Chris Glover MPP, Spadina–Fort York

Government of Ontario

COVID-19 Update August 18

Published on August 18, 2020

Dear Neighbours,

July is my favourite month. Summer seems to stretch endlessly before us, the weather is warm and even a walk along the waterfront feels like a bit of a holiday. But once August hits, it seems we’re counting down the days until school starts and the warm weather dissipates. 

Although the government has trumpeted its back to school plan, the plan has met with a great deal of criticism from parents and education workers. The $309 million that the government is investing in pandemic measures is less than half of the cuts made to schools in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 school years. Although overall funding increased by about 1%, inflation was 2%, which led to a shortfall of about $700 million across the province. Those cuts affected both TDSB and TCDSB and students in all school boards across the province. Our children deserve a back to school plan that involves more than returning half of the cuts that were made last year.

We also need a pandemic childcare plan. With more parents returning to work, the need for childcare will also increase, yet this Government has shown a lack of planning for childcare.

We are pressing the government to take action on their back to school and childcare plans. We are also working to support local businesses and deal with the homelessness crisis that is growing by the day.

There is a lot to do to get ready for September, but I hope everyone is taking a bit of time to enjoy the summer before it winds its way into the fall!

Stay well,


Latest Developments

Upcoming Event

Pandemic Relief for Post-Secondary Students Town Hall

On Thursday, September 3rd at 7:00 pm, please join me for a discussion with post-secondary students and student associations about their concerns going back to school in the fall.

We are demanding the Ontario government provide $1000 in pandemic relief for Ontario college and university students ($500 for part-time students).

Please register here and sign our petition here.


Stage 3 Quick Summary

Toronto entered Stage 3 on July 31, and while this is an indication that our initial COVID-19 prevention measures were effective, we must continue to follow public health guidance to ensure we keep the pandemic under control.

  • Gathering limits have increased to the following (with social distancing in place): 
    • 50 people indoors maximum
    • 100 people outdoors maximum
    • For more details, visit this website
    • Visit the following website for restrictions that remain in place during Stage 3 or call 1-888-444-3659 the Stop the Spread Business Information Line.
  • Some municipalities have enacted by-laws that involve additional restrictions such as mandatory face coverings and different capacity limits in food establishments. 
  • Businesses unable to open/resume full activities due to restrictions in place in Stage 3, you can submit a reopening proposal for consideration.
  • You can find your closest testing assessment centre here.
  • The COVID Alert app is available for free use and download on the Apple and Google Play stores. 

Windsor-Essex Entering Stage 3

  • Windsor-Essex was the last Ontario region to enter Stage 3 of re-opening as of Wednesday — something the Official Opposition believes could have happened sooner if Premier Ford had stepped up testing and contact tracing, and ensured agricultural workers could isolate when outbreaks occurred.

Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) Findings

  • Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) found that Black people in Toronto are more likely to be arrested, charged, shot and killed by Toronto police.
  • Laura Mae Lindo, Chair of the Official Opposition Black Caucus made a statement criticizing the Premier for slashing funding for anti-racism initiatives to $1,000 across the province.

Reopening Ontario

  • The Opposition has stated the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program has failed in assisting small businesses and has asked the Ontario Government to provide direct rent relief to businesses.
  • According to a July 29, 2020 report by the Daily Bread Food Bank, there were 6,100 new clients utilizing their services in June. The Opposition highlighted this issue stating these figures shine a light on the gaps in the system.
  • Ontario municipalities will share up to $4 billion from the $19-billion fund the federal government and provinces pledged last week to help municipalities, which are short millions due to the pandemic. The Opposition says municipalities need support from the Provincial Government over the long-term to avoid service cuts, and that many are still reeling from deep cuts made to municipalities two years ago, including to public health, ambulance services and child care.

Face Masks in Condos & Schools

  • Toronto City Council passed a bylaw making masks mandatory in common areas in apartment and condo buildings.
  • Ontario implemented a mandate that students from grades 4 through 12 must wear non-medical face masks or cloth face coverings upon return to school in the fall.
  • As a reminder, facial coverings have been mandatory in all indoor public spaces in the City of Toronto, and onboard all TTC and Metrolinx vehicles. Please respect and follow public health guidelines when entering businesses and other public areas where physical distancing is difficult.

September GO Service Changes

  • Starting September 5th, as the province continues in Stage 3 of recovery, and offices and schools begin to re-open, GO Transit is increasing train service on all lines to give customers more flexibility to get to where they need to go. They are also resuming or adjusting bus service on most routes to better match demand.
  • For more information, please click here: https://www.gotransit.com/en/trip-planning/go-service-updates/train-schedule-changes

Daycares and Child Welfare

  • The maximum number of children allowed in child care cohorts in the province has been raised from 10 to 15. The Provincial Government stated child care has already been back to 91% capacity, but journalists, experts, parents and the Opposition pointed to figures showing fewer than half of Ontario daycares have reopened.
  • The Ontario government released its plan stating they are modernizing the child welfare system. The Opposition pointed out the government fails to provide funding or plan to transform child welfare in Ontario.
  • Pearson Airport Explorers Club is hosting Virtual Day Camps! Please follow this link to find more information: https://www.airportexplorer.club/

Reopening Schools:

  • The provincial government announced on July 30th elementary school students will be attending class full time in the fall. Secondary school students in 24 “designated boards” will attend school on alternating days, in cohorts of 15. The Education Critic stated sending kids back to overcrowded classrooms places them at risk. The Opposition proposed hiring more teachers, education staff and custodians ensuring students return to smaller, safer classes. Read our full response here. I have been advocating for the Government to provide enough funding to ensure proper cleaning and PPE is available, not to mention the fact that they’ve ignored a $700 million repair backlog at the Toronto District School Board. 
  • The Opposition Leader, Andrea Horwath brought a school bus to Queen's Park on August 17th to demonstrate concerns about physical distancing parents, students, and education workers have with the Premier's back-to-school plan.
  • A group of experts from across Ontario have come together to develop updated considerations for a safe school reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The living document, Updated COVID-19: Guidance for School Reopening, published July 29, 2020, builds on the initial set of recommendations put forward by The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and Unity Health Toronto, with input from experts from a wide range of disciplines across the province. You can watch the virtual press conference here.
  • The TDSB has proposed a new back-to-school plan that will reduce class sizes only in elementary schools located in Toronto neighbourhoods at the highest risk of COVID-19. TDSB chairman Alexander Brown said under the new plan, the board would lease additional space and hire more teachers to limit the number of students in the classroom. The money would come from the board's reserve funds. The latest plan has been presented to board trustees, who are expected to make a final decision on Thursday. The plan may still need the province's approval.

Federal News

Construction & Road Closures

  • Metrolinx's Ontario Line project will be doing drilling work. Drilling will take place at Bathurst Street and Stewart Street and is scheduled to start August 18 between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Monday to Friday, for up to three weeks. What to expect:
    • Some lane reductions will be required in these areas. 
    • Work equipment may be left on-site until work is completed.
    • Noise caused by a drill rig, trucks, and other construction equipment related to this work.
  • Metrolinx's Ontario Line project will be doing investigative drilling work on Niagara Street near Tecumseth Street beginning August 24, 2020 and may last up to 3 weeks. The work will take place between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Metrolinx's Ontario Line project will be doing investigative night drilling work on Portland Street near Adelaide Street West. Work will begin on August 31, 2020 and may last up to two months. Work will occur between 9:00 pm and 7:00 am, Monday to Saturday.
  • GO will be conducting ongoing construction along Union Station Rail Corridor - West. This work will take place over the course of one week starting on Saturday, August 22 until Saturday, August 29, overnight from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Here is what to expect according to Metrolinx:
    • Foundation for high mast daylights poles will be laid down.
    • Retaining Wall construction from Spadina Avenue to York Street.
    • Backfilling and Panel construction from Spadina Avenue to John Street.
    • Bungalow Foundation construction from Spadina Avenue to York Street.
    • Insulated Joint Installation from Spadina Avenue to York Street.
    • Cable containment from Bathurst Street to York Street.
  • For more information, sign up for the newsletter at metrolinx.com/OntarioLine, email OntarioLine@metrolinx.com or call 416-202-5100.
  • The City of Toronto will rehabilitate a section of a 112-year-old Cross Harbour Tunnel located below Lake Ontario from Muggs Island to the John Street Pumping Station (JSPS). The tunnel is a large pipe that carries cold water from the Island Water Treatment Plant to the JSPS and supplies water to Enwave for deep lake water cooling. Work above ground will take place from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, with work after hours and on weekends as required. There will be road and sidewalk restrictions on Lake Shore Blvd. north of the Rees Street parking lot. Sidewalks will remain open on the north side of Lake Shore Blvd. between Lower Spadina and Rees Street. This project will take about 10 months to complete and will abide by noise by-laws. For more information, call 416-392-8210 or email mae.lee@toronto.ca.

Fun Things To Do 

  • Art Gallery of Ontario: The AGO will reopen to the public and you can now start booking single tickets for visits starting July 23. New hours are Thursdays to Sundays from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm. Everyone over the age of four entering the museum will be required to wear a face mask and only a limited number of tickets will be available for each 30-minute timeslot. Physical distancing measures will also be in effect.
  • CityView Drive-In: CityView is an entirely contactless experience in the parking lot at 20 Polson Street. From the safety of your own vehicle, capture world-class talent on a massive 238-foot stage with the Toronto skyline in the background.
  • Curbside Collective BBQ Series: Curbside Collective will be hosting a mini farmers market from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm and street food pop-up from 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm. Saturdays at 852 King St. W.
  • Greenbelt Foundation: As most of Ontario heads into Phase 3 of re-opening, the Greenbelt is a safe destination for tourism and recreation, when enjoyed responsibly. In need of outdoor activity this summer with the kids? Download the Earth Rangers app and join one of the Greenbelt-supported missions from home. Create places for small animals to sleep, feed, and nest in your own backyard in Habitat Hero or team up with a friend to plant a tree and learn about ecosystems in Just 1 Tree. Discover so much more about Ontario’s biodiversity along the way! 
  • Hot Yoga & Fitness in a Bubble: Lmnts Outdoor Studio presents this pop-up at Hotel X Toronto, 111 Princes’ Blvd. Open 7 days a week, the experience will take place in 50 outdoor private, clear, frameless domes, allowing for personal and relaxing experience – all while maintaining a safe social distance.
  • Ontario Place Summer Line-up: Enjoy great comedy, live music and feature films on a 60-foot screen in a safe and family-friendly setting at the water’s edge of Ontario Place. 955 Lake Shore Blvd. W.
  • Toronto Shines will present the best in live entertainment, comedy, and current and classic films. It is running now through October.
  • DriveInTO, a new initiative launched by the City of Toronto, will offer free drive-in film screenings in August with programming by Hot Docs, imagineNATIVE and TIFF.
  • Toronto Undergraduate Jazz Festival, a not-for-profit organization that creates opportunities for young jazz artists to showcase their talent, will present a virtual jazz festival in the Trillium Park on September 5-6.
  • Toronto International Film Festival will run from September 10-19, with 50 new feature films, five programmes of short films, as well as interactive talks, film cast reunions, and Q&As with cast and filmmakers tailored to fit the moment with physical screenings, digital screenings, and at drive-ins, including Ontario Place.
  • Trinity Bellwoods Farmers Market: The market is now open Tuesdays, 3:00 to 7:00 pm until October 27th, rain or shine. Controlled entrance on Crawford with exit at Dundas & Shaw. One-way flow.

#covidkindness

To celebrate their birthdays, Steve Kidron of Kitchen24 & Matilda Ma of the Colossal Cookie Company brought together a team of volunteers to bake 2,000 cookies for #frontlineheroes across Toronto. They were joined by Giuliano Caracciolo from the Colossal Cookie Company as well as representatives from MPP Tom Rakocevic and Councillor Anthony Peruzza’s offices and many volunteers from my Spadina-Fort York community. I helped bake some of the cookies and delivered them to Sick Kids Hospital.


 


Facts and Figures

ONTARIO CASES:

As of 4:00 pm August 31:

 

Tuesday September 1

Cases

42,421

NEW

112 – 0.3% increase

Deaths

2,812 (+1)

Recovered

38,369 (90.4%)

Tests completed in the previous 24 hours

23,545

Backlog – waiting to be processed

15,748

Total tests completed

2,989,888

% Positivity

0.7% (+0.1%)

 

Hospital:

  • Hospitalized: 65 (+16)
  • ICU: 17 (-1)
  • Ventilated: 5 (-4)

 

CMOH new info:

  • 52.5% of cases are female.
  • 60+: 32.2%, 40-59: 29.8%, 20-39: 31.4%, under 20: 6.6% (total cases)

 

Of today’s 112 new cases, 64 (57.1%) were under the age of 40.

  • 6,720 (+6) healthcare workers total have tested positive (15.8% of total cases)

 

Congregate Settings Summary:

 

Resident Cases

Resident Deaths

Staff Cases

Staff Deaths

Active Outbreaks

Cumulative Outbreaks

Long Term Care Homes

5,937 (+1)

1,815 (=)

 

2,673 (+5)

 

8 (=)

18 (+3)

419 (+3)

 

  • Retirement Homes: 19 (=) active outbreaks, and 186 (=) outbreaks in total.
  • Hospitals: 3 (=) active outbreaks, and 98 (=) outbreaks in total.
  • Of today’s 112 new cases, 28 were in Peel, 26 in Toronto, 12 in York Region and 11 in Windsor-Essex.