This week we learned of the tragic death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet. I want to offer my condolences to Regis’ friends and family and support their call for a full, independent, public investigation.
Yesterday, the CBC reported the senseless beating of a Chinese business owner on Dundas Street in Kensington Market. This and other reports of anti-black and anti-Asian racism show that racism remains very much a Canadian issue. The first step in addressing racism is to collect the data so that we can understand the scope of the problem. Official Opposition Anti-Racism Critic Laura-Mae Lindo is asking the Solicitor General to mandate the collection of data on all hate crimes so that, for example, the spike in anti-Asian racism is seen as one of the issues coming out of this crisis and addressing it becomes part of the government’s response to the pandemic.
The government continues to reopen our economy with many healthcare providers being allowed to gradually reopen including dentists, optometrists, massage therapists and others. The new directive for healthcare providers is available here.
The report from Canadian Forces about the deplorable conditions under which seniors suffer in long-term care homes should have come as a surprise to no one. A 2002 report from the Ontario Health Coalition describes how the minimum standard of 2.25 hours of care for each senior and the Senior Residents Bill of Rights had been repealed by the government at that time. What followed were two decades of reduced regulatory standards and inspections that contributed to the horrific conditions in long-term care homes. The Official Opposition and I are calling for comprehensive inspections, takeovers of all homes that are not safe and a full, transparent and independent public inquiry.
The light coming through in this pandemic is the way that community members are coming together to support each other. Today we received a donation of 1500 sewn masks from Simon Zhong and the Toronto Community & Culture Centre and another donation of 500 disposable masks from an anonymous donor. We will be distributing these to seniors and people with disabilities throughout the weekend. Please see our #covidkindness section below.
Stay safe and look out for each other.
Opportunity for Tourism Industry to Speak to Government:
- Ontario’s Finance Committee will hold public hearings on the Tourism sector by videoconference from Thursday, June 4, 2020 to Monday, June 22, 2020. To register to speak, register at ola.org/en/apply-committees by 12:00 noon (EDT) on Monday, June 1, 2020. You can also make a written submission by 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on Monday, June 22, 2020 to ola.org/en/apply-committees. Please contact my office if you have any questions.
STEPS TO APPLY FOR ORAL OR WRITTEN SUBMISSION:
- Go to: ola.org/en/apply-committees.
- Select ‘Yes’ for Do you know the bill title or business (e.g., pre-budget consultations) you'd like to speak or submit written material about?
- Select: “Study of the recommendation relating to the Economic and Fiscal Update and the impact of COVID-19”
- Select: whether you want to send you want to appear for oral presentation OR submit a written feedback
- Select TOURISM
- Then continue with required information
Long-Term Care Report:
- The Ontario government announced that it is extending the mandate of the Incident Management System Long-Term Care Table. This table is composed of health care professionals who make immediate decisions to deal with issues related to staffing levels, infection management and resources during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Minister Fullerton announced that the province will take control of four of the five long-term care homes listed in the report released this week by the Canadian Armed Forces, with each now being managed by a local hospital. The Minister also confirmed that 19 of the province’s long-term care homes are classified as “red,” meaning they are at highest risk, but has refused to release that list. The Official Opposition is asking for this list to be released, stressing that families and residents deserve to know which facilities are most problematic.
- The Premier stated that inspectors “refused” to go into long-term care homes during the peak of COVID-19 and then thanked OPSEU president Smokey Thomas for getting the inspectors back into the homes. Thomas released a statement in response to the comments, saying that the Premier’s claim is “utterly untrue”. He said managers in the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care are “purposely misleading the Premier to cover up their own incompetence that covers decades of inaction”.
- One in three long-term care residents to contract COVID-19 in Ontario has died, new statistics show. The Official Opposition is urging the Ford government to take over more homes that are unsafe, and continues to call for a comprehensive, find-and-fix, judicial public inquiry.
- According to a statement from SEIU Healthcare, the Ontario government “has finally listened to all of us, significantly expanding the eligibility for pandemic pay”. The statement includes a list of the workers now eligible for the wage top-up.
- The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is also calling on the government to take immediate and concrete action to address the long-standing shortfalls in long-term care homes made blatantly evident in the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) report.
- Dentists, optometrists and massage therapists are part of a list of health-care providers that the Ontario government says can gradually reopen. Chiropractors, physiotherapists, psychologists, dieticians, denturists, and midwives are also included on the list released Wednesday as part of a new order from the province's chief medical officer of health. While the order takes effect immediately, that does not mean that all health services will be available on May 27.
- Bill 184, Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, which passed second reading yesterday, prevents tenants from bringing up issues like their landlord failing to make repairs to their unit during hearings for non-payment of rent, and skips straight from repayment agreement for back rent to eviction order without any hearing for the tenant if they miss a payment. In the legislature, we are asking for a ban on disconnections and lockouts and a freeze on rent increases. During the pandemic we have received many emails from tenants in our riding who continue to receive notices of eviction and rent increases.
- RenovictionsTO is a new mapping project that documents renoviction practices and provides resources for tenants. The online map displays renovictions and above-guideline rent increases (AGIs) throughout Toronto and renters can locate buildings in specific neighbourhoods that are facing a renoviction or an AGI. The tracker offers a different way to view data and search for other tenants facing (or who have faced) these issues, including searching by landlord.
COVID-19 Testing and Data:
- Today, the Premier announced a new COVID-19 testing strategy targeting virtually any identifiable group thought to be at high risk of infection.The Official Opposition believes that we not only need this strategy to test in more and different settings, but more tests are needed in general. Ontarians also deserve more clarity about how and when this new strategy will be rolled out, as well as firm timelines with dates and benchmarks for testing workers, congregate settings and vulnerable communities.
- The City of Toronto released geographic information on COVID-19 cases in Toronto to help fight the spread of this virus in the city. The maps reflect where individuals live, and do not necessarily reflect where they were initially exposed to this virus. Areas with lower rates of COVID-19 cases are not necessarily safer and do not pose less of a risk of infection. Case status data and geographic maps can be found on the City’s reporting platform.
- The Official Opposition called on the Premier to immediately deploy additional resources to communities identified as COVID-19 hotspots in the map released by the City of Toronto. They also want the government to adopt a detailed metric put together in a coordinated effort by local medical officers of health to chart the path forward for safe economic reopening.
- McMaster University researchers have launched a province-wide online survey — OntarioParentSurvey.ca — to help understand what families with children are experiencing in the context of COVID-19, and what services families and caregivers may need. The Ontario Parent Survey, which launched Tuesday, May 5 and will continue for six weeks, is part of a larger intervention study funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada created to promote positive parenting practices and improve child outcomes.
Little Norway Encampment:
- Starting May 27, the City of Toronto is implementing a new street outreach program focused on high priority encampments. Little Norway Park is a priority site that will see outreach beginning today and continuing this week. As the city’s capacity to offer housing is expanded, people will be moved out of the priority encampments and into apartments. This will be expedited due to the advance work happening this week through the enhanced street outreach effort. Once people are housed from encampments, the City of Toronto will remove abandoned belongings and hazardous debris, and clean up the park.
Union Station Odour:
- Recently, there were concerns regarding a strong odour in the Union Station East Corridor at Parliament, where a significant amount of rail ties were replaced last weekend. As there were in excess of 250 ties replaced, many residents reported concerns regarding a concentrated creosote odour. We have been informed by Metrolinx that there is no health risk associated with this odour. The heavy rains yesterday and today will help to dissipate the odour. Please email [email protected] for more information.
Cycling & Road Closures:
- Toronto City Council has approved expanding and accelerating a total of 40 kilometres of the city’s cycling network as part of Toronto’s ActiveTO program.
- The Gardiner Expressway will be fully closed from Highway 427 to the Don Valley Parkway for annual maintenance and improvement activities from Friday, May 29 at 11:00 pm to Monday, June 1 at 5:00 am. The intersection of Richmond Street East and Church Street will also be fully closed for construction.
Make Your Own Mask:
- I have received several inquiries about where to get face masks. Here is a link to a video on how you can make your own disposable masks out of paper towel, tissue and rubber bands.
An anonymous donor gave 500 disposable masks through the office of Mary Boyce (left) for us to distribute to seniors and vulnerable people in the writing. Thank you so much for your donation!
Today we also received a donation of 1500 reusable masks from Simon Zhong of the Toronto Community & Culture Centre. Tomorrow we will start distributing them to seniors and vulnerable community members’ residences! Thank you for helping to keep our community's most vulnerable safe!
- 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 Cancer Society Information Helpline: For people with cancer, caregivers, families and friends, and healthcare professionals. 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934) CancerConnection.ca is an online community where people with cancer and their loved ones can share their experiences and build supportive relationships. Webinars on COVID-19 for cancer patients providing expert input on some central issues affecting people living with cancer and their caregivers.
- 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 27:
Thursday May 28
383 – 1.4% increase
Tests completed in the previous 24 hours
Backlog – waiting to be processed
Total tests completed
*If you would like to see graphs indicating trends in the data over time, these are available to view using Ontario Public Health’s COVID-19 data tool**
- Hospitalized: 833 (-14)
- ICU: 137 (-13)
- Ventilated: 94 (-23)
Chief Medical Officer of Health:
- 55.9% of cases are female
- 40.3% are aged 60+
- 65.6% are in the GTA
- 4,577 healthcare workers total have tested positive (17.0% of total cases)
- Dr. Williams indicated that Ontario’s new testing strategy will be released “in the next day or so”.
Congregate Settings Summary:
Resident / Patient Cases
Resident / Patient Deaths
Long Term Care Homes