Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 
 
 
Dear Neighbour,

Many thanks to all who are carefully following the public health directions that will protect ourselves, our families, and our communities. The more we do now to stop the spread, the sooner we can get our lives and businesses back to normal in Ontario.  

Social or physical distancing means staying home unless absolutely necessary to go out and maintaining two metres (six feet) of space between yourself and others. It also means not visiting others or having visitors over - not even close friends, family or neighbours - and no playdates or sleepovers. Observing these rules can help prevent COVID-19 from spreading so fast that it overwhelms our health care system.

These are difficult times, but people in London are rising to the challenge. We are all in this together, and together we will get through this. If you are feeling isolated, reach out through online community groups to stay connected. If you need something, let people know. Londoners have shown an extraordinary willingness to help each other through this crisis. You can find some resources and examples of kindness in our community at the bottom of this email.

In advance of the government's fiscal update, which will be debated at Queen's Park on Wednesday, the Official Opposition released our recommendations on what is needed to help Ontarians through this crisis. Our full proposal is based on what we have heard from constituents, and includes: 

  • A $2,000 Ontario Emergency Income cheque to go to households experiencing unemployment or lost income during the COVID-19 crisis, to be in people's hands by April 1 
  • A $250 per child emergency child benefit for households experiencing unemployment or reduced income
  • 100 per cent provincial funding for Public Health Units
  • A minimum of $1 billion in surge funding for hospitals
  • A fund to provide child care for health care, public health and essential workers
  • Interest-free utility bill deferrals and the end of Time of Use hydro billing
  • A stabilization fund for the non-profit sector (e.g. seniors centres, food banks)
  • A wage-fund boost and remote-work set up fund to support small and medium-sized businesses, which face much greater challenges now than large businesses

The provincial government has announced several new emergency measures since my last newsletter and I have shared some of those below. With new announcements every day - sometimes every hour - I encourage you to check official websites for the most up-to-date information.

Finally, I know that you will join me in expressing my enormous gratitude to the many people working to ensure we have access to necessary services and goods during this time, from health care workers and paramedics to grocery clerks and janitorial staff. 

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact my office. Although we are closed to in-person meetings, staff remain available to help by phone (519-657-3120) and email (psattler-co@ndp.on.ca). 

All the best,

 

IF YOU CAN, PLEASE STAY HOME!

 

ontario.ca/coronavirus

Find information about COVID-19 symptoms, how to protect yourself, and an information sheet that is available in multiple languages.

You can also use the Ministry of Health's interactive online assessment tool if you think you may have symptoms of COVID-19.

 

Middlesex-London Health Unit

Find local information about COVID-19 and what is being done locally to prevent and prepare for a potential outbreak in London, and information about assessing your own symptoms.

You can also find updates regarding local health care response and procedure changes at London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph's Health Care.

 

london.ca/covid-19

Updates on city services and programming impacted by COVID-19.

 

CBC - Coronavirus London Updates

Local advisories and updates, as well as a listing of what's closed or cancelled, and what remains open in London.

 

Canada.ca/coronavirus

Information from the Public Health Agency of Canada, and updates on the national response, travel advice and preparedness.

 

travel.gc.ca

Important travel updates regarding Coronavirus around the world.

 

School Mental Health Ontario

A resource on how to support student mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, including information and tools for parents.

 

COVID-19 Updates

The response to COVID-19 is evolving rapidly, so please refer to linked sources and official websites for the most up-to-date information.


Shutdown of Non-Essential Workplaces

Non-essential workplaces in Ontario have been ordered to close for two weeks starting March 25. There is a long list of essential workplaces excluded from the order, including but not limited to grocery stores and pharmacies, telecommunications and IT infrastructure service providers, and businesses that support power generation, natural gas distribution and clean drinking water. You can find the complete list here.

Workplaces deemed non-essential can operate online, by telephone, or by mail/delivery. Teleworking and online commerce are also permitted for all businesses.

Many people have contacted us to clarify whether a specific business is permitted to operate. We have been urging the government to get a 1-800 hotline up and running immediately. In the meantime, you can email the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade via their contact form here.

 

Schools May Remain Closed Past April 6

The government has indicated that schools are unlikely to re-open on April 6. We await further details. To assist parents, the province has also launched a Learn At Home portal where the Ministry of Education will continue to add resources.

 

Ending Time-of-Use Pricing

We have long advocated for an end to Time-of-Use energy pricing, and we welcome the announcement today that peak rates will be suspended for a 45-day period beginning March 24, 2020. The off-peak rate will apply to energy usage at any time of day for all time-of-use customers. This change will take place automatically, and you should see it reflected on your bill for the applicable period.

 

Social Assistance Applications and Funding

Emergency Assistance through Ontario Works is now more flexible. The limit on receiving funding only once in a six-month period has been suspended, and people can receive the funding for up to 48 days without submitting a full Ontario Works application. 

Ontario Works clients who do not report income will no longer be automatically suspended, and will not require hard copy identification for the time being. OW and ODSP staff also have more flexibility in providing discretionary benefits, and to approve extensions to Special Diet Allowance, Mandatory Special Necessities benefits and medical transportation/supplies without endorsement from a health professional.

Individuals can apply for these benefits at Ontario.ca/community.

 

City of London Playgrounds Closed

The City of London has announced that all outdoor playgrounds, skate parks, and multi-use courts will be closed, effective Tuesday, March 24.

 

London Police Headquarters Closed

London Police Headquarters is closed to members of the public until further notice. All emergency services are still in place. In the case of an emergency, call 9-1-1.  For non-emergencies, please call 519-661-5670, or complete a report online.

 

DriveTest Centres Now Closed

I heard from many London West residents about DriveTest Centres, and as a result of our efforts to raise those concerns, the centres are now closed. Anyone who paid for an examination will be credited, and anyone whose license required a test to renew will automatically be granted an extension.

 

Joining the Fight Against COVID-19 

A new Ontario Together website to help businesses and their employees work with the province to meet the challenges of COVID-19 has been launched. Businesses and organizations who can supply emergency equipment and innovative solutions are invited to submit proposals.  

The government is also seeking to hire experienced health care providers who may be retired or working part-time to help support provincial efforts to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19. Apply here

 
 

COVID Kindness

Big shout-out to the many local companies, organizations and individuals who are already stepping up to help respond to COVID-19. 
Donations of PPE
If you have extra masks, gloves, and other PPE, please donate them for use by frontline health care workers. For giving to the hospital, contact HMMS (Hospital Supply) at HMMSCOVID19@hmms.on.ca. To give to the local network of medical clinics, email janet.dang@thamesvalleyfht.ca.

Help Sew Masks and Gowns
Local sewers can help health care workers by volunteering to sew masks and gowns. Please contact Kathleen@solescience.ca regarding masks, and melia2010@meds.uwo.ca regarding gowns.

Caremongering London
Londoners are offering each other help and support through this Facebook group.

London Volunteer Task Force
This is a matching service between requesting individuals and volunteers to allow non-contact drop-off grocery delivery. 

Med Students for Healthcare Workers
Western Medical students are available to help healthcare workers with childcare, errands, and grocery shopping.

Support London Businesses
This is a list of local businesses that have gift cards available online. Many of them have limited their operations to help stop the spread of COVID-19. 
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