Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 

Hello Neighbour,

First, my sincere thanks for your diligence in following stay-at-home orders, which has lowered COVID-19 case counts in London and across Ontario. 

With yesterday's announcement of the end of the State of Emergency and the reopening of the province over the next two weeks, it is critical that we do not lose the progress we have made. People deserve hope that this time, when we reopen, we’re opening for good. We don't want to repeat the cycle of one step forward and two steps back.

Unfortunately, there is real concern that the lack of new public health protections could send a dangerous message that it is okay to return to business as usual — and it is not. When Ontario began the move into Stage 2 of its reopening on June 12, 2020 (a stage which kept many businesses and all malls closed), there were 182 new cases province-wide. Now, Ontario is counting more than 1,200 cases per day, and reports of dangerous, more contagious variants are on the rise.  We are still months and months away from vaccinating our population.  

We all want to keep schools safely open, and we all want our local businesses to come back strong. But to protect students and education workers, and to support our struggling small businesses, we must keep community transmission low. On this, the advice from experts has been clear: preventing a return to lockdown requires investments in new protections like paid sick days, in-workplace COVID testing, in-school asymptomatic testing, and more capacity to contact trace. 

I appreciate all the emails and phone calls my office has received from people sharing their concerns and ideas. As we continue to stay home, wear masks, maintain physical distancing, wash hands frequently and follow public health advice, you can be sure that I will keep fighting for the government to do its part to keep us all safe.  

Take care and stay safe,

 

Although my community office is closed to in-person meetings, we remain available to help with provincial programs and services by phone at 519-657-3120 or by email at [email protected]


In this newsletter:
 

Autism Program Announcement

The government has announced a new autism program. Starting in March, 600 children will qualify for the “Core Services Plan,” increasing to 8000 more children by the end of 2021. Families will be eligible to access between $6,600 to $65,000 after working with a care coordinator and receiving a diagnosis and treatment plan.

This new program falls far short in terms of guaranteeing that every child who requires autism services gets the support they need. The program is not needs-based because it caps the amount of services a child can receive, covers only a fraction of the 42,000 kids who need autism support services, and will even result in a cut to the amount of therapy some children can get. My colleagues and I will continue to fight for a needs-based autism program without arbitrary age or budget caps so that every child receives the support they deserve. 


Covid-19 Assessment Centres

London's COVID-19 Assessment Centres will remain open for testing on Family Day, Monday February 15, with regular operating hours.

Carling Assessment Centre will be open from 9am to 7pm, and Oakridge Assessment Centre will be open from 9am to 5pm.

Telephone booking will be available on Monday, February 15 at Carling Assessment Centre only. Individuals who need support to book an appointment can call the Carling Assessment Centre at 519-685-8500, ext. 75503, and leave a voicemail. Telephone booking at Oakridge Assessment Centre will return on February 16.

Online booking is available at both Assessment Centres, with appointments for Monday, February 15 made available on Wednesday, February 10 at 7pm. Online appointments can be booked at www.covidtestinglm.ca/online-booking.


Boler Mountain Reopening Soon 

I heard from hundreds of London West residents about the closure of ski hills at the start of the State of Emergency. For decades, Boler Mountain has made valuable contributions to our community, and skiing at Boler Mountain is a favourite winter activity. I know how many Londoners enjoy the chance to get outdoors while maintaining their physical and mental health. 

With the lifting of the stay-at-home order, Boler Mountain could reopen as early as February 16. Special safety precautions will be in place, including maintaining 2m distancing, wearing masks in lineups and on ski lifts, and keeping clubhouses and some other amenities closed.

 

Around London

The end of the State of Emergency means the lifting of the eviction ban, putting families who have lost income and employment as a result of the pandemic at risk of losing their homes. My colleagues and I will continue to push for rent subsidy and legislated eviction ban to help tenants who are struggling.

To provide support for tenants during COVID-19 and after, London Acorn is holding a Virtual Tenants Rights Information Session on Thursday, February 11th at 6pm.  Topics include evictions, above guideline rent increases, maintenance and repair issues, and more! Register online.

  • Kudos to London Black History Coordinating Committee for an exciting line-up of energizing, informative and inspiring Black History Month events. This year's theme is "Celebrating the strength and resilience of the Black community in Southwestern Ontario" and Londoners certainly have much to celebrate. Information, resources and online registration is available from the London Public Library. February also marks the final month for the Black Lives Matter exhibition at Museum London, which includes 117 of the signs carried during London's Black Lives Matter rally on June 6, 2020. 
     
  • In celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, London Champions of Change is hosting the Women in Science Conference. Girls ages 12-17 can attend one of two virtual events featuring experienced female professionals who will share their journeys in STEM. The conferences will be held from 6:00-8:30pm on February 10 and 11, 2021. Get more details and register online.
     
  • The Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children at Western University is working with researchers at the University of Toronto and the Canadian Labour Congress on a national survey on workplace harassment and violence. They are looking for input from all workers—not just those with personal experience—about violence and harassment in the workplace. You can complete a survey online until April 21.
     
  • Nominations have opened for the London Chamber of Commerce 2021 Business Achievement Awards. The Chamber would like to see 500 great local businesses nominated, and you can nominate a deserving business online now
Congratulations to Oakridge Optimists on an outstanding 17th annual Trivia Night, raising funds to support vital community and youth programs. My family team enjoyed participating in the special virtual edition of this signature London event, which is always one of the hottest tickets in town. Sincere thanks to the many Optimist volunteers who pulled together to put on a fun and entertaining evening, despite the challenges! 
 
 

At Queen's Park

  • The government is expected to announce whether March break will be cancelled for Ontario students. Education Minister Stephen Lecce says that he has sought advice from Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, on whether it might make sense to keep schools open throughout the spring break. Many parents and educators need a break, so my colleagues and I are calling on the government to consider the full picture when making this decision, including mental health, and to give families notice so that they can plan. Meanwhile we need a real plan to address learning gaps over the coming months and beyond. 
     
  • The government has launched an online consultation to seek input on the province's plan to introduce a digital ID by the end of 2021. The consultation includes surveys for both individuals and businesses. The deadline to participate is February 26, 2021.

Momentum is building for paid sick days! My Stay Home if You Are Sick Act is ready to be passed as soon as the Legislature resumes, and calls to move forward with it are quickly growing. You can see some of the organizations offering support on my website. Last week, the Globe and Mail’s business columnist also urged the government to pass Bill 239. 

You can support the Stay Home If You Are Sick Act by adding your name on my website.

 

COVID-19 Developments

  • Although the provincial State of Emergency will be allowed to expire on February 9, Middlesex-London Health Unit, along with most of Ontario, will remain under a Stay-at-Home order until at least February 16, 2021. A final decision about whether to lift the restriction at that time, and what stage of the colour-coded system we will return to, will be announced closer to February 16 based on the trends in public health indicators.
     
  • The residential eviction ban has been extended to remain in place for as long as the stay-at-home order is in effect, up to February 23. Landlord and Tenant Board hearings may proceed, and eviction orders may be issued, but evictions cannot be enforced while the ban is in place.
     
  • Pet grooming businesses may now open, with some restrictions, to provide services that are strictly necessary to prevent imminent veterinary care. Grooming sessions may take place by appointment only, and only one appointment is allowed with one animal at a time. Grooming businesses must operate by curbside pickup and dropoff. 
     
  • Ski hills will be permitted to open when the Stay-at-Home order is lifted in their area. In the meantime, the province reminds everyone to avoid travel to areas with different restrictions, including for recreation.
     
  • A recent study showed that 5% of positive COVID-19 cases collected on January 20 tested positive for highly infectious coronavirus variants of concern, while Public Health Ontario reported yesterday that there are 230 confirmed cases of variants of concern, four of which are in the Middlesex-London Health Unit. Recent modelling suggests that by March 2021, the UK variant could become the dominant strain of the virus in Ontario.
     
  • The Ontario government is implementing a six-point plan to stop the spread of new COVID-19 variants, which includes mandatory on-arrival testing of international travellers, enhanced screening and sequencing to identify the new variants, maintaining public health measures to keep people safe, strengthening case and contact management to track the spread of new cases, enhanced protections for vulnerable populations, and leveraging the latest data to inform public health decisions.
     
  • The Western Fair District Agriplex COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic reopened Monday, February 8, with a renewed supply of Pfizer-BioNtech’s COVID-19 vaccine. 
    • Healthcare workers awaiting their second doses will begin to receive them, ensuring administration within 42 days of receiving their first dose.
    • Those whose second dose appointments were cancelled will be contacted directly to reschedule.
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 101
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: [email protected]
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