COVID-19 - March 18 Update

The situation with respect to the COVID-19 public health emergency is evolving very quickly each day, I would like to keep you updated on developments.

My office remains in frequent communication with Toronto Public Health throughout each day in order to provide you with the best support possible, using the most up-to-date information.

Should you require support from our office, please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing councillor_bailao@toronto.ca or calling (416) 392-7012. In an attempt to provide information as quickly as possible, I am regularly posting updates on my social media platforms, but will continue providing updates through these emails.

During this time, it is important that we all use trusted sources for our information. All three levels of government have created websites that are regularly updated and can be relied upon for accurate information:

Local Updates

  1. Supporting Local Organizations
  2. How to Support Our Community
  3. How the City is Supporting Small Businesses
  4. Protecting People Experiencing Homelessness

Recent Announcements

  1. Municipal - City of Toronto provides update on impacted and continuing services
  2. Municipal - TTC Announces Changes to Fare Inspector Protocol due to COVID-19 Pandemic
  3. Provincial - Ontario is Protecting Seniors' Health and Safety
  4. Provincial - Province Announces 300 Additional Telehealth Lines
  5. Federal - Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses

Support Local Organizations

Our Place Community of Hope
Our Place Community of Hope assists people in recovery with building skills for independent living and accessing other services and supports. They have been working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to continue providing nutritious foods to people in need. Today, I worked with Caldense Bakery to secure bread for these meals, but they are still in need of fresh produce. Donations can be brought to 1183 Davenport Road.

Oasis Dufferin (Donate)
Oasis operates a number of programs for our community and are continuing their efforts to provide our vulnerable neighbours with food. Many have already stepped up to support them, and I encourage you to give if you can.

Know of a local organization doing great work and in need? Send us an email to Councillor_Bailao@toronto.ca so we can feature them!

How to Support Our Community

Here are a few ways you can help, while continuing to practice social distancing:

  • Call to check on how those who are vulnerable and isolated are doing.
  • Offer to run errands to pick-up medications and groceries for those who can’t go out or may have trouble getting what they need while practicing social distancing. You can drop these outside their door or place them in mailboxes.
  • If you live in a building, post a notice offering help to your neighbours by getting them necessary supplies and dropping those at their door. Consider reaching out your community through social media groups to offer help.
  • If you have extra supplies, share them with those in need.

Is there anything we can do to assist local businesses? What is the City doing.
Many businesses offer gift cards and online purchase/delivery options. Additionally, local restaurants that provide takeout out food and delivery remain open. Learn what the City is doing to help, including immediate economic measures, at toronto.ca/covid-19/.

How the City is Supporting Small Businesses

Learn More

While Public Health is always the City’s top priority, it is important recognize and support local businesses during this difficult time.

In order to address these concerns, the Mayor created an Economic Support and Recovery Task Force to help protect Toronto’s economic success in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The economic impact of this pandemic will take a toll on the livelihoods of Toronto residents and businesses. The City is doing everything possible, in full cooperation with the provincial and federal governments, to minimize that impact and see an economic recovery take place as soon as possible.

Protecting People Experiencing Homelessness

Yesterday evening, Mary-Anne Bédard, General Manager of the City’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA), announced the City is further strengthening prevention and response to COVID-19 in our emergency shelter system. It is important to note here are currently no cases of COVID-19 in Toronto’s shelter system.

 SSHA is responding to COVID-19 with a three-tier approach:

  1. Creating the ability for additional social distancing spacing within the existing shelter system through creation of new programs. The first spaces opened March 16 and an additional 200 spaces will be opening within City facilities that are currently empty, throughout the week. This will not create additional capacity in our shelters, but will allow the City to move people within existing programs, particularly the 24-hour respite sites and 24-hour drop-ins.
  2. The City is creating additional isolation spaces for people identified through screening and assessment processes that are awaiting test results. This process has been initiated and the City continues to move people who need it into isolation. Anyone wanting to access the shelter system who should be assessed for COVID-19 is being referred to one of the Province's assessment centres. People who are experiencing homelessness who are being tested for COVID-19 will not be admitted into our regular shelter system. Instead, they will be isolated in separate spaces at a designated program location. This is the first program of its kind in Canada, as a medically supported isolation service for people who are homeless while they wait to receive their test results.
  3. The City is working with its provincial partners to identify an appropriate service for people who have tested positive for COVID-19. To date, no one has tested positive in the shelter system and the City is working hard to ensure it has a program available should that occur, and that it has the appropriate medical supports in place to protect staff, community partners and those it serves.

Recent Announcements

Municipal

City of Toronto provides update on impacted and continuing services
Full Release

Yesterday, as part of the City of Toronto's ongoing response to COVID-19 and following the advice of the City’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, Mayor John Tory announced the suspension of a number of City services and closure of City facilities. The measures ensure the continued delivery of critical City services and support of vulnerable communities while protecting the health of City staff and residents.

The City’s COVID-19 response webpages, available at toronto.ca/home/covid-19, have now been updated with the temporary service impacts. Fire Chief and Manager of the Office of Emergency Management Matthew Pegg today provided greater clarity on what residents should expect from today until April 5.


TTC Announces Changes to Fare Inspector Protocol due to COVID-19 Pandemic
Relevant Article

The TTC has announced that Fare Inspectors will no longer be enforcing customer payments and will shift into an educational and customer service role. Fare inspectors will now be on board TTC vehicles to assess and educate on proper fare payment for those failing to pay.


Provincial

Ontario is Protecting Seniors' Health and Safety
Full Release

In order to ensure a safe, healthy and secure environment for residents, the Chief Medical Officer of Health has recommended that licensed retirement homes only allow essential visitors—people visiting residents who are very ill or require end-of-life care—until further notice. Licensed retirement homes will continue to actively screen essential visitors and staff before they enter the home.

It is recommended that no other visitors should be permitted to enter these premises. Instead, they should be asked to keep in touch with loved ones by phone or other technologies, as available.


Province Announces 300 Additional Telehealth Lines
Relevant Article

Today, Provincial Minister of Health Christine Elliot tweeted that in order to accommodate the increase in calls on Telehealth lines, there will be 300 lines added. Her statement says they are actively working with the vendor to resolve any immediate issues and more will be done in the coming days.


Federal

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses
Full Release

Today, the Government of Canada announced immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This new set of economic measures have been created to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.

Supports for Canadians

  • Enhancing and removing barriers to Employment Insurance
  • Creating an Emergency Support Benefit for those who do not qualify for Employment Insurance
  • Creating a one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC). This will double the maximum annual GSTC payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year. The average boost to income for those benefitting from this measure will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.
  • Increasing the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year, by $300 per child.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency will defer the filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals, including certain trusts. For individuals, the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020. The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020.
  • The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and other mortgage insurers offer tools to lenders that can assist homeowners who may be experiencing financial difficulty. These include payment deferral, loan re-amortization, capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible expenses, and special payment arrangements.

Supports for Businesses

  • To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020.
  • The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses.
  • The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced it is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer by 1.25% of risk-weighted assets, effective immediately. This action will allow Canada’s large banks to inject $300 billion of additional lending in to the economy.
  • The government will purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This action will provide long-term stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders, help facilitate continued lending to Canadian consumers and businesses, and add liquidity to Canada’s mortgage market.
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