Jill Andrew MPP, Toronto–St. Paul's

Government of Ontario

COVID-19: Coronavirus Information

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: 

-> Government Information and Contacts

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Petition:

Support Tenants in Ontario During COVID

COVID-19 News and Information - UPDATED DAILY

Here are today’s new developments: 

 

 Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:

Here are today’s new developments: 

 
Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:


Here are today’s new developments: 

Canada announces funding for Indigenous communities to deal with the impact of COVID-19 and brace for a potential second wave. 

Canada will look at possible family reunification for families separated by Canada-U.S. border closures.

Ontario says it is expanding its testing to include hot spots, certain workplaces and groups in congregate living setting. Ford refused set a new testing goal, and has failed for weeks to meet his own lowered targets. The Ontario NDP says firm timelines and transparent benchmarks are needed in order to open Ontario businesses safely.  The NDP has spent weeks urging the Ford government to take ownership for its low testing numbers and expand its strategy beyond assessment centres, including with mobile testing that goes directly to people. 

Ford changed his tune on the prospect of Ontario using a regional approach to ease restrictions on the economy, as data shows the Greater Toronto Area accounts for 65.8 per cent of the province’s COVID-19 cases – Horwath has called on Ford to immediately deploy additional resources to hot spots, including testing snd contact tracing resources, PPE and financial supports.

 

Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:

Horwath pressed the Ford government to give Ontarians a clearer timeline regarding the province’s expanded testing strategy, to include firm timelines and benchmarks that must be hit before more businesses are allowed to reopen. Amid weeks of abysmal testing numbers, the Ontario NDP has urged the Ford government to keep workers and communities safe by setting and keeping to clear timelines.  

Yesterday, Andrea Horwath helped out with deliveries at the Ahmadiyya Youth Association’s “Neighborhood Helper” campaign.

Tomorrow morning, Horwath will hold a virtual roundtable on Facebook Live with education workers and parents, to discuss the challenges education workers, parents, students and teachers are facing during COVID-19. 

Here are today’s new developments: 

  • Canadian MPs are now taking part in sessions of the House of Commons both virtually and in-person, with regular Parliament replaced by meetings of a special committee mainly focused on COVID-19.
  • A day after the military reported atrocious conditions in five Ontario long-term care homes, Premier Doug Ford was notably absent from a sitting of the Ontario Legislature for the second day in a row. NDP MPPs questioned the government on claims it knew nothing about the harrowing conditions in long-term care facilities province-wide — despite incident reports, media reports, affidavits filed in legal cases and family members speaking out.

 

 

Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:

  • In an op-ed published in today’s Ottawa Citizen, Andrea Horwath said the Ford government must stamp out COVID-19 hotspots by ramping up inspections and having a hospital or public health authority take over every unsafe long-term care facility.

“… stories of residents with horrific bedsores, unseen falls and recurring infections have continued — and time and time again, the government of the day has sent thoughts and prayers, but never help.” – Andrea Horwath

News and Updates 

Here are today’s new developments: 

 
 Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:

Here are today’s new developments: 

  • Some health experts warn that Canada is reopening too soon, with questions remaining about the source of community transmission of COVID-19, and - in Ontario and Quebec, especially - the numbers aren't where they should be. In Ontario, testing is down while the new cases have risen – despite saying he has been “all over” testing, Doug Ford is failing to hit targets.

 

Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:

 

  • Andrea Horwath called for a new testing regime in Ontario that includes systematic testing for essential workers and people returning to work, all congregate care settings, and mobile testing centres to begin random community testing.

 

Here are today’s new developments:   
 Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:

News and Updates 

Here are today’s new developments: 


Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for: 
  • MPP Sol Mamakwa, NDP critic for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation said the Ford government must consult with First Nations before allowing businesses to reopen in the North. Further, the government must do more to address the issues that make First Nations more vulnerable to COVID-19 in the first place, like overcrowded housing and lack of hospitals.
  • NDP Auto Insurance critic Tom Rakocevic and Brampton North NDP MPP Kevin Yarde say Ford needs to step up and lower auto insurances rates. "Major auto insurers have admitted that driving and accidents are down - In Toronto alone, accidents are down by 74 per cent," Rakocevic said in a joint press release.   

Here are the new developments:
Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:

Here are today’s new developments:

  • Health Canada has authorized the first COVID-19 serological test, which will be used to detect COVID-19 antibodies and give scientists a better understanding of whether people who have already had the virus are immune. 

 

Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:

 

News and Updates 
Here are today’s new developments:
  • The Ontario legislature will sit and hold a question period tomorrow, with the Ford government expected to extend Ontario's state of emergency -- In a virtual press conference held today, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announced she will table a motion calling for an independent, public inquiry into the province's long-term care system, and will also seek a thorough public inquiry into Ontario's pandemic readiness and response, overall.
  • The city of Toronto has a new online venture to help independent local businesses and artists build sell goods and services virtually. 
 
Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:  

News and Updates 
Here are today’s new developments:  
Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:   
 Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:

  • Despite the Ford government's claims that PPE is readily available to frontline workers, this poll shows that 87 per cent of health care staff reported not having access to the PPE they need.  

Here are today’s new developments:

Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:

Here are today’s new developments:
  • Canada’s Health Minister is stressing to Canadians that the pandemic is not over, despite the fact some provinces are beginning to cautiously ease restrictions. Canada’s COVID-19 caseload today exceeded 60,000, she warned, and people mustn't slack on social distancing measures.   

Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:

Here are today’s new developments:
 
Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:
 
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath’s statement marking International Workers’ Day and First Responders’ Day thanks the workers who are keeping our province running, and stresses that many of them are among the lowest paid in our society.

Let’s make sure they get the wages and working conditions they’ve always deserved. And let’s make sure they’re never taken for granted again,” said Horwath.
 
Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:

Here are today’s new developments:
  • Canadian restaurant owners are among the many businesses struggling to stay afloat right now, with some predicting that the ongoing stress and uncertainty will lead to closures even after restrictions are lifted -- the NDP has been calling for a major commercial rent relief program, and has echoed calls from business owners who say the federal government’s rent relief program — which Doug Ford believes is enough — is not good enough.
  • Despite Doug Ford’s insistence that the province has enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers, reports out of long-term care facilities indicate that workers aren’t given the PPE they need, and PSWs may continue to face pressure from employers to work without proper protections. The union representing the second PSW to die of COVID-19 in Ontario, Arlene Reid, said PPE protocols and government directives have “insufficiently protected PSWs” in home care, long-term care and hospital settings -- The NDP has been calling for a new strategy to protect residents and staff in long-term care.
 
Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:  
"If the Ford government wanted to give drivers a break, they could do it today. Instead, Ford continues to let insurers take drivers for a ride," said NDP Auto Insurance critic Tom Rakocevic.
Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members: 

Today's News Updates



Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:
  • Rent is due Friday, yet the government of Ontario continues to pass of its responsibility to residential tenants to the federal government. The NDP is pointing out that, on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it is the responsibility of provinces to help tenants--NDP Leader Leader Andrea Horwath and  NDP Tenant Rights critic Suze Morrison said that means the ball is squarely in Ford’s court, and are again calling for an 80 per cent rent subsidy for renters.
  • The NDP continues to push for more testing — including testing everyone in seniors care and other congregate care settings. Doug Ford once announced that Ontario would be testing nearly 20,000 people per day by April 17 – but we’re barely more than half-way there.

Today's News Updates

  • Canadian public health officials released new modelling numbers today, which show Canada is making progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19, though thousands more cases, and deaths, are expected by early next month, and Canadians are urged to continue physical distancing measures.
  •  A report out by Toronto’s University Health Network finds that an estimated 35 people may have died during the COVID-19 pandemic because their cardiac surgeries were postponed.
 
Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:


  • Andrea Horwath joined workers across the country in marking today's National Day of Mourning --  the NDP will be tabling a bill championed by Labour critic for Workplace Health and Safety Wayne Gates, to ensure that all essential workers have presumptive WSIB coverage for COVID-19 during the pandemic. 
  • The NDP continued to urge the Ford government to launch a strategy to protect seniors and long-term care workers in the battle against COVID-19--the proposal includes an order for Public Health to take over management of long-term care homes where seniors aren't properly protected, plus mandating what homes must communicate to residents and their families.
 
Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members: 
  • People are raising concerns about the state of long-term care and seniors homes before COVID-19 — a problem the NDP has been raising for years. 
  • Ongoing concerns about small businesses that are failing, with some facing eviction — through no fault of their own — because there is no provincial support in place for expenses like commercial rent.

 

Daily News Update

Tenants Town Hall
Earlier tonight, I had the honour of hosting a Tenants Town Hall on Facebook Live, with MPP Suze Morrison, MPP Sara Singh, and two representatives from Toronto ACORN!

If you missed it, you can watch it now here!


Plan for Reopening Ontario
Today the Province of Ontario announced steps to reopen. The plan includes three phases - with no set dates for the framework.
  • The phases are as follows: 
    • Protect and Support
    • Restart
    • Recover
You can read more about his plan here. 


School Closures Extended to May 31
Yesterday we learned that schools would remain closed until at least May 31. The Ontario NDP will continue to advocate for more supports for students during this shut down. 

You can read more about this here. 


City of Toronto to Increase Space for Pedestrians 
The City of Toronto is going to be closing some lanes of traffic to allow for more social distancing for pedestrians on sidewalks in Toronto.

You can read more about this here. 


Community Gardens Deemed Essential
Over the weekend, the province amended it's emergency order to allow community gardens to continue to operate as an essential source of fresh food. We are glad to see this change happen after the hard work from advocacy groups across the province! Another shout out to MPP Ian Arthur who sent a letter to the Ministry demanding this action. 

You can read more about this here. 


Here are today’s new developments: 

What we’re working on:

Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:

  • With May 1 just around the corner, the NDP is fighting for an 80% rent subsidy for renters, up to $2,500 a month. People can sign a petition in online in support of that.
  • The NDP is flagging that the new commercial rent support program has massive gaps that leave many businesses out, and is calling on the Ontario government to fill them.  
  • The NDP’s proposal to “Save Main Street” urges the Ford government to provide provincial relief for small and medium-sized businesses; the call has been ignored by the Ford government for weeks.


 Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:

  • People are raising concerns about the state of long-term care and seniors homes before COVID-19 — a problem the NDP has been raising for years. 
  • Ongoing concerns about small businesses that are failing, with some facing eviction — through no fault of their own — because there is no provincial support in place for expenses like commercial rent.

Here are today’s new developments: 
  • Municipalities across Canada are asking the federal government for an emergency funding boost of at least $10 billion, as cities and towns see their revenues plummet and their public health and social service costs spike -- Doug Ford has declined to say whether Ontario will change the rules to allow municipalities to run a deficit, and has failed to heed calls from the NDP to throw municipalities a lifeline and provide financial support.
What we’re working on:

Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:
  • Staff at a Markham assisted living home for adults with disabilities that is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak have reached a deal to see their pay doubled during the outbreak, plus stronger health and safety protections -- Andrea Horwath is calling for the same deal to apply to all workers in congregate care settings, who are risking their lives to keep residents safe. 
  • NDP Education critic Marit Stiles says school boards across Ontario have heard from parents anxious to receive the iPad the Ford government said their child would receive as an aid to learn during the pandemic -- the NDP has learned that Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce mislead the public, and that families will not, in actuality, be receiving any additional devices. 

 Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:
  • Ontario drivers say they need immediate relief on their auto insurance premiums, something the Ford government's approach falls far short of.
  • People are raising concerns about the state of long-term care and seniors homes before COVID-19 — a problem the NDP has been raising for years.
  • Ongoing concerns about small businesses that are failing, with some facing eviction — through no fault of their own — because there is no provincial support in place for expenses like commercial rent.

News and Updates 

Here are today’s new developments: 

Canada is rolling out a package of supports to help students, who have been excluded from Canada’s emergency income program. The supports include a Canada Emegency Student Benefit (CESB), and an incentive for students who volunteer in COVID-19 relief efforts

Canada’s urban Indigenous population say they feel excluded from the federal government’s COVID-19 response

More than a third of patients in Canada admitted to hospital and ICUs due to COVID-19 are under the age of 60, a new report finds. Health officials are encouraging younger people not to dismiss the severity of the virus.

Doug Ford is asking the federal government to bring in the military to support five long-term care homes hit hard by COVID-19, though his long-term care minister refused to identify the five homes—the NDP has been asking the Ford government to take immediate action to save lives and stop the spread of the virus in long-term care homes. 

What we’re working on:

The NDP is calling on the Ford government to immediately make in-home testing available to people with disabilities, who the Ontario has made no plan to support. 

NDP MPPs across Ontario are calling on the Ford government to make major changes to long-term care and home care to save lives.

The proposal includes:
  • Aggressively recruiting home care and long-term care staff
  • Mandate that more staff be scheduled on each shift in each long-term care home
  • Immediately increase salaries for staff to a minimum of $22/hr in order to retain and attract workers, including Personal Support Workers (PSWs) and Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs)
  • Assign each staff member to one facility only, and ensure they have full-time hours, to eliminate the potential for staff to transmit COVID-19 to other facilities, ending all exceptions.

Here are today’s new developments: 

Trudeau announced a new fund for community organizations community organizations, and said businesses can start applying for the federal wage subsidy — companies can use the new CRA calculator to see what they qualify for —with so many small and medium-sized businesses floundering, the NDP has been asking Ontario to step up and provide additional supports, including rent subsidies – we call it the "Save Main Street plan.

Federal officials say it is up to each individual province to ramp up its COVID-19 testing and contact tracing — a key factor in opening up the economy. Yet Ontario continues to lag when it comes to testing.

An additional 101 health care workers have contracted COVID-19 — including 27 nursing home workers — bringing the total of confirmed health care worker cases to 1,368. The NDP has been pushing the Ford government to take long-overdue action to better protect workers and residents in long-term care. 

At the same time as Ontario is launching a fund to help community organizations deliver food and other essentials to low-income seniors, the province is clawing back money from social assistance recipients. 

What we’re working on:
The Ontario NDP is calling out the Ford government for making money off the backs of the province’s most vulnerable, clacking back money from OW and ODSP recipients who are receiving support from the federal CERB benefit. 

The NDP's Poverty and Homelessness critic joined forces with a physician who has worked for decades with people experiencing homelessness, stressing that if the government doesn't immediately increase testing and provide safe places for people experiencing homelessness to isolate, shelters will become the next epicentre of the pandemic

The NDP is asking the Ford government to immediately ramp up protective measures in correctional facilities--including more testing and making sure everyone has the PPE they need--to prevent further crises like the one facing Brampton's Ontario Correctional Institute, where at least 60 inmates and eight workers have tested positive for COVID-19. 
 
"Health experts and frontline workers have been clear about what must be done," said NDP Community Safety critic Kevin Yarde,"and the NDP’s letters pleading for action have been ignored. It's beyond time for the government to act on these clear and critical recommendations.


Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:

People continue raising concerns about the state of long-term care and seniors homes before COVID-19 — a problem the NDP has been raising for years. 

Ongoing concerns about small businesses that are failing, with some facing eviction — through no fault of their own — because there is no provincial support in place for expenses like commercial rent.

News and Updates 

Here are today’s new developments: 
  • Canada’s House of Commons resumed today, with the federal Conservatives blocking an agreement reached by the other parties for sittings of Parliament to be limited while the pandemic continues -- federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called on the government to provide more financial aid for students and others put out of work by COVID-19. 
  • Ontario appears to have avoided the worst-case pandemic scenario, with new projections suggesting the province saw the community spread of COVID-19 peak earlier than anticipated, which health officials attribute to vigilant social distancing measures — officials stressed that these measures must be continued for Ontario to eventually ease up and re-open the economy.
  •  The projections are far less promising when it comes to the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario’s long-term care homes and other congregate settings, where the curve continues its upswing -- despite outbreaks impacting 127 long-term care facilities, the Ford government has failed to take appropriate action to mitigate the spread, says Andrea Horwath.
In a press conference, Doug Ford said he doesn’t “believe in collecting race-based data” – the NDP’s Anti-Racism critic Laura Mae Lindo countered:

Facts are facts, regardless of whether or not the premier chooses to believe in them. Black, Indigenous and racialized Ontarians already faced barriers to access and worse health outcomes before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, with the spread of COVID-19, these health inequities could be compounded by other social and economic inequities, leading to even more dire health outcomes.”

What we’re working on:

With long-term care and other group home settings the epicentre of the pandemic, Horwath called on the Ford government to intervene with a host of measures, including taking over the management of long-term care homes most at risk, mandating that all workers limit to one facility—including temp agency workers—and raising wages for workers to $22 an hour. 

The NDP provided a fact-check to Doug Ford’s dismissal of the importance of Ontario collecting race-based data.

Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:
Ontario drivers say they need immediate relief on their auto insurance premiums, something the Ford government's approach falls far short of.

People are raising concerns about the state of long-term care and seniors homes before COVID-19 — a problem the NDP has been raising for years

Ongoing concerns about small businesses that are failing, with some facing eviction — through no fault of their own — because there is no provincial support in place for expenses like commercial rent.

Here are today’s new developments: 
  •  The province is partnering with tech firms like Apple and Rogers to facilitate online learning for children while learning from home.
  •  Ontario is expected to release its latest modelling numbers on Monday, giving Ontarians a sense of what to expect in terms of projected COVID-19 case numbers and fatalities. 
 
What we’re working on:

The NDP is calling on Ontario to step up measures to protect long-term care workers by raising wages, handling infection control and staff scheduling and increasing recruitment and retention of staff.

“It’s time for leadership. Every delay on action to fix the crisis in long-term care could cost lives. Raise wages now. Seniors and workers in long-term care cannot afford to wait while Doug Ford squabbles over who will pay. Act now and sort it out later,” said Andrea Horwath. 

Andrea Horwath is calling on the Ford government to listen to health experts and collect race and socio-demographic data on COVID-19.

Horwath called on the Ford government to close the dangerous gaps in his new orders to protect vulnerable group living facilities – gaps include waiting a week for measures to take effect, and exempting temp agency staff from the rule to work in one home only. 
Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:
 
Ontario drivers say they need immediate relief on their auto insurance premiums, something the Ford government's approach falls far short of

Concerns about the state of long-term care and seniors homes before COVID-19 — a problem the NDP has been raising for years

Ongoing concerns about small businesses that are failing, with some facing eviction — through no fault of their own — because there is no provincial support in place for expenses like commercial rent.

Here are today’s new developments:

Support for Businesses
Canada is expanding measures to help businesses during the pandemic, including broadened loan eligibility --  groups like the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) says these changes still leave out certain firms, like new businesses and the self-employed. 

Trudeau will talk to premiers today about helping small businesses with rents – for weeks, the NDP has been calling on the Ontario government to provide help to small and medium-sized businesses, including a 75 per cent rent subsidy. 

Canada-U.S. Border
Canada won't be opening up its border with the U.S. anytime soon, despite what President Trump said yesterday.

COVID-19 Testing in Ontario
Ontario continues to fall behind the rest of the provinces when it comes to COVID-19 testing.  

What we’re working on:

Andrea Horwath called on the Ford government to close the dangerous gaps in his new orders to protect vulnerable group living facilities – gaps include waiting a week for measures to take effect, and exempting temp agency staff from the rule to work in one home only.

The NDP's Health critic says Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca's call for an inquiry into long-term care during the pandemic is self-serving, given Del Duca and the Liberals "blocked the call for a broad independent inquiry into the unfolding crisis in long-term care two years ago."Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:
 
Concerns about the state of long-term care and seniors homes before COVID-19 — a problem the NDP has been raising for years. 

Ongoing concerns about small businesses that are failing, with some facing eviction — through no fault of their own — because there is no provincial support in place for expenses like commercial rent.

We have also heard many concerns from those who have lost their work due to COVID-19 - about access to insurance to ensure that they can continue to afford their medication. The Ontario NDP has called for everyone receiving financial support from the government to receive full drug coverage. 

News and Updates 
Changes to CERB
Criteria to qualify for the federal CERB will now include those earning less than $1,000 per month – changes aimed at helping contract, gig and seasonal workers, plus those running out of EI.  
 
Long-Term Care
A CBC investigation finds that last year, the Ford government scaled back inspections at long-term care (LTC) homes, so only nine of Ontario’s 626 homes got a proper inspection
 
Ontario put out new rules intended to limit staff who work at long-term care (LTC) facilities to work at just one home, but they don’t come into effect for a full week (not until April 22), and contain a dangerous loophole, allowing temp agency LTC workers to continue working at multiple locations.
 
Andrea Horwath stressed: “Workers from temp agencies make up a significant part of long-term care staffing, as a result of a staffing crisis. Restrictions much tighter than these should have been put in place weeks ago. We cannot waste a second now, and we cannot allow this government to leave huge loopholes open.

What we’re working on:

The NDP is calling out troubling guidelines put out by the Ontario government’s Ministry of Health for health care workers returning to work after testing positive for COVID-19, which allow staff who have the virus but are asymptomatic to return to work.
 
The NDP is calling for the Ford government to eliminate the massive loophole in its rules for LTC workers, and put in place tighter restrictions to protect LTC workers and staff are tighter.
 
  “The government has to fix the problem that years of underfunding and neglect in long-term care has created: pay workers decently, give them full-time hours, and ban them from working at a second facility, no exceptions," said Horwath in a statement. 

Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:
 
Concerns about the state of long-term care and seniors homes before COVID-19 — a problem the NDP has been raising for years.
 
Ongoing concerns about small businesses that are failing — through no fault of their own — because there is no provincial support in place for expenses like commercial rent.

Resource Highlight - 211 Ontario

211 Ontario has compiled an incredible list of local resources and programs for anyone who has been impacted by COVID-19. They are now set up to be a primary source of information for government and community based social services. 

You can check out what they have to offer here: www.211oncovid19.ca/

News and Updates
Update on on Business Restrictions
The eventual reopening of Canadian businesses will take a phased-in approach, but any ease on restrictions is most likely weeks away. 

Rules for Travellers 
Travellers arriving in Canada must now show officials they have a credible plan in place for quarantine, or will be forced to self-isolate in a hotel.

Seniors Homes
Outbreaks at seniors’ homes account for nearly half of Canada’s COVID-19-related deaths.

The situation at seniors' and long-term care (LTC) homes is especially dire in Ontario and Quebec -- the Ford government has failed to mandate that LTC workers and residents be tested to slow the virus's spread. (The NDP has been calling for major changes to LTC, like increased testing and raising PSW and registered nurse practitioner (RPN) wages to a liveable wage.)

Update from the Legislature
In a special sitting of the Legislature today, Ontario extended the province’s Declaration of Emergency -- Andrea Horwath said the government’s emergency bill should have included support for the many Ontarians still falling through the cracks.


What we’re working on:

For weeks, Ford has refused to mandate an end to LTC staff working at multiple homes, which has contributed to the wildfire-like spread of COVID-19 in long-term care. Tonight, his government is expected to announce an order to deploy more staff to LTC homes, and limit LTC staff to working at one facility.--The NDP looks forward to making sure this directive follows through, with no exceptions.

But for many, this order comes too late. Many seniors have lost their lives, and so many families are grieving the loss of their loved ones. This practice has damaged many lives. It should not have been allowed to proceed for weeks.

The NDP also believes the government still needs to increase wages for PSWs and RPNs. Many LTC workers are earning near minimum wage. They deserve better, and we want to make sure they have decent wages and full-time hours so they aren't forced to moonlight at various homes.

 

"It shouldn’t have taken weeks to put a stop to something that put vulnerable seniors in the crosshairs of COVID-19, and I am heartbroken knowing that this announcement is simply too late for some families," said Horwath. 

News and Updates 

Job Losses
Statistics Canada released stark job numbers today, reporting Canada lost more than one million jobs in March. Ontario lost about 403,000 jobs in March; the province is putting together a committee to look into economic recovery post-pandemic.

Could we have been more prepared?
Canada had prepared a report over a decade ago predicting a coronavirus-like pandemic, with steps to overcome it. The government clearly underestimated the implications of COVID-19. 

More Modelling Data Released
Models released this morning forecast how the COVID-19 pandemic could pan out on a national scale, with numbers dependent on how rigorously  Canadians maintaining social distancing – Trudeau said we should expect to see multiple waves of COVID-19 over the coming months (likely involving various waves of social distancing measures), and that a return to normalcy will happen once a vaccine is ready.

Supporting Long Term Care Workers
Ontario has yet to mandate that long-term care workers limit their work to one home, as a way to slow the spread of the virus. Many PSWs hold multiple jobs to make ends meet -- the NDP's proposal for saving lives in long-term care include immediately raising salaries for workers like PSWs and nurses to a minimum of $22/hour.

Update on Testing
Again today, there are reports that not enough testing is taking place. CBC reports that shortages of swabs prompted testing centres to refuse to test 25 per cent to 30 per cent of those who showed up this past week.


What we’re working on:

In light of grim unemployment numbers and reports of floundering small and medium-sized businesses, the NDP continues to call on the provincial government to provide more direct support for people — like direct financial help, and an 80% rent subsidy, as well as business rent subsidies and remote work set-up funding to help employers keep folks on the payroll.

The NDP called on the Ford government to fund accommodation costs for frontline health workers afraid to go home after their shifts each day because of a loved one at home who is immunocompromised. 

Horwath called on Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott to immediately increase Ontario’s woefully low COVID-19 testing numbers, and broaden our tight testing criteria — the Ford government has spent weeks saying testing will be ramped up, but has yet to make that happen. 


Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:

Ontarians with disabilities and their families are anxious about their health and ability to pay their bills during the pandemic. Ontario's policy of clawing back supports like EI from a person's ODSP cheque means families who qualify for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will see their ODSP support wiped out--the NDP is calling on the government to stop Ontario's clawback policy. 

People are worried about keeping up with their auto insurance payments. With Ontarians driving far less and accidents fewer and farther between, the NDP is calling on the Ford government to give Ontarians a 50 per cent break on auto insurance for three months.  


Save Main Street Proposal:
Small & Medium Businesses Matter to the NDP

Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said today’s announcement that the Ontario government has tasked the majority of its cabinet to look at jobs and economic recovery is disappointing for those who were desperately hoping for an announcement that would help them financially, right now.  

“We need action, now, to save families and businesses from economic hardship, not just a plan to pull together cabinet ministers for yet another committee.”

The NDP’s proposals so far have included:

  • An 80 per cent rent subsidy for people up to $2,500 per month
  • A utility payment freeze
  • A $2,000 payment to bridge the gap while people wait for federal financial support
  • A 50 per cent discount on auto insurance
  • A 75 per cent commercial rent subsidy up to $10,000 per month for three months
  • A remote-work set up fund, which could help them with things like setting up an online retail operation, or buying laptops and software for staff
  • An auto insurance grace period for taxis and car-sharing drivers
  • A designated emergency fund for small businesses and entrepreneurs who have faced historic barriers to accessing traditional capital, as proposed by the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce.

Here are today’s new developments:
Canada’s emergency wage subsidy — criticized by small business owners for not giving help to a wide enough range of employers — will expand its eligibility criteria.

Criteria will also broaden for businesses applying to the Canada Summer Jobs program. 

Reports that Ontario is severely lagging in the number of COVID-19 tests it does daily have raised alarm bells amongst health experts— while the province's labs can accommodate 13,000 tests per day, Ontario has only been doing about 3,500. Andrea Horwath and the NDP want testing dramatically increased, including regular testing for all health care workers, first responders and seniors in long-term care.

In his press conference today, Doug Ford wouldn’t say why Ontario has fallen so behind on testing, but stressed that 13,000 tests per day is the goal, and said Ontario has the capacity. 

What we're working on


Amid reports that Ontario is woefully behind on COVID-19 testing, the NDP is calling on the Ford government to immediately increase testing to include regular tests for frontline health workers and seniors in long-term care.

“Ontario needs to do literally everything possible to protect our health care heroes, first responders and vulnerable seniors,” Horwath said. “Health care workers alone make up at least one in 10 cases of COVID-19, demonstrating the urgency to increase testing, even of non-symptomatic health care staff.”

The NDP believes the government should require auto insurance prices give everyone a 50% discount for three months, and that insurance companies must offer a deferral for those experiencing income loss due to COVID-19. With fewer cars on the road, and fewer accidents, drivers should get the benefit of that – not insurance companies.

Andrea Horwath released a list of recommendations for Ontario to better protect and support seniors during COVID-19.Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:

Families with relatives in long-term care may be grappling with the decision to remove their loved one from care. 

With Ontario limiting prescription refills to 30-day supplies during the pandemic, some Ontarians--seniors especially--are worried about being able to afford more frequent dispensing fees. The NDP is calling on the Ford government to cancel and cover the prescription drug co-payments required of seniors during the pandemic. 

Reminder
While most Ontarians are working hard to flatten the curve by staying home, we’re still hearing concerns that non-essential gatherings and work continues.

N95 Masks Shipment
After a contentious order by Trump to halt exports of N95 respirators to CanadaMinnesota-based medical mask manufacturer 3M struck an agreement with the White House to allow its continued export of N95s and other PPEs to Canada -- Trudeau said 500,000 masks from 3M should arrive tomorrow. 

Still, Doug Ford warned Ontarians that the province is low on PPEs for health care workers, saying the province can't rely on the global supply chain--Ontario companies that can do so have been encouraged to retool their supply chains to help meet this need. 

The province also launched an online portal to match skilled health care workers currently not employed in the system with employers.  

What we're working on
 
Andrea Horwath held a press conference today, calling on the Ford government to make major changes and investments in long-term care and home-care to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 amongst our most vulnerable seniors--to date, there have been at least 36 outbreaks in Ontario's long-term care homes.

Andrea Horwath launched the NDP's Save Main Street proposal Sunday, a plan to keep small and medium-sized businesses afloat, with greater supports for companies, charities and community-based non-profits. 

Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:
 
Families with relatives in long-term care may be grappling with the difficult decision to remove their loved one from care. 

With Ontario limiting prescription refills to 30-day supplies during the pandemic, some Ontarians--seniors especially--are worried about being able to afford the more frequent dispensing fees. The NDP is calling on the Ford government to cancel and cover the prescription drug co-payments required of seniors during the pandemic. 

Reminder
While most Ontarians are working hard to flatten the curve by staying home, we’re still hearing concerns that non-essential gatherings and work continues.

Canadian Emergency Response Benefit Launches
Canadians out of work due to COVID-19 can finally apply for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), amid criticism that this benefit doesn't cover enough workers. The program is expected to be adjusted in the coming days. 
 
Homemade Masks
Wearing a homemade or makeshift mask (as opposed to an N95 mask, reserved for frontline health workers) could be a good idea when in close contact with others, like at the grocery store or on transit, Canada's top doctor said today--this shouldn't replace social distancing and frequent hand-washing, and Canadians should continue staying home unless absolutely necessary. 
 
Shortage of N95s
Despite assurances from the Ford government that more protective masks for health care workers are on their way, today Ford said Ontario is in danger of running out of masks and other personal protective equipment by next week (the NDP has been calling for Ontario to step up support for health care workers regarding issues like PPEs). Trump's directive to ban U.S. exports of N95 masks  reportedly caused the blockage of three or four million masks bound for Canada from supplier 3M, though Ford said he's heard 500,000 of those masks are still on their way. 
 
Save Main Street
Andrea Horwath launched the NDP's Save Main Street proposal Sunday, a plan to keep small and medium-sized businesses afloat, with greater supports for companies, charities and community-based nonprofits.

Cancel Co-Pays
The NDP is calling on the Ford government to cancel and cover the prescription drug co-payments required of seniors during the COVID-19 crisis. 
No senior in Ontario should have to skip their pills or skimp on food as a result of the pandemic,” said Horwath. “But if seniors have to pay for each prescription each month, some of them will be forced to make difficult choices."
 
Birthday and Anniversary Greetings
During normal times, my office sends out congratulatory scrolls to folks across the riding to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other milestones! While we're taking physical distancing measures, MPP Andrew will be continuing this digitally. If you have a birthday coming up in the family and you would like a special video message from Jill, please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca.

Community Phone Bank
My office is helping organize a phone tree of volunteers to call around and check in on folks in our community. This program should be up and running in the next couple weeks. If you're interested in participating please email JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca.

Reminder
While most Ontarians are working hard to flatten the curve by staying home, we’re still hearing concerns that non-essential gatherings and work continues.

News and Daily Updates

  • After the NDP urged Ontario to release COVID-19 modelling data, the province released projections that show COVID-19 could cause between 3,000 and 15,000 deaths in Ontario overall -- to ensure we avoid reaching the higher end of that range, Ontarians are urged to maintain vigilant social distancing and hand-washing practices, and stay home as often as possible.

Ontario announced it is shrinking the list of essential businesses allowed to stay open, something the NDP called on the Ford government to do earlier this week. 

  • The federal government announced $100 million for food banks across the country, as Canadians face lay-offs and financial uncertainty.


Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:

 
Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:

  • While most people are working very hard to flatten the curve by staying home, we’re still hearing concern that non-essential gatherings and work continues.

Six Feet Away

A great member of our community has created a song to remind us of the important of maintaining our distance.

 

You can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vmFW_l4WjU&feature=youtu.be

Here are today’s new developments:

  • Justin Trudeau is holding a call with Canada’s premiers at 5:30 this afternoon, to discuss coordinating efforts to fight COVID-19 – namely, the need to obtain crucial medical supplies to meet an expected surge of the virus.
  • After calls from the NDP to support frontline workers with 24/7 free mental health resources, the Ontario government said it will expand online mental health services as Ontarians endure the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The government said a change could be on the way to shrink the list of essential businesses allowed to stay open. Andrea Horwath sent Doug Ford a letter on that yesterday. More news to come.

Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:

  •  Horwath is asking the Ford government to follow in the footsteps of provinces like British Columbia and Alberta, and release the province’s infection modelling numbers.

    “If everyone had a clearer picture of what lays ahead if they do stay home — and what lays ahead if they don’t — I think we’d see folks take physical distancing even more seriously,” said Horwath.

 

Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:

  • We’re still hearing about evictions and eviction notices going out, leaving tenants worried they’re going to lose their home.
  • We’re hearing from small businesses that the supports currently in place won’t be enough to keep them afloat throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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. 

Link here:
https://www.instagram.com/ocadu_ok/

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.

Grades K-3

Five hours per week

 

Grades 4-6

Five hours per week

 

Grades 7-8

Ten hours per week

 

Grades 9-12

Three hours per course each week (Semestered)

One and a half hours per course each week (Non-Semestered)

 

For more information:

https://globalnews.ca/news/6755700/coronavirus-ford-government-e-learning-covid-19/

 

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:

https://www.toronto.ca/home/media-room/news-releases-media-advisories/?datemin=01/07/2020&type=Public%20Health&nrkey=014C0AD0DE2D2ABC8525853C007119F0

 

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:

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/pm-trudeau-says-more-medical-supplies-coming-in-days-as-industry-retools-1.4875690

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:
www.jillandrewmpp.ca/support_tenants  

 

Daily Updates

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:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-covid19-business-supports-1.5514558
 
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:
https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/03/29/toronto-homeless-coronavirus-hotels/
 
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:
https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/ontario-prohibits-gatherings-of-five-people-or-more-with-strict-exceptions
 
Price Gouging
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:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-covid19-mar27-business-1.5512151

https://globalnews.ca/news/6741037/coronavirus-wage-subsidy-canada/

 

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:

https://www.facebook.com/JillAndrewTO/videos/159823915195217/

 

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


---Meeting Link---
https://zoom.us/j/424040084

---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:

https://www.agco.ca/bulletin/2020/info-bulletin-no-61-liquor-sales-licensees-may-now-sell-liquor-takeout-or-delivery

 

Reminder
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.


Text Scams

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:

https://t.co/Q4Wde3kyjD?amp=1

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:

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/introduces-canada-emergency-response-benefit-to-help-workers-and-businesses.html

 

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:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/mandatory-quarantine-hajdu-1.5509508

To read the Quarantine Act for yourself:

https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/q-1.1/index.html

 

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:

https://news.ontario.ca/mof/en/2020/03/ontarios-action-plan-responding-to-covid-19.html

 

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:

https://www.toronto.ca/home/media-room/news-releases-media-advisories/?nrkey=3FAD567B9D087A2785258535005E83B8

 

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:

https://www.toronto.ca/home/media-room/news-releases-media-advisories/?nrkey=D83999ADE9A50CCF85258536006C2605

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:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/find-mental-health-support

There is also:

Big White Wall, an online peer to peer support community.

https://www.bigwhitewall.com/?lang=en-ca

 

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:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/list-essential-workplaces

 

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:

https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/ontario-providing-electricity-relief-to-families-small-businesses-and-farms-during-covid-19.html

 

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:

https://news.ontario.ca/mltc/en/2020/03/ontario-implements-enhanced-measures-to-protect-the-safety-of-residents-in-long-term-care-homes.html

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.

These include:

  • Shelters
  • Non-profits
  • 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:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/ministry-children-community-and-social-services

 

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/

Education

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.

Canada-U.S. Border

  • 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.

Collecting EI

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
https://bit.ly/38UABiF

Ontario Ministry of Health
https://bit.ly/2TVj45H

Toronto Public Health 

https://bit.ly/2Wl9rik

You can also find daily updates on my website
jillandrewmpp.ca/coronavirus

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

Canada-U.S. Border Closure

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.

Income Taxes:

  • 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.

Student Loans:

  • 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.

Morning Hours:

  • 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.

Evictions Suspended

  • 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.

Closures:

  • 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.

Hello Friends,

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.

In solidarity,

Jill