NOTE: My Constituency Office is Closed
My staff is currently working from home, but remain available to serve constituents of Toronto—St. Paul's by phone and email: 416-656-0943 OR JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca
Resources and information regarding COVID-19:
COVID-19 News and Information - UPDATED DAILY
News and Daily Updates
Here are today’s new developments:
- Canadians can start applying for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) on April 6. The benefit provides about $2,000/month to Canadians who have lost work or wages during the pandemic.
- Ontario's chief medical officer of health stressed that anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19, is suspected of having it, and/or lives with someone who has COVID-19 or may have it, must stay home and self-isolate for 14 days.
Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:
- Andrea Horwath wrote a letter to the premier asking him to reconsider what businesses are “essential” – especially in the construction industry.
- Andrea Horwath and the NDP today urged the Ontario government to step up support for health care workers, who desperately need better protection and more resources.
The NDP's six-point package of solutions include a call to:
- Issue an emergency order to ensure health care workers can have personal protective equipment, and legally protect the right for workers to determine whether they require equipment like masks in any given scenario.
- Issue an emergency order to require all organizations to donate ppes not being used
- Hike Personal Support Worker (PSW) pay to $22, and aggressively ramp up efforts to get staff into home care or long-term care homes, as well as a retention fund for PSWs. (Many have left the field due to chronic underpaying and understaffing).
- Invest $5 million to provide health care workers with round-the-clock emergency mental health supports
- Scale up child care centres for health care workers and locate them near hospitals, assessment centres and other health care facilities
- Cancel all parking fees at hospitals and other health care facilities
Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:
Some folks continue to receive eviction notices or threats of eviction. (The NDP has called for an 80% rent support, and a legal ban on evictions and threats of evictions during the pandemic)
We received a message today highlighting a project that is being led by some students from OCAD to documents and promote mental wellness during isolation. I want to share this with all of you.
School Closures Extended
It was announced today that school’s in Ontario will be closed until at least May. The door has also been left open to extending that deadline as we see how COVID-19 progresses. The government has also announced a new plan for online learning for students. Students will receive varying workloads depending on their grade.
Five hours per week
Five hours per week
Ten hours per week
Three hours per course each week (Semestered)
One and a half hours per course each week (Non-Semestered)
For more information:
City of Toronto Cancels All Event Permits Until June 30th
Today, the City of Toronto announced the cancellation of all mass events in Toronto through June 30th. This is in compliance with the directive from the province to limit all gatherings to a maximum of five people.
Cancelled event include the Pride Parade and many street festivals that are currently planned. For our local community this leaves the door open to Salsa on St. Clair (currently scheduled for July 4th and 5th), but we would not be surprised if this event also isn’t able to go forward.
For more information:
Ottawa Announces $2B in Funding for Supplies
Ottawa has announced that the federal government will be spending $2B on supplies to help us battle COVID-19. These supplies will be used to purchase things like ventilators, personal protective equipment for health care workers and diagnostic testing. This money is going to be rolling out immediately and these supplies should be shipping within days.
For more information:
Calling for Financial Support for Renters
I want to reach out to everyone who is renting here in Toronto-St. Paul’s, residential or commercial. Today, alongside our Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath and my colleagues – I am demanding real financial support for tenants.
Our demands include an 80% rent subsidy UP TO $2500.00 for everyone who has lost income due to COVID-19, a six -month rent freeze and an immediate halt to evictions, disconnections and threats of evictions or disconnections.
Sign the petition here:
Wage Subsidy Details
Today the federal government announced further details regarding the newly increased wage subsidy being offered to small and medium sized businesses. In order to qualify, businesses must have seen at least a 30% drop in their revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Businesses that see a 30% drop in revenue due to the pandemic will be eligible for the 75% subsidy.
For more information:
Housing for the Homeless
The City of Toronto has secured five hotels with five more on the way as well as two vacant rental buildings. These units will be used to enable our shelter system to better maintain physical distancing protocols and hopefully slow the spread of COVID-19.
For more information:
State of Emergency Extended and Gatherings Now Limited to Five People
The Government of Ontario has extended the state of Emergency another two weeks and is also using the powers under the Quarantine Act to now further reduce the maximum gathering size to five.
The exceptions to this are for private households of five or more and for those who operate child care centres for front line personnel. Funerals will be allowed up to 10 people.
For more information:
We continue to hear reports of price gouging. While the vast majority of businesses are following the rules and working diligently to be community partners, we have heard some reports of price gouging.
If you witness or experience price gouging – please contact my office at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca.
Concerns about Construction During COVID
We have heard community concern with regards to the health and safety of construction workers in the Yonge Eglinton area. We agree that ALL employees including those identified as essential workers during COVID-19 MUST be safe and equipped with the necessary resources they need to stay safe and practice social distancing.
We have made communication with Toronto Public Health to share your concerns and will be updating our community as soon as we receive a response.
Wage Subsidy Increased to 75% for small and medium sized businesses
Today the federal government announced that they are increasing the wage subsidy for small to medium sized businesses from 10% to 75% and they are applying this retroactively to March 15.
This subsidy is designed to hopefully keep more people on the payrolls on our businesses and to keep our economy moving as much as possible.
This subsidy will be available for businesses that paid employees between $50K-$1M last year.
For more information on this click read here:
City of Toronto Urges Landlords and Condo Boards to Health and Safety Measures
The City of Toronto is urging Landlords and Condo Boards to adopt new health and safety measures to protect residents from COVID-19. Large residential buildings with a high number of units require new practices and a rigorous cleaning routine to prevent viral spread.
Building operators and staff should follow these guidelines to protect residents in vertical communities:
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be available in all common areas that remain open, such as laundry rooms.
- Close non-essential common areas such as bathrooms, gyms, playrooms, playgrounds and other high traffic areas.
- Routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces in common areas, including doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, toilet handles, counters, hand rails, touch screen surfaces and keypads, with common household cleaners and disinfectants.
- Organize the building to accept deliveries of essential goods, like medications, for residents to avoid non-essential trips outside.
- Post signage limiting the number of residents allowed in common areas, including laundry rooms and elevators, to ensure that individuals are able to maintain a two-metre distance. Consider allowing a maximum of three residents at a time in elevators.
When showing units or suites for sale or lease, practice physical distancing - keep a safe distance of two metres from the resident and wash hands with soap and water, and or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, before and after the visit.
Additional information regarding General Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Guidance for Commercial or Residential Buildings can be found here: toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/8ecd-General-Infection-Prevention-and-Control-Practice-and-Disinfection-Guidance-for-Commercial-or-Residential-Buildings.pdf
Other News and Updates
World Theatre Day
Today is World Theatre Day and to celebrate I recorded a video!
You can watch here:
Eglinton Ave W and Oakwoood - Community Affordable Housing Meeting – Happening Online!
Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:30pm – 6:30pm
This meeting is coordinated through the effort of community leadership within the Eglinton Avenue West and Oakwood areas, with support from CP Planning, Black Urbanism TO, and the Oakwood and Vaughan Community Organization. This collective seeks to ensure that the Oakwood/Vaughan and Eglinton areas are affordable to residents of all income levels and of all ethnicities. This housing should be secure and healthy spaces in a good state of repair.
The area's local representatives Councillor Josh Matlow and MPP Jill Andrew will be at the meeting, to share thoughts, news, and hear from you. Guest speakers Mel Logan from Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA), and Sharlene from York South-Weston Tenants will share their experience and expertise in tenant law, and tenant organizing for the maintenance of healthy and affordable housing.
At this meeting, the following will be discussed
- response and needs due to COVID
- how to communicate with fellow tenants in light of COVID
- tenant rights, and how to ensure your rights are met
- benefits of a tenant union/association, and how to organize one
- how to increase access to affordable housing
---Phone in Option---
Dial: 647 374 4685
Meeting ID: 424-040-084
Changes to Alcohol Sales Rules
Starting immediately, licensed restaurants in Ontario can now sell beer, wine and spirits as take out or delivery – as a part of a food order. This is a key point: it must be purchased along with food.
There is no set limit for the amount of alcohol that may be purchased.
They will be allowed to sell between the hours of 9AM and 11PM.
For more information read the full press release here:
All people returning from foreign travel must self isolate.
As was announced yesterday, there will now be legal consequences for those who refuse to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return. Further, anyone who is returning to Canada who displays symptoms at the border will not be allowed to use public transit to travel to their place of isolation.
It has come to our attention that there are text scams that are currently attempting to profit from fears around COVID-19. I would please ask that anyone who is looking to secure government assistance rely only on official government websites for these resources. If you are unsure about where to find these resources, please contact my office.
Community Resource Highlight
The NIA Centre for the Arts has gathered an incredible list of resources that provides information on art-based funding assistance and other government supports.
You can find their list of resources here:
Federal Government Passes $107B in Financial Support
This afternoon the Federal government passed a financial support package allocating up to $107B in spending. This money will be used to support the increasing number of people who are now receiving EI and other financial assistance.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will provide Canadians $2000 a month for up to four months in financial aid for those who are unable to work because of the Coronavirus.
To see full details on the announcement, click here:
Returning to the Country? You must self-isolate
The Federal Health Minister has invoked the Quarantine Act.
What does this mean?
- If you are returning to Canada from another country – you must self-isolate starting at midnight tonight
- Violations of this Act can result in a fine of up to $750,000 and/or 6 months in prison
For more information on today’s announcement:
To read the Quarantine Act for yourself:
Province Announces $17B in Funding
This afternoon the Ontario government announced $17B in funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will be used to support our health care system and our communities. Some of the funding breaks down as follows:
- $3.3B for the health care system
- $3.7B in economic support for Ontarians
- $10B in support for businesses ($6B in tax deferrals)
- Parents of children under the age of 12 will receive a one-time payment of $200 ($250 for children with special needs) per child
- And more
For the full announcement click here:
City of Toronto Shelters
The City of Toronto has opened nine new shelters, with one more on the way right now. These will bring in over 350 spaces into our shelter system. It should be noted that many shelters and out of the colds have been forced to close, so at this moment it is not clear if is actually bringing any new additional spaces online. The City of Toronto is mobilizing their staff to open new spaces and I will keep you updated as that information becomes available.
City of Toronto News Release Here:
Playgrounds, Off-Leash Dog Parks and More Shut Down
Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health has announced the closure numerous City facilities, including:
- All city-owned playgrounds, sports fields, and basketball and tennis courts are closed
- Off-leash dog parks are closed
- Skate Parks and BMX parks are closed
- Parking lots attached to the park system are closed
You can read the full media release here:
Mental Health Supports
We are living through an incredibly difficult moment in history right now and that is particularly difficult for those who live with mental health challenges. For some, the conditions we are currently in may have even triggered those challenges for the first time.
If you find yourself in this situation this website provides resources that may be able to help:
There is also:
Big White Wall, an online peer to peer support community.
Provincial Government Releases Essential Services List
Yesterday, the government announced that all non-essential businesses are to close for a period of 14 days starting tonight (March 24th) at 11:59PM. I am urging the Provincial government to set up a hotline for businesses to double check if they fit on this list, as some of the descriptions leave room for interpretation.
If you are unsure, I would urge you always to lean towards caution.
For a full list of services deemed essential click here:
Hydro Rates Reduced
For the next 45 days all hydro will be billed at the off peak rate. This can mean a savings of up to 50% over typical peak pricing.
For the full breakdown from the Provincial government click here:
Long Term Care Facilities Given New Powers
Long term care facilities have been granted new powers to ensure that they are able to provide a full complement of care to our most vulnerable during the COVID pandemic.
These powers include:
- Redeploying staff within different locations in (or between) facilities of the health service provider;
- Changing the scheduling of work or shift assignments;
- Deferring or cancelling vacations, absences or other leaves, regardless of whether such vacations, absences or leaves are established by statute, regulation, agreement or otherwise;
- Using volunteers to perform work, including to perform bargaining unit work; and
- Providing appropriate training or education as needed to staff and volunteers to achieve the purposes of a redeployment plan.
Full details here:
Daily Website Update: March 23rd, 2020
City of Toronto Declares a State of Emergency
The City of Toronto has declared a State of Emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This comes as we have seen a rise in the number of identified cases in our City.
What this means?
- This means that our Mayor John Tory can act without council voting
All Non-Essential Businesses to Close in Ontario
Today the Government has announced that they are taking the unprecedented step to close all non-essential businesses in Ontario to slow the spread of COVID-19.
- Change will come into effect at 11:59PM Tuesday
- This order will be in place for at least 14 days
- Tomorrow (Tuesday March 24th) we will find out what exactly constitutes an “essential service”
New Provincial Funding
Provincial Government is committing $200 million dollars in relief funding that will go towards social service providers.
- Emergency services
- Charities and non-profits
COVID-19 Emergency Assistance
The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services has also made funds available for those who do not qualify for Federal support.
If you are in need of Emergency Assistance you can find out if you are eligible and apply here:
How You Can Help
Supporting Vulnerable Seniors in Toronto Community Housing
Seniors in Toronto Community Housing are a specifically vulnerable population in our community and need help collecting groceries and other essentials. If you are healthy and able to support this initiative I would encourage you to reach out to the University Health Network to sign up to volunteer.
More information is available here: http://uhnopenlab.ca/project/hotline/
- Today it was announced that the province has brought online an e-learning platform that parents can use to ensure their children are still able to learn during this time. If school closures are extended, the website will be updated with more content.
- More information can be found here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/learn-at-home?utm_source=tbnewswatch.com&utm_campaign=tbnewswatch.com&utm_medium=referral
Industry Supporting Government Response
- The Federal government has now heard from over 5,800 businesses across Canada who have indicated that they are willing to help support the effort to manufacture the supplies we need to battle COVID-19.
- The Canada-U.S. Border will close tonight at midnight to “non-essential” travel.
- This means that if you going to the U.S. for recreational purposes – you will be denied entry.
- Canadian residents will be able to get into Canada.
You can find the details on how to apply for EI here:
Employment Insurance (EI): https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-sickness/apply.html
Where to get updates on Coronavirus
For accurate information on COVID-19 - Public Health Agencies are the best sources.
Find them here:
Canadian Public Health
Ontario Ministry of Health
Toronto Public Health
You can also find daily updates on my website
MPP Jill Andrew Daily Bulletin – March 19, 2020
INFORMATION ACCURATE TO MARCH 19 AT 4:30PM
Today the Ontario Legislature returned in a skeleton form to pass two pieces of emergency Legislation.
The first piece of Legislation will allow our City Council’s across Ontario to meet remotely, so that they can continue to do the work that they need to safely.
Second, the Ontario government has passed an amendment to the Employment Standards Act that mandates employees cannot be forced to produce a sick note to miss work, and implementing expanded protections for workers who need to miss work.
Meanwhile, the Federal government has begun to unveil the framework of their financial aid package – including where you can apply for funds should you be in need.
You can find the details on how to apply for EI here: Employment Insurance (EI): https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-sickness/apply.html
More information on Federal supports: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/canadas-covid-19-economic-response-plan-support-for-canadians-and-businesses.html#Supporting_Canadian_Business
It has been announced that the Canada-U.S. border will be closing to all non-essential travel, likely starting Friday night into Saturday morning.
What this means:
- If you are a Canadian resident returning home - you will still be able to cross the border.
- Trade will also continue, and commercial vehicles will be able to cross the border.
- This means that you will no longer be able to cross the border for any recreational or tourist purpose.
Today the Federal Government announced a significant package of spending to help support those who are being put into a financial bind due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
We are still waiting to hear specifics on a great deal of the spending, here is what we know now:
Federal stimulus summary:
- $27 billion in direct support to workers and businesses.
- $55 billion for liquidity for businesses and households through tax deferrals.
- Total cost is $82 billion.
Worker and Small Business:
- The payments from the Emergency Care Benefit will average about $450 a week, being paid bi-weekly, starting around April 1.
- Application will be online; no medical test to prove eligibility.
- 14 weeks of payments.
- Emergency COVID self benefit will act as a catch all for anyone to whom the above does not apply.
- Details for this program are still emerging.
- Wage subsidy grants to small businesses for three months equal to 10% of workers salaries.
- If you owe after you file your taxes, you have until August 2020 to make your payment.
Financial Support for Families:
- 12 million Canadians eligible:
- Parents getting top up of Canada Child Benefit $300 per child.
- Low-income Canadians will receive increased GST credit for $400 for single adults; $600 for couples; $150 for every additional child.
- The Federal government has announced a 6-month student loan repayment deferral.
Gender Based Violence:
- Many experiencing Gender Based violence could be put in a position where it is not safe to isolate in their own home. In response, the Federal government is boosting funding for shelters for those who cannot remain at home.
- They have commited $200 million to shelters nation-wide for materials and equipment.
Canada-U.S. Border Closure
- The Federal government has also announced that the Canada-U.S. border will be closing to all non-essential travel. This means that all recreational and tourist travel will be prevented.
- For Canadians in the U.S. you will still be able to cross the border to return home via land in all cases, and via air travel as long as you are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19
I want to thank members of the Toronto-St. Paul's community for remaining calm in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. I understand that this is a rapidly developing situation that is incredibly stressful. I continue to be inspired by the stories of community supporting one another that are emerging from this trying time.
March 18, 2020 – Morning Update
INFORMATION ACCURATE TO 10AM March 18, 2020
Stimulus package on the way from the Federal Government.
- Package is being reported as being worth at least $25B and should be comprehensive.
- We will update when more information is available.
The Canada-U.S. Border is to close to all ‘non-essential’ travel.
- This has been recently announced and we will add further updates as more information becomes available.
Special shopping hours for Seniors and people with Disabilities.
- Many grocery stores are now starting to offer restricted morning access to their stores for seniors and people with disabilities.
- We will be working to find out which stores in our neighbourhood are following this protocol and will update you as soon as we know.
- Fiesta Farms (200 Christie St) – Dedicated shopping hours from 7:30-8:30AM Monday to Saturday for customers 70 years old or older, people with a disability, expectant mothers, and any other higher-risk individual.
Finally, to our community: I want to thank you again for your strength in these trying times. Please continue to take care of each other and working together in these challenging times.
Daily Update on COVID-19, March 17th, 2020.
Public Health Agencies are the most accurate places to find information – and they should be the first place you look for update on COVID-19 – you can find updates from them at the following links.
DISCLAIMER: THIS INFORMATION IS ACCURATE TO 3:00PM March 17th, 2020
As you know, COVID-19 is moving very rapidly and it is my plan to keep our community updated daily.
This morning, the government declared a state of emergency in Ontario, which means that for the next 14 days the government has emergency powers that they’re using to do the following.
What is banned/closed:
- Banned gatherings of 50 or more people.
- Immediate closure of the following:
- All facilities providing indoor recreation programs;
- All public libraries;
- All private schools; (Public schools are still closed until April 6th)
- All licensed child care centres;
- All bars and restaurants – except for take out and delivery
- All theatres; and
- Concert venues.
What is NOT being shut down:
- Public transit will keep running.
- Office buildings and manufacturing
- Grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacy’s.
- Due to the Coronavirus, the Solicitor General has announced that no new eviction orders will be issued until further notice in Ontario. In addition, eviction orders scheduled for this week are being postponed.
Travel Restrictions Introduced
- Starting March 18th, all international visitors (with the exception of Americans) will be denied entry to Canada. Permanent residents and Canadian citizens will be allowed in at this point. Everyone arriving in Canada after travelling is encouraged to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
My Office Update
- Due to COVID-19 my Constituency Office is currently closed to the public. However, if you are in need of support you my team can still be reached at 416-656-0943 or JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca.
- You can also find daily updates on my website at www.jillandrewmpp.ca/coronavirus we will be updating this page daily (at 10am and 3pm) with new information as it becomes available.
Federal Government to Examine Enacting Emergency Measures Act
- The Federal government has indicated that they are looking at invoking the Emergency Measures Act
- As of this writing (3pm on March 17th), we have not yet seen what these measures will entail, I will be updating you as soon as we are aware of the specifics of those emergency measures.
If you need to leave your home please ensure to practice social distancing, make sure that you are washing your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.
We are living through trying times, but we must remain calm and persevere as a community.
We are resilient and caring – and it is our character that will help us now.
State of emergency
On March 17, Premier Doug Ford announced a state of emergency. This gives the government emergency powers for a period of 14 days. There will be an immediate closure of the below, as well as a prohibition on any gathering of 50 people or more.
- All facilities providing indoor recreational programs;
- All public libraries;
- All private schools as defined in the Education Act;
- All licensed child care centres;
- All bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery;
- All theatres including those offering live performances of music, dance, and other art forms, as well as cinemas that show movies
- Concert venues.
What's not closed: Grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, public transit, office buildings, and manufacturing. Also, no new eviction orders will be made, nor existing eviction orders be enforced.
I just want to remind us all of how important it is for us to try our best to stay as calm as possible during these difficult times.
I know it isn’t always easy.
Some of us (myself included) have autoimmune diseases, immunodeficiency and other health challenges that may make our immune systems weaker than others.
Some of us are seniors who have been identified as a particularly vulnerable group.
Some of us are on ODSP/OW.
Some of us are homeless/invisibly homeless or precariously housed and unable to ‘stay home’ or uphold social distancing as well as others who have stable housing.
Some of us are contract workers like many creatives and those in the ‘gig economy’ who are feeling additional financial pressures.
Some of us are survivors who due to self-isolation may have to be physically closer to their domestic abusers than ever before
Some of us are parents/guardians concerned about the health of our children and our ability to afford childcare with the additional weeks of March Break (all public schools are closed until April 5, 2020)
Some of us are also healthcare providers who are walking into COVID-19 head on helping to keep us all safe while most of us are doing what public officials have told us to do – stay home and social distancing.
But what we all are is human.
So while we navigate COVID-19 let us remember to remain humane to ourselves and one another. Self-care, taking precautions are paramount while we continue to check in on folks remotely or through some very creative ‘social distancing parties’ that have been popping up offline and online.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: The latest on the coronavirus: Total number of cases in Canada stands at 407, up from 324 earlier Monday
QUEEN’S PARK — Andrea Horwath said people deserve more financial protection than the government is currently contemplating in its emergency legislation, and has reached out to offer help to beef up the bill.
“We are pleased that the government has agreed to provide some job security, and prevent employers from requiring sick notes during this pandemic, but that alone falls well short of what folks need now,” said Horwath. “My office has contacted the premier’s office to offer our help to add additional measures to this legislation. The federal and provincial governments simply have to do better to protect people financially.”
Horwath said her top unaddressed concerns include:
- Protecting people from losing a paycheque, or being expected to get by on inadequate Employment Insurance or Ontario Works payments alone, as a result of taking COVID-19 precautions or because of the illness
- Guaranteeing that no one can be punished in any way for missing a rent or mortgage payment
- Financial support for Ontarians not covered by Employment Insurance — especially those working in the gig economy
- Immediate financial support for small and medium-sized businesses so they can continue to pay employees without becoming insolvent
- Specific supports for vulnerable people, including seniors and those receiving OW and ODSP support, so they can access the groceries and medications they need to self-isolate if need be
Horwath said she’s also urging the government to put together a plan for already-crowded hospitals, and to help health care and public health workers with child care arrangements, since their work will be desperately needed in the days ahead.
“People are doing their part by washing their hands, staying home if they can and practicing social distancing,” said Horwath. “Now, the provincial government needs to do its part by ensuring a safety net is there to save families and small businesses from financial burden.”