Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 
Dear Neighbour,

There is no question that NOW is the most crucial time to limit the spread of COVID-19. Modelling data released by the Ontario government shows the different scenarios based on whether physical distancing measures in place, with an estimated 3,000 to 15,000 deaths. The data couldn’t make things any clearer: it has never been more important to stay home to keep our loved ones, friends and neighbours safe. By observing strict physical distancing and frequent hand washing, we can determine which scenario we will follow, and significantly reduce the number of deaths and hospitalizations due to COVID-19. 

This week I heard from many London health care workers and their family members about alarmingly low supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), as reported by CTV, CBC London, and the London Free Press. I stand with all Ontarians in expressing my deepest gratitude to these dedicated and selfless professionals for their commitment to patients during such a challenging time. Those serving on the front lines of this unprecedented global pandemic deserve a health care system that will do everything possible to ensure their protection,. 

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has formally called on the provincial government to improve supports and protections for health care workers by taking the following actions:

  1. Issue an emergency order to ensure workers can have personal protective equipment, by legally protecting their right to determine  – based on their professional and clinical judgement – when they require access to personal protective equipment like masks.
  2. Issue an emergency order to require all organizations to donate personal protective equipment they are not using.
  3. Immediately increase Personal Support Worker (PSW) pay to $22, aggressively ramp up recruitment efforts to get more staff into seniors' care homes, and create a retention fund for PSWs. This recognizes that many trained PSWs are not working in home care or long-term care because of underpaying and understaffing. More staff will give workers in long-term care and home care time to care for people, and to take necessary precautions with virus containment protocols. 
  4. Give health care workers mental health supports by investing $5 million in the provision of round-the-clock, emergency mental health care for health care workers. Presumptive WSIB coverage should also be available for frontline health care workers whose mental or physical health is affected by COVID-19.
  5. Scale up free child care centres for health care workers now, with centres located near hospitals, long-term care homes, COVID-19 assessment centres and other health care facilities, and with rigorous cleaning, disinfecting and physical distancing protocols in place. 
  6. Cancel all parking fees at hospitals and other health care facilities for staff and patients. 
If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact my office. My staff and I are working from home but remain fully available to help by phone (519-657-3120) and email (psattler-co@ndp.on.ca). 

Take care, 

Please Note: Telephone networks are being pushed to their limits and at times they are failing or unreliable. If you call my office or any government number, and the call does not connect, please keep trying!
 

If you need to find access to mental health support, food services, financial assistance or more, dial 2-1-1. Their community navigators are available any time day or night, and can provide help in more than 150 languages. To find support specific to COVID-19, you can also visit www.211covid19.ca.

Services for Victims of Violence and Abuse

For most of us, home is a place of safety. During times of crisis and economic uncertainty, however, rates of child abuse and domestic violence often rise. With COVID-19 shutting down schools and daycares, and many Ontarians staying at home, women and children can be at greater risk.

Even while self-isolating and physical distancing, it is vitally important that supports are available for women, children and families. Those in need of crisis support can contact ANOVA’s 24-hour support line or the Assaulted Women’s Helpline. Locally, ANOVA and the London Abused Women's Centre continue to offer support to women facing violence while taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The London Children's Aid Society remains open to respond to concerns about children or youth in need of protection.  

For young people who need to reach out, Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 by phone (1-800-668-6868) or text (text CONNECT to 686868)

 

COVID-19 Government Updates

New Workplace Closures

Effective Saturday, April 4 at 11:59pm, more Ontario workplaces will be required to close. Only those businesses listed by the government as essential may remain open. The full list is available here

Additional businesses are required to close and others are restricted to providing services by alternate methods such as curb side pick up and delivery, except in exceptional circumstances. Notably, parts of the construction industry will now be shut down, cannabis sales will be online only, and stores selling hardware products, vehicle parts and supplies, pet and animal supplies, office supplies and computer products (including computer repair) and safety supplies will be limited to delivery or curb-side pickup only. 

See the full list here. If you’re a business owner with questions about the status of your business, call the government’s Stop the Spread Business Information hotline at 1-888-444-3659 (8:30am-9pm Monday-Friday, and 8:30am-5pm Saturday and Sunday).

 

Oakridge Assessment Centre Closed on Weekends

The Oakridge Arena COVID-19 Assessment Centre’s hours of operation are changing. The Assessment Centre will no longer be open weekends but will continue to offer assessment services Monday to Friday from 11am to 7pm. The COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre (CHOCC), located at 656 Elizabeth Street in London, will remain open seven days a week from 11am to 7pm.  Assessment Centres allow people to be seen by a healthcare provider for COVID-19 related concerns, rather than visiting an Emergency Department, Urgent Care Centre or their family doctor. 

 

CERB Applications Open April 6

Applications for the federal government's Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which is available to people who have stopped working as a result of COVID-19, are open this Monday April 6. For more information about the benefit, visit the government of Canada webpage. 

To help manage the anticipated volume of CERB applications applications, the CRA has set up specific days for people to apply. 

  • If you were born in January, February, or March, you should apply for CERB on Mondays. Your best day to apply is April 6.
  • If you were born in April, May, or June, you should apply for CERB on Tuesdays. Your best day to apply is April 7.
  • If you were born in July, August, or September, you should apply for CERB on Wednesdays. Your best day to apply is April 8.
  • If you were born in October, November, or December, you should apply for CERB on Thursdays. Your best day to apply is April 9.
  • Anybody may apply on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays.
 

Supporting Truck Drivers

Truck drivers play a vital role in keeping our grocery store shelves stocked, and ensuring other essential items arrive where and when they are needed. The province is calling on all business owners to support truck drivers when they are stopping to rest, get gas or use washrooms. This will better keep our truck drivers safe and healthy and on the road. 

The province is also providing more safe places for truck drivers to stop and rest by keeping all 23 ONroute travel plazas open for take-out, grab and go and drive-through services, including washrooms with enhanced cleaning, and by providing portable washrooms at 32 truck inspection stations so trucks have a place to stop and rest safely.

 

Access to COVID-19 Test Results

Ontario has launched a new online portal for the public to access their COVID-19 lab test results. By offering faster and secure access to test results on their computer or mobile device, this portal will help ease pressures on public health units and frontline workers to provide this information so that they can better focus on containing COVID-19.

 

COVID-19 Mental Health Supports

To address the toll that COVID-19 is taking on our mental health, new and enhanced online and virtual mental health supports are available: 

  • ConnexOntario at 1-866-531-2600 provides mental health, addictions and problem gambling support for those over 18
  • Good2Talk is a free, confidential mental health support service for postsecondary students with 24/7 professional counselling and information and referrals for mental health, addictions and well-being 
  • BounceBack helps adults and youth over 15 manage mild to moderate depression and anxiety, stress or worry through a guided self-help program using workbooks and phone coaching support
  • Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 by phone (1-800-668-6868) or text (text CONNECT to 686868) for youth struggling to cope
Ontarians currently receiving mental health and addictions services and supports should contact their current service provider to learn about potential virtual care options.
The response to COVID-19 is evolving rapidly, so please refer to linked sources and official websites for the most up-to-date information.
 

Common Questions

I received an eviction notice. Do I have to move out?

Your landlord can still give you an eviction notice if you did not pay your rent or for other reasons. That does not mean you have to leave your home, however, since new eviction orders are not being issued by the Landlord and Tenant Board, and existing orders are not being enforced. For information about what to do if your landlord has given you an eviction notice visit https://stepstojustice.ca/covid-19-housing-law.

Your landlord is never allowed to charge you any penalty for late rent, or change the locks on your unit or disconnect services because your rent is late or unpaid. If your landlord has done any of these things, you can:

  1. Call the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit (RHEU) at 1-888-772-9277 or MHO.RHEU.Info@Ontario.ca. They may be able to contact your landlord to discuss it, and sometimes this can solve the problem.
  2. Try to get legal help. If you can't afford a lawyer or paralegal, you can call Neighbourhood Legal Services at 519-438-2890 or info@nlslm.com. Leave a detailed message so the right caseworker can get back to you.
  3. Contact the London Police Service non-emergency line at 519-661-5670 if you are locked out or if your landlord is trying to physically remove you or your possessions.

If you need housing, please contact the City of London Housing Services Division (Housing Access Centre) at 519-661-0861 or hac@london.ca.

 
 

How do I report a violation of a COVID-19 order?

While most Londoners are working very hard to flatten the curve and limit the spread of COVID-19, we are still hearing about gatherings larger than five people and businesses remaining open. If you have concerns that people are not following COVID-19 orders in the City of London, do not call the police!

Instead, please email the City at COVIDOrderConcerns@london.ca (email monitored 24/7) or call 519-661-4660 (phone line monitored Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm).

Report concerns about:

  • Non-essential businesses that are not closed
  • Activities taking place at closed outdoor structures including playgrounds, multi-use courts and skate parks
  • Residents that are gathering in large groups
  • Individuals who are not following federal quarantine orders after travelling
 

Help Fight COVID-19 in London

Donate Personal Protective Equipment

The London Health Sciences Foundation needs your help. If you have masks, gowns, goggles, gloves, face shields, or sanitizer, please donate them for use by health care workers. Even if you only have a few items, you can donate them.

 

Support Our Health Care Heroes

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is encouraging everyone to join in and actively show our support for health care workers and other essential service providers. At 7:30pm each night, Londoners are stepping outside or opening a window, then MAKING SOME NOISE to cheer up and cheer on our front-line workers. Applaud, bang pots and pans, sign a song, or honk your horn! Share a picture or video of your household cheering for font line workers with the #TogetherWeCanDoIt and #Cheer4HealthWorkers hashtags on social media.

 

Give Blood

Canadian Blood Services still needs blood donations. Please call 1-888-2-DONATE or visit blood.ca to book an appointment. Precautions are being taken at blood donation clinics to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please do not visit a clinic unless you have an appointment.

 

Support Food Banks

The London Food Bank has launched its first ever Virtual Food Drive. The Food Bank remains open with precautionary measures in place. Donors and volunteers are still needed to meet increased demand for support in our community.

 
 

Neighbours Supporting Neighbours
 

Londoners are offering each help and support through groups like Caremongering London, the London Volunteer Task Force (for non-contact volunteer grocery delivery), GroceryHero (volunteer delivery service to help frontline medical professionals, Med Students for Healthcare Workers (providing childcare and errands for healthcare workers), and Support London Businesses (a listing of local businesses). 

Goodwill Industries and Progressive Fluids are teaming up to produce and distribute hand sanitizer. Progressive Fluids is looking to move its operation to London within a year, and already working with partners in our community!

Schulich School of Medicine and the Middlesex-London Health Unit are working together on COVID-19 case and contact tracing. 30 medical students joined the project this week, and 30 more will join next week!

Join the Fight Against COVID-19 

The Ontario Together website was launched to help businesses and their employees work with the province to meet the challenges of COVID-19. Businesses and organizations who can supply emergency equipment and innovative solutions are invited to submit proposals.  

The government is also seeking to hire experienced health care providers who may be retired or working part-time to help support provincial efforts to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19. Apply here

 

Reliable Sources of Information

ontario.ca/coronavirus - Find information about COVID-19 symptoms, how to protect yourself, and an information sheet that is available in multiple languages. You can also use the Ministry of Health's interactive online assessment tool if you think you may have symptoms of COVID-19.

Middlesex-London Health Unit - Find local information about COVID-19 and what is being done locally to prevent and prepare for a potential outbreak in London, and information about assessing your own symptoms. You can also find updates regarding local health care response and procedure changes at London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph's Health Care.  

london.ca/covid-19 - Updates on city services and programming impacted by COVID-19.

Canada.ca/coronavirus - Information from the Public Health Agency of Canada, and updates on the national response, travel advice and preparedness.  

travel.gc.ca - Important travel updates regarding Coronavirus around the world.

 

Helpful Resources

School Mental Health Ontario - A resource on how to support student mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, including information and tools for parents.

CBC - Coronavirus London Updates - Local advisories and updates, as well as a listing of what's closed or cancelled, and what remains open in London.

LifeSpin Community Resources - LifeSpin is maintaining a list of resources and programs that are available to Londoners, especially those living in poverty, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Children's Resources - The Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies has compiled a list of COVID-19 specific resources for children, youth, and families.

TVDBS Learn at Home - A working list of online learning resources to support students and families, including links to external sites for all grades as well as a description of each resource.

Pro Bono Ontario (PBO) - Providing free legal assistance to low-income Ontarians for their everyday legal problems via the Free Legal Advice Hotline, and have resources to help answer legal questions related to COVID-19 shut-downs. Dial 1-855-255-7256 Monday – Friday from 9:30 am – 11:30 am and 1:00 – 3:30 pm.