Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 
Dear Neighbour,

On this first Saturday of Ramadan, when Muslims around the world would normally gather at community iftars, I want to wish London's Muslim community a joyous and blessed month of Ramadan. Although we cannot join you in person, we celebrate and appreciate the contributions of Muslim friends and neighbours to make London a more inclusive and welcoming city. 

This week COVID-19 emergency orders were extended in Ontario until May 6, which means the continued closures of outdoor amenities in parks and recreational areas, non-essential workplaces, public places, bars and restaurants, and restrictions on social gatherings. There are signs of cautious optimism ahead however, and some new supports to help more Ontarians survive the COVID-19 crisis.

The federal government announced a comprehensive package of financial measures for post-secondary students, as well as commercial rent subsidies in partnership with the provinces. While the rent subsidies will assist many small and medium sized businesses, the Official Opposition is concerned that it comes too late for businesses that have already closed their doors, and relies too much on commercial landlords to administer, And with May 1 just around the corner, there has been no announcement of rent subsidies to help tenants get through the pandemic.

The new remains grim on the long-term care front, with the Canadian military called in to support five Ontario long-term care homes hit hard by outbreaks of COVID-19. Unfortunately, Ontario nurses had to take their government to court to uphold their right to access Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in long-term care homes. The Ontario Superior Court ruled in favour of The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) and its members working in long-term care facilities, ordering four long-term care homes (including Henley Place in London) to provide workers with PPE including N95 masks and the right to wear them. 

As we head into another weekend of physical distancing, we offer our ongoing thanks to all the front-line heroes who are helping us through this crisis. Remember to be kind, be calm, and stay safe .We are in this together.  

Take care,

Please be wary of any unsolicited phone calls, text messages, or emails about COVID-19. There is a growing number of scams, phishing emails, and malware that uses COVID-19 as a lure. Some of the most common are:
  • text messages offering free face masks 
  • emails that appear to be from the World Health Organization or a government agency
  • messages that say you must click a link to deposit government funds
  • fake links to online videoconferencing platforms
You can report a scam or fraud to Consumer Protection Ontario.
 

COVID-19 Government Updates

COVID-19 Research

The federal government is committing more than $1 billion to support a national medical research strategy to fight COVID-19 that includes clinical trials into vaccines, treatments, and tracking of the virus. A multidisciplinary team of Western University researchers is part of the global effort to curb the spread of the virus.

 

Support for Agri-Food Sector

The Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative will help food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations expand online, providing consumers with greater access to a wide variety of food and agriculture products.

 

Community Gardens Reopening

Thanks to the advocacy of gardeners across Ontario, the government has rescinded the closure of community gardens in recognition of the vital importance of community gardens and allotment gardens as an essential source of fresh food for some individuals and families, including those who face food insecurity. The reopening of Ontario's community gardens will be directed by local medical officers of health, who will provide advice, recommendation and instructions that the gardens must meet in order to operate, such as physical distancing, and cleaning and disinfecting commonly used equipment and surfaces.

 

Ontario Parks Closed to May 31

Ontario's provincial parks and conservation reserves will be closed until May 31, 2020. This includes car camping, backcountry camping, roofed accommodations, day use opportunities, access points and all public buildings. Provincial parks and conservation reserves will continue to remain fully closed to all recreational activities.

 

Commercial Rent Relief

The government of Canada announced a new commercial commercial rent subsidy program, to be funded jointly with the provinces. The new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA) will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing rent shortfalls because their tenants have been impacted by COVID-19. Owners will be required to reduce the rental costs of small business tenants for April, May and June by at least 75 per cent and commit to a moratorium on evictions for three months.

 

Support for Students

Students will be eligible to receive a Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) of $1,250 a month from May 1 to the end of August, or $1,750 for students with a disability or caregiving responsibilities. The CESB is available for students who are currently in school, planning to start in September 2020 or have graduated since December 2019. More details will be made available soon. The package also includes an incentive for students who volunteer in COVID-19 relief efforts.

 

Support for Vulnerable Residents

Ontario announced new measures to support residents and staff in vulnerable settings like homeless shelters and homes for adults with developmental disabilities.

The Official Opposition has been calling on the government to immediately increase measures to save lives in these vulnerable sites, and to make a plan to ensure Ontarians with disabilities are no longer excluded from access to testing and treatment.

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

Find Government Benefits

The CBC has created an online hub of benefits the federal government, provinces and territories are offering to people financially affected by the coronavirus. By answering a few simple questions, you can find out which benefits are available to you.

 

COVID-19 in London

Locorum London created this amazing video about how Londoners are responding to COVID-19 as a community.
 

Tenant Webinar

The London Poverty Research Centre, in coordination with the London Tenants' Association, is hosting a webinar on Tuesday April 28 at 7pm.

The live Q&A webinar will feature three panelists including:

Aularie O'Malley, Staff Lawyer at Neighborhood Legal Services
Betsy Esbaugh, Licensed Paralegal at Neighborhood Legal Services
Ian Dantzer, eview Counsel at Western Law.

*Please note that the webinar will NOT provide legal advice, but general information about housing law*

Facebook Event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/266438371416386/  

Livestream links:
Facebook: bitly.com/apr28-fb-tenant-town-hall
YouTube: bitly.com/apr28-yt-tenant-town-hall  

 

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