E-newsletter- October 23, 2020
It’s small business week!
It’s heartbreaking to see the real and personal toll the pandemic is having on our entrepreneurs, job creators, and small businesses. These businesses are the cornerstone of our communities, and we are here to help them weather this storm.
That is why our government announced $300 million to help offset fixed costs to things like their property taxes, hydro, and natural gas bills. It builds on our $60 million Main Street Recovery grant to help small businesses with the costs of PPE to keep their customers and employees safe and the $57 million Digital Main Street grant and program to help small businesses build and enhance their online presence and e-commerce sales.
These supports are part of our plan to help get Main Street back on its feet and build an Ontario that works better for people and smarter for business.
Let’s all help out our small business owners by picking up a small gift, ordering take-out, or grabbing a cup of coffee. Our business owners can use our help, so please shop local!
This week is also Waste Reduction Week!
To learn more about our commitment to balance a healthy economy, a healthy environment and keep Ontario clean and beautiful, please visit: Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan and to learn more about waste reduction week, visit:
Our government is taking immediate action to expand case and contact management to help track, trace, and isolate new cases of COVID-19. The province has hired 100 new contact tracers, many of whom are starting this week, with up to 500 more recruits expected to be hired by mid-November.
For more information visit: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/58807/ontario-hiring-hundreds-more-contact-tracers-and-case-managers
These new positions are part of the province’s COVID-19 fall preparedness plan which dedicates $1.376 billion to enhance and expand testing and contact tracing in the province.
SUPPORTING ONTARIO’S RECOVERY
To support Ontario’s recovery, we are announcing action to provide essential support to volunteers who want to give their time and talents, employers who want to rehire staff, and charities who want to help those in need during these challenging times.
This legislation proposes liability protection for workers, volunteers, and organizations that make an honest effort to follow public health guidelines and laws relating to exposure to COVID-19. At the same time, it will also maintain the right of Ontarians to take legal action against those who willfully, or with gross negligence, endanger others.
For more information, please visit: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/58886/ontario-protects-workers-volunteers-and-organizations-who-make-honest-efforts-to-follow-covid-19-pub
EDUCATION - Merit over Seniority in Teacher Hiring Process
We're improving hiring practices to ensure when it comes to new educators, school boards hire the BEST & most qualified teachers for the job. Minister Lecce announced our government is revoking Regulation 274, which sets the hiring policy for teachers in the province. Instead of seniority, teacher hiring in Ontario will now be dictated by merit, diversity, and the unique needs of schools and communities. This approach is needed more than ever as it also supports school boards in hiring teachers to meet their local needs and increase distancing in the classroom.
We are ensuring that your child has the best educator at the front of the class.
We stand with parents who want merit, qualification, and diversity to come ahead of seniority.
LONG-TERM CARE HOMES
The Ontario government is adding to the precautions taken to protect residents and staff in the province’s long-term care homes.
On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, as of 48 hours from issuance of Directive #3 and until further notice, short-term and temporary absences for social or personal reasons will not be allowed at long-term care homes in areas of the province where there is higher community spread of COVID-19. Only absences for medical or compassionate reasons will be allowed.
A complete list of homes affected has been posted online. The province will update the list as the areas with higher community spread change. If you are planning a visit to a long-term care home please contact the home in advance, to make sure the home is free of outbreaks and to get information on the home’s visitor policy and any restrictions.
UPDATE – changes to STAGE 2 regulations
The health of Ontarians remains our government’s top priority. We also recognize that, when practiced safely, sport and recreation continue to play an important part in the physical, emotional and economic well-being of Ontarians.
That’s why Minister MacLeod announced dance classes can resume after a decision taken by our government with the advice of the CMOH and the Ministry of Health. Stage 2 amendments have been updated to identify dance, such as ballet, hip hop, and ballroom, can still be taught and practiced safely when certain public health measures are followed – similar to other permitted activities such as cheerleading, gymnastics, hockey, basketball, and swimming.
Thank you to all the dance clubs who called and wrote in. Stay safe and have fun!
ACTION PLAN - for a People-Focused Government
The world is changing, and the government must change with it. COVID-19 has revealed that now, more than ever, Ontario’s programs and services need to be more accessible, more reliable, and more convenient.
We moved quickly to adapt and update programs and services to help the people of Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that work is only the beginning.
Building on what we have learned from our COVID-19 pandemic response, we are expanding the range of programs and services available online, simplifying the government’s role in people’s lives and businesses, and putting people at the center of everything we do.
Our government is committed to making Ontario the leading digital jurisdiction in the world. We cannot afford to be an offline government in an online world.
Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government will:
✅digitize and expand access to services
✅reduce red tape
✅improve government purchasing
✅create more responsive and flexible public services
For more information, please visit: People focused government
Also please view my column on gun and gang violence here: https://torontonewswire.com/guest-column-by-mpp-hogarth-about-rising-gun-violence-and-time-for-tougher-sentencing/
HELPING MUNICIPALITIES CARE FOR OUR MOST VULNERABLE
We know that our municipal and Indigenous partners are facing extraordinary challenges. This Phase of funding will help build longer-term housing solutions, as well as meet ongoing, immediate needs related to COVID-19.
Toronto will receive $118.8 million to help protect our most vulnerable from COVID-19, including those who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. This funding is part of our $510 million investment to help protect the health and safety of our most vulnerable. These funds assist with the ongoing operation of physical distancing, isolation, and recovery sites. Ongoing rapid housing for shelter clients, funding for food, security, cleaning, personal protective equipment, and other related costs.
We will continue to work with local experts to ensure that they have the tools and flexibility needed to keep Ontarians safe.
Thank you to everyone who participated in or wrote in with suggestions for the upcoming budget (November 15). Special thanks to my colleague PA Stan Cho for joining us for this important conversation about Ontario’s recovery.
We also held a successful roundtable on Human Trafficking, I want to thank all the participants and my colleague Associate Minister Jill Dunlop for joining us for this very important conversation. If you see something, say something. To revisit some of the items touched on by Associate Minister Jill Dunlop in her opening remarks, please visit: Ontario's Strategy to End Human Trafficking: First Year Progress Report.
The flu shot will be available through family doctor and nurse practitioner offices, public health units, and participating pharmacies for anyone five years of age or older.
We encourage everyone to do their part, support our frontline heroes, and go get their flu shot this year.
To book an appointment, please visit (please note appointments are not necessary at all locations):
VISIT TO THE POLISH CONSULATE
The Consulate General of Poland unveiled a plaque to mark the 40th anniversary of the Solidarity trade union. Unfortunately I could not attend the event but I had the opportunity to visit this week to congratulate them.
Christine Hogarth, MPP
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