Last updated: March 27, 2020 at 11:45 a.m.
My COVID-19 newsletter updates
I have been sharing regular newsletter updates regarding the evolving response to COVID-19. You can read my past updates here:
Please subscribe to my newsletter to receive future updates. You can also subscribe by emailing my community office at email@example.com.
Find More Information
Find information about COVID-19 symptoms, how to protect yourself, and an information sheet that is available in multiple languages.
The Ministry of Health also provides updates on the status of authorized tests, results, and confirmed cases in Ontario every day at 10:30 am and 5:30 pm.
Find local information about COVID-19 and what is being done locally to prevent and prepare for a potential outbreak in London.
Updates on city services and programming impacted by COVID-19.
Local advisories and updates, as well as a listing of what's closed or cancelled, and what remains open in London.
Information from the Public Health Agency of Canada, and updates on the national response, travel advice and preparedness.
Important travel updates regarding Coronavirus around the world.
Please note that the province will cover the cost of COVID-19 services for uninsured people who do not meet the criteria for OHIP coverage.
The Middlesex-London Health Unit and its partners recommend the following:
- Use the Ontario Ministry of Health’s online self-assessment tool at https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-self-assessment
- Call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 for a telephone assessment if you have symptoms that include fever and/or cough AND any of the following within 14 days prior to the onset of illness:
a. Travel outside of Canada
b. Close contact with a confirmed or probable case
c. Close contact with a person with Acute Respiratory Illness, who has been to an affected area
- If you are not able to assess your symptoms, consider visiting a COVID-19 Assessment Centre for further information (see details below).
Anyone with severe respiratory illness, or a medical emergency should go to hospital.
Signs of severe respiratory illness include:
- Shortness of breath/unable to catch your breath
- Severe fever that does not come down with Tylenol/acetaminophen
- Energy so low that you are physically unable to get out of bed or barely able and must rest again immediately
London's COVID-19 Assessment Centres
Assessment Centres are out-of-hospital clinics where people can be seen by a healthcare provider for COVID-19 related concerns, rather than have them visit an Emergency Department, Urgent Care Centre or their family doctor’s office.
- Oakridge Arena
825 Valetta Street, London, ON
- Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre
656 Elizabeth St, London, ON
Every day (Monday to Sunday)
11AM to 7PM
There will be no medication or treatment onsite at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre. Ontario’s COVID-19 Assessment Centres are intended to educate and provide further medical guidance as well as to triage individuals and determine the next steps in their care.
Most people who attend the Assessment Centres will not require or receive a COVID-19 test. Tests will be done based on clinical criteria.
- Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, new cough or difficulty breathing) should self-isolate at home and avoid contact with other people for 14 days following the start of symptoms. After 14 days, self-isolation may end so long as there is no fever and symptoms are improving.
People who are self-isolating should seek clinical assessment over the phone - either through Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) or by calling their primary care provider's office. If you need additional assessment, your primary care provider or Telehealth will direct you to in-person care options.
Sources: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus#section-8; https://www.healthunit.com/novel-coronavirus#assessment-centre
- All travellers returning to Canada from abroad are asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days, whether they have symptoms or not.
On March 25, 2020, the Government of Canada announced an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act which requires ANY person entering Canada to self-isolate for 14 days, whether they have symptoms or not.
The government has ordered a shutdown of all non-essential workplaces in Ontario starting Wednesday, March 25. A full list of essential workplaces is available here. Any workplace not included on this list is required to close. Businesses may operate online, by phone, or through delivery, and employees may work remotely.
On Tuesday, March 17, the provincial government made an order declaring an emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
As a result of this declaration and its associated orders, the following establishments are legally required to close immediately:
- All facilities providing indoor recreational programs;
- All public libraries;
- All private schools as defined in the Education Act;
- All licensed child care centres;
- All bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery;
- All theatres including those offering live performances of music, dance, and other art forms, as well as cinemas that show movies; and
- Concert venues.
Further, all organized public events of over fifty people are also prohibited, including parades and events and communal services within places of worship. These orders were approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and will remain in place until March 31, 2020, at which point they will be reassessed and considered for extension, unless this order is terminated earlier.
Driver's licenses, license plates, health cards, and a number of other products that expire on or after March 1, 2020, will remain valid until further notice. This is to reduce the number of people visiting Service Ontario locations. You may still renew many products online.
In addition, as DriveTest centres are now closed, any seniors or professional drivers who require testing to renew their licenses have been automatically granted an extension.
If you paid for a DriveTest examination, you will be credited for a test at a later date.
Recently approved emergency legislation now provides job-protected leave to workers who are in self-isolation or quarantine, or those who need to take time off work to care for their children or other relatives. It also eliminates the requirement for workers to provide sick notes.
Workers who need to make use of this leave should tell their employers that they will be taking the emergency leave. They do not have to take vacation, sick days, or other allotted paid time off.
The legislation does not require employers to pay workers for the time off. Please click here for more details.
One-time payment - Families can access a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs. This intended to help pay for the extra costs associated with school and daycare closures during the COVID-19 outbreak.
GAINS - The province will also double the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment for low-income seniors for six months.
OSAP - Individuals with Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loans will not be required to make payments from March 30, 2020 to September 30, 2020, and interest will not accrue during that period.
Please contact my community office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-657-3120 for more information or help with these programs.
The federal government announced a package of measures to support families and businesses. Click here for more information on when and how to apply for these benefits, and whether or not you are eligible. Available support includes the following:
Worker Support - New benefits will provide COVID-related income support to many people who would not otherwise have qualified for Employment Insurance.
Contact the new dedicated toll-free phone number if you are in quarantine and seeking to waive the one-week EI sickness benefits waiting period so you can be paid for the first week of your claim:
- Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)
- Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742
Income Taxes - If you owe after you file your taxes, you have until August 2020 to make payment.
Family Support - Parents will get a top up of Canada Child Benefit of $300 per child, and low-income Canadians will receive increased GST credit for $400 for single adults; $600 for couples; $150 for every additional child.
Students - 6-month student loan repayment deferral, no accrual of interest.
At the government's directions, no new eviction orders will be issued by the Landlord and Tenant Board, and no eviction orders will be enforced until further notice. Please note that at this time, there is no change to a landlord's ability to serve a notice to terminate a tenancy. If you have questions about any notice you receive from your landlord, please contact my community office.
For Canadians returning to Ontario after an extended absence, the 3-month waiting period for OHIP coverage will be waived.
The Government of Canada put an official global travel advisory in effect: Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.
To help Canadians abroad return home, the Government of Canada is creating a special financial assistance program, the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad. With this program, Canadian abroad directly impacted by COVID-19 will have the option of applying for an emergency loan of up to $5,000 to help secure their timely return to Canada and to temporarily cover their life-sustaining needs while they work toward their return.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday, March 16 that Canada will be closing its borders to foreign travellers in an attempt to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. This measure will come into force on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) EDT.
Please find more information about travel recommendations and restrictions here: https://www.canada.ca/en/transport-canada/news/2020/03/new-measures-for-covid-19-response.html
As the Official Opposition, my caucus colleagues and I are working to ensure that contingency plans are in place for hospitals, schools, shelters, public services, workers and businesses, and have called on the provincial government to release details of those plans with Ontarians. Clear communication and full transparency are especially vital during a crisis like this.
Since it became clear that Ontario would be impacted by COVID-19, the NDP has been urging the government to take action to ensure Ontarians are able to take care of themselves and their families during this time.
The Premier announced on March 16 that the government will introduce emergency legislation that takes some measures to provide job protection for workers who need to stay home because of COVID-19. It will ensure nobody loses their job or is disciplined when they stay home at the direction of their health care provider or public health, or if they are staying home to care for someone who is required to be at home, including a child whose school or daycare is closed because of COVID-19.
The leader of the Official Opposition, Andrea Horwath, has raised the need to also address·
- Protecting people from losing a paycheque, or being expected to get by on inadequate Employment Insurance or Ontario Works payments alone, as a result of taking COVID-19 precautions or because of the illness
- Guaranteeing that no one can be punished in any way for missing a rent or mortgage payment
- Financial support for Ontarians not covered by Employment Insurance — especially those working in the gig economy
- Immediate financial support for small and medium-sized businesses so they can continue to pay employees without becoming insolvent
- Specific supports for vulnerable people, including seniors and those receiving OW and ODSP support, so they can access the groceries and medications they need to self-isolate if need be
We will continue to work constructively with the government, support good steps when they are taken, flag gaps and concerns, and propose productive solutions that work for the people of Ontario.