culturally safe programs in First Nations communities.
This funding is part of the government’s $176 million investment this year in the Roadmap to Wellness, a comprehensive plan to build a fully connected mental health and addictions system across the province and is a key component of Budget 2020: Ontario’s Action Plan.
As part of the $176 million, the province is investing in mental health services that will help support the brave women and men of Ontario’s law enforcement services and will lead to better supports for individuals with mental health and addictions issues and assist Ontario’s frontline heroes in handling mental health cases.
This funding includes:
- Over $6.5 million for mobile crisis services;
- $5 million for safe bed programs to support mobile crisis teams;
- Over $14 million for supportive housing programs designated for justice involved individuals;
- $2 million for addictions/withdrawal specialist to support safe beds;
- $4 million for enhanced addictions programming within adult correctional institutions;
- $2 million for mental health and addictions peer support for offenders under community supervision;
- $2.25 million for a correction peer support program; and
- $1.1 million for mental health and addiction supports to vulnerable and marginalized persons as part of the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Justice Centres.
SUPPORTING SMALL BUSINESSES WITH FINANCIAL ADVICE AND TRAINING
The Ontario government is investing over $2.2 million through the Ontario Together Fund to provide small businesses with free tailored financial advice, online training, and resources that will help them navigate through the COVID-19.
For more information, here is the News Release.
ONTARIO PARKS SEASONAL PASSES
We are making it easier and more affordable for families to spend time in provincial parks.
The province is reducing the price of the popular seasonal day-use vehicle permits by up to 36 per cent. The new, lower priced Ontario Parks seasonal day-use vehicle permits are on sale at www.ontarioparks.com/parkstore now.
FROM HELMETS TO HARDHATS
In partnership with the Pathways to Post-Military Employment program, the Ontario government is helping military veterans and reservists return to civilian life.
Our support of more than half a million dollars for Helmets to Hardhats will help homeless veterans get back on their feet and prepare them for in-demand and rewarding careers. For more information, here is the News Release
511 APP FOR DRIVERS NOW AVAILABLE
The Ontario government is expanding the 511 app to include new winter driving features that will provide drivers and the trucking industry with additional information to support safer route planning when travelling on provincial highways.
The additional features include:
- Track My Plow – which will allow drivers to track the location of snowplows and salt trucks on provincial highways in Ontario
- Information on road conditions – So drivers can see which roads are bare or covered with snow
- Weather warnings from Environment Canada
- Up-to-date information on rest areas across the province
The app is available for free on the App Store and Google Play.
App Store link – https://apps.apple.com/ca/app/ontario-511/id1506228231
For more information, visit: http://news.ontario.ca/mto/en/2020/11/ontario-expands-online-tool-to-keep-drivers-safe-during-winter.html
ONTARIO WORKFORCE RESERVE FOR SENIOR SUPPORT PROGRAM
We are seeking individuals interested in new opportunities - specifically those who are unemployed or have been displaced from the retail and hospitality industries or administrative roles as well as students in education programs - to re-enter the workforce and make a difference by helping seniors living in long-term care homes.
Individuals interested in the program are encouraged to create a profile on the Ontario Matching Portal, where they will be screened, selected to complete online training, and matched with a long-term care home requiring support.
To help improve their quality of life, Ontario is increasing the hours of direct care for long-term care residents to an average of four hours per day. This direct hands-on care is provided by nurses or personal support workers to support individual clinical and personal care needs.
This new commitment to improve quality of care includes unprecedented changes to educate and recruit the tens of thousands of new personal support workers, registered practical nurses and registered nurses that will be required.
IN THE COMMUNITY
Dropping off masks at Haven on the Queensway.
With Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction at the Ontario Food Terminal.
Great tour of Dymon Storage facility on the Queensway with Tim Smith, VP Operations.
With Councilor Mark Grimes and MP James Maloney at the cenotaph’s of Legion Branch 101.
At the unveiling of the cenotaph’s new home at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Branch 643 with Councilor Mark Grimes and MP James Maloney.
If you are in need or know of someone in need of disposable masks, my office 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
Etobicoke – Lakeshore