Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 

Dear Neighbour,

On Friday, London joined most other regions of the province in entering Stage 3 of economic reopening, a move that was greeted with both relief and cautious optimism by many Londoners and small business owners.

While London West residents are looking forward to returning to work, eating at local restaurants, and resuming daily activities, there remains significant concern about protecting the safety of workers and customers and preventing a second wave of the virus. These concerns were highlighted in an extensive debate within the community and at London City Council about requiring masks or face coverings in addition to other public health measures, and an order was issued today by the Middlesex-London Health Unit. In the absence of provincial direction, my colleagues MPP Terence Kernaghan, MPP Teresa Armstrong and I are also calling on Mayor Ed Holder and London City Council to implement a mandatory mask by-law. You can read our letter here.

In my consultations with London West small businesses, almost all business owners are facing high costs to implement necessary health and safety measures, both to reopen safely and until the virus is contained. In some cases, estimated costs for PPE, cleaning supplies, and additional security staff are now thousands of times the budget for these items before COVID-19, a situation made worse by increased supplier prices. Many business are facing cashflow pressures that they expect to continue for some time. Fixed costs remain a major financial burden for business owners since many continued to pay mortgage, rent, or equipment leases while closed. Only half of the business owners I spoke to in leased commercial space said their landlords were participating in the commercial rent relief program.

London West businesses recommended additional government support to help them access an affordable source of PPE, funding to help pay for these items, and ensuring adequate production to continue to meet demand.  This week the Official Opposition renewed our call for direct support for struggling small businesses, as well as more resources for public health units for faster test results and contact tracing. Our Save Main Street plan would include a fund to support set-up costs for remote work, physical distancing and safe reopening, covering items like PPE, plexiglass barriers and structural modifications. 

As your MPP, I am committed to ensuring that the reopening of our economy does not put Ontarians' health at risk, and that supports are in place to help small businesses - the lifeblood of our economy - to safely reopen and fully recover.

Stay safe and take care,     

 

 

$19 Billion Recovery Package


On Tuesday this week, Mayor Ed Holder appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs to highlight the fiscal pressures facing the City of London as a result of COVID-19. Following Mayor Holder's presentation, my colleagues MPP Terence Kernaghan, MPP Teresa Armstrong and I sent a letter to the Premier urging that emergency operating funding be provided to address the city's projected $13.5 million deficit and protect the vital services Londoners rely on. You can read our letter here.

On Thursday, the federal government pledged a total of $19 billion to help provinces and territories in seven areas, including COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, purchasing PPE, funding for municipalities, and a national sick leave plan. Ontario is expected to get $7 billion of the funds, a far cry from the estimated $23 billion that Premier Ford said Ontario needed.

There is no question about the necessity of paid sick days, safe city services like transit and child care, staffing and resources to ensure the safe reopening of schools, and protection from new waves of COVID-19. While the federal cash is welcome, the Official Opposition will continue to call on the provincial government to step up with the additional funding necessary to deliver the things Londoners need to get back on track.

We will also continue to push the Premier to reverse his position on denying paid sick days to workers. Forcing workers to suffer financial penalties if they stay home when they are unwell or are waiting for the results of a COVID test is not only inhumane, it risks spreading the virus.

Finally, since transit funding only flows if the province puts in an equal share, it will be essential to ensure that the Ontario government matches every available dollar, so we don’t leave federal money on the table and can keep our transit services running. 

 

Around London

Scientists in London West's Fox Hollow neighbourhood are participating in the Royal Canadian Institute for Science's Sidewalk Science initiative. Parshati Patel is an astronomer answering questions about space, and Charys Martin is an anatomist taking questions about the human body. Community members write their questions in chalk on the sidewalk, and the scientists write back to share their expertise. All scientists are invited to join the project! 
 

This Wednesday, July 22, I will be joining community partners at a Green and Just Recovery Virtual Town Hall to share ideas about how London and Ontario can recover from COVID-19 in ways that create a more just, inclusive, and sustainable society.

The event will feature the following speakers 

  • Joel Abram - Grand Chief, Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians
  • Genevieve Langille - Youth Activist
  • Malvin Wright - Lead Consultant WOW Consulting Group, Community Development Practitioner, Board of Directors, Pillar Nonprofit Network & Black London Network 

Following their presentations, a representative from each level of government will join them for a panel. Audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions.

Register on Eventbrite to receive a Zoom link and join the conversation!

 

Dasmascus House Grand Opening

I was pleased to join Mayor Ed Holder and Councillor Paul Van Meerbergen to celebrate the grand opening of Dasmascus House in Westmount. The event was an exciting recognition of the determination of Rasool Alabrach and his wife Faekah who fled war-torn Syria with their five children and arrived in London as refugees in 2016. Despite the challenges of a new country, a new language, and a global pandemic, they were able to fulfill their dream of opening a restaurant.

 

London Research Awarded Funding

Congratulations to London's Marat Slessarev of Lawson Health Research Institute on receiving funding through the Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund for his important clinical trial, which aims reduce the duration of mechanical ventilation for COVID-19 patients. The project is exploring the use of inhaled sedation to meet these goals, which would create more ventilator capacity, spare the use of IV sedation agents that are in short supply, and reduce mortality. If found effective, inhaled anesthetics can be quickly deployed in the fight against COVID-19 since they are safe, inexpensive and readily available.

 

COVID-19 Developments

Provincial Government Updates


Emergency Orders Extended
The Ontario government has extended most emergency orders currently in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) until July 29, 2020.


Updated Visitor Guidelines

The province has released updated visitation guidelines for long-term care homes, including the removal of the requirement for visitors to attest they’ve taken a COVID-19 test within the previous two weeks. There are also updated guidelines for those who wish to visit residents in MCCSS-funded congregate care settings, including revisions to the outdoor visitor policy and the resumption of indoor visits.

Extension to Marriage Licence Expiry

The province is proposing to extend the expiry date for most marriage licences issued between December 1, 2019, and the end of the province-wide Declaration of Emergency due to COVID-19. These licences would still be valid and could be used for up to 24 months from the end of the Declaration of Emergency. Couples with a qualifying unused marriage licence issued during this timeframe are encouraged to hold onto it. They would have up to 24 months to use it and would not need to replace their marriage licence.


New Ontario Health Data Platform is Live

The new Ontario Health Data Platform is a collaborative effort by leading public sector organizations to accelerate research and analytics and help the province better manage and respond to the pandemic.It will hold secure health data to allow researchers to better support health system planning and responsiveness, to better detect, plan and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

London Updates

Mandatory Masks in Effect Today
Effective Saturday, July 18 at 12:01am, everyone entering an enclosed public space in London or Middlesex County will be required to wear a mask or face covering that covers their nose, mouth, and chin.

The Medical Officer of Health has issued instructions to all businesses and organizations to require the face coverings, to implement physical distancing and enhanced cleaning measures, and to provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers for customers. 

Regulations under the Ontario Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act require all organizations that are open during Stage 3 to operate in compliance with the instructions of public health. Business owners can access the full instruction document online

The instruction applies to most people, but there are some exceptions, as described in the Middlesex-London Health Unit news release.


Further Orders in Effect on Monday
On Monday, July 20, an order from the Middlesex-London Health Unit requiring masks in certain public spaces will come into effect.

The order will continue until it is revoked by the Medical Officer of Health, and requires that masks or face coverings be worn by

  • all customers, employees, volunteers, and contractors entering businesses that offer personal care services, which includes all services relating to the hair or body, such as hair salons and barbershops, manicure and pedicure salons, aesthetician services, piercing services, tanning salons, spas and tattoo studios 
     
  • all riders and operators on public transit, including paratransit, and commercial vehicles for hire including taxis, limousines, buses, or rideshare vehicles.

The order also requires that owners of affected businesses know and adhere to the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s COVID-19 Public Health Principles for Public Spaces.


London Enters Stage 3
On Friday, London joined most of Ontario in moving to Stage 3 of the framework for reopening the province. Stage 3 allows most places of business to be open with modified capacity and health and safety guidelines, with the exception of the following establishments that are not yet permitted to open:

  • Amusement parks and water parks
  • Buffet-style food services
  • Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements
  • Overnight stays at camps for children
  • Private karaoke rooms
  • Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports
  • Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars
  • Table games at casinos and gaming establishments

Limits on gathering size remain in effect, but are increased. Every person is prohibited from attending an organized gathering of more than 50 people indoors or 100 people outdoors. Social circles will be kept to a maximum of 10 people province-wide.

Beginning on July 27, child care centres will be permitted to operate with cohorts of 15 children, which is an increase from the current cohort cap of 10.

 

Federal Government Updates

Canada-U.S. Travel Ban Extended
The Prime Minister has confirmed that the the prohibition on non-essential travel between Canada and the U.S. will be extended until August 21, and will not expire this week.


Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to be Extended
The federal government announced that the emergency wage subsidy program will be extended to December 2020. More information will be available soon.

 
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

Safe Return to School
For more than four months, Ontario parents have been juggling looking after their little ones, helping school-age kids keep up with remote learning and - in some cases - working from home. Many families are worried about what will happen in the fall if the government doesn’t provide the leadership and funding necessary to put Ontario on a path to a full, healthy and safe return to classes for students in September.

This week, the Official Opposition tabled an emergency action plan to help get kids safely back to class five days a week, while providing support to parents and teachers. The plan includes steps like hiring more educators to allow for smaller class sizes and funding for extra supports for students who are struggling or have special needs, and for school upgrades to help with infection control.

In addition to hiring more staff and funding extra support for students and school upgrades, our emergency action plan includes:  

  • Maintaining job-protected leave and benefits for parents until school and child care are fully up and running again
  • Funding to help keep the child care sector afloat
  • Funding for more school buses to ensure physical distancing
  • Making use of public infrastructure to support the re-opening of schools and daycares
  • Ensuring ongoing access to emergency child care for essential workers
  • Bringing together students, parents, education workers, unions and schools board in an advisory group to help guide COVID-19 recovery in schools
  • Addressing the needs of students from Black, Indigenous and racialized communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19
  • Ensuring all workers have access to paid sick leave

With just weeks to go before the start of the new school year, the Official Opposition is ready and willing to work with the government to make this plan a reality.

 

Bill 195 – Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) and Bill 197 – COVID-19 Economic Recovery are both currently before the Ontario Legislature. 

I have heard from many residents of London West who are deeply concerned about these flawed bills. 

Unfortunately, the government has introduced motions to limit third reading debate on both bills to just two hours, which does not allow time to address the valid concerns raised by Ontarians. To make matters worse, the Conservatives have also moved to eliminate any discussion of these bills at committee, preventing the public from providing input into the proposed legislative changes and removing any opportunity for MPPs to bring forward amendments. The Ford government's habitual use of power to limit debate and push through bills as quickly as possible has troubling implications for our democratic processes.

With people’s health, their families’ well-being and more on the line, the COVID-19 public health emergency requires more accountability and transparency from government, not less. My colleagues and I in the Official Opposition will continue to work to strengthen our democracy, instead of undermining it. 

 
 
 
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
Twitter
Facebook
Website