E-newsletter- October 9, 2020
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING COVID-19
We are seeing alarming public health trends with the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 rising, hospitalization rates are growing, and community outbreaks are entering our nursing homes and vulnerable congregate settings.
In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Public Health Measures Table, and local medical officers of health and other health experts, our government is introducing additional targeted public health measures in the Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto public health unit regions. These modified Stage 2 restrictions will be for a minimum of 28 days and reviewed on an ongoing basis.
Effective midnight tonight, for 28 days, the following business will be closed:
- Indoor dining and bars
- Indoor gyms, yoga and dance studios
- Cinemas, bingo halls, museums and casinos
More details can be found here.
Thanksgiving in 2020 will be a celebration unlike any other.
This year, neighbours, friends and family have endured monumental challenges, and in some cases, devastating loss as a result of COVID-19.
At the same time, we are all keenly aware that the situation could have been worse; and in many cases, COVID-19 brought out the very best in people across communities. Volunteers stepped up to run errands, to provide rides, to deliver food and to donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Our frontline workers came through magnificently; truckers and merchants, too worked ceaselessly to keep store shelves stocked with the things we need.
For all of their contributions and generosity, we are truly thankful.
While shopping for and celebrating Thanksgiving this year, we will need to continue to observe guidelines for social distancing and minimizing exposure; I hope we can all consider these small inconveniences as reminders of what we are willing to do to keep everyone safe, healthy and secure.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
FALL 2020 BUDGET CONSULTATIONS
It’s that time and we want to hear from you. We are preparing a Fall 2020 Budget to help start Ontario down the road to recovery from COVID-19. Share your ideas for the next phase of Ontario’s Action Plan.
Closing date: October 16, 2020
Visit: Fall 2020 Budget
MENTAL HEALTH WEEK
This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week. 2020 has been a tough year for many of us. Feelings of stress, sadness and anger can impact your mental well-being. Get support today: connexontario.ca
Right before the COVID-19 outbreak in Ontario, we unveiled our plan to address the long-standing gaps and issues within the system through the release of the Roadmap to Wellness: A Plan to Build Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions System.
Our government is committed to ensuring the Roadmap is a success, and that’s why we are investing $3.8 billion over 10 years to create new services and expand programs. You are not alone!
TAKING ON GUN CRIME
One memorable occasion an MPP can experience is introducing a Private Member’s Bill or Motion. This week I had the honour to do just that. On Tuesday, I introduced a Private Members’ Motion that I hope will go a long way to addressing the growing gun violence on our streets by asking the federal government to focus on gun trafficking and bail reform.
The motion, passed unanimously, calls upon Canada’s federal government to strengthen bail provisions for all charges related to trafficking of firearms and violent firearm offences, and impose mandatory minimum sentences for individuals who are caught trafficking guns.
I introduced this motion in response to last month’s heinous act of gang-related violence on Eighth Street, south of Lakeshore Boulevard West.
80 gunshots were fired in our community, it’s time to get theses illegal guns and violent offenders off our streets.
I would appreciate your support to help fight violent crime. Please take a minute to sign my online petition to voice your support to end gun violence on our streets. You can sign my petition by visiting this link and please share: Stop gun and gang violence.
SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESS
We are supporting Main Street small businesses in the fight against COVID-19 with the tools and resources they need to safely operate, rehire faster, and rebuild stronger.
The proposals outlined in the Main Street Recovery Plan will help struggling small businesses get back on their feet, and jumpstart our economic recovery—so that Ontario, and Main Street businesses may prosper. 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; and
- Ontario’s Small Business Recovery Webpage to provide single window access to small business supports.
Check out the new Small Business Recovery webpage here: Small Business Recovery.
KEEPING ONTARIANS SAFE
As part of the Keeping Ontarians Safe plan, we are immediately investing $30 million to prevent and manage outbreaks in priority sectors, including the province’s long-term care homes, retirement homes, and schools. These investments are part of the province’s comprehensive plan to prepare the health care system for a potential second wave of COVID-19.
The Keeping Ontarians Safe plan will:
- Maintain strong public health measures, including the continued expansion of testing and case and contact management;
- Quickly identify, manage and prevent COVID-19 outbreaks;
- Accelerate efforts to reduce health service backlogs;
- Prepare for surges in COVID-19 cases;
- Recruit, retain, train and support health care workers, while also continuing to engage families and caregivers; and
- Implement the largest flu immunization campaign in Ontario’s history.
PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES: Ontario is tightening public health measures province-wide in response to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases. These measures will ensure the continued health and safety of Ontarians, reduce the risk of transmission, and limit future outbreaks. For more information visit: Public Health Measures.
TESTING: As part of our fall plan, Ontario is investing $1.07B to expand COVID-19 testing capacity, launching more testing locations to reduce testing wait times, and adding more case and contact management resources to trace and isolate new cases. Learn more by visiting: Testing.
LTC: There are new precautions to protect patients and staff in long-term care homes. For more information, please visit: Long-Term Care Homes
MENTAL HEALTH: We are building a modern, connected and comprehensive mental health and addictions system by investing an additional $176 million to expand access to critical services. For more information, please visit: Mental Health & Addictions.
REDUCING SURGICAL BACKLOG AND EXPANDING ACCESS TO CARE:
We are investing $741 million to help clear the backlog of surgeries and build more capacity in our health care system to effectively manage surges and outbreaks in COVID-19 cases.
ADDING MORE FRONTLINE HEALTH CARE WORKERS:
We are investing $52.5 million to recruit, retain and support over 3,700 more frontline health care workers and caregivers to ensure our health care system can meet any surge while continuing to provide safe and high-quality care to patients and long-term care residents.
TEMPORARILY INCREASING WAGES FOR PSWs:
Our government is investing $461 million to temporarily increase wages for over 147,000 personal support workers and direct support workers in the home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services sectors. This investment will help the province attract and retain the workforce needed to care for patients, clients and residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
GREAT LAKES FUNDING PROJECT
As part of our government’s commitment to the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, Ontario is providing $5.8 million in funding for 65 Canada-Ontario Great Lakes Agreement projects, as well as up to $1.67 million for the new Great Lakes Local Action Fund. The new program will provide up to $50,000 to local projects that have a positive environmental impact on the Great Lakes, as well as social or economic benefits for their communities.
Application details for the new Great Lakes Local Action Fund section are now live on ontario.ca (see links below). It is item #5 on the “Available funding opportunities from the Ontario government” webpage. Deadline for applications is November 6, 2020.
FREE Wi-Fi ON GO SERVICE
Great news Etobicoke! GO riders now have access to GO Wi-Fi Plus, including free internet and unlimited access to entertainment content. Travelling with GO just got better!
AUTO INSURANCE UPDATE
Since the beginning of COVID-19, our government has been focused on ensuring drivers are treated fairly by their insurance companies. We wanted to provide you an update on this work.
Recently, the Financial Services Authority of Ontario (FSRA), reported that Ontario’s drivers have been eligible to receive almost $1 Billion in relief in response to COVID-19. This represents over $300 million more in savings or 45% since insurers last reported in May 2020. Information reported by the 13 largest insurers is also being shared publicly to provide greater transparency to inform consumers.
Building on the need for greater transparency, FSRA is also launching an enhanced consumer information hub on its website. Consumers will be better informed, have access to average premiums and be able to search rate filings easily, which helps them make informed decisions about their policy and the insurer they choose.
HELPING APPRENTICES COVER LIVING EXPENSES DURING TRAINING
Our government is investing an additional $75 million for the next two years to help apprentices pay for living expenses during their in-class training and ensure they receive a high-quality education in a safe environment. This additional investment will allow training providers to upgrade their facilities and purchase new state-of-the art equipment; and build a digital portal to make the apprenticeship journey easier for anyone interested in working in the trades.
As part of our commitment to ending the Ontario College of Trade and to modernize Ontario’s skilled trade and apprenticeship system, we announced a panel of advisors, who will help:
- Simplify the skilled trades system,
- Cut red tape, and
- Make it easier for people to enter the trades.
Christine Hogarth, MPP
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