Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 
Dear Neighbour,

The heroic efforts of some front-line workers were recognized with the Ontario government's announcement of temporary "pandemic pay". While certainly welcome, this long-overdue salary top-up excludes many critical workers (even with the expansion of the list yesterday). For example, healthcare workers at the COVID Assessment Centres and at Telehealth will not be getting the pay premium, despite their amazing contribution to keeping our community safe. The Ontario NDP is calling for pandemic pay to be retroactive to the Declaration of Emergency, and for more front-line workers to be eligible, in recognition of their sacrifice and hard work to keep us all safe. Please consider signing this petition if you agree. 

The federal government's updated COVID-19 modelling projections provide evidence that physical distancing and other measures are slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Canada. Tragically, the data also highlights how deadly the virus has been for seniors, with residents of long term care and senior homes accounting for 79% of all fatalities. Data released by the Ontario government shows that COVID-19 is taking a heavy toll on long-term care staff, who are becoming infected at twice the rate of the residents they care for. The Ontario NDP will continue to urge the Ontario government to do far more to protect seniors and long-term care workers and stop the outbreaks that are raging in seniors' care homes

As Ontario prepares for a cautious and phased reopening of the economy, the Premier announced a framework to guide decision-making. Preventing a second wave of the virus will require dramatically ramped up inspections and testing, as well as expanded access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for workplaces that are re-opening. Unfortunately, Ontario continues to have the lowest testing rate in the country and experts say we need much more testing before businesses can safely reopen.

With May 1 fast approaching, I continue to hear from London West small businesses about the urgent need for commercial rent subsidies to keep them afloat. Given the gaps in the Canada-Ontario commercial rent assistance program, the Ontario NDP will keep pushing the government for desperately-needed rent relief for small business, and other measures to help them survive the COVID-19 crisis.

Thanks as always for observing public health guidelines, and supporting each other to get through this challenging time. 

Take care, 

On April 28, I joined Londoners for a virtual ceremony hosted by the London District Labour Council to mark the International Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job. This solemn occasion is a time to mourn for those lost to preventable workplace tragedy and to fight for improved health and safety for all workers. It took on special significance in the face of this global pandemic, and I am proud of my colleague Wayne Gates, MPP for Niagara Falls, who will be tabling a bill to ensure that all essential workers have presumptive WSIB coverage for COVID-19
 

COVID-19 Government Updates

Child Care for Emergency Workers

The government announced that more essential workers will be eligible to receive free emergency child care during the COVID-19 outbreak, including people who work in the food supply chain, retirement homes, grocery stores and pharmacies, and certain federal employees, including the military.

With just three emergency child care providers currently open in London, the city is only accepting applications from front-line health care workers and emergency first responders (including Middlesex London Public Health).


COVID-19 and Hospital Capacity
 

The Financial Accountability Office released its preliminary review of the COVID-19 outbreak on hospital capacity. The report found that prior to the global pandemic, Ontario had a low number of hospital beds and higher occupancy rates compared to similar jurisdictions. It also showed that Ontario’s testing target is lagging. 

Research from Toronto’s University Health Network estimated that 35 people may have died during the COVID-19 pandemic because their cardiac surgeries were postponed.


Tackling the Barriers

The province has launched a new website where businesses can submit information about regulatory barriers they are facing as they respond to COVID-19. The website also contains a list of temporary regulatory changes that have already been implemented.


Framework for Reopening the Province

The province has released an outline of the criteria Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will use to advise the government on the loosening of emergency measures, as well as guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces. The framework also provides details of an outreach strategy, led by the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, to help inform the restart of the provincial economy.


School Closures Extended to May 31

The Minister of Education has announced that all publicly-funded schools will remain closed until at least May 31, 2020. Should schools be permitted to reopen, school employees will have access as of May 29, 2020. The province will convert all remaining PA days and examination days to instructional time, and will introduce an expanded summer learning program that will focus on credit recovery, supports for vulnerable students, and course upgrading.

If you are a parent, student or teacher, please contact me to share your experience with Learn at Home!


Pandemic Pay

Some of the province's essential workers will be eligible for temporary pandemic pay of $4/hour worked on top of their regular wages. In addition, the government will be providing monthly lump sum payments of $250 for four months to eligible frontline workers who work over 100 hours per month. The pandemic pay will be effective for 16 weeks, from April 24, 2020 until August 13, 2020.


Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Open

Businesses who may be eligible for the subsidy can apply online.


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

COVID-19 in London

Tourism London created this beautiful video celebrating our community's unity in the face of COVID-19, and looking forward to when we can return to the events and destinations that make London great.
 

Recovery & Rebuilding the Region Design Challenges

Libro Credit Union, Pillar Nonprofit Network and TechAlliance have issued a $20,000 design challenge to accelerate and scale select “Made in Southwestern Ontario” products, services and solutions, The designs must respond to immediate health and social issues or support economic recovery and community prosperity in our region. Successful applicants will receive financial support and coaching to help mobilize their ideas. 

 

Stay Safe & Be Kind

Londoners Charles Knott and Emily Jackson are raising funds for the London Food Bank and helping people thank essential workers by providing a sign you can display in your window or on your lawn. They also have downloadable graphics that you can use to thank essential workers online!

 

#masksoflove

King's University College is inviting volunteers to sew face masks as a part of their #masksoflove initiative. Donations will help guests of St. Joseph’s Hospitality Centre stay safe and protected during the pandemic.

 

STEM @ Home

Western Engineering has launched a new digital program that lines up with the elementary school curriculum in science, technology, engineering and math from kindergarten to grade 8 — all for free.

 

The Atrium Project

The Atrium Project is local initiative to make a difference in our community by connecting volunteers to deliver groceries and/or supplies to people at high risk of illness from Covid-19.
 

Neighbourhood Pods

The Urban League of London is helping residents start neighbourhood pods, groups of 5-30 people who are working to support each other. They have guides and templates to help you get started.

 

SPARK Ontario

SPARK Ontario is partnering with the Ontario government to connect volunteers with opportunities to support seniors, people with disabilities and other Ontarians requiring assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

All not-for-profit organizations supporting the response to COVID-19 can post volunteer opportunities at sparkontario.ca and people looking to volunteer can sign up and find ways to start helping quickly!

 

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

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.

** MLHU has made a major update to the local COVID-19 information available on their website, with more details regarding deaths, an epidemic curve, and charts of cases by report date and by lower-tier municipality. You can also see outbreak statistics by facility. ** 

You can also find updates regarding local health care response and procedure changes at London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph's Health Care.  

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.

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.

 
 

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.

 

**NEW RESOURCES**

Please check my website if you are looking for resources from previous newsletters.
 

Resources on Gender-Based Violence

The Western Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children has created a centralized hub for resources related to gender-based violence and the COVID-19 pandemic. It features the work of organizations across Canada, as well as key international research.

 

BounceBack

The Canadian Mental Health Association’s BounceBack is a free, guided self-help program for those aged 15 and up who may be dealing with mild-to-moderate anxiety or depression, or may be feeling low, stressed, worried, irritable or angry. Participants receive telephone coaching, skill-building workbooks and online videos to help them overcome these symptoms and gain new skills to regain positive mental health.

 

Mental Health Commission of Canada Resource Hub

Info on how to manage your mental health, work from home, and deal with social isolation during COVID-19.

 

Mental Health Fact Sheet

MHCC has also partnered with the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction to provide a fact sheet with tips and resources to help Canadians cope with stress, anxiety and substance use during COVID-19. 

 

Chatting to Wellness

To help combat the isolation that many seniors are feeling during COVID-19, Chatting to Wellness is pairing young volunteers with seniors to chat by phone every weekday night.