Enewsletter – December 23, 2020
Earlier this week Premier Ford announced a province-wide shutdown beginning December 26th at 12:01a.m. The goal of the shutdown is to limit travel across the province to help prevent potential spread of COVID-19 while protecting health care capacity across Ontario.
Right now the best way to preserve hospital capacity -- and thank the amazing front-line workers for their sacrifice during this nearly year-long fight against COVID-19, is to stay close to home.
We know this has been tough on all of us and we thank you for doing your part.
This week we also announced new initiatives to support Ontarians at home during the province-wide shutdown.
We will be providing new financial support for families during the COVID-19 second wave by expanding the Support for Learners program to include all secondary school students. Starting in January 2021, all secondary school students will be eligible under an expanded Support for Learners program. Parents will receive a one-time payment of $200 to help with education expenses. Support will be available for those who attend a public or private school or are home schooled. Application instructions will be available on the Support for Learners web page starting in January. Applications will remain open for the Support for Learners program for children or youth aged 0 to 12, or 0 to 21 with special needs.
Additionally, starting January 1, 2021, our government will hold electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 8.5 cents-per-kilowatt-hour for all time-of-use and tiered customers. This low rate will be available 24 hours per day, seven days a week for a 28-day period. The off-peak price will automatically be applied to bills of all residential, small business and farm customers.
Our government is also making it easier for families and businesses to receive support on their overdue electricity bills through the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP). Any residential, small business, or registered charity customer with an overdue electricity or natural gas bill will now be eligible to apply. A residential customer can receive up to $750 for their electricity bill and an additional $750 for their natural gas bill. Small businesses can receive up to $1500 for each. Newly eligible customers can apply for these enhanced benefits through their local utility, starting in January 2021.
UPDATE COVID19 VACCINES
I have received many emails inquiring about the vaccine and details about distribution and if the vaccine will be mandatory. To be clear, the COVID-19 vaccine will not be mandated for Ontarians, but we do strongly suggest that people embrace the opportunity now that a vaccine has been approved by Health Canada
The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force continues to meet regularly and advise the government on the most effective way to deploy the initial deliveries of vaccines.
After a successful pilot with the initial shipment of Pfizer vaccines and more doses on the way, we have expanded the number of hospital sites able to administer the vaccine to 19 hospitals across different regions in the province experiencing the highest rates of COVID-19 infection.
Since this vaccine cannot be transferred beyond the initial delivery location at this time, vaccinations will continue to be administered to health care workers in high-risk settings first, such as long-term care homes and hospitals, followed by the other priority populations Ontario has identified.
To be clear, our government is expecting to receive doses of the Moderna vaccine, which will allow the expansion of vaccinations to long-term care homes in the lockdown areas, followed by retirement homes, public health units, other congregate care settings for seniors, and remote Indigenous communities.
Since news first emerged of a possible vaccine, we have said we will spare no expense to ensure Ontario has one of the most effective immunization campaigns in the province’s history.
For the latest information on the following:
Vaccine distribution, please visit: COVID19VACCINE
COVID support, please visit: COVIDSUPPORT
COVID business support, please visit: COVIDBUSINESSSUPPORT
COVID Framework for reopening, please visit: FRAMEWORKFOR KEEPINGONTARIANSSAFE
Provicewide shutdown, please visit: PROVINCEWIDESHUTDOWN
COVID Energy Assistance Program, please visit: ENERGYASSSISTANCE
Though COVID-19 has changed how we will celebrate the holidays this year, the magic of Christmas and the hope and promise of a new year remain. From all of us we'd like to wish you a Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and all the best to you and your families in the new year.
Stay safe, stay home and support local.
Christine Hogarth, MPP
My office is now closed for the holidays but we will be reopening on January 4 ready to serve you on all your provincial matters.