Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 
Dear Neighbour,

With spring weather brightening our spirits, the government announced that a small number of businesses will be permitted to open beginning this Monday. The opening of garden centres and nurseries for curbside pickup and delivery is especially welcome.

As the economy gradually begins to reopen, the Official Opposition will continue to call for clear rules around worker and customer safety to ensure peoples' lives are not put at risk. We are also pushing for strengthened protections for workers who refuse to do unsafe work. It is concerning that more than 200 workers fearful of contracting COVID-19 at their workplace filed work refusals, yet not a single one was upheld by the Ministry of Labour.

Safely reopening the economy relies on significantly ramped up testing, yet Ontario has not been able to meet targets for increased COVID-19 tests, even when those targets have been lowered. It also requires access to PPE, especially for those workers most at risk. This has been a problem since the very beginning of this crisis, and we are still hearing about health care workers at long-term care facilities without the PPE they need. After a second Personal Support Worker (PSW) tragically died of COVID-19, her union highlighted the failure of PPE protocols and government directives in protecting PSWs who work in home care, long-term care and hospital settings. The NDP will continue to push for new measures to protect long-term care residents and staff

I hope you enjoy the glorious weekend sun, while continuing to observe physical distancing guidelines. Even as restrictions ease, we must not let down our guard to prevent a resurgence of the virus.  

Stay safe and take care, 

 


Long-Term Care Investigation

The Patent Ombudsman is asking staff, family members, caregivers and residents to disclose situations where they feel the safety of long-term care home residents and staff may be in significant jeopardy.

Reported safety concerns in long-term care homes have included
  • Severe staffing shortages;
  • Inadequate infection control and prevention measures;
  • Inability to meet the basic care needs for some residents; and
  • Poor or no communication.

Anyone with relevant information about COVID-19 issues in Ontario’s long-term care homes is encouraged to make a complaint online or call 1-888-321-0339.

 

COVID-19 Government Updates

Certain Businesses Reopening May 4

As of May 4, under strict safety guidelines, the following businesses will be permitted to begin operations:

  • Garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery only
  • Lawn care and landscaping
  • Additional essential construction projects that include:
    • shipping and logistics
    • broadband, telecommunications, and digital infrastructure
    • any other project that supports the improved delivery of goods and services
    • municipal projects
    • colleges and universities
    • child care centres
    • schools
    • site preparation, excavation, and servicing for institutional, commercial, industrial and residential development
  • Automatic and self-serve car washes
  • Auto dealerships, open by appointment only

Golf courses may prepare their courses for the upcoming season, but not open to the public. Marinas may also begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water, but not open to the public. Boats and watercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.


New Workplace Safety Guidlines

The province is releasing safety guidelines to protect workers, customers and the general public from COVID-19 as it prepares for a gradual reopening of the provincial economy. These resources are available for different sectors, and more will be added as the economy re-opens.

Ontario's four provincial health and safety associations have also released a series of more than 60 technical sector guidance documents to further support employers and employees in remaining safe in the workplace during COVID-19.

The Ontario NDP has called on the government to provide clear rules, not simply guidelines, to ensure peoples' lives are not put at risk.


New 511 App for Truckers

The Ontario government is offering a new free 511 app which will provide truck drivers immediate access to the information they need to stay safe, fed and rested while delivering essential goods across the province during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Ontario 511 pilot app is available for free on the App Store and Google Play.


New Health Care Measures

The province has introduced new measures that allow hospitals to more quickly appoint, re-appoint and grant privileges to medical and other professional staff, in order to address potential surge volumes due to COVID-19.

In addition, coroners, registered nurses appointed as coroner investigators, and public health units will be able to access the provincial electronic health record. Nurses appointed as coroners investigators will be able to complete medical certificates of death instead of requiring a physician or nurse practitioner.


New App for Travellers Returning to Canada

The Government of Canada has introduced the ArriveCan app. It allows travellers returning to Canada to input their 14-day isolation or quarantine information quickly, easily and securely upon arrival, and digitizes the information collected under the current paper form that travellers must complete. This required information includes flight or border crossing details, whether travellers are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, and whether they have quarantine accommodations.

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

Western University Virtual Tutoring

Elementary and secondary school students who need help with their studies during the COVID-19 pandemic can register for virtual tutoring through the Western Faculty of Education. Parents or caregivers can request a tutor, and students will be matched with a teacher candidate who can help.
 

City of London Community Gardens

Thanks to the advocacy of Londoners and gardeners across the province, preparations are underway for the opening of London's community gardens. The City of London is working to physically get the gardens ready, and to identify appropriate safety guidelines for gardeners this season. The gardens will open to registered gardeners only, not to the public. There are a few more plots available if Londoners want to register at london.ca/communitygardens. Please avoid going to the gardens until the city confirms that they are open.  
 

Bagged Lunches for Vulnerable Londoners

The London Food Bank is teaming up with RBC Place London, Youth Opportunities Unlimited, and Cargill Ltd. to provide bagged lunches to vulnerable Londoners, who are having trouble accessing food with church meals and front line agencies shut down, and some people unable or unwilling to leave their homes. Financial donations to the Food Bank can be made here: www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/930.
 

Caring Champions

The Thames Valley Education Foundation is raising money for their Caring Champions fund, to help students that school principals believe are in need of emergency aid due to job loss, reduced hours or other unexpected circumstances. London law firm Harrison Pensa has pledged to match a portion of community donations during May.

 

The Three Masketeers

The London Mask Project was started by a group of three Londoners, working together with many other sewers. More than 1400 fabric masks have been donated to vulnerable Londoners at My Sister’s Place, London Food Bank, Food Network, Community Living London, London Cares, Men’s Mission, Rothholme, YOU and St. Joseph’s Hospitality Centre. They are currently working on providing both adult and children’s masks to Merry Mount and The Children’s Foundation. 
 

Hyde Park BIA

The Hyde Park BIA has developed a COVID-19 Action Plan to support local businesses survive the pandemic and prepare for post-COVID recovery. Many Hyde Park businesses have adjusted services and remain open, and are listed on the BIA website.  

 

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.
 

AODA Alliance and Ontario Autism Coalition Virtual Town Hall 

This Monday May 4, 2020 from 3pm to 4 pm, the AODA Alliance and the Ontario Autism Coalition are hosting a virtual town hall on overcoming the additional hardships that students with disabilities are facing during the COVID-19 crisis, while schools are closed and their schooling has moved online. Click this link to watch the townhall live beginning at 3pm. 
 

COVID-19 Long-Term Care Tracking Map

The National Institute on Ageing (NIA) has created this interactive map enabling Ontarians to find information about COVID-19 cases at facilities in the broader long-term care sector, including retirement homes.
 

Canada COVID-19 mobile app

This app features a symptom tracker, a self-assessment tool, and information on mental health and substance use support. It is free and available on Canada.ca/coronavirus and through the Apple App Store and Google Play.