December 18th Weekly Update

Published on December 18, 2020
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Dear Neighbour, 
On Monday, the Ontario government allocated an additional $695 million under the federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement to provide financial relief for municipalities and help ensure they do not carry operating deficits into 2021. I'm pleased to share the City of Toronto will receive $398 million from the second phase of funding, so they can continue to deliver critical services during COVID-19.

Ontario has also issued letters to municipalities about the next stages of transit funding for the Safe Restart Agreement. The province is notionally allocating $1.3 billion for municipal transit systems. This is in addition to the $700 million allocation under Phase 1 of the Safe Restart Agreement, which included needs-based top-ups. Further details about this funding will be available in January.
This week, the Ontario Government launched a historic long-term care initiative which will enhance and improve our homes and the lives of seniors who live in them. Acting on expert recommendations, and building on the government's 2020 Ontario budget commitment to increase hours of daily direct care to an average of four hours per day for each long-term care resident, the new staffing plan focuses on six key areas of action to be delivered over four years:
  • Investing up to $1.9 billion annually by 2024-25 to create more than 27,000 new positions for personal support workers, registered nurses and registered practical nurses in long-term care to meet the direct care commitment; in addition, providing a 20 per cent increase in direct care time administered by other health care professionals such as physiotherapists and social workers.
  • Accelerating and expanding education and training pathways in order to prepare and train the tens of thousands of new staff that will be required.
  • Supporting continued professional development and growth of long-term care staff to improve retention.
  • Improving working conditions for staff by coordinating with long-term care employers to increase full-time employment and promote innovative approaches to work and technology.
  • Driving effective and accountable leadership in homes across the province to improve oversight, guidance and medical outcomes in long-term care homes.
  • Measuring progress against key performance indicators.
This week the Minister of Health and  Associate Miister of Mental Health were at CMHA Routes Communnity Centre in Eglinton-Lawrence to announce $147 million to expand access to the provincial mental health and addictions system for people of all ages and address capacity issues in response to COVID-19. These are new funds, and are in addition to the $176 million in annual investments announced by the Ontario Government earlier in the year. For more information read here.
2020 will soon be coming to an end - a year that was filled with difficulties, uncertainty and challenges. But there is a reason to be hopeful as we move forward to 2021. 

This week, Anita Quidangen, a personal support worker at a long-term care home in Toronto, became the first person in Ontario to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. She has spent years rolling up her sleeves to protect our province, and this past week, she didn’t hesitate to find a new way to do so. 

As the Premier put it, there is a light at the end of this tunnel and it is soon approaching. But until we get there, it's critical we continue to do the many things we've been doing these past months. Continue to follow health and safety guidelines. social distancing, wash your hands, and stick to your immediate household.
My constituency office staff and I will work remotely this holiday season to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you are in need of any assistance, you can continue to contact us at (416) 781-2395 or email [email protected].
Stay safe, stay healthy, 
Robin Martin, MPP
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Authorized by the CFO for the Eglinton-Lawrence PC Association