Marit Stiles MPP, Davenport

Government of Ontario

COVID-19 Update - March 25

Published on March 26, 2020

Davenport friends and neighbours, 

I want to start by thanking all the frontline health care workers and public health workers who are going above and beyond to treat the sick and keep everyone else healthy. Thanks too to the other essential workers – from grocery clerks to pharmacists to truck drivers – who are keeping our community going.  We owe you such a deep debt of gratitude.  

We all need to do our part to help these front line heroes by helping stop the spread of COVID19. Practice physical distancing (2 metres minimum), wash your hands often and thoroughly, and please self-isolate if you feel unwell or have had any contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID19 or shown symptoms. We are all in this together. If you feel you can’t take these measures because you have to go to work or are worried about rent, etc, call our office so we can support you.  

Finally I want to thank my three staff, Ashley, Greg and Peter. They are working long hours to respond to an unprecedented volume of calls and emails. Like many of you, they have been working from home and just trying to make sure that no one feels forgotten and that we can solve their problems on top of the COVID19 demands. They deserve a lot of thanks. 

Take care and wash your hands, 

Marit  

 

Province releases financial update, new COVID-19 measures 

Today, the provincial government released a fiscal update and passed legislation to implement $17B in emergency measures to respond to COVID-19, including:  

  • Increased funding for hospitals and the healthcare sector. 

  • Funds to be increased for ventilators and for testing equipment and supplies. 

  • Public Health units will not face further cuts and will see increases. 

  • There will be more funds for low income seniors and for people on Ontario Works. 

  • There will be more funds for cities and charities. $200 million in new supports for low income programs - for municipalities and service providers - for food banks, emergency shelters, church programs. 

  • There will be support given to parents- $200 per child payment to parents to offset the cost of childcare and school closures, $250 for children with special needs 

  • Around the clock childcare for front line health care workers. 

  • Suspension of OSAP payments until September. 

  • Read the government’s statement here. 

While we supported these measures in order to get badly needed funds flowing, today’s legislation falls far short of what’s needed right now. People are genuinely worried about what will happen with rent and mortgage payments coming due. They’re wondering how to protect what money they have now for an uncertain time ahead. And many of our small businesses are just wondering if they can make it through this period at all.  

People are doing their part – respecting physical distancing, staying at home – they need the provincial government to have their back. 

I am hearing the calls for greater supports for tenants and renters loud and clear and I will keep advocating for them. We need measures that put money in people's pockets now, so they can weather this storm — and so that we can get through this, together. 

Keep sending me your ideas and concerns and I will keep putting them forward to the government. And I’ll keep you updated on developments as they arise. 

 

Federal COVID-19 Relief Package Passed 

In the early hours this morning, the House of Commons passed legislation implementing a series of relief measures to deal with the pandemic. Included is the establishment of a new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) that will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). 

For more on the benefit, eligiblity and relationship to EI please see the federal government’s news release.  

Please note the benefit will not be available until early April. 

Read more about the federal response plan here. 

 

Your Rights at Work 

We've had lots of questions about workers' rights during COVID-19 pandemic, and given the evolving situation I understand there’s a lot of concern. Workers and employers deserve clarity and consistency on this.
The Employment Standards Act was recently amended to include an unpaid, job-protected infectious disease emergency leave. This leave is available to employees who are not performing the duties of their position for certain reasons related to COVID-19, including:
  • personal illness, quarantine or isolation in specified circumstances
  • concern by the employer that the employee may expose other individuals in the workplace to COVID-19
  • to provide care or support to certain family members for a reason related to COVID-19, including school or day care closures
  • due to certain travel-related restrictions
In addition, Ontario declared an emergency due to COVID-19 on March 17, 2020. During a declared emergency, an employee may have the right to take an unpaid, job protected leave if the employee will not be performing the duties of his or her position because of the emergency and because certain circumstances apply.
Employers cannot require employees to provide medical notes to prove they are eligible for the leave.
Please note that not all workers are covered under the Employment Standards Act. To find out if you are entitled to the protected unpaid leave in relation to COVID-19: call the Employment Standards Information Centre at 416 326-7160 or 1 800 531-5551
If you have health and safety questions about your workplace: Talk to your union representative or call the Ministry's toll-free health and safety information line at 1-877-202-0008 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday for general inquiries about workplace health and safety.
Construction Sites
Many folks in Davenport work in the construction sector, and right now I’m hearing a lot of concern about their safety on the job and questions about why these sites are still considered essential. The health and safety of workers and their families must take priority right now. Under the law, you have the right to refuse unsafe work, and workers in the construction sector should exercise that right if their worksite is not safe. Those workplaces should also be reported right away to the Ministry of Labour. The Premier has indicated that the essential services list is subject to change, so we will keep monitoring the situation and I will continue to put local concerns forward.
More information:
Ontario Federation of Labour COVID-19 Resources: http://ofl.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020-03-14-COVID19-info-sheet.pdf
Worker’s Action Centre: https://workersactioncentre.org/
 

Helping small businesses get through COVID-19

Essential businesses list and new Stop-The-Spread hotline  

The list of businesses considered essential is now available online 

The province has launched a toll-free line 1-888-444-3659 to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province's recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health. 

 

Public Health Updates

COVID-19 self-assessment tool:
The Ministry of Health's self-assessment tool has been updated. 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.