In keeping with global research that shows wearing face masks reduces the spread of COVID-19, Canada’s chief public health officer announced she is now officially recommending that Canadians wear non-medical face masks when keeping two metres apart from others isn't possible, and Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation is recommending that people wear face coverings on public transit.
Yesterday (May 19th) was Personal Support Worker (PSW) day, an annual acknowledgement of the workers who provide home care for seniors, people with disabilities and those recovering from illness. Often having to work in several long-term care (LTC) homes to make a living, many of the 1600 LTC workers who have contracted COVID-19 are PSWs. It’s not enough to celebrate their sacrifice -- we need to reward PSWs with better wages and personal protective equipment.
The government has promised a Commission to investigate LTCs, however the opposition and advocacy groups are asking for a Public Inquiry, arguing that a Commission that is controlled by the governing party is not fully independent.
Although the Ontario Government has announced that schools will not be reopening this year, they are planning for the reopening in September as well as the gradual reopening of child care, and the opening of summer day camps subject to the continuing progress in trends of key public health indicators. For the many Ontarians who are returning to college or university during the pandemic, OSAP applications open today.
Small businesses continue to struggle to survive through the pandemic. A recent survey showed that 75% say they can’t pay June’s rent and 63% are fearful of being locked out of their premises. The Ontario-Federal Commercial Rent Relief program has been taken up by very few commercial landlords, putting our Main Street businesses at risk. More government help is needed.
The City of Toronto is projecting a revenue loss of between $1.5 and $2.7 because of the pandemic. The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and CUPE are urging the provincial government to provide financial assistance for municipalities.
Help to get us through the pandemic is coming from many sectors. I’d like to thank the Queen West BIA for launching Resilience Gardens and Recipe Books for households to help us grow some food at home. Sign up for your FREE kit here.
Stay safe, we’re getting through this together.
Ontario’s Economy - Stage 1 of Reopening:
- Ontario extended all emergency orders until May 29, which includes the closure of bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery only, restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and staff redeployment rules for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women's shelters.
- The province officially entered the first stage of its Framework for Reopening the Province. As part of this initial stage, the government is permitting the reopening of some outdoor recreational amenities, including outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields, off-leash dog areas, and outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters in parks and recreational areas, effective as of Tuesday, May 19, 2020. The government is now allowing drive-in religious gatherings.
- As provinces slowly reopen, Canada's border with the United States will remain closed to all non-essential travel until, at least, June 21.
- The City of Toronto has reached an interim settlement with respect to a motion for an injunction regarding the City’s unprecedented response to protect those experiencing homelessness in Toronto. The interim settlement confirms the City's commitment and on-going work since March to physical distancing in shelter and respite sites of at least two metres of lateral separation between beds or alternate sleeping arrangements, and no use of the upper bunks of bunk beds in any setting. The City is also ensuring that all alternative indoor space offered to anyone living outside meets physical distancing measures.
Long-Term Care Home Review:
- The Official Opposition and I have been calling for a full, public and independent inquiry of Ontario's long-term care system. The Ontario Government voted this down and instead ordered a commission into long-term care which lacks the public oversight that is crucial to ensure improvements are made. Several organizations, experts and unions are slamming the refusal to hold a public inquiry, including the United Steelworkers and a union representing more than 60,000 frontline health care workers.
- The Ontario government continues to ignore calls from small businesses owners to ban commercial evictions. The Official Opposition has been echoing this call, pointing to a Toronto survey released this weekend showing that 63% of businesses said they couldn't make May rent. Many small businesses are falling through the cracks in the federal rent support program, and we are urging the Premier to help businesses. Sign our petition for a SaveMainStreet plan that includes commercial rent subsidies and a ban on evictions, lockouts and disconnections.
- Starting Monday, May 25, there will be more weekday morning and afternoon rush-hour trips on the Lakeshore East line. Schedules will be adjusted with some departures up to 15 minutes earlier. Some weekday afternoon rush-hour trains will also depart from different platforms at Union Station. Most trains along the Lakeshore East and West lines will be reduced to six coaches while ridership is low. Customers may need to adjust where they wait on the platform depending on their station.
- The Bay East Teamway at Union Station will be closed for construction until fall 2020. The Bay East Teamway will connect the new Union Station Bus Terminal with a future commercial tower at 141 Bay Street. Visit gotransit.com for the latest updates.
Hydro One Project:
- A proposal and draft Environmental Study Report (ESR) for the Power Downtown Toronto project has been submitted. This project involves replacing critical underground transmission cables that have served Toronto’s downtown core since the 1950s. A new cable line will be constructed through underground tunnelling between the Esplanade and Bay Street. The draft ESR is available for review and comments here until May 29, 2020. For more information, please contact [email protected] or 416-345-6799.
- The City of Toronto is continuing its ActiveTO program that creates more space for cyclists, pedestrians, joggers and others to enjoy the outdoors and public spaces while following physical distancing.
City of Toronto Events:
- While Ontario’s economy slowly prepares to reopen, the City of Toronto is extending its cancellation of city-permitted festivals and events. Events with attendance of 250+ people are cancelled through July 31st and events with attendance of 25,000 people or more are cancelled through August 31.
The following roads will be closed to cars and other motor vehicles, beginning Saturday at 6:00 am until Sunday at 11:00 pm:
- Lake Shore Boulevard West (eastbound lanes only) from Windermere Avenue to Stadium Road
- The eastbound Gardiner Expressway off ramp to Lake Shore Boulevard West (exit #146)
- Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has launched a new online Resource Centre, offering tools designed to inform Ontarians about their consumer protection work and natural gas and electricity regulation. The Resource Centre is divided by topics: the various sections include helpful videos, downloadable fact sheets, tips and booklets, as well as website links to more information.
- Tarion has created a number of different resources available to homeowners during COVID-19. This includes detailed information on timelines, inspections and other warranty related matters.
- Safe Haven Project for Community Living provides high-quality, family-centred and community-based residential and respite care for individuals with complex care needs. Here is a list of their COVID-19 resources.
- 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.
- Queen West Resilience Gardens and Recipe Books: With the many challenges brought on by COVID-19, the Queen West BIA has created Resilience Gardens and Recipe Books for households to grow some food at home. Sign up for your FREE kit.
- 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.
- 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
- The Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) is creating engaging and informative webinars for the non-profit sector to adapt to the changing world in light of COVID-19. All registered participants will receive a recording of the webinar and slide deck. Please contact [email protected] if you have questions.
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 4:00 pm May 18:
Tuesday May 19
427 – 1.9% increase
Tests completed in the previous 24 hours
Backlog – waiting to be processed
Total tests completed
- Hospitalized: 987
- ICU: 167
- Ventilated: 123
Chief Medical Officer of Health:
- 56.9% of cases are female
- 42.1% are aged 60+
- 63.1% are in the GTA
- 4,043 healthcare workers in total have tested positive
Long-Term Care Ministry data:
- 190 active outbreaks in LTCs
- 2,538 cases among residents, 1,615 cases among staff
- 1,408 resident deaths, 5 staff deaths