Do you work in education or do you have children studying at home? Join Trustees Stephanie Donaldson, Norm Di Pasquale and myself for tonight’s Education Town Hall to discuss the challenges, successes and solutions to studying during the global pandemic (see poster below).
This week is National Nurses and Midwives Week, which gives us an opportunity to thank these frontline workers who are looking after those who are ill and helping bring the next generation into the world in the midst of a global pandemic.
One of the concerns during the pandemic is the loss of Main Street businesses. Even with the government support that is available, many are struggling to survive. With some retail stores now open for curbside pickup and delivery. it’s possible to support more of our local businesses. Part of the recovery must include a “shop local” campaign so that our community stores and businesses can thrive once more.
On Tuesday, we were back in the Legislature to extend the Declaration of Emergency until June 2. Further details of the reopening framework will be coming today. Plans will include the opening of more low-risk small businesses, parks and golf courses, some as early as this weekend.
If you are looking to understand the pandemic from a global perspective, the series of articles by Tomas Pueyo are excellent. The most recent article draws global lessons on how to manage the pandemic and reopen the economy.
For many of us, the CNE is a rite of passage that signals the end of summer, but sadly, for the first time since the Second World War, the CNE has been cancelled.
Although it is taking some time, and we have a long way to go yet, we should take comfort in the success we’ve had in flattening the curve and saving thousands of lives. Stay safe and thank you for the actions you are taking.
TONIGHT: Education Town Hall
Join me for a Zoom meeting with TCDSB Trustee Norm Di Pasquale and TDSB Trustee Stephanie Donaldson on Thursday, May 14, 6:30 pm for a discussion on education issues during this pandemic. Parents, students and educators are all welcome to participate and ask questions. Simply click on this link to join.
- Long-Term Care Facilities: Despite COVID-19 ripping through LTCs, frontline workers are still not provided with N95 masks. This poll shows that 87% of health care staff reported not having access to the PPE they need. It's terrible but hundreds of lives in Ontario could be saved if we simply had more $2 masks for our frontline workers. Evidence was provided to counter the Ontario Health Minister's claim that long-term care facilities have cooperated with the government on implementing COVID-19 protections, stressing that court documents filed in a variety of lawsuits and legal challenges paint a very different picture. The Official Opposition says Ontario's new emergency provision to allow the government to take over management of long-term care facilities in crisis is long overdue and has been calling for a public, non-partisan inquiry into the crisis in long-term care, including into the role of for-profit homes. The government invoked an emergency provision that allows the province to step in to manage a long-term care home in crisis – but the government says it is not time to use it. The Official Opposition says the move should have come much sooner.
- Pandemic Pay: New website offering more information on pandemic pay: https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-temporary-pandemic-pay
- Testing and Tracing: Health Canada has authorized the first COVID-19 serological test, which will be used to detect COVID-19 antibodies and give scientists a better understanding of whether people who have already had the virus are immune. Ontario remains behind other jurisdictions on COVID-19 testing, a troubling reality as the province begins the process of reopening the economy. The Premier said that the government plans to use technology to assist with contact tracing and testing: “We’re coming up with new apps when it comes to contact tracing and testing. It’s absolutely critical that that’s part of it”.
- COVID-19 in Children: Christine Elliott issued a statement about multisystem inflammatory vasculitis, which appears to be similar to Kawasaki Syndrome, in children and COVID-19 confirming that the case definition of COVID-19 has now been updated to include multisystem inflammatory vasculitis as an atypical presentation in children.
- Students: Post-secondary students can apply to the Canada Emergency Student Benefit as of Friday -- the program has been criticized for not going far enough to help students. Minister Lecce says schools should follow public health guidance and reschedule their graduation ceremonies for later in the summer and fall.
- Voluntary Deployment: The Ontario government has approved an emergency order that would enable available school board employees to be voluntarily redeployed to congregate care settings during the COVID-19 pandemic, including hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes, and women's shelters.
- Gender-Based Violence: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak there has been an increased risk of gender-based violence for many individuals who have been staying home and practicing physical distancing for weeks now. It is crucial that Ontarians who have experienced or are at risk of sexual assault, gender-based violence or human trafficking have continued access to counselling and other critical services they need to stay safe, heal and rebuild their lives. The government is investing $1 million to help frontline agencies adapt to remote service delivery and ensure continued operation during COVID-19. This funding will assist counselling service providers like the Assaulted Women's Helpline, who also work the Seniors Safety Line, which will receive $200,000 to develop text and online chat platforms, set up toll-free lines, provide on-demand interpreter services and hire additional staff to respond to increased call volume.
- Prescription Drugs: Effective today, people using the Ontario Drug Benefit Program will not be required to pay any co-payment until July 1, 2020 for any prescription of 30+ days that is now being dispensed in installments. In addition, existing and new Trillium Drug Program households can apply for an income reassessment to help reduce the financial burden for families during the outbreak.
- Surgeries in Ontario: On May 7th, the Ontario Government announced a framework to help hospitals begin planning to resume surgeries and procedures. This is welcome news as we have heard from many constituents that they are deeply concerned and anxious over the delay of lifesaving procedures, from dialysis to lung cancer treatments. Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office recently said that about 52,000 procedures have already been cancelled or avoided.
- Business Supports: The City of Toronto has a new online venture to help local businesses and artists sell goods and services virtually. The City of Toronto is working on municipal legislation that would permit restaurants to expand their patios into neighbouring parking lots and sidewalks to allow their customers to practise physical distancing. Canada announced a new loan program to support large companies such as airlines and oil and gas firms. There have been widespread concerns about the federal government's commercial rent relief program for small and medium-sized businesses. As we return to work, we need to keep workers safe. We are calling on the government to create a Workplace Safety Readiness Committee.
- Provincial Parks: Provincial parks and conservation reserves have reopened for limited day use this week. A total of 520 parks opened on Monday and the remaining 115 will open on Friday. Recreational activities will be limited to walking, hiking, biking and bird-watching, while camping is not permitted and all facilities, playgrounds and beaches will remain closed. People are urged to practice physical distancing and stay two metres apart.
- Flooding Update: It seems that we have narrowly escaped flooding on Lake Ontario this year. Island resident Lynn Robinson who has been monitoring water level writes that while current levels are just under minor flood levels, we should still be mindful of storms and high waves over the summer.
- Construction at CityPlace: Metrolinx has advised that construction will begin along the Lakeshore West corridor. The GO Expansion involves improving, updating and modernizing infrastructure, including tracks, bridges and stations, as well as extensive maintenance efforts. The work will begin on May 16th until May 23rd from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am. If you have any questions call 647-299-8836 or email [email protected].
- Construction on Bathurst: Bathurst Street from Front Street West to Fort York Boulevard will be closed completely from May 25 to December 2020 for TTC and bridge revitalization. Pedestrian traffic will still be allowed. Crews will also be replacing a 144-year-old watermain on Bathurst between Front and Queen Street West. Drivers can find a detailed map of all the construction projects across the city on the City of Toronto website.
- Asian Unification Project: Targets Asian people who are disabled, immunocompromised, or 50+. Individuals can request grocery delivery or errand running
- The Bright Spot: An online community where older adults can shine, offering everything from exercise classes and small online group discussions to trivia nights and mindfulness tutorials – all free of charge. Offered by the YMCA of Greater Toronto.
- Canadian Muslim Response Network: Anyone in need across Toronto can request emergency kits including non-perishable food items, and essential hygiene and cleaning products.
- CareMongering-TO: Community Response to COVID19. Can request or offer aid (including grocery delivery and other resources) by posting in the Facebook group, filling in a Google form (to offer aid), or filling in a spreadsheet (to request aid).
- COVIDTO GlideApp: An all-in-one community resource that is updated by volunteers
- DonateTO: The City launched this online portal, making it easy for businesses and residents to make direct donations of products, services, and funds in support of the City’s relief efforts.
- Friendly Neighbour Hotline (UHN Open Lab): Toronto seniors who live in low-income housing can request grocery and supply aid. Torontonians can volunteer after a vetting process and online training. 1-855-581-9580 (Hotline Phone Number)
- GDNA Help/Give Forum: Community residents can ask for help and other residents can offer assistance.
- Good Neighbour Project: GTA-wide, Facebook-based network of community members willing to assist with supply and grocery delivery to those with disabilities, compromised immune systems, accessibility barriers, and the elderly. Requests for aid can be made by calling the helpline (647-873-2230) or sending an email
- The 519 (Community Centre serving the LGBTQ2S community): Free takeaway meals, 7 days a week 1pm and 4pm, Monday to Friday 12:30pm, 12:30pm Saturday and Sunday. Location: In front of the Fabarnak Cafe, 519 Church St.
- Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre: Bagged meals available for pick-up only at the side door. Weekdays: Breakfast: 9:00 AM - 9:30 AM; Lunch: 12:00 PM - 12:30 PM; Dinner: 3:15 PM - 3:45 PM. Weekends: Breakfast: 9:00 AM - 9:30 AM; Lunch: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM (Sunday 12-12:30). Location: 439 Dundas St. E. at Parliament
- West Neighbourhood House: Help with grocery and pharmacy pickup, friendly calls, social support, information and referral, and other needs emerging in the community. Sign up to volunteer or request for help at westnh.org/help. Email [email protected] or call 416-532-4828.
- Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies has developed a list of COVID-19 specific resources for children, youth, families and the public. For a full list of Children’s Aid Societies and Child and Indigenous Child and Family Well Being Agencies in your community, please visit this link here.
- ShopHere: ShopHERE connects volunteers in Toronto’s technology sector with business owners who need e-commerce training and support in digital marketing and shipping. Tech companies and professionals who’d like to offer guidance can sign up online. To qualify for the program, a business must have fewer than 10 employees, or fewer than 25 employees if a restaurant or bar; pay commercial property taxes; and not be a chain or franchise. Eligible businesses and artists must be located in the City of Toronto.
- City of Toronto Virtual Activities: You can tour a museum exhibit, watch a live concert, play interactive games or try an exercise class or a new recipe. The options are listed by age group and there are activities for everyone!
Working with Spadina-Fort York’s Elected Representatives
COVID-19 is an unprecedented situation that requires all levels of government to work closely together. I am working closely with my Municipal and Federal counterparts to discuss how we can support Spadina-Fort York residents, businesses and other organizations. For more detail on the Municipal and Federal responses, please click the links below:
Facts and Figures
As of May 12, 9:00PM EST
As of 4.00PM May 11:
- Cases: 20,907
- NEW: 361
- Deaths: 1,725 (+56)
- Recovered: 15,391 (73.6%)
- Hospitalized: 1,025
- ICU: 192
- Ventilated: 146
Chief Medical Officer of Health Information:
- 57.3% of cases are female
- 43.1% are aged 60+
- 61.1% are in the GTA
- 3,485 healthcare workers total have tested positive
- 459,921 tests in total – 11,957 tests completed in the past 24 hours
- 10,811 tests waiting to be processed
Long-Term Care Ministry Data:
- 180 active outbreaks in LTCs
- 2,703 cases among residents, 1,677 cases among staff
- 1,239 resident deaths, 4 staff deaths