Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 

Dear Neighbour,

As the second wave of the pandemic surges across Canada and the US, much has changed in London and across our province since my last newsletter. 

Following multiple new COVID-19 outbreaks reported in our community, many Londoners gathered with immediate family only for a small and quiet Thanksgiving. Modified Phase 2 restrictions have been announced for Toronto, Peel, Ottawa and York, which means the closure of indoor dining at bars and restaurants, gyms, cinemas, casinos, performing arts centres and other facilities. Public health experts warn that our long-term care homes are on the verge of another deadly catastrophe.  

Since mid-September, the return of MPPs to Queen's Park has provided an opportunity to hold the government accountable for addressing these issues. As schools reopened and post-secondary students returned to campus, I received many emails from constituents frustrated by massive line-ups at London's COVID-19 assessment centres. I raised these concerns in the Legislature (see video below) and in a letter to the Minister, and will continue to push to ensure timely access to testing for Londoners who need tests.  

Today marks three months since London entered Stage 3 of economic reopening. While this was welcome news for businesses on the brink of closing, after investing in PPE and reducing capacity many have not come close to pre-pandemic sales. I have heard from several small business owners who don't know how they will stay afloat without additional support, particularly if new restrictions are required in London. This is especially the case for restaurant owners who have barely been able to hang on through the summer and worry what the cooler weather will bring.

As a community, the health of our citizens and the strength of our local economy means that we must not let up on efforts to control the spread of the virus. My heartfelt thanks for your commitment to observing public health guidelines to keep Londoners safe. 

As always, I encourage you to contact me directly if you need help or to share your priorities and concerns. My staff and I are here to support you and our community. 

Stay safe and take care,

 

 

Flu Shots Available

The flu vaccine is now available at healthcare provider offices, pharmacies, and walk-in clinics around London West. The vaccine is free and available to anyone 6 months of age and older.

If you cannot access flu vaccine at any of the above locations because you don’t have a valid Ontario Health Card, or you have a child under 5 years of age without a healthcare provider, please call the Middlesex-London Health Unit to discuss options at 519-663-5317.

 

Around London

Save Main Street

I was joined in Old South by London MPPs Terence Kernaghan and Teresa Armstrong to announce "Save Main Street: A Plan for Jobs and Financial Security for Working People." Our plan to help people and businesses weather a second wave of economic challenges includes a more complete ban on commercial evictions, stronger commercial rent relief, paid sick days for every worker, and comprehensive supports for women. This is the COVID-19 recovery plan London and Ontario need.

Housing Survey

With 1,000 Londoners homeless and 5,000 on the waitlist for social housing, London's housing crisis is getting worse, as rents skyrocket and more tenants face eviction. The London chapter of ACORN Canada is looking for input on which housing issues are a priority for Londoners. Consider filling out their online survey to let them know the most pressing housing concerns in our community. 


Atlohsa Peace Awards

The Atlohsa Peace Awards recognize outstanding contributions to inspire social change in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation. Nominees may be Indigenous or non-Indigenous, and must have exemplified leadership in culture, arts, education, public service, business or advocacy. Organizations can also be nominated.  The nomination deadline has been extended to October 25, and nominations can be submitted online.  

London Heritage Awards

The London Heritage Awards are given out each year by Architectural Conservancy Ontario-London Region and Heritage London Foundation to recognize outstanding leadership excellence in heritage conservation across the London region. Anyone can nominate, and the deadline for nominations is Sunday, November 1, 2020. More information and the online nomination form is available here
 

Your Voice at Queen's Park

I asked the Premier what is being done to increase testing capacity for Londoners, and to address hours-long waits for a test.
I urged the government to provide the support needed to ease lineups and traffic jams at London's assessment centres.
Small businesses are in dire straits, and the government must step up and help those that have been ordered to close or limit operation.
I asked the government why test capacity was capped in London instead of allowing assessment centres to expand.
On International Teacher's Day, I rose to celebrate the amazing work that teachers are doing during this pandemic!
I asked why the government is undermining childcare by proposing to put more kids in a child care room
 

COVID-19 Developments

London Updates

New Public Health Guidance

Due to recent increases in COVID-19 case numbers, the Middlesex-London Health Unit has issued new public health guidance strongly advising all residents of the area to

  • Limit close contacts to your household.
  • Wear a mask when you leave the house, go to a store, or interact with colleagues, including in the break room.
  • Avoid non-essential travel, especially to COVID-19 hot spots including Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City. 

COVID-19 Testing Updates

COVID-19 testing is now available by appointment only for people who do not have symptoms at several pharmacies in London. Find a location online.

People with symptoms can book an appointment at the Oakridge Assessment Centre or go to the Carling Heights Assessment Centre, where they will be given a time to return for a test. Find more information on the MLHU website.

Western University is providing COVID-19 testing on campus for students, staff and faculty in the Western Student Recreation Centre. For current hours and additional information please visit the Western COVID-19 Testing Centre.


City of London In-Person Services 

The City of London is now providing the option of in-person services to those in our community who may have found it challenging to receive services via alternative methods. While Londoners are encouraged to continue accessing services through phone, email and virtually whenever possible, the following front counter locations will be open to the public from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.:

  • Citi Plaza – Ontario Works, Housing, Homeless Prevention, Children’s Services and Parks & Recreation
  • London East – Ontario Works
  • Northland Mall – Ontario Works
  • South London Community Centre – Ontario Works
  • Westmount Shopping Centre – Ontario Works

It is important to note that not all services previously offered will be available at this time in an effort to ensure the health and safety of both the community and City staff. Check the City of London website for more details.


Keeping London Open

London businesses will be allowed to operate patios until the end of the year while free two-hour parking in London’s core will continue until the end of 2020.

 

Provincial Government Updates

Contact Tracers

The province is finally hiring 600 more contact tracers, after weeks of experts calling for this to happen. The positions are paid at $20 an hour with a 6-month contract and 8-hour shifts. Applications can be submitted here. 


Masks Mandatory Across the Province
Masks are now required in all public indoor spaces across Ontario, including businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exceptions. 


Gathering Restrictions

The province has reduced limits on the number of people permitted to attend unmonitored and private social gatherings across the entire province. Across Ontario, people may gather under such circumstances in groups of no more than 10 indoors or 25 outdoors.

The province has also "paused" social circles, and advises that all people have close contact only with those living in their own household and maintain two metres physical distancing from everyone else. People who live alone may consider having close contact with one other household.


Long-Term Care Restrictions

The following restrictions apply to long-term care facilities in Ottawa, the Region of Peel, and Toronto. They will be in effect in York Region on Monday, October 19. At this time, they are not in place in London:

  • General visitors will not be allowed in long-term care homes. Only essential visitors, including up to one caregiver per resident, will be allowed to visit.
  • Short term and temporary absences for social or personal reasons will not be allowed at long-term care homes in areas of the province where there is high community spread of COVID-19.

Business Restrictions

There are new restrictions in place for bars and restaurants, where alcohol can now only be sold until 11pm and establishments must close by midnight except for takeout and delivery. Strip clubs are not permitted to be open.

Businesses are also now required by the Ontario regulation for Stage 3 to follow the screening procedures prescribed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.


Ontario Community Support Program

The province has extended the Ontario Community Support Program until March 2021. The program helps isolated, low-income seniors and people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions across Ontario get meals, groceries, medicine and other essentials to stay safe at home during COVID-19. Visit ontariocommunitysupport.ca to register for services.


Patient Ombudsman Report on Long-Term Care

Ontario’s Patient Ombudsman has issued a series of recommendations to the government on how long-term care facilities can be better protected from COVID-19 during the second wave. The report echoes a number of changes my colleagues and I have been calling for, and can be read in full here. 

 

Federal Government Updates

New National COVID-19 Forecasting

Canada’s chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam published new national modelling projections for COVID-19 in Canada. The presentation states that "Canada is at a crossroads and individual action to reduce contact rates will decide our path." The data suggests that based on recent infections, the number of new cases could raise as high as 155,795 by October. The potential number of deaths could be as high as 9,300.


Travel and Border Restrictions

The temporary restriction of all non-essential travel between Canada and the US has been extended, and the Primer Minister said he plans to keep borders closed as long as coronavirus cases remain elevated in the United States.

At the same time, the federal government has eased restrictions on cross-border travel for compassionate reasons, allowing more family members into Canada under certain conditions. 


Income Support

As of September 27, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit is no longer available, and eligible Canadians will be transitioned to Employment Insurance or another new recovery benefit. The initial proposal would have seen many Canadians who are still out of work due to COVID-19 receive hundreds of dollars less than they did through CERB. However, MP Jagmeet Singh successfully advocated for the CERB amounts to be matched through new programs.

Applications are now open for

  • the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), which provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, to workers who have stopped working or had their employment/self-employment income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19 and who are not eligible for EI
  • the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), which provides $500 per week for up to two weeks to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19
  • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), which provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care. This applies if their school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they are sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19

Business Supports

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program has been extended until November 21, 2020, and the federal government has announced plans to extend it until June 2021.

The federal government also announced the following new programs that will become available soon: 
  • Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy to provide rent and mortgage support until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The rent subsidy would be available directly to tenants, while also providing support to property owners. The new rent subsidy would support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop, by subsidizing a percentage of their expenses, on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Organizations would be able to make claims retroactively for the period that began September 27 and ends October 24, 2020.
  • A top-up Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy of 25 per cent for organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order issued by a qualifying public health authority, in addition to the 65 per cent subsidy. 
  • An expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), which would enable businesses, and not-for-profits eligible for CEBA loans—and that continue to be seriously impacted by the pandemic—to access an interest-free loan of up to $20,000, in addition to the original CEBA loan of $40,000. Half of this additional financing would be forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022. Additionally, the application deadline for CEBA is being extended to December 31, 2020. 
 

Vaccinations

The federal government has announced agreements to purchase millions of doses of potential vaccines from the suppliers of six different leading vaccine candidates, as well as equipment for delivering the vaccine. Canada will also participate in the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility, a global procurement mechanism that will help deliver fair, equitable, and timely access to COVID-19 vaccines.

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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