Update on provincial measures announced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Davenport friends and neighbours,
Thank you all for heeding the advice of public health officials by monitoring your own health, protecting your neighbours by practicing social-distancing, and for supporting each other by offering help where you can.
My team continues to get questions about the COVID-19 response, including calls for greater supports and more expansive public health actions. We are endeavouring to share information where we have it, and to try to find out when we do not. While the provincial government is taking its lead from the Chief Medical Officer of health, I am putting forward your concerns to the government through our caucus every day. And I am continuing to advocate for stronger measures, faster, to support everyone - particularly the most vulnerable, those that are already losing their jobs and income, and healthcare workers on the frontline.
Many of you are asking what more you can do to help. We’re already seeing a number of groups pop up to share resources and supports at this time. Groups like:
- Davenport Helps: Neighbour to Neighbour Mutual Aid
- Regal Heights COVID-19 Help Group
- Caremongering TO
Do you have a neighbourhood facebook group or email list you would like to promote? Let me know and I’ll include it in future updates.
Our community service agencies are also working hard to continue their important work under unprecedented circumstances. If you are able, consider donating to:
- The Stop
- Oasis Dufferin Community Centre
- West Neighbourhood House
- Dovercourt Boys & Girls Club
- Or one of our many other local groups who could use your support.
On Friday, I convened a call with Davenport’s elected leaders including Deputy Mayor and Councillor Ana Bailao, MP Julie Dzerowicz, TDSB Trustee Stephanie Donaldson and TCDSB Trustee Frank D’Amico. Our offices are working closely together to share information and support to assist our community.
You can reach me any time at [email protected] or 416-535-3158.
Stay safe everyone,
Emergency legislation passed at Queen’s Park
Yesterday, the Legislative Assembly passed two bills to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- Changes to the Employment Standards Act to allow job-protected leave for employees who are in isolation, quarantine or to care for familiy due to COVID-19. The changes also eliminate the requirement for sick notes to be presented to employers.
- A new Municipal Emergency Act that will permit overnight delivery to grocery stores and pharmacies, and permits municipal councils to meet virtually.
While the Official Opposition supported these measures, they are small steps given the scale of the threat we are facing and the impact on Ontarians.
The NDP is calling for concrete plans for hospitals, for public services, for families and workers, for businesses, and for vulnerable people and the organizations that serve them. We also would like to see those plans widely and effectively communicated. And urgently.
New provincial measures:
- Eviction moratorium: The Ministry of the Attorney General has been granted an order suspending the enforcement of residential evictions until ordered otherwise by the court. Tribunals Ontario will not issue any new eviction orders until further notice.
- OSAP payment deferral: A six-month deferral on OSAP payments has been announced.
- Government documents extended: The validity period for drivers’ licenses, health cards, licence plates, Ontario Photo Cards, and Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration certificates and other products has been extended.
- Electricity disconnections banned. Effective immediately, the Ontario Energy Board is extending the current ban on electricity disconnections for non-payment for all residential customers to July 31, 2020. Low-volume, small business customers will now also be protected by the ban. In addition, the OEB is calling on distributors to be more flexible on arrears payment arrangements. Please visit http://www.oeb.ca/industry for more information.
Learning supports while schools are closed:
Several learning tools have been launched to support students and parents seeking learning opportunities through the next few weeks, including through TVO. And a second phase will be launched should schools remain closed. Standardized tests have been cancelled, including the literacy test requirement for Gr 12 graduation. Read more about my response to this announcement as Education Critic here.
- Schools remain closed until April 5. No decision has yet been made about closure of schools beyond the next two weeks. The government has indicated they will act swiftly upon further recommendations of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Federal measures announced
On Wednesday, the Federal government announced an 82 Billion dollar COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
- $27 billion in direct support to workers and businesses
- $55 billion for liquidity for businesses and households through tax deferrals
The package includes a new Emergency Care Benefit will average about $450 a week, being paid bi-weekly, starting around April 1 and an Emergency COVID Self Benefit will act as a catch all for anyone to whom the above does not apply.
The measures also include wage subsidies for small businesses, a top up to the Canada Child Benefit, support for emergency shelters, a 6-month deferral on federal student loans and an Indigenous Community Fund.
Public Health Updates
COVID-19 self-assessment tool:
The Ministry of Health's self-assessment tool has been updated. Use this to determine what steps you should take should you exhibit symptoms: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/#q0
Reminder that updates on the pandemic response are available daily on the following websites:
Information from Toronto Public Health on local cases, how to protect yourself and where to seek further medical support.
Information from Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long Term Care
Find out how to protect yourself, what to do if you’re sick and how to recognize possible symptoms. Updated twice daily, in 30 languages.
Information from the Government of Ontario and the Public Health Agency of Canada
Updates on the national response, travel advice and preparedness.