Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 

Dear Neighbour,

As we enter the new normal of a reopened economy with safety measures in place, there is a sense of both optimism and concern. Many London West businesses are excited to welcome back customers, but don't know if they can actually recover. Employees are preparing for a return to work, but worry about health and safety protections, especially if they live with someone vulnerable at home. Parents look forward to more activity options for their kids, but are anxious about sending their little ones back to child care.

This balancing of hope and caution is not only natural, it is also prudent. Until there is a vaccine or treatment, the prospect of a second wave means that COVID-19 is likely to dominate our lives for many months to come. It remains important to follow public health advice about physical distancing, frequent hand-washing or sanitizer, and wearing face coverings or masks to protect others.   

At the same time, as MPP for London West I will continue to push the government to address the issues and concerns I hear about from the people I represent. Many of these are COVID-related, but more and more they are not. In particular, this past week my office has seen a groundswell of support for government action to end systemic anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism. These issues have too long been ignored, and have caused deep and lasting pain in Black, Indigenous and racialized communities.  

Last Saturday I was proud to join 10,000 Londoners at a peaceful rally in support of Black Lives Matter at Victoria Park. I am grateful to the dynamic young Black women who organized the event, which surpassed anything our community has ever seen, and to all who attended to be silent no more. Following the rally, I wrote a letter to the Solicitor General to endorse the urgent call for SIU reform.

I want to close this week with a shout-out to 10-year-old London West activist and change-maker Lyla Wheeler, who is mobilizing her neighbours and her city to rename Plantation Road in Oakridge, so that it no longer evokes slavery and injustice.

In the midst of a global pandemic, Lyla, the Black Lives Matter organizers, and the thousands of young people who attended the rally, give us much to be hopeful about. 

Take care and be safe,   

 

No Recovery without a She-covery

Child care must be at the centre of any plan to successfully reopen the economy, especially since women's jobs have been the hardest hit by COVID-19.

Without access to child care, women will not be able to return to work. Yet the government waited until the day after announcing the reopening of the economy before announcing the return of licenced child care, giving child care centres two and a half days notice to put in place the strict health protocols contained in the child care operational guidance document. Centres were given no time to train staff on the new measures, no financial support to implement them, and no help to deal with the dire financial shortfall they will face with so few children able to attend and a major decline in fee revenues.  

Fewer kids and higher costs for screening, personal protective equipment, and cleaning could force child care centres to drastically increase parent fees, or shut down permanently. Either way, child care will become even less accessible for families in London and across the province.  

In London, child care providers are already dealing with the financial impact of an unfair provincial rule change that is forcing them to repay provincial funds used to top up staff wages since March 15. After struggling to pay the bills and utilities during the forced closure, many of London's licenced child care centres are already hanging by a thread. The entire sector is now being set up for failure.     
In an interview on the Craig Needles show on 980 CFPL, I talked about the government's haphazard approach to reopening child care, and the lack of a plan to ensure the sustainability of the sector. Click here to listen to the interview. 
 
 

Canada Day Lawn Signs

With all we have been through together during the COVID-19 pandemic, July 1 will be particularly poignant this year, especially for those who have lost loved ones.

The cancellation of Canada Day activities won't stop Londoners from celebrating the deep connection we share to each other and to our strong, remarkable and diverse country, while also acknowledging the Indigenous peoples on whose land we stand and our obligation to meaningful reconciliation.  

The last few weeks have revealed the reality and impact of systemic anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, and highlighted the difficult work that must be done to create a more just and inclusive society. At the same time, we remain grateful for the opportunity to live in the best country in the world.   

To help Londoners celebrate on July 1, free Canada Day lawn signs will be available for contactless curbside pick-up outside my constituency office during regular business hours. I will send a follow-up notice to confirm the exact date when the signs arrive. Please email my office at psattler-co@ndp.on.ca or call 519-657-3120 for details, or if you need your sign delivered.  

 

Around London

Black Lives Matter

This Sunday, June 14 at 7:30pm, London's interfaith leaders will be Standing on the Side of Love.  This online event will bring Londoners together to stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous and racialized people in our community, and to pray for an end to racism. All are welcome to participate by clicking here

Help Filing Your Taxes

Free Virtual Tax Clinics are being offered by volunteers across the city for eligible Londoners. The tax help is available via video conferencing or telephone, or at drop-off clinics. To access a clinic:
 

You can also find out whether you are eligible on the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program website.

 

Shop Hyde Park in Uptown London

The Hyde Park BIA has launched Shop Hyde Park in Uptown London, a directory of local shops, services and restaurants in Uptown London. The online portal provides one-stop access to Hyde Park businesses’ websites, online shopping carts, contact details, and gift cards!

 

COVID-19 Updates

London Updates

Back to Business
As of Friday, June 12, the following businesses and services are permitted to reopen in the Middlesex-London region:

  • Personal Care Services
  • Personal Services
  • Restaurants & Bars
  • Shopping Malls & Centres
  • Photography
  • Film & TV
  • Tour & Guide Services
  • Water Recreational Facilities
  • Outdoor Recreational Facilities
  • Beaches, Parks & Camping
  • Outdoor Recreational Team Sports
  • Drive-in & Drive-thru Venues
  • Weddings, Funerals and Similar Gatherings
  • Libraries
  • Community Centres
  • Attractions & Heritage Institutions
  • Small Outdoor Events

To support London businesses in the reopening process, the City of London has established a Back to Business action team and intake portal. Questions about whether a business can reopen or what steps they need to take in order to reopen should be emailed to b2b@london.ca.
 

Spray Pads Open
The City of London has opened most spray pads beginning Friday June 12. Londoners can enjoy spray pads between 9am and 9pm daily, while observing necessary precautions including keeping a two metre distance from others. A list of spray pad locations, along with activation features, is available online
 

Recovery & Rebuilding the Region Design Challenge
TechAlliance, Pillar, and Libro have launched Challenge Two of their Recovery & Rebuilding the Region Design ChallengesLondon innovators are invited to team up on inclusive, technology-enabled solutions to revitalize and rebuild our economy and community. Applications for the $20,000 award and personalized coaching will open on Monday, June 15 at 9am and close on Wednesday, June 17 at 4pm..
 

Provincial Government Updates

 

Wedding and Funeral Ceremonies
Effective today, more people will be permitted to attend indoor and outdoor wedding and funeral ceremonies. Outdoor wedding and funeral ceremonies will be limited to 50 guests. Indoor wedding and funeral ceremonies will be limited to a maximum of 30 per cent of the capacity of the ceremony venue.

Wedding and funeral receptions are limited to a maximum of 10 people, regardless whether the reception is held indoor or outdoor. 
 

Stage 2 of Reopening the Economy
Most areas of the province, excluding the GTA and Hamilton, have moved into Stage 2 of economic reopening, allowing the return of many businesses, recreational facilities, and places of worship. Full details are available here. 

Stage 2 also brings more facilities and service back into operation at Ontario's provincial parks.

The Official Opposition believes that a safe reopening plan must include paid sick days for workers, so that people don't have to choose between going to work sick and putting food on the table. Despite the federal commitment to work with the provinces and territories on a paid sick leave program, the Premier has announced that he does not support this best-practice public health policy.
 

Social Circles and Social Gatherings
Effective Friday, June 12, the limit on social gatherings has increased from five to 10 people. People attending social gatherings must still observe physical distancing measures.

Additionally, Ontarians are permitted to establish social circles of no more than 10 people who can interact and come into close contact with one another without physical distancing. 

It is important to understand the difference between social circles and social gatherings: 

  • Social gatherings can be any 10 people from outside your household, but where physical distancing of at least two metres is maintained. For example, the expansion of social gatherings enables individuals and families to enjoy the company of others at backyard barbeques and picnics in neighbourhood parks, while respecting physical distancing advice.
     
  • On the other hand, social circles enable Ontarians to enjoy close contact with members of their circle. This could include hugging, carpooling, enjoying a patio and sharing a meal without staying two metres apart. Ontarians must avoid close-contact activities with anyone outside of their circle if they are unable to maintain physical distancing. Social circles will also bring back supports from people outside of their household who can now help with children, seniors or those in need.


Long-Term Care Visitors
People with loved ones in long-term care will soon be able to visit their loved ones again, as visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, and other residential care settings gradually resume. Family and friends will be allowed to visit beginning June 18, 2020. Long-term care homes will allow outdoor visits of one person per resident each week at a minimum. Retirement homes will resume indoor and outdoor visits in designated areas or resident suites when physical distancing can be maintained. Other residential care settings will be able to allow outdoor visits of two people at time. Physical distancing will be required for all visits.

While certainly welcome for families, these relaxed restrictions must come with increased staff, more PPE and sanitation supplies, and rigorous, frequent and in-person inspections for all congregate care and long-term homes 

 

Prescription Limits Lifted
The 30-day cap on prescription drug dispensing will be lifted as of June 15, 2020. Ontario Drug Benefit program recipients can return to filling up to 100-day supply at a time, when appropriate.


Transit Safety Guidelines
Guidelines for comprehensive public transit safety were released, with a guidance document that provides transit agencies with best practices and tips to help stop the spread of COVID-19. These include maintaining physical distance between people whenever possible, practicing proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, installing physical barriers between drivers and passengers, using physical markers between seats and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects. While it is highly recommended that passengers wear face coverings or non-medical masks when taking transit, this is not a requirement. 

 
Post-Secondary Education
College and university students across the province who were not able to graduate due to COVID-19 will be able to return to campus to complete labs or practicums over the summer term. Limited in-person education and training may be available starting in July 2020 for students in essential, frontline, and high labour market demand areas, such as welding, nursing, personal support workers, engineering, and trucking. 

 

Commercial Rent
After weeks of pressure, the Ontario government finally announced that it intends to to prevent some commercial tenants from being locked out or having their assets seized by their landlords due to the negative impacts of COVID-19.

The proposed changes would only apply to businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance, which means it only benefits businesses that have lost at least 70% of their income, excluding thousands of businesses in crisis. It would also only reverse evictions that occurred on or after June 3, 2020, and comes much too late for many businesses that have already lost their locations.

Canadian Armed Forces Support for Long-Term Care Homes
Canada will extend the military deployment within long-term care homes in crisis in Ontario and Quebec due to COVID-19 until June 26. The Official Opposition continues to push for an independent and judicial public inquiry into the long-term care sector’s failure to protect vulnerable seniors during the pandemic.

 

Federal Government Updates

Travel Updates
Canada’s ban on non-essential international travel will make an exception for Canadians who wish to reunite with immediate family members who are non-Canadian citizens and separated by the Canada-U.S. border. Anyone coming into Canada under this exemption will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Passengers travelling to Canada, or departing from Canadian airports for either international or domestic destinations will now require temperature screenings.
 

Hand Sanitizer Recall

Health Canada reports some hand sanitizers are being recalled because they contain industrial-grade ethanol. The agency says industrial-grade ethanol contains chemicals that may not be approved for use in hand sanitizers. The recall list includes products from several brands, so please check carefully!

 

At Queen's Park

As indicated last week, the Ford government is quickly pushing through important legislation with very little notice. There are opportunities to provide input on the three bills below by videoconference, or through written submission at ola.org/en/apply-committees. Please contact my office for more information, or if you need any help with the registration process. 
 

Bill 175 – Connecting People to Home and Community Care
While Bill 175 claims to give Ontarians more “choice” in health service providers, we know that this is government-speak for more privatized care. What is most troubling about the bill is its complete failure to address the very issues that have been shockingly revealed by COVID-19: the shortage of personal support workers (PSW) resulting from low wages and poor working conditions; inconsistent quality of care provided; and the lack of accountability and transparency from largely private, for-profit home care agencies.
Public Hearings: June 15-17
Deadline for Written Submissions: 6pm Wednesday June 17 

Bill 159 – Rebuilding Consumer Confidence
Bill 159 enables stronger public oversight and provides some new consumer protection tools. While key sections of the bill are supposed to fix problems with Tarion and new home warranty protection, they fall far short of what is needed, leaving new home buyers with weak and ineffective protection from shoddy builders. 
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
This bill does the opposite of what its name suggests. It prevents tenants from bringing up issues, like their landlord failing to make repairs to their unit during hearings for non-payment of rent, and skips straight from repayment agreement for back rent to eviction order without any hearing for the tenant if they miss a payment. See the Toronto Sun editorial on Bill 184 by colleague MPP Suze Morrison. 
Public Hearings: June 24-26
Deadline to Request to Appear: 10am Thursday June 18
Deadline for Written Submissions: 6pm Friday June 26  
 
 

Impact of COVID-19 on the Economy

Many thanks to the London-area organizations and individuals who participated in the consultation of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the tourism sector. Written submissions on the tourism sector are still being accepted until Thursday June 25 at 5pm

The committee will be considering the Culture and Heritage sector next, with a deadline of Thursday June 18 at 5pm for requests to appear by videoconference before the committee, and Monday July 6 at 6pm for written presentations. .

Follow these steps to register:

  1. Go to ola.org/en/apply-committees
  2. Select "Yes" for Do you know the bill title or business (e.g., pre-budget consultations) you'd like to speak or submit written material about?  
  3. For bill or item of business, select the first item: “Study of the recommendations relating to the Economic and Fiscal Update Act, 2020 and the impacts of the COIVD-19 crisis on certain sectors of the economy” 
  4. Select whether you want to send you want to appear for oral presentation OR submit a written feedback  
  5. Select TOURISM or CULTURE & HERITAGE
  6. Continue with required information 

It would be appreciated if you can copy me on any written submissions you make, so I am aware of your recommendations to the government.

Others sectors to be reviewed by the committee, with dates to be determined, are:

  • Municipalities, Construction, and Building
  • Infrastructure
  • Small and Medium Enterprises
 
 
Community Office
240 Commissioners Rd W, Unit 106
London, ON N6J 1Y1
Tel: 519-657-3120
Queen's Park Office
Room 359, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A5
Tel: 416-325-6908
Email: psattler-qp@ndp.on.ca
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