Toronto continues to see new confirmed cases of COVID-19. As of writing, Toronto Public Health is monitoring 102 cases of COVID-19 in Toronto. Ten of these people are hospitalized and of these, four are receiving care in an Intensive Care Unit. Of these, there are 11 possible cases of potential community transmission.
I share these numbers with you not to cause panic, but to state unequivocally how important it is that we continue the hard work of social distancing. I know that term is new and many people have questions about what that looks like in practice.
For now that means staying home as much as possible, avoiding small gatherings, including dinners with friends, playdates for children, cancelling all non essential visits with people.
But you can and should keep going outside - go for walks, go to the park, walk the dog, get exercise and protect your mental health. Just stay a minimum of 2 metres (6 feet) away from others. Make sure that after going outside, you wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
For more tips on social distancing, please visit www.toronto.ca/covid19.
Also please remember that even if you do not feel sick, we need to keep centering those in our community who are at greater risk, and who can’t isolate - namely our incredible frontline health workers, the grocery store staff, delivery drivers. Thank you for your efforts to keep everyone healthy. We are all in this together.
My Statement on Government of Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
Yesterday the Government of Canada announced their COVID-19 economic response plan. For those who will qualify, this includes Emergency Care Benefit, Universal EI sickness benefits for COVID-19, ten percent wage supplement for small business owners, deferred student student loan payments for six months, GST credit increase, and a boost in Canada Child Benefits. I commend the Federal Government for providing some much needed relief for residents and I am grateful that this first round of emergency funding was announced so quickly as it helps to alleviate some fears.
I am grateful to hear the Minister of Finance say unequivocally that no options are off the table. I understand that yesterday’s announcement was just the beginning in terms of support for all Canadians, but especially those at most risk. Much more will need to be done to ensure that the gaps in the safety net are closed to prevent others from falling further behind. This is the work still ahead of us.
COVID-19 has shown us that the structural deficits in our health, social and financial institutions are more flawed than assumed. Individuals who have been held back by their socio-economic status and living in the margins already knew this but now everyone without exception is exposed to the health and financial risks.
Now is the time to take bold and visionary action. It’s critical that we act fast to expand social and economic support for all. Together we can end poverty, cancel student debt and keep public education free for all. It’s time to make housing truly a human right and end homelessness. Every Canadian, as a right of citizenship can be given a Universal Basic Income. It will be the most direct way of putting essential funds directly into the hands of Canadians, especially now when they need it the most.
Community Care in Ward 13
Today’s Community Care shout out goes to the incredible staff at The 519. Despite their building being closed, they are providing free ready-to-go meals 7 days a week on The 519 patio in front of FABARNAK Café.
Where: FABARNAK Cafe, 519 Church St
When: Monday to Friday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
They are also offering friendly phone or email check-in by The 519 staff, available once a week during Monday to Friday to check-in on how you are doing, and share information.
Please feel free to send us messages and the ways you are supporting your community at this time. I’ll be happy to promote it, space permitting, in our communication to the residents and business owners in Ward 13.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
City of Toronto Updates
The City of Toronto continues to scale back and/or modify the delivery of all non-essential services. This includes the cancellation of most City-operated programs and closure of many City facilities. Services and facility operations are tentatively scheduled to resume Sunday, April 5.
Other changes include:
TTC has implemented all-door boarding on all its vehicles.
- TTC fare enforcement officers will no longer being approaching riders to check for proof of payment amid the COVID-19 outbreak
Parking enforcement has been suspended for the following offenses:
- On-Street Permit Parking Areas
- On-Street Time Limit Offences such a 1, 2 and 3 Hour Parking
- North York Winter Maintenance Bylaw
- Expired Vehicle Validation License Plates
- Boulevard Parking
- School Zones with posted No Stopping/No Standing/No Parking Signage
Please continue to visit www.toronto.ca/covid-19 for the full list of affected services.
Province of Ontario Updates
There was an emergency sitting of the Ontario legislature today where they passed two bills aimed at helping workers and municipalities who are affected by COVID-19.
- Bill 186, Employment Standards Amendment provides job protection for employees unable to work.
- Bill 187, Municipal Emergency Act gives municipalities the ability to conduct Council and committee meetings electronically
Unfortunately neither of these bills speak to the rent deferral/relief we have asked for, a guarantee of paid work leave, and still requires some sort of "evidence" to take leave just not necessarily a medical note.
We will keep fighting for these important issues.
Government of Canada Updates
Yesterday the Government of Canada announced their COVID-19 economic response plan. For those who will qualify, this includes Emergency Care Benefit, Universal EI sickness benefits for COVID-19, ten percent wage supplement for small business owners, deferred student student loan payments for six months, GST credit increase, and a boost in Canada Child Benefits.
We know that there are a lot more details necessary to understand how these programs will roll out, and many residents are unsure how to access these benefits. As most of these announced benefits won’t be made available for a few weeks, we encourage anyone who has been laid off to apply for EI as normal:
- By accessing it on their CRA MyAccount secure portal;
- By accessing it from their secure My Service Canada Account; or
- By calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process.