Davenport Friends and Neighbours,
A quick update on COVID-19 as we head into the weekend.
Federal supports for business announced
Earlier today the federal government announced a number of measures to help small businesses and non-profits get through the pandemic, including a deferral of sales tax remittances, a new loan program to provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000, and a 75 per cent wage subsidy to help employers keep people on the payroll.
Standing up for renters
On Thursday, Doug Ford told Ontarians through the media: “If you can't pay rent, don’t pay rent.” Today, Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath challenged him to back that up with real, immediate supports to renters to ensure that no one is at risk of losing their home.
As the clock ticks toward April 1st, the NDP is calling for the Ford government to provide direct financial support to renters immediately, and to bring forward a plan to provide ongoing help in the months to come.
Our proposed Ontario Emergency Benefit would immediately deliver $2,000 to each household experiencing unemployment or lost income, as a way to bridge the gap between the new federal provisions for Employment Insurance and emergency benefits and a longer-term support plan from the province.
While the situation facing renters and small businesses are among the top concerns I’m hearing right now, I have received messages from parents who are anxiously awaiting news on the future of the school year, and more information about how they’ll be supported by the provincial government.
Today, I spoke again with Education Minister Stephen Lecce and shared those concerns. While we wait on a decision of cabinet, under the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, about the school year, parents and students need some direction about how learning will continue. They need resources that suit their learning level but allow flexibility for parents and kids who are facing a new reality. Consideration for students with special needs and the equitable distribution of learning materials should be a priority. Teachers also need supports to ensure they can maintain connections with their students in ways that are appropriate.
The Minister will be making an announcement in the coming days, and I want to hear from you. Are you a parent, guardian, teacher or student with an idea to enhance education during isolation? What do you want to see from the Ministry in terms of supports? Let me know at MStiles-QP@ndp.on.ca
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me about any issue you’re facing, and my team will do our best to help. We’re dealing with an enormous amount of contact, but are trying to respond as quickly as possible to everything we receive.
Stay safe and take care,
Marit Stiles, MPP
PS. My previous updates are posted at maritstiles.ca/coronavirus