E-newsletter- September 25, 2020
Following the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Health Command table, today the Premier announced additional public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission, and to prevent future outbreaks, including additional measures for restaurants, bars and other businesses serving food and drink. These measures also include the closure of strip clubs, and require businesses to comply with any advice, recommendations, and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening individuals who wish to enter their premises. Learn more
Last week, MPPs returned to the legislature with a robust legislative agenda, which will build on the work undertaken over the summer, with a focus on job creation, skills training, attracting investment, strengthening communities, and fortifying the front lines of the province’s health care system.
This month, children returned to school and many of us went back to our offices after months of working from home. I hope the transition went smoothly for you and your loved ones.
The last two weeks saw an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases reported. The latest data told us that this spike was a result of an increase in private and social gatherings. Quickly acting on the advice of our medical officials and our municipal leaders to slow down and limit new cases in, we introduced measures that we hope will limit the spread of COVID-19.
This week, we proposed a new fine for people who organize gatherings over the limits that are currently set. There will be a new minimum fine of $10,000 and a maximum of $100,000 – the highest penalty in Canada – for people who organize a social gathering of more than 10 people inside OR 25 people outdoors. For people who attend a social gathering with more than these minimum number of people, they could face a fine of $750. Schools and businesses such as bars, restaurants, and movie theatres are exempt as they have safety protocols in place.
Starting today, you can get tested for COVID-19 at select pharmacies if you are not showing symptoms and are eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.
If you are able, I encourage you to participate in one of our local community clean-up initiatives. There is one scheduled on Saturday at Marie Curtis Park. To get there, take the Island Road and follow right to the end to the west side of the creek. The clean-up will be from 10am to 12noon.
There will be another clean-up at Humber Bay Park on October 3rd. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, you will need to register for this event.
We are organizing a Human Trafficking Roundtable with Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, Jill Dunlop on 14th October between 4.00 – 5.00 pm. If you wish to participate please RSVP by sending an email with your name, contact number and mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of day October 8.
Finally, I wish to recognize that Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, will begin Sunday at sundown.
Here are a few highlights from the past two weeks:
WEBSITE WILL REPORT COVID-19 CASES IN SCHOOLS
Recently, our government launched a webpage to report COVID-19 cases in schools and child care centres as part of our effort to transparently communicate with parents and the public. This page will be updated every weekday with the most up to date COVID-19 information available, including a summary of cases in schools and licensed child care centres and agencies, if a COVID-19 case is confirmed at a school and where the numbers come from.
HAVE YOUR SAY ON TRANSPORTATION
The Ontario government is continuing to deliver on its commitment to develop regional transportation plans that will connect people and places across the province by launching an online survey that will help inform the development of the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) transportation plan. This is part of the province’s plan to build a better transportation system to keep goods and people moving across the province, including in Ontario’s economic engine, the Greater Golden Horseshoe. This online survey is the latest step in continued engagement with the general public, municipal and freight stakeholders, businesses, and Indigenous communities.
INVESTMENTS IN LOCAL HOSPITAL
Recently, the Minister of Health Christine Elliott announced investing $175 million this year to address critical upgrades, repairs, and maintenance in 129 hospitals across the province, including $50 million for COVID-19 related and other urgent projects. Through the Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund, this funding will help hospitals maintain their infrastructure and ensure a safe and comfortable environment for patients to receive care. Locally, that means Unity Health Toronto will receive $9,731,276.
EXPANDING IN-PERSON, REMOTE AND ONLINE JUSTICE SERVICES IN ONTARIO
Our government has responded to the COVID-19 emergency and recovery by accelerating our work to build a more accessible, responsive and resilient justice system. We have moved Ontario’s outdated justice system forward by decades in a matter of months by working closely with justice partners and we cannot afford to look back or slow the pace of progress as we reopen the province.
We will continue to take decisive action to keep Ontarians safe and maintain access to justice by establishing new and innovative ways of delivering services remotely, in-person and online. As courtrooms across the province continue to re-open gradually, as they have done since early June, we will continue to take measures to limit attendance in courthouses by continuing to move services online and support remote operations.
EXTENDING SUPPORT FOR ONTARIO VETERANS
Recently, we introduced the Soldiers’ Aid Commission Act 2020. If passed, the legislation will allow the Commission to extend its support to all Ontario Veterans, regardless of when and where they served. Through the Soldiers’ Aid Commission, Ontario has demonstrated leadership in supporting veterans for more than 100 years.
While we will never forget their bravery and sacrifice it is time we honour a new generation of service men and women. That’s why our government is introducing legislation to modernize the Soldiers’ Aid Commission and expand assistance to Ontario veterans of all ages and their families who are in financial need.
HELPING TENANTS AND SMALL BUSINESSES
The Ontario government introduced the Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act that would, if passed, freeze rent in 2021 for most rent-controlled and non-rent-controlled residential units. The bill would provide the vast majority of Ontario’s tenants with financial relief as the province continues down the path of renewal, growth and economic recovery.
The Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act also proposes to change the Commercial Tenancies Act to extend the temporary ban on evictions for commercial tenants. The ban was initially in place from May 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020, to align with the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This temporary ban would continue to apply to businesses that are eligible for federal-provincial rent assistance through the CECRA for small businesses, but their landlord chose not to apply for the program. The ban will protect small businesses from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19.
Extending the ban on commercial evictions would allow Ontario to continue to protect small businesses and help them get back on their feet, so they can create jobs and help rebuild the economy.
CELEBRATING NATIONAL FOREST WEEK
This week (Sept 20-26), is the 100th Anniversary of National Forest Week. We recognize the critical role that the forest sector plays in Ontario’s economy. We encourage you to join the conversation on social media to celebrate National Forest Week.
MOVING ONTARIO FAMILY LAW FORWARD
Yesterday, Attorney General Doug Downey introduced the Moving Ontario Family Law Forward Act, 2020, that if passed, would make it easier, faster, and more affordable for individuals and families to resolve family legal matters. The proposed changes follow extensive consultations with parents, child protection advocates, and family lawyers, arbitrators and mediators.
The Moving Ontario Family Law Forward Act, 2020 proposes to:
- Make the family law appeals process clearer and easier to navigate;
- Harmonize Ontario’s family laws with federal legislation, to make it easier for Ontarians to navigate the system and understand their rights;
- Allow parents and caregivers to request certified copies of child support notices made by the online child support service, so child support amounts can be more easily managed or enforced outside the province; and
- Remove the requirement for family arbitrators to file arbitration award reports with the ministry, saving time and money.
Individuals and families encounter the family law system in some of life’s most difficult moments. The changes we are proposing will help simplify an outdated and complex family law system to prevent unnecessary strain in the process. By moving family law forward in our province, we will provide additional support to Ontario’s families and children when they need it most.
I hope you have a wonderful and safe weekend, please continue to wear your mask or face covering and practice social distancing. Enjoy the first days of fall – the forecast is calling for a lovely weekend! And please don’t forget to support local businesses.
Christine Hogarth, MPP