Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 

Dear Neighbour,

Over the past several weeks, I have heard an outpouring of concern from London West families and educators about the government's approach to school reopening in September. There is no question that getting children back to school is critical to student mental health and well-being, and to enabling parents to return to work. However, the Premier's plan to send kids back into overcrowded classrooms could put the health of students, staff and the families and communities around them at risk. Parents are being forced to choose between sending their kids back to cramped classrooms where physical distancing is simply not possible, or somehow finding a way to keep them learning at home.   

For months before this pandemic, we were already hearing about classes with more than 40 kids and not enough desks for every child, yet the government has chosen to maintain the same average class sizes in September. Health care experts understand the importance of physical distancing in classrooms to curb transmission of COVID-19 in schools, which is why the president of SickKids Hospital will not endorse the government's plan

Parents, teachers, and students have been let down by this risky back-to-school plan, which was clearly put together in the interest of keeping costs low instead of keeping kids safe. Time is running out, but it is not too late to make this right and give students a safer return to school, with smaller, safer classrooms. 

The government must hire more teachers, education workers and custodians so that students can learn in smaller classes. We also need to prepare temporary classroom spaces, using places like libraries and community centres, and make schools safer with updated hand-washing sinks, good HVAC systems, and PPE on hand.

We should be sparing no expense to give children a safe return to school, so that parents can have the peace of mind they need to return to work.

Stay safe and take care,     

 

 

Covid Alert App

The COVID Alert App is now available for free download on newer model smart phones (at least iPhone IOS 13.5 and Android version 6)  from the Apple or Google Play app stores.

The app lets users know if they may have been exposed to the virus. It is free, easy and safe to use. The more people who download the app, the more effective it will be in supporting contact tracing and stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Unfortunately, people with older phone models - who may not be able to afford an upgrade to a newer phone - will not be able to access the app.

 

Around London

Best First Day

The Thames Valley Education Foundation (TVEF), United Way, and The Salvation Army are hard at work preparing to support students this September through Best First Day. Last year, the annual community-wide drive was able to deliver over 3,800 backpacks full of supplies to students of all ages in need through TVDSB and LDCSB schools, Indigenous communities, and community agencies. The financial strain that COVID-19 has created for so many London families means increased need among students for school supplies.

Donations can be made at the TVDSB Education Centre (1250 Dundas St, London) until August 21, 2020 on Tuesdays from 7:30am-9:30am and Thursdays from 3pm-5pm, or online through the Best First Day website.

Thank you to the many individuals and teams who have joined the drive, collecting donations at their homes and workplaces across London West. Special shout-out to London West Youth Cabinet member Lauren Goldsack, pictured above!

 

The Rebuild Roster

If you're currently underemployed and looking for any kind of employment (part-time, contract, full-time), TechAlliance's new Rebuild Roster is a website where job seekers can showcase their skills, and employers can find top talent. 

 

Virtual Support Group for Single Moms

Single Women In Motherhood (SWIM) London. SWIM has laucnehd a virtual version of their "Let's Talk About It" support group for single moms. The meetings are on Wednesdays at 2pm, and the organization is also planning to run a monthly meeting in the evening to accommodate moms who work during the day. Call or email SWIM at 519-432-5454 or info@singlewomeninmotherhood.com to join.

 
 
 
 

COVID-19 Developments

Provincial Government Updates

New Autism Services
New Ontario Autism Program Foundational Family Services are available, and consist of a broad range of evidence-based/evidence-informed services that strengthen a family’s capacity to support their child’s learning and developmental needs. All OAP Foundational Family Services are provided free of charge to families of children/youth registered with the Ontario Autism Program (OAP). Contact the Thames Valley Children Centre for more details.


New Requirements in Bars and Restaurants
The province has amended Stage 2 and Stage 3 regulations for bars and restaurants to require the following measures:

  • All patrons will be required to be seated at all times, in both indoor and outdoor areas, with limited exceptions
  • Bars and restaurants (and also tour boat operators) in Ontario will be required to keep client logs for a period of 30 days and to disclose the client logs to the medical officer of health or an inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act on request to support case and contact tracing.

DriveTest Road Tests Resume
The following services are now available at DriveTest centres:

  • Class G2 road tests
  • Class M2 and class M motorcycle road tests
  • Commercial driver road tests at more locations across Ontario

Road tests can be booked online. Part-time Travel Point locations will resume driver examination services as the shared facilities they are located in become available for the public's use.


Resilient Communities Fund
The Ontario Trillium Foundation's Resilient Communities Fund is a one-time fund to support eligible non-profit organizations, including food banks, child and youth programs and Royal Canadian Legion branches, to recover from COVID-19. Grants will be made in amounts from $5,000 to $150,000, for projects that aid medium to longer-term recovery efforts, help with stabilization, and build capacity and resiliency in the aftermath of COVID-19. There are two application deadlines: September 2 and December 2.

 

London Updates

Dundas Place
To support physical distancing and allow further flexibility for businesses, Dundas Street, from Talbot to Wellington Streets, is becoming a pedestrian and cycling shared space on weekends this summer.

Vehicle traffic will be redirected, and is unable to travel east or west along Dundas Street, between Talbot and Wellington Streets during these times:

  • Friday evenings between 6pm and 11pm
  • Saturday evenings between 6pm and 11pm
  • Sundays between 10am and 4pm

Women Disproportionately Affected by COVID-19
Middlesex London Health Unit data shows a gender disparity in COVID-19 cases in our region: 41 per cent are male and 59 per cent are female. Although it might sound like women are more susceptible to the virus, these statistics are actually the result of gender disparity in our health care system. In fact, if you just look at the cases that aren't in health care workers, the cases are almost equally male and female. Women make up the majority of our health care workforce and as a result, they have born the brunt of the virus.

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Federal Government Updates

Passport Services Resuming
The Government of Canada has started to gradually resume passport services. Canadians can now apply for a passport by mail, or if you have an immediate need for a passport or are travelling in less than 30 days with proof of travel, you can request an in-person appointment.

If you have a passport that expired after February 1, 2019, please note that you can now use the simplified renewal process within two years after the expiry date rather than one year. The simplified renewal process allows Canadians to submit a shorter form without resubmitting their citizenship documents and a guarantor declaration.


CECRA Extended Through August
The federal government has extended the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program by one month to cover eligible small business rents for August.

If you haven’t yet submitted a CECRA application, you must apply by August 31, 2020. If you have been previously approved, you must apply for the July and August extensions by September 14, 2020.


CRA Payment Deadline Extended
The Canada Revenue Agency is extending the payment due date for current year individual, corporate, and trust income tax returns, including instalment payments, from September 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020. Penalties and interest will not be charged if payments are made by the extended deadline of September 30, 2020. This includes the late-filing penalty as long as the return is filed by September 30, 2020.

 

The CRA is also waiving interest on existing tax debts related to individual, corporate, and trust income tax returns from April 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020 and from April 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020, for goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) returns.

 

New Resources

New Toolkit Promotes Psychologically Safe Workplaces
The Mental Health Commission of Canada has created the Building Mental Health into Operations During COVID-19 Toolkit. The toolkit is a collection of guidelines, tip sheets, videos, conversation guides, and other resources to help employers and workers weave mental health into the fabric of their workplace.


Resources for Eviction Concerns
In light of the government ending the moratorium on evictions and making it easier for landlords to evict tenants through new legislation, Community Legal Education Ontario has updated information about evictions on their Steps to Justice website. In addition, the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario has published a blog post that outlines the changes contained in Bill 184.
 

It is important to know that as always, landlords are still not allowed to evict tenants on their own. They must get an order from the LTB and have the Sheriff enforce it.

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.
 
 
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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