Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 
Dear Neighbour,

As London businesses and residents wait for news about the next phase of Ontario's economic reopening, I hope that you and your families are continuing to stay safe. Many people have contacted me to ask when certain businesses, like hair salons, will be allowed to reopen, or to raise concerns about being called back to work without proper PPE. While Ontarians anxiously monitor COVID-19 case counts, testing numbers, and access to PPE, the Premier is expected to announce details of Stage 2 of the province's economic reopening plans this week.  

In addition to providing COVID-19 updates, my newsletter this week includes information about several government consultations currently underway that are unrelated to COVID-19, as the Ford government shifts its focus from COVID-19 to pushing through its legislative agenda. 

I also want to highlight two other troubling developments this week. First was the Premier's cold-hearted statement that he does not support paid sick days, despite the federal government's proposal to work with the province on 10 days of paid sick leave for all workers. This is hardly surprising given his government’s decision to cut two paid sick days for workers upon taking office, but it puts Ontario workers in an unsafe position and could contribute to a second wave of the coronavirus in our province.

The second development was the Ontario Court of Appeal ruling to allow people accused of sexual assault or other violent crimes to argue they were too intoxicated to know what they were doing as a defence. The Official Opposition is urging the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney-General to immediatley appeal the decision. It is already difficult enough for survivors to come forward through the legal system and face being retraumatized in court. This decision will make survivors even more reluctant to report, and could set back much of the progress achieved through the #MeToo movement.

Please enjoy the much-needed boost to our spirits that the summer weather is providing, and be safe and take care, 

 

Black Lives Matter

The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on racialized communities, the murder of George Floyd, and the recent tragic deaths of Black young people in Toronto and London have heightened awareness of the systemic racism and ongoing violence experienced by Black and indigenous communities in our city, province and country.

In the wake of rallies and protests across the province, including the rally today at Victoria Park in London, Premier Ford was asked why his government cut anti-racism funding and has resisted the urging of experts for the collection of race-based data regarding COVID-19. It was shocking and disappointing when the Premier respond to media questions by declaring that “we don’t have the systemic deep roots” of racism in Canada.

The Official Opposition strongly endorses the call of Black health leaders for anti-Black racism to be declared a public health crisis, and we are also pushing for an emergency order to begin the immediate collection of race-based data on a province-wide basis, as is already underway in the London-area

Given the numerous cuts made by the Ford government to anti-racism, mental health and police oversight initiatives, this week's announcement of $1.5 million for organizations that support Black families and youth will do little to address the harm of years of systemic discrimination and anti-Black racism. The government also announced a new Premier's Council on Equality of Opportunity to provide advice on how young people can overcome social and economic barriers and achieve success. Those interested in joining the council can apply online before June 18.

Many people have asked me how they can support organizations that serve the Black community or are challenging anti-Black racism in our city. Thanks to City of London Councillor Arielle Kayabaga for some suggestions:

London Black History Coordinating Committee
Congress of Black Women-London Chapter 
Black Lives Matter London Chapter
Single Women in Motherhood (SWIM)
African-Canadian Federation of London & Area (ACFOLA)
Operation Black Vote Canada
 

COVID-19 Government Updates

Extension of Emergency Orders

The Government of Ontario is extending the Declaration of Emergency under the  Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until June 30. All emergency orders issued under the act will remain in force until June 19.


Long-Term Care Homes

Following the gut-wrenching report of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Ontario Ombudsman announced an investigation into government oversight of long-term care homes during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This week the Patient Ombudsman also launched a systemic investigation into the resident and caregiver experience at long-term care homes with outbreaks of COVID-19. Since March, the patient ombudsman has received 150 complaints about safety concerns for staff and residents in long-term care facilities.

While both investigations are important to improve accountability, they do not replace the need for a fully independent and transparent find-and-fix judicial public inquiry to evaluate the problems at the foundation of Ontario's long-term care system.

The Ministry of Long-Term Care has issued management takeover of multiple long-term care homes, but has not directed take over of the 37 Sienna homes in Ontario. Sienna owns five of Ontario’s 30 deadliest long-term care homes still in an active COVID-19 outbreak, the 30 of which account for more than 1,000 deaths alone. To date, only two Sienna homes on Ontario have been taken over by the Ford government, but 13 Sienna homes are currently experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. The Ontario NDP is calling on the government to take over direct management of all Sienna homes, and have called for a moratorium on issuing new licences to for-profit long-term care operators, at least until all investigations and inquires into the sector are completed.


Electricity Rates to Rise During Pandemic

The Ford government has introduced a new fixed electricity price until October 31, 2020, known as the COVID-19 Recovery Rate, which will be automatically applied to all time-of-use customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The new rate of 12.8 cents per kWh is up from the previous 10.1 cents per kWh, and will mean an increase of $16 per month for the typical residential user and $50 for the typical commercial user.


Jobs and the Economy

Dismal job numbers in Ontario for the month of May were revealed in this month’s Statistics Canada Labour Force survey. While the rest of the country begins to rebound from the shock of COVID-19, Ontario is the only province where employment continued to fall. 

The Ontario Legislature's Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs is studying the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on specific sectors of the economy. Public hearings on the tourism sector began this week. The deadline for written submissions is 5pm on Monday, June 22, 2020. Following the review of the tourism sector, the committee will be inviting public input on these four sectors:

  • Culture and Heritage
  • Municipalities, Construction, and Building
  • Infrastructure
  • Small and Medium Enterprises

To register to present to the committee by videoconference, or to submit written input, go to ola.org/en/apply-committees. Please contact my office for more information, or if you need any help with the registration process!


Short-term Rentals Reopening

The province has allowed short-term rentals to resume operations as of 12:01am on Friday June 5. This includes short-term Airbnb rentals, lodges, cabins, cottages, homes, condominiums and bed-and-breakfast rentals.


Federal Support for Seniors

Seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will receive their special one-time, tax-free payment during the week of July 6. Seniors eligible for the OAS pension will receive a payment of $300, and those also eligible for the GIS will receive an additional $200, for a total of $500. 


COVID-19 Modelling

The federal government released new national modelling projections for COVID-19 showing that Ontario and Quebec now have 90% of Canada’s cases of COVID-19. Canada is projected to see between 97,990 and 107,454 cases, and between 7,700 and 9,400 deaths, by June 15. Canada's top doctors warn that lifting restrictions without strong public health measures would likely cause the epidemic to rebound.

The federal government has begun procuring the supplies that will be essential for “mass vaccinations, including buying 37 million syringes. There is still no timeline for the delivery of a vaccine.

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

Legislative Alert

The Ford government is moving quickly to push through six contentious pieces of legislation during the COVID-19 emergency, bills that have nothing to do with COVID-19. There has been very little notice provided to the public about participating in public hearings, with hearings scheduled over the next three weeks. To register to present to any of these committees by videoconference, or to submit written input, go to ola.org/en/apply-committees. Please contact my office for more information, or if you need any help with the registration process!  

Bill 156 – Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety
Public Hearings: June 8-9
Deadline for Written Submissions: 6pm on Tuesday June 9 

Bill 171 – Building Transit Faster
Public Hearings: June 8-10
Deadline for Written Submissions: 6pm Wednesday June 10  

Bill 161 – Smarter and Stronger Justice
Public Hearings: June 10-12
Deadline for Written Submissions: 6pm Friday June 12  

Bill 175 – Connecting People to Home and Community Care
Public Hearings: June 15-17
Deadline to Request to Appear: 6pm Tuesday June 9
Deadline for Written Submissions: 6pm Wednesday June 17 

Bill 159 – Rebuilding Consumer Confidence
Public Hearings: June 22-24
Deadline to Request to Appear: 10am Thursday June 18
Deadline for Written Submissions: 6pm Wednesday June 24  

Bill 184 – Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing
Public Hearings: June 24-26
Deadline to Request to Appear: 10am Thursday June 18
Deadline for Written Submissions: 6pm Friday June 26  
 
 
 
June 8 to 14 is National Blood Donor Week. Celebrate by making an appointment to donate at www.blood.ca or by calling 1-888-236-6283!
 
 

London Updates

Mayor's Community Recovery Survey

The City of London is asking for input from businesses, non-profits and charitable organizations to inform local recovery efforts in our community. The Mayor's short survey is open until the end of the day on June 10th.

Take the Survey
 

London Child Care Centres Penalized by Funding Change

I joined with my colleagues MPP Armstrong and MPP Kernaghan to call on the Ford government to reverse a funding change that is penalizing London's struggling child care centres and the hihgly-skilled Early Childhood Educators they employ. Access to childcare is the foundation for the successful reopening our our economy, and we need to ensure that childcare spaces are available for employees returning to work.  

 

Migrant Worker Outbreak

With outbreaks reported among migrant workers in Niagara Region, Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent, Norfolk County and Elgin County, the Official Opposition urged the Ford government to rush support to migrant and agricultural workers, including mobile testing, PPE and local accommodations for those who need to self-isolate.

 

Oakridge Assessment Centre Hours to Change

Starting Monday, June 8, the Oakridge Arena Assessment Centre at 825 Valetta Street, will be open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

The Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre Assessment Centre at 656 Elizabeth Street will continue to be open Monday to Sunday from 11am to 7pm.

 

LCF Affordable Housing Fund

The London Community Foundation has made up to $20 million available in its Affordable Housing Fund to provide loans and flexible financing to potential developers of affordable housing. The funding can be used for several aspects of project development, and LCF invites applications from faith groups, multicultural groups, service clubs, existing non-profit and co-op housing providers, and private developers interested in affordable housing.

 

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.

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

COVID-19.Ontario.ca - 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**

 

MLHU Guidance documents

 

The following guidance documents have been added to the MLHU website:

  • Public Health Guidance for Businesses Open to the Public
  • COVID-19: Public Health Guidance for Food Delivery, Take-Out and Drive-Thru Services
  • Checklist: COVID-19 Preparedness and Prevention in Congregate Living Settings
  • COVID-19: Public Health Guidance for Places of Worship

Resources on the MLHU website are being updated on a continual basis. Please check www.healthunit.com/covid-19-documents-and-resourcesfor the most up-to-date versions of these documents.

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