Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 
Dear Neighbour,

I know how difficult the last few weeks have been - whether you are coping with lay-off or a steep reduction of hours, adjusting to new work-at-home arrangements, or taking leave from your jobs to care for your children. You may be a small business owner, anxious whether your business can survive. You may be a senior living alone or someone who is immuno-compromised, fearful every time you step outside. If you have school-aged children, you are trying to manage unfamiliar distance learning. If you have parents or loved ones in long-term care, you worry constantly about their safety.

Physical distancing is hard, but it has never been more important. It can't be repeated too often: we are all in this together. By staying home, we can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. 

Of course, many Londoners can't stay home. They work in healthcare, in community services, in long-term care. They are grocery store cashiers, gas station attendants, cleaners, food handlers. LCBO workers, transit drivers, manufacturing workers, and more. These essential workers deserve our ongoing appreciation and support, as well as rigorous workplace protections, including PPE where necessary. They are the true heroes of this pandemic and we can't thank them enough. 

With the Easter weekend coming up and good weather beckoning us outside, please follow the advice of Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie on safely taking walks. Anyone who has recently travelled outside Canada or had contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus must remain indoors until quarantine or self-isolation is over. Everyone else should take every possible precaution to only walk outside where a two metre (six feet) distance from others can be maintained. The City of London will be enforcing physical distancing on walk-through trails and pathways.

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!
 

Reducing Risk in Long-Term Care & Home Care

I have previously shared some of the changes that have been made by the Ontario government to protect long-term care residents and staff from the spread of COVID-19. Today the Official Opposition called on the government to do more. Our aging parents and grandparents must be protected, and their families need to know that they are safe.

Unfortunately, Ontario's long-term care and home care sector was already facing decades of underfunding and understaffing before the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the pandemic began, there have been at least 36 outbreaks in long term care homes in the province.

We are urging the government to make additional changes and investments, including:

  • Aggressively recruiting home care and long-term care staff
  • Mandating that more staff be scheduled on each shift in each long-term care home
  • Immediately increasing 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)
  • Assigning each staff member to one facility only and ensuring they have full-time hours, to eliminate the potential for staff to transmit COVID-19 to other facilities, ending all exceptions
  • Standardizing visitor policies province-wide to prevent COVID-19 transmission from visitors and volunteers, seeking Public Health determination on the safest policy
  • Mandating that home care workers wear personal protective equipment — including gloves and a surgical mask — for every home visit, to avoid transmission from one vulnerable client to another, and mandating long-term care staff wear PPE any time they’re with residents
  • Creating a caregiver fund to support families that choose to care for their loved one at home

When the legislature resumes, we must evaluate and resolve the chronic underfunding and understaffing of long-term care and home care. But the time to leap into action to save more residents has to come today.

 

COVID-19 Government Updates

Support for Families

Families can apply here for the Support for Families benefit, a one-time payment of $200 per child up to age 12, and $250 per child with special needs up to age 21. 

Parents who received Support for Parents payments through direct deposit during the recent education strikes will be automatically eligible for this financial support and do not need to submit a new application.

 

Increased Testing at London Assessment Centres

With more testing kits available, as well as more staff, the Middlesex-London Health Unit has announced that London's two COVID-19 assessment centres will be conducting more tests. The criteria for testing will be expanded so that people who have symptoms that could be coronavirus, and who also have underlying significant illnesses that might put them at higher risk, will be tested.

 

New Health Workforce Matching Portal

The Ontario government has launched a new online portal to connect trained healthcare workers with available positions. Employers and interested health care professionals can visit the portal here and create a profile. Once registered, professionals can add their availability and employers can enter their request for support. Registrants will receive an email notification if matched.

Retired or non-active health care professionals, internationally educated health care professionals, students, and volunteers with health care experience are invited to register.

 

Emergency Childcare Now Available in London

Essential frontline workers who have no other alternatives for childcare may now apply for Emergency Licensed Child Care services through the City of London.   

 

AgFood Jobs

A new Ontario.ca/AgFoodJobs web portal helps connect workers with employers looking to fill positions in the agri-food sector. This online tool is intended to make it easier to match people to essential jobs and training resources throughout the provincial food supply chain.

 

Short-Term Rental and Real Estate Updates

Short term rentals, such as those booked through AirBnB and similar services, may only be provided to individuals who are in need of housing during the emergency period. This does not apply to hotels, motels or student residences.

Real estate open house events are prohibited.   

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

Can I take a leave of absence from work?

Ontario's infectious disease emergency leave provides job protection for employees who are covered by the Employment Standards Act and who are unable to work for the following reasons:

  • The employee is under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19.
  • The employee is acting in accordance with an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
  • The employee is in isolation or quarantine in accordance with public health information or direction.
  • The employer directs the employee not to work due to a concern that COVID-19 could be spread in the workplace.
  • The employee needs to provide care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19 such as a school or day-care closure.
  • The employee is prevented from returning to Ontario because of travel restrictions.

Most employees and employers in Ontario are covered by the provisions in this legislation, whether they work full-time, part-time, are students, temporary help agency assignment employees, or casual workers. The legislation does not apply to people in sectors that fall under federal jurisdiction, including employees working for banks, airports, inter-provincial and international rail, and federal crown corporations.

If you or your employer are unsure whether you are eligible for this leave, you should contact the Employment Standards Information Centre at 1-800-531-5551.

If you are a member of a union, you should contact your union representative for guidance.

 

What if I feel unsafe on the job?

Workplaces that remain open must follow the advice, recommendations and instructions of public health officials, including any advice, recommendations or instructions on physical distancing, cleaning or disinfecting.

If your workplace is allowed to remain open as an essential workplace, but you believe it is not taking proper precautions to protect worker health and safety, you can contact the Ministry of Labour Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008 or you can file a complaint online.

If you feel unsafe at work because your age or an underlying health condition makes you a high risk individual with regard to COVID-19, you may be eligible for the infectious disease emergency leave (see above). 

 
If you have contacted the Employment Standards Information Centre and/or the Health and Safety Contact Centre, or your union, and you are still unsure of your rights, please contact my office, and we will try to help you. Note that we are not open to in-person visits, so please call 519-657-3120 or email psattler-co@ndp.on.ca for assistance.
 

COVID-19 in London

Rogers TV London Daily Media Updates 

Catch up on the latest COVID-19 developments at Rogers TV London, through virtual media briefings from City of London Mayor Ed Holder and Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie. 
 

Diabetes Canada Donation Bins are Closed

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of non-essential services, the pick-up of all textile donations by Diabetes Canada from home and donation bins across Canada stopped on March 23. The accumulation of donations at bins is posing a health and safety hazard. Please do not make bin donations until business resumes.
 

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.

 

National COVID-19 Volunteer Recruitment

The Government of Canada is working with provincial and territorial governments to respond to COVID-19. They are seeking volunteers to help with case tracking and contact tracing, health system surge capacity, and case data collection and reporting. Apply online.

 

Local Delivery Map

The London Police Association and AM 980 CFPL have teamed up to provide a Local Delivery Display Map, showing locally-owned businesses that are currently offering delivery in the area.

 
 

Neighbours Supporting Neighbours
 

Londoners are offering each other 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). 

 

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

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.

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.