COVID-19 - April 13 Update

I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter holidays and the continuing Passover holiday. I would like to thank you for staying home and celebrating with your families and friends over the phone or internet.

We know that shelter staff, social service workers, transit drivers, grocery and pharmacy workers are all working to support and protect us. Their work is essential. Today, I expressed my support to expand free child care for them at this challenging time, as the Premier considers expanding the eligibility to the existing service. With the City already receiving over 800 applications for the existing service, we have obtained provincial permission to open two additional child-care centres.

Each day, the City Enforcement Team is out to enforce physical distancing measures across the City in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. This weekend, they provided positive news, sharing that there have been fewer incidents of violations.

The Premier has announced a number of new measures to address this pandemic, including expanding COVID-19 testing, a temporary halt of child care payments for services not being utilized and the procurement of more than 13 million surgical and procedural masks, 200,000 N95 respirator masks, and 38 ventilators which have been delivered to Ontario's warehouses.

Federally, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced further flexibilities to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to help ensure the businesses hardest hit by this pandemic can retain their staff.

In community,

Ana

Local Updates

FoodShare Position: Casual Driver (Donate)
In response to the COVID-19 health crisis, FoodShare Toronto is working quickly and closely with Black Creek Community Farm and other frontline agencies to ensure that folks who are facing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic are getting access to good food. They have ramped up deliveries of their Good Food Box across the city, focusing on Toronto’s most vulnerable communities and individuals.

FoodShare is looking for a driver to make deliveries. For more details, please contact hr@foodshare.net. FoodShare is also looking to engage some volunteers to assist with Emergency Good Food Box deliveries. Those interested in volunteering should contact Rachel at rachel@foodshare.net.

Sistering (Donate)
Sistering is a multi-service agency serving homeless women and the transgendered community. They are in need of several items for donation, including:

  • Sanitizers, any size (unused, unsealed)
  • Tim Hortons gift cards, $5 and $10 denominations
  • New underwear
  • Grocery gift cards, $25 denomination (No Frills, Freshco)

Please leave any items at 129 Havelock St.

These donations will be dropped at Sistering on Monday April 20th.

StayHomeToronto.ca
A great resource for fitness, food, mindfulness and services across Toronto.

Tax Supports for Frontline Workers
CPA Ontario have partnered with PwC and other financial agencies to provide free tax filings for frontline workers. More information can be found at the link above.

Love TPL Community Campaign (Donate)
When you give today, your donation is immediately directed to the Love TPL community campaign to support Toronto Public Library’s highest priority needs.

Donations to TPL ensure all Torontonians always have free access to resources that allow them to discover and develop new skills, stay connected, fuel their optimism and be ready for future opportunities - all from the safety of their home.

South Asian Women’s Centre (Donate)
The South Asian Women’s Centre have been hard at work providing food to people in our community in need.

Recent Announcements

Municipal

City of Toronto to open two emergency child care centres for essential and critical service workers
Mayor John Tory announced today that the City of Toronto has received authorization from the Province of Ontario to open two additional licensed child care centres to provide care for the children of essential and critical service workers. Like the first four centres that opened on March 31, the new centres will be located in existing City-run licensed child care facilities and staffed by City of Toronto child care workers.

City of Toronto reporting reduced sightings of gatherings, increase in physical distancing
Officers participating in this weekend’s blitz have reported lighter use of some busy parks. Saturday, MLS officers spoke with 286 people regarding use of amenities and social distancing, an 83 per cent decrease from Friday.

City of Toronto and partners providing essential food support for vulnerable residents this holiday weekend
The City of Toronto is working closely with community and corporate partners to ensure that the food needs of vulnerable Torontonians are being met during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several recently launched programs have already helped hundreds of residents and their families access the food they need, when they need it the most.

City of Toronto begins stricter enforcement to help stop the spread of COVID-19
The City of Toronto’s COVID-19 Enforcement Team began stricter enforcement as part of the ongoing blitz in parks and public squares across the city. No longer focused on education, enforcement officers will now move almost exclusively to issuing tickets to people congregating in groups and using closed amenities in City parks. This follows a weekend of enhanced enforcement across the City.

Provincial

Ontario Secures Critical Medical Equipment and Supplies
Over the last five days, more than 13 million surgical and procedural masks, 200,000 N95 respirator masks, and 38 ventilators have been delivered to Ontario's pandemic stockpile warehouses.

Province Developing New Health Data Platform to Help Defeat COVID-19
The Ontario government is taking steps to better detect, plan and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. In consultation with the Ontario Privacy Commissioner, the province is developing a new health data platform called the Pandemic Threat Response (PANTHR). This new platform will hold secure health data that will allow researchers to better support health system planning and responsiveness, including the immediate need to analyze the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Ontario Businesses Stepping Up to Fight COVID-19
Thousands of businesses and private citizens have stepped up and offered to help the Ontario government defeat COVID-19.

Ontario Takes Further Action to Stop the Spread of COVID-19
To help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of people across the province, the Ontario government has extended all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date until April 23, 2020, including the closure of outdoor amenities in parks and recreational areas, non-essential workplaces, public places and bars and restaurants, along with restrictions on social gatherings and the prohibition of price gouging.

Ontario Protects Parents during COVID-19
During the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ontario government is temporarily preventing child care centres from collecting payments from parents, while also ensuring that their child care spaces are protected. Child care centres, with the exception of those accommodating health care and other frontline workers, were ordered closed to help prevent the spread of the virus and keep the children and child care staff safe.

Ontario Significantly Expanding COVID-19 Testing
To stop the spread of COVID-19, the Ontario government is implementing the next phase of its strategy to significantly expand and enhance testing. In addition to the ongoing testing of the general public at any of the 100 assessment centres now established across the province, Ontario will be proactively testing several priority groups.

Federal

Keeping Canadians and workers in the food supply chain safe
In many regions across Canada, producing a variety of quality foods to be sold at affordable prices relies upon the contributions of experienced temporary foreign workers right from planting season to harvest—particularly for fresh fruits and vegetables. Fish, seafood and meat processing plants are also reliant on the addition of these workers.

This is an important reason why the Government of Canada granted an exemption for temporary foreign workers from travel restrictions to Canada, along with other foreigners with student and work visas, provided they adhere to a strict 14-day isolation protocol upon arrival.

COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, No. 2 receives Royal Assent to help businesses keep Canadians in their jobs
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is a key measure in the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. It will provide a strong incentive for employers to pay employees who have been sent home for health and safety reasons or due to lack of work. It will enable employers to retain employees who are still on the payroll and to rehire workers previously laid off. With the CEWS program, families across Canada will be able to count on a steady income.

Backgrounder : COVID-19 Disability Advisory Group
During this time of public health and economic crisis, in the spirit of “Nothing Without Us” and the Accessible Canada Act, and in recognition of Canada’s domestic and international human rights obligations, the Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that it considers, respects and incorporates the interests and needs of persons with disabilities into its decision-making and pandemic response.

Statement by Minister Qualtrough on Canada’s Disability-Inclusive approach to its COVID-19 pandemic response
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, issued the statement linked above.

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