Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 

Dear Neighbour,

This week I spent a lovely evening out at a London West restaurant patio to celebrate my 30th anniversary, and enjoyed the feeling of life returning to normal. As Londoners flock to outdoor patios, swimming pools, and area beaches to escape the summer heat, it is tempting to think that COVID-19 is behind us. But Dr. Chris Mackie's announcement of mandatory masking for higher-risk London businesses, and on public transit, reminds us that the virus can surge again at any time. At this time, the Middlesex-London Health Unit continues to strongly recommend that non-medical masks be worn in all public places, but Dr. Mackie was clear that masks may be ordered across the district if cases start to rise. We must remain vigilant in protecting ourselves and others from COVID-19 through physical distancing, frequent hand washing, staying home when sick, and wearing a mask.   

As the Canadian Armed Forces finished their mission this week at Ontario long-term care homes, we learned of the death of a seventh health care worker associated with the long-term care system, and my office continues to receive emails from nurses and other health care providers who are concerned about access to the proper PPE and to paid sick leave as the economy reopens.

Across Southwestern Ontario, the virus continues to spread among migrant farm workers, with more than 670 workers in Essex County now confirmed COVID-positive. On Canada Day, the Ford government's order to keep infected workers on the job was over-ruled by the Windsor-Essex health unit, and local public health officials scrambled to find housing for hundreds of infected workers so they could isolate and recover. The Premier was also forced to apologize for his remarks criticizing migrants who he claimed were “hiding” from COVID-19  tests. The Official Opposition will continue to call for a real plan to protect migrant workers and public health, including access to PPE, paid sick days for workers and alternate accommodations in which to self-isolate.

With the City of London facing a deficit of at least $7.5 million as a result of COVID-19, there is a pressing need for the provincial government to provide support for municipalities. While the Premier continues to insist that this is a federal responsibility, the Official Opposition is again urging the Premier to provide emergency operating relief funding for municipalities that are facing a financial crisis as a result of the pandemic.

I will be returning to Queen's Park on Monday for three days of legislative proceedings. Debate is likely to focus on the privatization of home care (Bill 175), the attack on access to justice and limits on class action (Bill 161), the plan to fast-track evictions (Bill 184), the expansion of P3s in Toronto transit projects (Bill 171), and changes to consumer protection (Bill 159).  If you have comments or questions about these bills, or any other legislative issues, I'd love to hear from you! Please contact me at psattler-qp@ndp.on.ca.  

Take care and stay safe, ·       

 

 

Long-Term Care

On July 2, Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath held a virtual  summit to chart a path to transforming a long-term care system broken by decades of government neglect, privatization, underfunding and understaffing. Dr. Amina Jabbar, a geriatrician and health policy expert, joined the discussion and emphasized that change is only possible when we have a system that prioritizes people over profits. She noted that Ontario has "effectively built a system of care that values the cheapest options available." This means that long-term care homes have been severely understaffed, long-term care workers have been chronically undervalued, and family caregivers have been forced to fill the gap to help meet the basic needs of residents.  

Video highlights of the summit can be viewed online. 

It is clear that we cannot go back to the pre-pandemic normal that stripped too many seniors of their quality of life. Instead, we believe that the solution lies in a vision for a long-term care system that is community-based, public and not-for-profit, where every dollar goes into care and quality of life - not profit margins - and where health care workers are paid a living wage, with benefits and a pension that reflect their worth. 

I have heard from many people in London West about your experiences with long-term care, both before and during the pandemic. Most recently, several people have reached out to express frustration with the new long-term care family visitation policy. Please continue to share your perspective with me, to help lay the foundation for a better long-term care and home care system that truly supports and enables seniors. 

 

Around London

On Tuesday, July 7, City Symposium will host a conversation to explore concrete ways that people — individually and collectively — can acknowledge and dismantle their roles in the perpetuation of racist attitudes and actions. Register on Eventbrite.
 
The 2020 Big Bike Giveaway has launched to help more Londoners become cyclists by providing free bikes to people who would otherwise not be able to afford one.

Due to COVID-19 recommendations, this year's giveaway will operate differently. Londoners are invited to register online for a free bike, and they will be contacted when one is available that will fit them. 

Londoners can also donate bikes to the Big Bike Giveaway by dropping them off at City of London EnviroDepots.

 
I was pleased to support the MAC Westmount food drive for the London Food Bank on June 28. Throughout the pandemic, MAC Westmount has been continuously supporting community organizations that help others. Thank you to the organizers for their commitment to supporting our community!
 
 
 

COVID-19 Developments

Provincial Government Updates

Enabling Restaurant & Bar Patios

The province has issued a new order that will allow municipalities to approve temporary restaurant and bar patios much more quickly by exempting them from the requirement for three weeks of public consultation.

The Stage 2 closures order was also updated to clarify that outdoor dining areas can open if they have a roof, canopy, tent, awning or other covering. At least two full sides of the outdoor dining area must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked in any way. If the outdoor dining area has a retractable roof, the roof must be fully open and at least one full side must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked in any way.
 



In-person Court Proceedings to Resume
Ontario courts will begin resuming in-person proceedings on Monday, July 6, 2020. 149 courtrooms in both the Superior and Ontario Courts of Justice are reopening in 44 locations. Additional courtrooms will open by September with the remaining opening by November 1, 2020

However, the Ontario Crown Attorneys Association is seeking an injunction to delay the province's plans. The association believes that adequate precautions have not been taken to protect workers in courthouses during the pandemic.
 



Free Online Health & Safety Training
Up to 100,000 job seekers can now take free online workplace health and safety training through Employment Ontario. There are 10 courses covering such topics as infection control, conducting health and safety incident investigations, ladder safety, slips, trips and falls prevention, and preventing workplace violence and harassment. Job seekers should contact an Employment Ontario service provider in their area to enroll.
 

London Updates

Mandatory Masks
In order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, Middlesex-London’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Chris Mackie, has announced that masks will be required at certain higher-risk businesses as well as on public transit.

All businesses in London and Middlesex that provide direct face-to-face service less than two metres away from the customer for more than 15 minutes will be required to be aware of MLHU's Public Health Principles for Public Spaces and take reasonable steps to implement them, and to ensure that all customers, employees, volunteers, and contractors who provide direct services, wear masks whenever they are delivering or receiving services.

The orders will be issued Monday, July 6, and will come into effect on Monday, July 20.

The Health Unit also strongly recommends the use of non-medical masks in all public spaces, including retail, food and commercial environments, and when physical distancing is not possible or difficult to maintain.
 


 

MLHU Warns Against Gatherings Over 10
The Middlesex-London Health Unit announced that a total of eight cases of COVID-19 were associated with a gathering of more than 10 people, which was first reported on June 24, 2020. In light of this, the health unit has cautioned Londoners to observe the provincial requirement to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people. 

The Health Unit also recommends the following actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections:

  • Avoid gatherings of greater than 10 people.
  • Maintain physical distancing of at least two metres from people outside your immediate household when in public.
  • Stay home from work and other activities if you are sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 15-20 seconds or use a waterless hand sanitizer with at least 70 percent alcohol content.
  • Cover coughs and/or sneezes with your sleeve or cough into your elbow.
  • Clean high-touch areas, such as doorknobs in public spaces, frequently.
  • Visit an Assessment Centre to get tested if you are concerned you have COVID-19, or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.

For more information about COVID-19 and the latest guidance related to Stage 2 please visit: www.healthunit.com/novel-coronavirus or https://www.ontario.ca/page/framework-reopening-our-province-stage-2

 

Federal Government Updates

CECRA Extended through July
The federal government has extended the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program by one month to cover eligible small business rents for July. Only those tenants approved in the April, May and June application are eligible for the July extension.
 



Travel Restrictions Extended
Three orders governing travel restrictions have been extended by the federal government:

  • the travel ban that bars entry to all travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people entering from the U.S. for "essential" reasons, has been extended until July 31
  • the order requiring travellers to quarantine for 14 days on arrival has also been extended to end of August 
  • the prohibition on non-essential travel between Canada and the U.S. has been extended until July 21


New Modelling Projections Released
The Public Health Agency of Canada updated its modelling projections to show significant progress in the fight to curb the spread of COVID-19. Significant hotspots remain, however, including parts of Saskatchewan, Toronto, Montreal and the Windsor area. The report estimates 104,000 and 108,000 cases across Canada by July 12, and between 8,545 and 8,865 deaths by the same date.

 

New Resources

YCamp
YMCA Canada is launching YCamp, a free virtual camp program for kids to enjoy at home this summer starting on July 6. YCamp will keep kids active and engaged  with fun and educational activities delivered by YMCA camp staff across the country.

YCamp activities will include arts and crafts, adventure and survival skills, character development and leadership, environmental education, and outdoor cooking.

The first day of camp is July 6, with new programs available each week at www.ymcahome.ca/ycamp.

The response to COVID-19 is evolving rapidly, so please refer to linked sources and the following websites for the most up-to-date information: 
Canada.ca/coronavirus 

You can also find a range of helpful resources on my website at peggysattler.ca/covid19resources.
 

At Queen's Park

Seeking Ontario's First Poet Laureate
Introduced by Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Percy Hatfield, the Poet Laureate of Ontario Act (In Memory of Gord Downie) was passed unanimously in the Legislature in December 2019.

The Poet Laureate will serve a two-year term with responsibilities that include writing poetry, promoting art and literacy in the province, celebrating Ontario and its people and raising the profile of Ontario poets.

Applications for the position are being accepted through September 15, 2020, and a selection panel will announce Ontario's first Poet Laureate by February, 2021. For more information, visit ola.org/poet-laureate
 



Municipalities, Construction, and Building
Municipalities, Construction and Building will be the next sector considered during the Finance Committee’s review of the impact of COVID-19 on Ontario’s Economy. The deadline to request to appear before the committee is Monday, July 6 at 5:00 p.m.

Those who do not wish to make an oral presentation but wish to comment on the Municipalities, Construction and Building sector may send a written submission by Wednesday, July 22 at 6:00 p.m.

Interested participants can register to appear in person or make a written submission online (select “Study of the recommendations relating to the Economic and Fiscal Update Act 2020 and the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on certain sectors of the economy” in the dropdown).

 
 
 
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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