Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 
Dear Neighbour,

Like many of you, I’ve been heartbroken hearing the news about how COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire through long-term care homes and group homes serving seniors and adults with disabilities. We are judged as a society on how we treat the most vulnerable, and this pandemic is exposing our failure to adequately do so. 

While measures were announced by the government to address this crisis, we are concerned about the time it will take to implement the new restrictions, which should have been in place weeks ago. We cannot waste a second longer, and we cannot allow huge loopholes to undermine protections. Equally troubling, the government's plan does not address one of biggest challenges in the long-term care sector: continuing low wages for PSWs and the lack of full-time employment.  

Ontario remains one of the few provinces that is not providing direct financial assistance to residents who are struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the return of the Legislature this week for a brief afternoon session, the Official Opposition called for emergency measures to help students, people on social assistance, and other low-wage workers. These measures include topping up ODSP/OW benefits by $300 per month, not clawing back any federal benefits for social assistance recipients, and supplementary student grants for students who can’t find summer jobs. 

As some small businesses face eviction for non-payment of commercial leases, we continue to urge the government to act now to support small and medium business owners. Reports that the federal government will expand access to loans and help with commercial rents is welcome, but it may not help new businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs, and may come too late for many. The Official Opposition will continue to advocate for our Save Main Street plan to keep these businesses afloat.   

As always, 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, 

My last newsletter highlighted the NDP's call for a 50 percent reduction in auto insurance rates, Many thanks to Suzanne Pountney of the London Insurance Brokers Association, who pointed out that some London drivers have obtained reduced rates for no longer using their vehicle to drive to work, or only putting road coverage on one of their vehicles. Talk to your insurance professional today about your options!
 

Learn at Home

The government announced this week that students will NOT be returning to school on May 4 with more information to be provided in the coming days. By now, students and their parents will have had an opportunity to experience learning at home and I'd love to hear your views. Are the government's plans for students meeting the needs of your family? Are students able to complete necessary work? How do they feel about the workload, and the fact that they are being assigned grades? 

If you’re an education worker, I am interested in your perspective on this new way of teaching and learning, and what it means for how you support your students. Do you have the tools you need to deliver the best educational experience you can under the circumstances?

Please drop me a line at psattler-co@ndp.on.ca to share your thoughts!

 

COVID-19 Government Updates

Declaration of Emergency Extended to May 12

The Ontario Legislature has extended the COVID-19  Declaration of Emergency until May 12. This means that all emergency orders remain in effect, including the closure of non-essential workplaces, outdoor amenities like playgrounds, and bars and restaurants. It also means continued restrictions on gathering of more than 5 people and prohibitions against price-gouging.  

 

Long-Term Care Changes

New rules were issued to limit staff who work at long-term care (LTC) facilities to work at just one long-term care home, health care facility, or retirement residence. However, the rules don’t come into effect for another week (not until April 22) and include a dangerous loophole, since they allow temp agency workers, who make up a large proportion of the long-term care workforce, to continue working at multiple locations.

 

Expanded CERB Eligibility

Criteria to qualify for the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit will now include those earning less than $1,000 per month These changes are intended to help contract, gig and seasonal workers, and those who have exhausted EI.

 

Auto Insurance Rebates

Auto insurance companies will be have the option of providing auto insurance premium rebates to consumers for up to 12 months after the declared emergency has ended. 

 
The response to COVID-19 is evolving rapidly, so please refer to linked sources and official websites for the most up-to-date information.
 
 


Updated on a daily basis, the Steps to Justice site gives answers to more than 80 COVID-19 legal questions, including questions about emergency benefits assistance, Employment Insurance, being evicted for non-payment of rent, and what to do about urgent family law problems with the courts.

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.

Ontario Legal Information Centre (OLIC) - Offering free 30-minute consultations with lawyers over the phone to anyone living in Ontario. Call 1-844-343-7462, and leave a message. A lawyer will call back within 2 business days. OLIC is also offering public legal information sessions on various legal subjects, including how to start a not for profit, how to navigate Landlord Tenant Board, Wills and Powers of Attorney, and governments social service options in response to COVID-19.

 

COVID-19 in London

City of London Garbage and Recycling Pick-up

The City of London allows residents to put out more than the three container limit on specific days. Exemptions scheduled in April and early May will proceed as planned, but the City asks that Londoners to only use the exemption if it is necessary. Check the collection calendar to see when your household is exempted.

Help Keep Collectors Safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community by following a few simple recommendations:

  • try to reduce your waste 
  • hold on to bulky waste like furniture, mattresses, and couches during this time, as these heavy, bulky items are a challenge for collectors and require extra time to manage safely
  • bag all used tissues and napkins, and place them in the garbage—do not place waste loosely in garbage containers
  • if you or someone in your household is feeling unwell, place items that have been in contact with your mouth, nose or eyes into a bag and then into the garbage — this includes items that you normally place into your Blue Box such as plastic bottles, pop cans and milk or juice containers.
  • respect physical distancing with Sanitation and Recycling Operators and do not approach the vehicle or operator

Please click here to review more information from the City of London, including limitations on EnviroDepot services and the closure of the Household Special Waste Depot.

 

Big shout-out to London's Can-Am RV Centre for offering free mobile homes for front-line workers so they don't have to worry about taking COVID-19 home to their families.14 homes have already been delivered and six more are set to go out this week.

Local healthcare leaders have created covid19checkup.ca, a website that will help you assess your symptoms and connect you to a primary care provider if necessary.

The Forest City Youth Film Festival will be hosting free online seminars featuring industry experts starting April 22, 2020. Students and educators can tune to learn more about tech, storytelling, arts and film. Submissions are also open now for the 2020 Youth Film Festival, which will take place in October—online if necessary.

The London District Catholic School Board has been delivering extra supplies to the London Health Sciences Foundation. So far, they have donated five skids of items, plus a rack full of gloves! Thank you to the LDCSB staff working to make these valuable items available to healthcare workers.

 
 

Neighbours Supporting Neighbours

Thank you to Tech Alliance CEO Christina Fox for adding London Delivers to our list, a Facebook group started in Oakridge to connect people who are self-isolating with small businesses that are delivering food. 

If you hear about other neighbourhood initiatives for Londoners to help and support each other through these difficult times, please let me know so I share them!
 

 

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.

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.

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.

City of London Supports for Basic Needs - Comprehensive list of community services and contact information for people who need help with basic needs