April 23rd 2020 | Weekly Update

Published on April 23, 2020

The Ontario government released updated COVID-19 modelling on April 20th, which shows that the enhanced public health measures, including staying home and physically distancing from each other, are working to contain the spread of the virus and flatten the curve, and the wave of new community spread cases of COVID-19 in Ontario appears to have peaked.

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I'm very pleased to introduce a new one-stop resource for available supports for individuals and businesses from all levels of government. It will be updated frequently as new information becomes available.

 
 

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use Ontario’s interactive self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment 

Click here for information on local assessment centres, including who should attend one. For more information, please contact your family doctor or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.

For the most up-to-date COVID-19 information from the Government of Ontario, including daily updates on case counts and testing, click here or visit ontario.ca/coronavirus
 

         PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT        

Health Experts Say the COVID-19 Outbreak Has Likely Peaked in Ontario

The Ontario government released updated COVID-19 modelling on April 20th, which shows that the enhanced public health measures, including staying home and physically distancing from each other, are working to contain the spread of the virus and flatten the curve, and the wave of new community spread cases of COVID-19 in Ontario appears to have peaked.

However, the Chief Medical Officer of Health says emergency measures must remain in place to continue reducing the number of cases and deaths. Outbreaks in long-term care and congregate settings continue to be a major concern. Concerted actions are underway to protect vulnerable people in these settings.

Health Experts Say the COVID-19 Outbreak Has Likely Peaked in Ontario
 
Ontario Takes Immediate Steps to Further Protect Long-Term Care Residents and Staff During COVID-19 Outbreak

The Ontario government is making progress on the implementation of the COVID-19 Action Plan for Protecting Long-Term Care Homes to help stop and contain the spread of COVID-19 in the province's long-term care homes. The government has introduced more aggressive testing, screening, and surveillance, deployed specialized teams from hospitals, public health and the home care sector, recruited additional frontline staff, and increased personal protective equipment.    

To further support ongoing efforts to fight COVID-19 in Ontario's long-term care homes, the federal government has offered resources that could include personnel and other supports from Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Canadian Armed Forces. This support would be deployed to five priority long-term care homes as one element of the government's Action Plan.

Ontario Takes Immediate Steps to Further Protect Long-Term Care Residents and Staff During COVID-19 Outbreak
 

Ontario Delivers Action Plan to Increase Protection for Vulnerable People and Those Who Care for Them

Ontario is delivering a new COVID-19 Action Plan for Vulnerable People to better protect vulnerable populations during the outbreak of COVID-19. This plan builds on the government's previous actions to protect people living in high-risk settings, including homes serving those with developmental disabilities, shelters for survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking, children's residential settings, and those residential settings supporting vulnerable Indigenous individuals and families both on and off reserve.

Ontario Delivers Action Plan to Increase Protection for Vulnerable People and Those Who Care for Them
 

Province Extends Emergency Orders Until May 6th

The Ontario government has extended all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until May 6th, 2020, including the closure of outdoor amenities in parks and recreational areas, non-essential workplaces, public places and bars and restaurants, along with restrictions on social gatherings and the prohibition of price gouging.

In addition, the government has introduced a new measure to allow mental health and addictions agencies to redeploy staff within different locations or between programs, and employ extra part-time staff, temporary staff or contractors in order to ensure people continue receiving the high quality care they expect and deserve during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Ontario Extends Emergency Orders to Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19
 
Ontario Focused on Responsible Economic Recovery After COVID-19
 
The Ontario Government has launched a new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee. The committee has been tasked with developing a framework for a gradual, measured, and safe reopening of the province. That framework will have strict criteria and key benchmarks that must be met before lifting or easing restrictions. This framework will be informed by the ongoing monitoring of the trends, by the advice of our chief medical officer of health, by our business community and by our municipal partners.
 
Ontario Offers Emergency Childcare to More Front Line Staff

The Ontario government is expanding the list of essential workers eligible to receive emergency child care. This will help additional frontline staff during the COVID-19 outbreak. An emergency order was issued which will offer support to those providing a variety of critical services including people who assist vulnerable communities, emergency response and law enforcement sector staff, more health and safety workers, and certain federal employees.

The additional frontline workers who can now access emergency childcare services include:

  • Staff working in developmental services, victim services, violence against women services, anti-human trafficking services and child welfare services (children's aid societies) and in children's residential settings;
  • Additional staff identified by the Ministry of the Solicitor General, including:
    • First Nations constables;
    • Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management fire investigators;
    • Select critical staff in community corrections, such as probation and parole officers;
    • Contractors in institutional corrections services;
    • Frontline staff at the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit;
    • Critical staff at the Centre of Forensic Sciences; and
    • Critical staff operating the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre.
  • Staff working in shelters (e.g., serving homeless populations);
  • Power workers;
  • Pharmaceutical and medical supplies and device manufacturing workers;
  • Non-municipal water and waste-water employees; and
  • Federally employed staff including Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers and Canada Post employees.
Click here to see the list of Emergency Child-Care Services
 

Ontario Investing $20 million to Advance Medical Research

The Ontario government is investing $20 million to advance medical research and develop tools and resources to combat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases through the Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund. 

Ontario researchers are encouraged to submit proposals through the new Ontario Together website. 

Ontario Investing $20 Million to Advance Medical Research
 

           FEDERAL GOVERNMENT          

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

The Federal Government has announced their intention to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Implementation of the program will be through a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships.  Details will be provided at a later date.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

The Federal government recently announced the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) which would provide support to students by providing $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. The benefit would be available from May to August 2020.

New measures in effect for masks

When travelling by air, travellers will be asked to cover their mouth and nose:

  • at Canadian airport screening checkpoints, where the screeners cannot always keep two metres of separation between themselves and the traveller;
  • when they cannot physically distance from others, or as directed by the airline employees; and
  • when directed to do so by a public health order or public health official.
Removing Barriers for International Students working in essential services

To help battle the COVID-19 outbreak, starting immediately, the government will remove the restriction that allows international students to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, provided they are working in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, workers in certain roles and industries have been under considerable pressure, and the government recognizes that international students who are already present in Canada will help meet the challenges of the pandemic.

For instance, thousands of international students are studying in health- and emergency service-related programs, including many who are nearly fully trained and ready to graduate. This temporary rule change provides health-care facilities with access to additional well-trained workers at a time when they are badly needed.

Federal Government released Wage-Subsidy Calculator 

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) provides a 75% wage subsidy of up to $847 per employee per week, to eligible employers, for up to 12 weeks, preventing further job losses and encouraging employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, retroactive to March 15, 2020.

The CEWS calculator can be found on CRA’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Web page.  It includes detailed information and instructions about who can apply for the subsidy, how eligibility is assessed, and how the subsidy is calculated.  The calculator also includes a printable statement feature that employers can use to view their claim at a glance and, as of April 27, enter required information into the CEWS application form quickly and easily. 
 

         MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT         

Enforcement Blitz Continues in Full-Effect
The City of Toronto continues enforcing its physical-distancing blitz in Toronto. Physical Distancing must be in place amongst two people who do not live in the same house-hold. Bylaw officers and Toronto Police Services continue to also patrol closed-off areas. 

Toronto Public Library providing free e-books
The Toronto Public Library is providing audiobooks and e-books for free of charge during COVID-19. For more details how to access and download these resources, click here.

High Park Cherry Blossom Festival Moved Online
The City of Toronto is working towards moving the Cherry Blossom Festival online. The online version will be a virtual walk-through of the blossoming trees at High Park. 

The City of Toronto has launched BusinessTO Support Centre
The City of Toronto has launched a BusinessTO Support Centre to provide one-on-one support to Toronto businesses. For more information please visit: 
https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-economic-support-recovery-for-businesses/covid-19-business-resources/

TTC and Toronto Paramedic Services
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and Toronto Paramedic Services have collaborated by converting five decommissioned buses into transport vehicles for patients in Toronto. 
 
 
Constituency Office Operations
Following recommendations from public health to practice social and physical distancing, my constituency office remains closed at this time. My staff and I are working remotely and remain available to answer your inquiries via phone or email. We appreciate your patience as it may take us longer than normal to get back to you.
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