November 19th Weekly update

Published on November 19, 2021

 

 

 

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Dear Neighbour, 

This morning, Health Canada authorized use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine in children 5 to 11 years of age. This is the first COVID-19 vaccine authorized in Canada for use in this age group and marks a major milestone in Canada’s fight against COVID-19. This is encouraging news for the health and well-being of children across our province, especially as more people move indoors and attend family gatherings during the colder months this winter.

Over the coming days, parents will hear additional details from their local public health units. Vaccines will be available through familiar channels such as select doctors' offices, hospitals, pharmacies and school-based clinics.

We understand that parents may have questions. That’s why we are working closely with public health units, children’s hospitals, children’s services and other health experts, including partnering with SickKids to allow for confidential, convenient and accessible vaccine consultation services for children, youth and their families. We are also working with Indigenous partners and community leaders to ensure equitable access to the vaccine.

To serve Ontarians better, this week the Ontario government announced that it is continuing to make it easier for people to access government services by modernizing ServiceOntario courtesy renewal notices. Paper renewal notices will no longer be mailed for driver’s licences, licence plate stickers, and health cards that expire on or after March 1, 2022, except to designated groups. By doing so, this will save Ontarians $29 million a year. 

Individuals who fall within a list of exemptions will continue to get renewal notices in the mail for products expiring on or after March 1, 2022 including individuals aged 70 years and older.

To see a full list of exemptions please click here.

It is also important to note that Ontarians with products that expired on or after March 1, 2020, and were not renewed because of the temporary extensions that were put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will receive a final letter in the mail letting them know that it’s time to renew. For a complete list of renewal deadlines, please visit Ontario.ca/RenewalDeadlines.

The Ontario government is enhancing COVID-19 testing by expanding the number of testing locations and making it more convenient to access publicly funded testing for those who need it. These new testing options are being deployed as more people head indoors and attend family gatherings during the colder winter months. In the coming weeks, the government will be deploying several testing strategies across the province to increase access to testing and mitigate the increased risk of transmission over the winter months. These include:

  • Access to publicly funded COVID-19 PCR specimen collection in select pharmacies for all individuals eligible for testing, including symptomatic individuals and close contacts. Pharmacies must choose to opt-in to this service and will be required to follow stringent infection prevention and control measures to protect staff, patients and customers against COVID-19.
  • Providing take-home PCR self-collection kits for eligible individuals, allowing them to pick up their free test and drop off their specimens at participating pharmacies across Ontario, providing a more convenient and consistent testing option in rural and remote areas.
  • Expanding ID NOW rapid PCR testing to select assessment centres and pharmacies across Northern Ontario in the coming weeks, increasing access to convenient local testing and allowing individuals to get quick results in these communities.
  • Bringing asymptomatic testing directly to Ontarians with pop-up testing sites in higher-traffic public settings to provide vaccine education and help reduce the risk of transmission over the holidays. Starting in mid-December, testing options will be offered to people without symptoms in various settings across the province. Sites will be announced in the coming weeks and will be selected based on a risk analysis of hot-spot zones.

Building on Ontario’s plan to keep schools safe and open for in-person learning, specific testing measures will also be implemented for school communities:

  • Providing take-home PCR self-collection kits to all publicly funded schools for students and staff who are eligible for testing as per the provincial testing guidance. All private and First Nation schools have also been asked if they would like to access take-home PCR self-collection kits. Students will be able to drop off their specimens at a convenient community location, including participating pharmacies across Ontario.
  • Distributing 11 million rapid antigen screening tests to all public schools ahead of the December break to add an additional layer of protection over the holiday period and as students return to school in January. Each student will take home a pack of five rapid antigen tests to use over the holidays and throughout the return to in-person learning. All First Nation schools will also have the opportunity to participate.
I have heard from a number of constituents regarding the rise of vehicle theft in our riding as well as across Ontario. It is extremely concerning and discomforting to hear. I have been in touch with our local police divisions who are well aware of this matter and are collaborating with local organizations to crackdown on this. Common makes that have been reported stolen are Lexus and Toyota.

Here are some tips to protect your vehicle: 
- Install a vehicle immobilizer 
-  Remove any keys from your vehicle 
- Do not leave your vehicle fob near your front-door 
- Close your windows
- Park in well-lit areas if you can
- Install an audible alarm system and anti-theft device 
- Install a tracking system
- Use RFID's for your vehicle fobs

My constituency office is open Monday to Friday from 10AM to 4PM. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to drop by. We encourage you to continue to contact us at (416) 781-2395 or email [email protected]. We remain ready to assist.

 
Stay safe, 
Robin Martin, MPP
Eglinton-Lawrence
 
For the most up-to-date COVID-19 information from the Government of Ontario visit ontario.ca/coronavirus
 
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Authorized by the CFO for the Eglinton-Lawrence PC Association