I hope you've had a chance this past weekend to connect with loved ones.
New cases of COVID-19 continue to decline, and yesterday we confirmed another 197 new cases of COVID-19 across Ontario. This shows that we are making progress in our collective battle against COVID-19. With that said, the reason that we are seeing this decline is because of the extraordinary steps that have been taken by the people of Ontario in the last few months. I want to send a heartfelt thank you to everyone in our community who has made sacrifices in their own lives to protect each other.
However, we cannot fall short now. There will continue to be disruptions in our lives for many months to come and continuing to adhere to the advice we are receiving from public health experts remains of paramount importance. We need to be maintaining our physical distance from those who are outside our bubbles, ensuring that we are washing our hands as often as possible and wearing our masks in public.
The social bubbles that are now being recommended by our public health experts are groups of 10 people that are able to interact without physical distance from one another. These groups must remain as closed loops - which means that each person is to only belong to one bubble. It's important to communicate with everyone in the bubble to ensure that they are aware of the commitment that they are making. For this to work, it is essential that everyone sticks with their bubble.
While we are seeing regions around the province move to phase two of the reopening plan, Toronto and Peel region remain in phase one. For our community, this means that we need to wait a little longer before we can take the next steps towards reopening our economy. It is important that we all stay patient as we move towards further reopening of our economy, and that we take all necessary steps to avoid a second wave of COVID-19 in the future.
As we wait for our economy to reopen, many small businesses are desperately struggling to stay afloat. Last week, when it was announced that the Province of Ontario would be taking steps to prevent commercial evictions, I was briefly and cautiously optimistic that the government were finally stepping up for our small business owners.
Sadly, following analysis of the government’s proposal it will do very little for most businesses.
The bill, as written, only protects businesses who qualify for the federal CECRA - but whose landlords refuse to apply for it – meaning they must have a 70% reduction in income. The bill is also only retroactive to June 3, cutting out tenants whose eviction notices arrived between March and June 3. This bill must be amended if it is going to have any real impact for our small business owners. Which is why we have offered an amendment to ensure that this bill offers real support for those who are in need.
Our amendment would seek to include all businesses in a legislated moratorium on commercial evictions during the pandemic and would make that protection retroactive to mid-March. If the government are willing to work with us on this, our caucus is ready and willing to ensure passage on this bill as quickly as possible.
For the last few weeks, each Saturday we have helped host a Community Food Table at St. Matthew’s Church on St. Clair, where our community was encouraged to take what you need and leave what you can. It has been beautiful to watch the table blossom with volunteers and community members helping each other. This weekend, I was thrilled to have the first installment of our second table at Oriole Park. Co-hosted with the Oriole Park Community Garden team, the second table got off to a great start, with many community members donating to the cause. We’re working hard to get more tables up and running around our community, so if you’re interested in hosting a table, please send us an email at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca.
Finally, today, the federal government has pledged to extend CERB, and stated that the details of that extension will be revealed in the next few days. I will be keeping a keen eye on this as it develops, and you will be able to find updates on this in my upcoming newsletters. It is vital that this program is extended, as we continue to see massive financial hardships in our community as a result of COVID-19.
If you have a positive story from our community OR a virtual event you're hosting that you want amplified, please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca.
Birthday, 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, I will be continuing this digitally. If you have a birthday coming up in the family and you would like a special video message from me, please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca. And if you should decide to share your video on social media do tag us @JillsLastWord on Twitter and Jill Andrew - MPP, Toronto-St. Paul's on Facebook.
Calling Local Artists
If you are local artist, and you have a piece of work that you’ve been putting time into, we would love to share it with the community! We know that #ArtsSavesLives and minds especially during traumatic times. If you’re interested in sharing your art please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca
ALL art submitted MUST be accompanied by a short artists statement (50 words or less) to help contextualize the art. Additionally, there are no guarantees that submissions will be included in the newsletter. Thank you for sharing your work with us and our community."
News and Updates
Here are today’s new developments:
- The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which is due to expire soon for many, will be extended. Details of what that will look expected out later this week.
- In Ontario, a new slate of regions were green lit to proceed to Stage Two, which permits the reopening of businesses like restaurants, salons and shopping malls. Toronto, the Peel region and the Windsor-Essex region, where cases of COVID-19 are higher, are not yet allowed to move to Stage Two. The government has drawn fire for failing to take any action in Windsor-Essex, where there has been a surge of COVID-19 outbreaks among migrant workers in Essex County. Windsor’s mayor has asked Ford for mandated testing of migrant workers. We have been urging them to get a grip on these outbreaks through more financial support and supplies, and concrete directives on PPE, sanitation and bunkhouses.
- Close to 400,000 frontline workers in Ontario have not received the pandemic pay Doug Ford promised them two months ago. For many weeks,we have been pressing the government to ensure workers receive their much-deserved raise immediately, and for those top-ups to be retroactive to the start of the pandemic.
What I'm pushing for:
- Andrea Horwath is demanding that Doug Ford revoke the operating licenses for all eight retirement homes owned by the group responsible for Rosslyn Retirement Residence, where seniors have faced harrowing conditions, and 14 residents died of COVID-19. 63 residents and 20 staff were infected.
- Gilles Bisson said it's unfair to Ontarians for the Ford government to move some of its decision-making regarding the province's economic recovery behind closed doors. "“The membership of the COVID-19 command table is being kept secret by Doug Ford” said Bisson. “The list of high-risk red long-term care homes is being kept secret by Doug Ford. Now the list of people, organizations and sectors that will have any standing at all in the recovery plan is being dragged behind closed doors," Gilles said in a press release.
- We have proposed two crucial changes to legislation the Government will introduce to protect only some businesses from eviction during the pandemic, excluding numerous others. Those crucial changes are including all businesses in the protection against eviction – not just a select few – and making that protection retroactive to mid-March.
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