Marit Stiles MPP, Davenport

Government of Ontario

COVID-19 Update - April 6

Published on April 7, 2020

My COVID-19 Bulletin for April 6, 2020.

Dear friends and neighbours, 

So many of you are doing so much... from frontline healthcare workers who are keeping us safe and saving lives during this pandemic.  To the grocery store and pharmacy workers making sure we have what we need to stay at home. To the truck drivers and farmers who keep food on our tables. And here in Davenport, the neighbours who are helping grocery shop for those who can’t, or supporting the most vulnerable at food banks and shelters. To children who are staying physically distant from their friends and helping out at home. To the families and friends who are caring for children and the elderly. To the education workers establishing contact with students and families, while they support their own children at home. This is an unprecedented time, and I am so grateful to all of you for your selflessness and determination to do everything we can to flatten the curve of COVID19. I see you and I’m so very proud of you. 

Many of you have asked for ways to continue to help others. In each bulletin, we will include examples of organizations you can connect with as well as efforts to raise funds or seek donations of items. There is a lot of need out there. Please scroll down to find out more. 

In the meantime, please continue to share the link to these bulletins so more of our community members can subscribe for important information and updates. 

Stay safe out there, 

Marit 

 

Canada Emergency Response Benefit – Applications open 

Canadians out of work due to COVID-19 can finally apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), with staggered application days depending on your birthday.

I am hearing concerns from many in the community who are ineligible for CERB because of the nature of their work, because they are a student, or because they continued to earn some income. It's a particular concern for gig and contract workers, artists and musicians. I have raised those concerns with our MP and federal counterparts and I was pleased to see the Prime Minister announce that the program is expected to be adjusted in the coming days. In the meantime I will continue to raise the issue and push for universal benefits that help everyone. 


Provincial Child Benefit available 

The provincial government's emergency child benefit application is also online as of today. Eligible parents will receive a one-time per child payment of: 

$200 for children aged 0 to 12 
$250 for children or youth aged 0 to 21 with special needs 

Learn more and apply here.


Education Update – Remote learning 

With the Minister of Education’s announcement last week that schools will remain closed until at least May 4, 2020, many Ontario children and youth will be reconnecting with teachers and other educators for the first time this week. What that means will vary from class to class, school to school and school board to school board. Every family has different circumstances, and some families face bigger challenges than others. And that goes for the families of education workers too. 
I wrote a letter to the Minister of Education asking for greater clarity for Ontario students. In the meantime, my advice to everyone is ‘small steps’. There are many ways to do remote learning. And we need to remember that this is a most unusual circumstance. It will not be business as usual. We need to be understanding and forgiving of each other. And please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me to share your experiences, frustrations, concerns and successes on this new learning path. 


New guidance on masks

Wearing a homemade or makeshift mask (as opposed to medical-grade masks reserved for frontline health workers) could be a good idea when in close contact with others, like at the grocery store or on transit, Canada's top doctor said today -- this should not replace physical distancing and frequent hand-washing, and Canadians should continue staying home unless absolutely necessary.  


Personal Protective Equipment for health care workers 

Despite assurances from the Ford government that more protective masks for health care workers are on their way, today Ford said Ontario is in danger of running out of masks and other personal protective equipment by next week (the NDP has been calling for Ontario to step up support for health care workers regarding issues like PPEs). US President Donald Trump's directive to ban U.S. exports of N95 masks reportedly caused the blockage of three to four million masks bound for Canada from supplier 3M, though Ford said 500,000 of those masks are still on their way.  

Here in Toronto, the University Health Network is collecting donations of PPE and other needed supplies. Contact them at covidsupport@uhn.ca or call 416 340 3935 to speak to one of their staff to discuss current needs and guidelines. 

In Davenport, my office is working with local individuals and groups including Davenport Mutual Aid, to help flag PPE needs and get equipment where it needs to go. We are also reaching out and asking local businesses  -- like salons and tattoo parlours – to donate any supplies they have. 


Supporting small business 

Yesterday, Andrea Horwath launched the NDP's Save Main Street proposal, a plan to keep small and medium-sized businesses afloat, with greater supports for companies, charities and community-based nonprofits. I have been working hard to bring forward concerns and proposals from our local businesses to address the absolutely devastating impact the pandemic is having on them. I am so pleased to see many of these proposals reflected in the Save Main Street plan. Please help us get the message out to the Ford Government by sharing the plan widely. 


Cancel and cover prescription co-payments for seniors 

No senior in Ontario should have to skip their pills or skimp on food as a result of the pandemic. But if seniors have to pay for each prescription each month, some of them will be forced to make difficult choices. 

That’s why the NDP is calling on the Ford government to cancel and cover the prescription drug co-payments required of seniors during the COVID-19 crisis.  


Physical Distancing: Keep it up

While most Ontarians are working hard to flatten the curve by staying home, we’re still hearing concerns that non-essential gatherings and work continues. As difficult as it is, the distancing measures that have happened so far have saved lives – and we need to keep it up.

If you must leave home for essentials, keep a 2 metre distance at all times. That distance needs to be respected when exercising too – the fact is, there are a lot of us – and if we all exercise at the same time, or crowd the sidewalks, we’re putting people at risk.  


Physical distancing and mental health 

Physical distancing disrupts our normal social routines. During times of uncertainty and change, it is normal for people to worry. If you begin to notice signs of depression or hopelessness in yourself or a loved one, please seek help. Get support if you need to talk. For more information see these resources from Public Health Ontario and the Ministry of Health:  


Davenport Mutual Aid 

The Davenport Mutual Aid Network is a space meant for mutual aid, where people can take care of each other in Davenport during the COVID-19 pandemic. "We are here to share information, resources, support, & create strategies for taking care of each other in the short term, as well as strengthening our community networks for the long term." Get involved on Facebook.


Neighbourhood Rally to Support the Stop 

The Stop Community Food Centre is meeting a surging demand for emergency food services - and they need our help. If you can spare a few dollars, join the neighbourhood rally and help support the Stop's amazing work.


FCJ Refugee Centre seeking support 

The FCJ Refugee Centre is seeking monetary donations, grocery gift cards, personal care kits and toys, games and books to support women, youth and other precarious migrants who are ineligible for emergency benefits.  

Contact FCJ:   
info@fcjrefugeecentre.org 

www.fcjrefugeecentre.org 

415-469-9754 


Diabetes Canada Donation Bins 
 

Diabetes Canada donation bins are overflowing, and some are becoming a dumping ground for well-meaning citizens who want to support our work. Due to the covid-19 pandemic and crucial physical distancing orders by governments that non-essential services be stopped, the pick-up of all textile donations by Diabetes Canada from homes and donation bins across Canada stopped on March 23rd.

The current donations at the donation bins and, in some unfortunate instances. the dumping of garbage at donation bins is posing a serious health and safety issue.

Diabetes Canada has been urging the public to hold off on their bin donations until business resumes. 

 

 

Public Health Updates

COVID-19 self-assessment tool:
Use this to determine what steps you should take should you exhibit symptoms: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/#q0

Reminder that updates on the pandemic response are available daily on the following websites:

Toronto.ca/coronavirus

Information from Toronto Public Health on local cases, how to protect yourself and where to seek further medical support.

Ontario.ca/coronavirus

Information from Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long Term Care

Find out how to protect yourself, what to do if you’re sick and how to recognize possible symptoms. Updated twice daily, in 30 languages.

Canada.ca/coronavirus

Information from the Government of Ontario and the Public Health Agency of Canada

Updates on the national response, travel advice and preparedness.