Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 
Dear Neighbour,

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians have stayed together by staying apart. This weekend the country came together for another reason - to share the pain and grief of Nova Scotians in the wake of a horrific mass shooting. We salute the brave first responders who lost their lives in this senseless act of violence, and mourn with all who lost loved ones. 

On the COVID-19 front there is mixed news. The province released its latest modelling data and there are some encouraging signs, including the fact that COVID-19 appears to have peaked in Ontario. The likely number of cases stands at 20,000, much lower than the expected 80,000 thanks to physical distancing measures. 

At the same time, the virus has exposed the flaws in our long-term care system, retirement homes, and assisted living centres for seniors and people with disabilities. The death toll continues to rise there, and it breaks our hearts.  As of April 20, the Middlesex-London Health Unit reports active COVID-19 outbreaks at six local long-term care homes and two retirement homes, with a total of 58 residents and 29 staff confirmed positive. The current outbreak at Grand Wood Park Retirement Residence, affecting 16 residents and five staff, is the largest single outbreak at a seniors' care facility in the London area. 

Although the curve has flattened in Ontario, it is currently plateaued, and we cannot afford to let down our guard. Before we can start to reopen the economy, a strong testing and contact tracing regime must be in place. But ramping up COVID-19 testing and contact tracing is an area of provincial responsibility where Ontario continues to lag.

Let’s continue our work to physically distance, flatten the curve, and never forget the most vulnerable among us. Together we will get through this. 

Take care,

Thanks to Byron residents Catherine and Larry Morrison for their efforts with Scrub Caps for Ontario Frontline Workers.  Donated fabric, elastic and thread are waiting for area sewers to volunteer. Patterns are precut and ready to sew! Contact memorymakers21@icloud.com to get involved.  
 

April is BeADonor Month

 One organ donor can save up to 8 lives and enhance as many as 75 lives through tissue donation.

Today, there are more than 1,600 men, women and children in Ontario waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. Every 3 days, someone in Ontario dies a preventable death waiting for a transplant. You are 5 times more likely to need an organ than to donate one.

It takes less than 2 minutes to register as an organ and tissue donor online at beadonor.ca.

 

COVID-19 Government Updates

Federal Wage Subsidy

The federal government announced that businesses can start applying for the federal wage subsidy starting Monday April 27, using a new CRA calculator to see what they qualify for.  

 

CERB Social Assistance Clawbacks

The Ontario government announced that federal CERB benefits will be treated as earned income for social assistance benefits in Ontario. This means that any $1 a household receives from the CERB benefit — because a member of the household has lost their job due to COVID-19 — social assistance benefits will be reduced by either 50 cents or $1. The federal government specifically requested all provinces to exempt CERB benefits from any clawbacks, recognizing that the most vulnerable need more support during this difficult time, not less.

 

Services for Seniors

A new service was launched to to help deliver meals, medicines and other essentials to those in need. Existing Meals on Wheels services and other programs will be expanded to reach more low-income seniors and people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions. Visit www.ontariocommunitysupport.ca for information. Those without Internet access or who require service in a language other than English or French, can dial 211 or 1-877-330-3213 (toll free). TTY service is also available by calling 1-888-340-1001.

 

Seasonal Campgrounds

Seasonal campgrounds, previously not permitted to be open, may now operate in order to accommodate trailers and recreational vehicles, but only for people who do not have another residence in Canada and are in need of housing during the emergency period.

 

Retirement Residences

New rules were issued to limit staff who work at retirement residences to work at just one long-term care home, health care facility, or retirement residence. This is the same rule that was previously applied to long-term care home staff. It also includes the same dangerous loophole, allowing temp agency workers to continue working at multiple locations.

 

Emergency Childcare

The government of Ontario has expanded the list of essential workers who are eligible for emergency childcare. The full list is available here.

 
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.

 

Neighbours Supporting Neighbours

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.

Covid19checkup.ca - This website will help you assess symptoms and connect you to a primary care provider if necessary.

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