Oakville North-Burlington Update – April 01th, 2021

“”We are facing a serious situation and drastic measures are required to contain the rapid spread of the virus, especially the new variants of concern. I know pulling the emergency brake will be difficult for many people across the province, but we must try and prevent more people from getting infected and overwhelming our hospitals. Our vaccine rollout is steadily increasing, and I encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. That is our best protection against this deadly virus.”– Premier Ford
Ontario Enacts Provincewide Emergency Brake

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposing a provincewide emergency brake as a result of an alarming surge in case numbers and COVID-19 hospitalizations across the province. The provincewide emergency brake will be effective Saturday, April 3, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and will be in place for at least four weeks.

Ontario’s key indicators and latest modelling show that additional measures must be taken. From March 26 to 28, 2021, provincial case rates have increased by 7.7 per cent to 101.1 cases per 100,000 people. Current COVID-19 related ICU admissions are already over the peak of wave two and hospitals in regional hotspots will need to further reduce scheduled surgeries. COVID-19 related ICU admissions are projected to exceed 650 beds in a few weeks. These increases are being driven by COVID-19 variants, which are transmitted easily and result in a higher risk of death and hospitalization, including in younger populations.

Measures include:

Restricting indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with) and limiting the capacity for outdoor events to a 5-person maximum. Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household;

Restricting in-person shopping in all retail settings, including a 50 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers’ markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies, and 25 per cent for all other retail including big box stores, along with other public health and workplace safety measures;

Prohibiting personal care services;

Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take out, drive-through, and delivery only;

Prohibiting the use of facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness (e.g., gyms) with very limited exceptions; and 
Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 15 per cent total occupancy indoors, and to the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services like receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.

As we continue to vaccinate more Ontarians, the end is in sight. But right now these necessary measures will help to stop the spread of variants in our communities, protect capacity in our health care system, and save lives.
Vaccination Update
 
As of Wednesday, March 31, Halton residents 65 and over can now book their vaccination appointment with Halton Public Health.

How do I book an appointment?

Online at https://www.halton.ca/For-Residents/Immunizations-Preventable-Disease/Diseases-Infections/New-Coronavirus/COVID-19-Vaccines/COVID-19-Vaccination-Clinics#book     
         
The booking link on this page is the blue bar. Please review the rules that Halton Public Health Unit have listed on the page.
OR
By telephone to 311 (this is the direct line to access Halton Region services)
 
Ontario Expanding Pharmacy Locations for Those 55 and Over for COVID-19 Vaccinations

The Ontario government is steadily increasing capacity in its COVID-19 vaccine rollout with the addition of over 350 additional pharmacies and more primary care settings across the province. All of these locations will be offering the AstraZeneca vaccine to individuals aged 55 and over, with some locations to begin offering the vaccine as early as Saturday, April 3, 2021.  

This expansion will bring the total number of pharmacies offering the vaccine to nearly 700 locations, it is expected that this number could reach approximately 1,500 by the end of April.
List of local pharmacies participating in the Phase 2 rollout in Oakville North-BurlingtonWalmart 4515 Dundas, BurlingtonMetro Pharmacy 1011 Upper Middle Rd, OakvilleWalmart Pharmacy 235 Hays Blvd, OakvilleShoppers Drug Mart 2501 Third Line, OakvilleFind out contact information for the above and details for other pharmacies in our community offering vaccinations here:
https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations
 
Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit Expansion

The Ontario government is providing parents with $980 million in direct support as part of the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit. Under this new round of funding, payments will be doubled to $400 per child and $500 for a child with special needs to help offset additional learning costs. This investment is part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy.
The government is automatically providing this round of payments to parents who received Support for Learners payments, and they can expect money to begin flowing on April 26, 2021. Parents who did not apply for or receive the Support for Learners program can apply for the new funding starting May 3 with a deadline of May 17
 
Ontario Expanding Domestic Vaccine Manufacturing Capacity

Ontario is proud to partner with Sanofi Canada to expand its state-of-the art biopharmaceutical facility in Toronto. This investment will strengthen domestic capacity and meet growing demand for flu vaccines, boost Canada’s preparedness for future pandemics, and create 300 new high-quality jobs.
The project will result in the production of more flu shots in Canada, while strengthening Ontario’s biopharmaceutical industry, making the province a strong candidate for future vaccine production. Through this investment, research and development activities will continue at Sanofi’s Toronto location and there will be expanded opportunities for the agricultural industry value chain.
 
Ontario Appoints New Patient Ombudsman

The Ontario government has appointed Craig Thompson as Ontario’s new Patient Ombudsman to help improve the quality of care and supports patients and their families receive in hospitals, long-term care homes, and select home and community care settings, effective March 29, 2021, for a five-year term.
 
The responsibilities of the Patient Ombudsman include investigating and facilitating the resolution of complaints from patients and caregivers concerning public hospitals, long-term care homes and home and community care services that are provided or coordinated through the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).
 
Province Strengthening Medication Safety in Long-Term Care Homes

The Ontario government is providing more than $77 million to help long-term care homes adopt advanced technologies to strengthen medication safety. Modernizing this process will allow for better transmission and handling of prescriptions, more accurate administration of medication and increased security of the drug supply in long-term care homes.

Ontario Supporting the Tourism and Hospitality Sector during COVID-19

Tourism plays a critical role in the Ontario economy. Prior to the pandemic, tourism generated more than $36 billion in economic activity and supported approximately 400,000 jobs in Ontario. As a direct result of the pandemic, the tourism sector has lost more than $18 billion in revenue alone and more than 200,000 jobs.
 
The Ontario government is providing $200 million through the new Ontario Tourism Recovery Program and Tourism & Hospitality Small Business Support Grant to help stabilize the tourism industry as it recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, while protecting jobs in communities across the province that rely on tourism investment.
 
The Ontario government is also providing $1.3 million in financial relief for the resource-based tourism industry by waiving certain licences and crown land use fees. Licensing fees have been waived for bear hunting and baitfish harvesters and dealers.  Additionally, Land Use Fees for Commercial Outpost Camps, Bear Management Area fees and Baitfish Harvest Area fees have been waived. This initiative is part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy. Total support from the Ontario government for the tourism, culture, sports, recreation, and heritage industries since the start of COVID-19 now totals $625 million.  

 
Ontario Automotive Modernization Program

The Ontario government is investing $10 million in auto parts companies through the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP) to boost competitiveness and position Ontario as a North American hub for building the car of the future. Funding awarded so far will leverage $25.8 million in industry investments.
O-AMP was launched in September 2019 as a centrepiece of Driving Prosperity: The Future of Ontario’s Automotive Sector, the government’s plan for a strong and sustainable auto industry. The program is helping small- and medium-sized automotive parts suppliers get better, stronger and faster by investing in technology adoption and/or training in lean manufacturing. More than 100 projects are either underway or in the pipeline and will create about 570 jobs.
True North Free Trade Forum Examines Ways to Strengthen Canada’s Interprovincial Trade
The Ontario government’s first True North Free Trade Forum brought together over 900 businesses, government and stakeholder organizations from across Canada to explore ways to increase interprovincial trade in Canada. Expanding the reach of business will help create more jobs, strengthen economic resiliency across the country and lay the foundation for a strong recovery from COVID-19. Forum participants underscored the need for a pan-Canadian solution to restore nation-wide supply chains that are being affected by the pandemic.
 
Ontario Strengthens the Protection of Water Resources

The Ontario government is strengthening the protection of vital water resources with changes to the province’s water taking program. The changes include new rules that give municipalities more direct input on allowing bottled water companies to withdraw new or increased amounts of groundwater in their communities. To support the new changes, the province is also providing new guidance on managing water taking in areas where sustainability is a concern and where there are competing demands. This is a key commitment of the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.
 
Ontario Working with Conservation Experts to Protect More Natural Areas

The Ontario government has established a working group of conservation experts to identify opportunities to protect and conserve more natural areas in order to enhance the province’s natural diversity and provide more recreational opportunities for people to enjoy the outdoors.
The working group will explore a number of areas, such as identifying opportunities and addressing barriers to increasing protected and conserved natural areas, and how public-private partnerships could be used to further advance conservation efforts. The working group will deliver a report with recommendations to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.
Ontario Prepared to Fight Wildland Fires and Protect Communities

The Ontario government is ready to respond to this year’s wildland fire season, which starts tomorrow and runs until October 31. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) has hired highly trained firefighters, pilots and support staff and is providing health and safety, and specialized training. MNRF also ensures equipment is maintained so that the ministry is ready to respond to wildland fires and other natural resource emergencies.
 
The Lighthouse for Grieving Children2021 Run4Lighthouse: May 15 – June 15The Lighthouse for Grieving Children supports grieving children and their families and has done so for over 20 years.  This year for the virtual Run4Lighthouse run, kilometres will be accumulated as participants register – with the goal to run right across Canada.You can help support Lighthouse by registering today for the 2021 Run4Lighthouse atbit.ly/Run4LH_2021 or RUN4LH.comI am registered to run in support of the Lighthouse for Grieving Children and all they do to support grieving children and their families. Please consider participating as well!Fundraiser – John McDermott Concert April 30The Lighthouse for Grieving Children is hosting a fundraiser to help offer grief support services to grieving children and their families. If you live in the Burlington, Oakville, Milton or Hamilton area, you can attend this exclusive event that will include dinner, a concert, and a live interactive conversation with John McDermott.Tickets: $200 for 2 people: QUANTITIES ARE LIMITED!Available atbit.ly/JohnMcDermottor SupporLH.comRegistration closes April 16th.
Hellenic Heritage Month
In honour of Hellenic Heritage Month and to mark 200 years of Greece’s independence, I am profiling exceptional Canadians of Hellenic descent who have made a significant contribution to our nation and made us proud. This week we recognized John Bassel, the first lawyer of Hellenic descent to be called to the Ontario Bar in 1947 and Dr. Helen Dimaras, who has made significant contributions to eye cancer research in Canada and internationally. Dr. Dimaras is currently a scientist in the Child Health Evaluative Sciences Program at the SickKids Research Institute and Director of Global Eye Health Research, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences at The Hospital for Sick Children.
March 25 was Greek Independence Day, and this year was a special commemoration because it marked 200 years of Greece’s freedom from the despotic rule of the Ottoman Empire. In honour of this important anniversary, I joined with a group of Canadian politicians of Hellenic descent to send an important message to Hellenes in Canada and across the world.
Please click here to watch the video


I rose in the Ontario Legislature to raise awareness about a very sad chapter in the history of Greece. During Hellenic Heritage Month and this week of Passover, we remember that in March 1943 the Jewish citizens of Thessaloniki were deported by the Nazis and died in concentration camps. Despite heroic efforts of many Greeks to save their fellow citizens, approximately 70,000 Jews lost their lives. We honour those who were killed, remember their lives and ensure their contributions to Greece are never forgotten. May their memory be eternal.
Please click here to watch the video
Effie in the Community

I dropped by Ritorno last week for my weekly takeout. Please shop local and continue to support our local small businesses!
It was a pleasure to join grade 4 & 5 students and educators at Captain R. Wilson Public School with Education Minister Stephen Lecce to have a discussion about leadership and the importance of community service. The future is in good hands with this engaged generation.
I participated in the Legislature’s Standing Committee on Social Policy where we discussed MPP Jane McKenna’s Bill 152, An Act to proclaim Occupational Safety and Health Day. Workplace injuries occur every day and profoundly affect workers, their families and their communities. Bill 152 proclaims the first Tuesday in May in each year as Occupational Safety and Health Day and will help to shine a light on workplace safety.
I was honoured to join Acclaim Health with my colleague MPP Jane McKenna to congratulate them on receiving a $12,500 Resilient Communities Fund grant. The funds will help to purchase equipment and offer technical training for staff providing virtual support for people living with dementia. We also heard about the benefits of music therapy to help reduce social isolation for people living with dementia and their caregivers. This grant of $75,000 was received last year.
Holi Hai! May your festival be filled with colours, happiness, and love! Ontario is proud to have a vibrant Hindu community, including Oakville’s Vaishno Devi Temple.
 Wishing the Jewish community, a happy Passover! Although seders will have a different appearance, I hope you are surrounded by good fortune and peace, as you read the Haggadah and remember the strength of the Jewish people.
I was pleased to attend United Way Halton and Hamilton’s Virtual Campaign Celebration which recognized individuals, companies and committed non-profit agencies, as well as the collective success of United Way’s annual fundraising and community impact efforts. There were a variety of awards, live performances and the opportunity to hear about how donations will make a difference in our community. Congratulations for raising $10,650,000!
Oakville North-Burlington Spirit Awards
In recent months, I have been proud to honour a number of volunteers who have contributed to our community during the COVID-19 crisis. Thank you for your community spirit. If you would like to nominate a member of our community who has gone above and beyond to contribute to the community during the pandemic, please contact my office and let me know.

This week we recognize:

Ethan and Ann Kurucz – Frontline Clap – Thank you for your uplifting show of appreciation to our vital Frontline Workers during these challenging times.

Margaret Hanson – Thank you for your tireless commitment to assisting our community
during a remarkable 30-plus years in the Credit Valley Hospital Emergency Department. Your thousands of volunteer hours have impacted countless lives and your compassion is valued by hospital staff and patients alike. Our community is blessed by your spirit and generosity.