Marit Stiles MPP for Davenport

Government of Ontario

COVID-19 Update - March 23

Published on March 24, 2020

Read my latest COVID-19 bulletin, sent to constituents on March 23.

Davenport friends and neighbours, 

COVID-19 has already thrown many in our community out of work and into uncertainty. With April 1st around the corner and rent, mortgage and bill payments due, we need to act fast to deliver badly needed emergency supports. My office has received many, many calls and emails from people who are worried about making rent, have lost their jobs and have concerns that help is not reaching the most vulnerable in our community.

That’s why today, the NDP put forward a package of recommendations for urgent action, and we're calling for them to be included in the Provincial Economic Statement that will be coming out on Wednesday.

It includes a call for a $2,000 Ontario Emergency Benefit to be delivered immediately to each household experiencing unemployment or lost income, with a plan to provide ongoing support for Ontarians facing this struggle. The intent is the bridge the gap between the new federal provisions for Employment Insurance and provide immediate relief so people don’t fall behind.

We have also put forward these proposals for urgent action:

  • A $250 per child emergency child benefit for households experiencing unemployment or reduced income
  • A minimum $1 billion in surge funding for hospitals
  • 100 per cent provincial funding for Public Health Units
  • A fund to provide child care for health care, public health and essential workers
  • A Personal Support Worker (PSW) retention fund
  • Interest-free utility bill deferrals and the end of Time of Use hydro billing
  • A stabilization fund for the non-profit sector – like food banks 
  • A wage-fund boost and remote-work set up fund to support small and medium-sized businesses, which face much greater challenges now than large businesses
You can read our full proposal to the government here.

Provincial Updates Today

Mandatory Closure of All Non-Essential Workplaces
This afternoon, Ontario ordered the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces, effective as of Tuesday, March 24th at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of extending this order as the situation evolves. A full list of businesses that are permitted to stay open will be released tomorrow.
Pharmacies and stores that sell groceries and other necessities of life will continue to be open, but we await further details.

School closures to extend beyond April 6
During a press conference this afternoon, the Premier confirmed that students will not return to class on April 6, but did not say for how long. He again stated that the decision would be made based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. 
I am calling on the Premier to proactively work with school boards and educators on a plan for this longer closure, and to give parents and students a sense of certainty about what's to come. There’s a lot to do but together we can ensure students and families are supported.

Funding for social services
$200 million was added back into the Social Services budget to provide municipalities and organizations that administer social services with funding to support them in their response to COVID-19. According to the government, this funding "will help municipalities and social service providers such as shelters, food banks, emergency services, charities and non-profits continue to deliver their critical services, hire additional staff, and find ways to promote social distancing and self-isolation to keep clients safe and healthy." 
Read more.

Childcare for frontline workers
The government announced an exemption on closure orders from some childcare centres in order to provide safe, local emergency care for the children of frontline workers, including doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, police, and correctional officers.
Read more.

Businesses called on to assist with pandemic response
A website has been launched to allow businesses and manufacturers to take part in the fight against COVID-19 by shifting operations to produce essential equipment like ventilators, masks and swabs. Businesses can share existing supplies or ideas to produce more at the Ontario Together website.

Support for Artists

Davenport is proud of our diverse arts and culture sector and the workers who contribute so much to it. Those workers were already in precarious working situations before the pandemic, and are facing even tougher circumstances now.
The Toronto Arts Council has compiled a great list of resources for artists and cultural workers impacted by COVID-19.
You can find it here.
I'll continue to advocate for benefits and supports that meet the needs of all workers in our community.

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:

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.