Oakville North-Burlington Update – May 14th, 2021

“Nurses are a cornerstone of our health care system and are integral to Ontario’s fight against COVID-19. This investment will support and strengthen our nursing workforce and ensure patients can continue to receive high-quality care across our health system, including long-term care, home and community care and acute care.”                              – Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health
Ontario adding 2,000 nurses to the health care systemThe Ontario government is investing $35 million to increase enrollment in nursing education programs in publicly assisted colleges and universities across the province. The new spaces will be available for Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 cohorts and will introduce approximately 1,130 new practical nurses and 870 registered nurses into the health care system. This investment will also support the expansion of clinical education placements for nursing students and personal support worker students in the long-term care sector.
Vaccine Update – 50% of Adults in Halton Region Have Received a Vaccine
 
This week, Ontario reached another incredible milestone in its COVID-19 vaccine rollout. More tham 50% of Ontarians aged 18 and over and over 50% of all adults in Halton Region have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine! Over six million people have received their first shot and nearly 6.5 million first and second doses have been administered across the province. With a steady and reliable supply of vaccines expected from the federal government, Ontario is continuing to ramp up its vaccination efforts and expand booking eligibility and the available channels to receive the vaccine across the province.
 
Mobile Units
 
In the upcoming weeks, mobile units will visit workplaces that support the food supply chain, manufacturing, transit and postal services, and are expected to administer a first dose of the vaccine to thousands of workers who cannot work from home. Over 3,000 vaccines doses have been administered by mobile units since they began operating on May 7. The province also remains on track to have administered first doses of a vaccine to 65% of Ontarians aged 18 and over by the end of May.
 
Ontario’s Vaccination Plan for Youth 12-17

 
Beginning the week of May 31, youth in Ontario between 12 and 17 years of age and their family members who have not received a vaccine will be eligible to book an appointment to receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, including at special dedicated youth and family clinics throughout the weeks of June 14 and 21. The province will work with public health units to offer both doses of vaccine to youth aged 12 to 17 by the end of August, in collaboration with school boards and other partners. The rollout will be informed by the work of the Children’s COVID-19 Vaccine Table and will provide access to multiple channels to support vaccinating this group, including mass vaccination clinics, community or school pop-ups, and pharmacies.
Ontario Extending Stay-at-Home Order Until June 2
 
With the new, more contagious variants continuing to pose significant risks, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended the Stay-at-Home Order (O. Reg. 265/21) until at least June 2, 2021. All public health and workplace safety measures under the provincewide emergency brake will also remain in effect.
 
Thanks to the collective efforts of Ontarians in following public health and workplace safety measures, the province continues to make considerable progress in the fight to control the third wave of COVID-19. This past week (May 2 to 8), the provincial cases rate decreased by 14.8%, with the positivity rate also decreasing to 7.7% compared to 8.6% the previous week. From May 5 to 12, the number of patients with COVID-related critical illness in intensive care has decreased from 877 to 776.
Despite improvements, more time is needed before the province can safely lift the Stay-at-Home Order. From May 3 to 9, the provincial cases rate remained very high at 134.9 cases per 100,000 people, and per cent positivity was above the high alert threshold of 2.5%. Hospitalization and ICU admissions also remain too high and well above the peak of wave two.
Based on this data, the government has extended the provincewide Stay-at-Home Order. The impacts of these measures will continue to be evaluated over the coming weeks, with consideration being made to the reopening of outdoor recreational amenities on June 2, subject to current trends continuing.
Ontario Continues to Expand Access to Rapid Testing for Workplaces
 
The Ontario government has launched a new rapid testing portal to make it easier for all essential businesses to access free rapid testing to help keep employees and their families safe. Businesses are encouraged to participate in the program by registering at ontario.ca/testingonsite.
The program provides free rapid antigen screening kits to help screen for asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 that might otherwise be missed. It is one more way that businesses can help workers and their families stay safe and keep the virus out of workplaces. Program eligibility was recently expanded to include any business that is allowed to be open and requires staff to work on-site.
Ontario Expanding Access to Dental Care and Affordable Prescription Drugs for Seniors
 
The Ontario government is updating the income eligibility thresholds for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program and the Seniors Co-Payment Program to allow more of Ontario’s most vulnerable seniors to have access to dental care and affordable prescription medications.
 
Starting August 1st, 2021, eligibility thresholds for both programs will be updated to reflect cost of living increases in Ontario and align with income support programs for seniors. Income thresholds will be updated for single Ontarians aged 65 and over, from $19,300 to $22,200, and for couples with a combined annual income, from $32,300 to $37,100. This will allow approximately 7,000 more seniors to access the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program and 17,000 more seniors to access the Seniors Co-Payment Program in 2021-2022.
Ontario Supporting Tourism Businesses at Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves
The Ontario government is providing over $1 million in financial relief to more than 300 resource-based tourism businesses operating at Ontario’s provincial parks and conservation reserves by waiving and reducing certain land use and licence fees for 2021. The province’s continued support for the resource-based tourism industry will help local businesses that have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
This funding builds on the more than $1.3 million in relief provided to resource-based tourism operators at provincial parks and conservation reserves during the 2020 operating season. With these investments, 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 Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant
 
The Ontario government has announced the launch of the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant to help the tourism industry reclaim its place as a key job creator in our province. The government has set aside $100 million to provide one‐time payments of $10,000 or $20,000 to eligible small tourism businesses to help them recover from impacts of COVID- 19.
This grant will support eligible small tourism and travel businesses that did not receive the Ontario Small Business Support Grant (OSBSG), such as travel agents, hotels, motels, resorts, bed and breakfasts. To qualify, businesses must have fewer than 100 employees and demonstrate they have experienced a minimum 20 per cent revenue decline between 2019 and 2020.
To apply for the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant, visit Ontario.ca/COVIDsupport for further eligibility details. Applications are now open until June 25, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.
Ontario’s Second Annual Day of Action on Litter
 
Tuesday was Ontario’s second annual Day of Action on Litter. A cleaner environment begins at home, and small changes to prevent/reduce litter add up when we make them everyday. To learn more about the impacts of litter and waste on the environment and how to prevent, reduce and divert waste at home please visit ontario.ca/actonlitter.
Halton Environmental Network – TruEarth Fundraiser
 
The Halton Environmental Network (HEN) is dedicated to educating and engaging community stakeholders about climate change and environmental sustainability. To fundraise for its environmental programs, HEN has partnered with TruEarth – any purchase you make will give HEN 20% of the profit to contribute to their programs.
To participate and get your eco-friendly products please visit
fundraising.tru.earth/HaltonEnvironmentalNetwork
Greenbelt Foundation – Near-Urban Nature Network
 
The Southern Ontario Nature Coalition (SONC) represents eight organizations, including the Greenbelt Foundation, and has been working to develop a Near-Urban Nature Network that will help protect important natural areas across the Greater Golden Horseshoe. I am pleased that the Near-Urban Nature Network is being supported by the federal government and the Province of Ontario through the Greenbelt Foundation and for more information about the Near Urban Nature Network you can visit:
 
https://www.greenbelt.ca/cities_need_nature_too?fbclid=IwAR0WN-OR9x0I4yUWbzEqb8hMqrJjHH6UjHN7Wf_0CXsMSOC8BcCRjjJ-dnk
Ontario Acting to Combat Anti-Asian Racism in Schools
 
The Ontario government is taking action to combat anti-Asian racism and discrimination by providing $340,000 to support equity programs and initiatives with community partners. The initiatives will help ensure students learn in more inclusive classrooms and are supported by their educators and communities. In all, as part of the Safe Return to Class Fund, the Ontario government is directing $6.4 million toward equity-related projects, including funding to community organizations to address anti-Asian hate, antisemitism, and Islamophobia; support for newcomer parents and families to enhance access to school and community resources, and culturally appropriate mental health supports for youth, families and teachers.
As part of the Safe Restart agreement, Ontario has partnered with community groups to combat anti-Asian racism, support advocacy for educational issues and concerns related to Asian Canadians in the education system and address pandemic-induced issues and risks for East Asian Ontario families. This includes providing:$50,000 to the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice to develop online resources and tools to help Chinese Canadian households engage their children, from Grades 3 to 5, in discussions about racism.$10,000 to the Asian Canadian Educators Network (ACENET) to develop a series of professional learning and workshops about anti-Asian racism for schools and boards in Ontario.$140,000 to Community Family Services of Ontario to deliver resources and supports relevant to pandemic-induced issues and risks faced by newcomers and East Asian Ontario families.This week I was pleased to participate in a virtual roundtable discussion with Education Minister Stephen Lecce, Asian community members and stakeholders, and MPP colleagues on the important issue of combatting Anti-Asian Racism and promoting diversity and inclusion. These new resources will help support students, educators, parents and newcomers and emphasize the importance of fighting discrimination in schools and our communities.
Ontario Supports Safe and Reliable Student Transportation
 
As part of ongoing efforts to provide students with continued access to safe and reliable transportation, the Ontario government announced that it will continue the School Bus Driver Retention Pilot (DRP) program in the 2021-22 school year. To ensure reliable transportation service throughout the pandemic, the Ontario government had extended the DRP program in the 2020-21 school year, supporting driver retention and recruitment.
 
The DRP program rewards school bus drivers who stay on the job throughout the school year with the intent to reduce driver turnover leading to service stability for students and families by minimizing delays and disruptions.
Burlington Lift Bridge Signing
 
The Ontario government has installed two signs on the QEW Highway with the goal of providing drivers the real-time status of the Burlington Canal Lift Bridge, including when it is raised. Starting May 10th, two new signs on the QEW Highway will be active and will tell drivers when the lift bridge is up.                                                      
The new signs are located along the right side of the Queen Elizabeth Way. In the Toronto-bound QEW, the first sign is located just before the off ramp for Eastport Drive. The second sign is set beside the Niagara-bound route, ahead of the exit to Eastport Drive and North Shore Boulevard.
Governments of Canada and Ontario Invest $2.2 Million in Improvement and Repairs to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington
 
The governments of Canada and Ontario have announced joint funding to support improvements and repairs to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. The Government of Canada is investing over $908,000 in this project through the Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada plan. The Government of Ontario is providing more than $756,000, while the Royal Botanical Gardens is contributing over $605,000 toward this project.
 
Project work will include reconstructing a boathouse, a viewing platform and boardwalk; repairing nature trails and garden paths; and installing an entry gate for the Hendrie Valley Trails. Improvements also include enlarging the Rock Trail parking lot and making it more accessible, and updating wayfinding signage and audio units to adhere to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. These improvements and upgrades will create a more safe and accessible space, while also providing a more enjoyable visitor experience.
Eid al-FitrThis week, Muslims in Oakville North-Burlington and across Ontario celebrated Eid al-Fitr, a celebration of strength, forgiveness & generosity. As the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end, I hope the joyous festival of Eid brought gratitude and prosperity to all. Eid Mubarak!
Police Week

This week was Police Week in Ontario, and an opportunity to recognize our police for their leadership and service in our community of Oakville North-Burlington and across Halton. Thank you, Halton Regional Police Service, for everything you do to keep us safe!
National Nursing Week
 
This week was National Nursing Week and we celebrated RNs, RPNs, NPs & nursing students in Oakville North-Burlington and across Ontario. Thank you for your heroic efforts and sacrifices to protect patients and families – especially during this pandemic. You are appreciated.
Effie at Queens Park
In the Legislature’s Social Policy Committee, we heard presenters and asked questions about Bill 283. This bill would establish an oversight body for Ontario’s Personal Support Workers (PSWs), just as there are for doctors, nurses, and many other professions. Our government values our PSWs, who work hard providing compassionate care for long-term care residents and home care. We are fast tracking the training for more than 16,000 new PSWs and Bill 283 will help PSWs qualifications be recognized by employers, residents and families. The bill would also regulate Physician Assistants as new members of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, and Behaviour Analysts as a new profession under the College of Psychologists of Ontario.
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.
Tuesday, January 28th – Coronavirus UpdateFriday, March 13 – COVID-19 Coronavirus UpdateWednesday, March 18 – COVID-19 Coronavirus UpdateFriday, March 20 – Learn at Home Portal Launched for Ontario StudentsWednesday, March 25 – Ontario’s Action PlanFriday, March 28 – Joint ONB COVID-19 UpdateMonday, March 30 – Ontario Support for Small Business and Combating Price GougingWednesday, April 1 – School and Child Care Closures ExtendedFriday, April 3 – Weekly Oakville North-Burlington UpdateThursday, April 9 – Weekly Oakville North-Burlington UpdateFriday, April 17 – Weekly Oakville North-Burlington UpdateFriday, April 24 – Weekly Oakville North-Burlington UpdateFriday, May 1 – Weekly Oakville North-Burlington UpdateFriday, May 8 – Weekly Oakville North-Burlington UpdateFriday, May 15 – Weekly Oakville North-Burlington UpdateFriday, May 22 – Weekly Oakville North-Burlington UpdateFriday, May 29 – Weekly Oakville North-Burlington UpdateFriday, June 5 – Weekly Oakville North-Burlington UpdateFriday, June 12 – Weekly Oakville North-Burlington UpdateMonday, June 15 – Ontario Opens More Businesses and Services in Halton RegionFriday, June 19 – Weekly Oakville North-Burlington UpdateFriday, June 26 – Weekly Oakville North-Burlington UpdateWednesday, July 1 – Canada DayFriday, July 10 – Summer NewsletterFriday, July 17 – Summer NewsletterFriday, July 24 – Weekly Oakville North-Burlington UpdateFriday, July 31 – Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsFriday, August 7 – Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsFriday, August 14 – Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsFriday, August 21 – Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsFriday, August 28 – Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsFriday, September 4 – Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsFriday, September 11 – Oakville North- Burlington News and Events Friday, September 18 – Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsFriday, September 25 – Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsFriday, October 02 – Oakville North- Burlington News and EventsFriday, October 09 – Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsFriday, October 16 – Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsFriday, October 23 – Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsFriday, October 30 – Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsFriday, November 6- Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsSaturday, November 7, Special Edition: Ontario Budget 2020Friday.November 13, Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsFriday, November 20, Oakville North-Burlington News and Events Friday, November27, Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsFriday December 04, Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsFriday, December 11, Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsFriday, December 18, Oakvile North-Burlington News and EventsMerry Christmas, December 24, Oakville North-BurlingtonFriday, January 08, 2021, Oakville North-Burlington News and Events.Breaking News: Second Provincial Emergency in Response to COVID-19 Crisis January 13,2021.Friday, January 22,2021, Oakville North-Burlington News and Events.Friday, January 29, 2021, Oakville North-burlington News and Events.Friday, February 5, 2021 Oakville North-Burlington News and Events. Friday, February, 12,2021 Oakville North-Burlington News And Events.Friday, February, 19,2021 Oakville North-Burlington News and Events. Friday February, 26,2021 Oakville North-Burlington News and Events.Friday March 5, 2021 Oakville North-Burlington News and Events.Friday March 12, 2021 Oakville North-Burlington News and Events.Friday March 19, 2021 Oakville North-Burlington News and Events. Friday, March 26, 2021 Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsFriday, April 01, 2021 Oakville North-Burlington News and EventsFriday April 09, 2021 Oakville North-Burlington News and Events.Friday April 16, 2021 Oakville North-Burlington News and Events.Friday April 23, 2021 Oakville North-Burlington News and Events.Friday April 30, 2021 Oakville North-Burlington News and Events.Friday May 07,2021 Oakville North-Burlington News and Events.