Effie Triantafilopoulos, MPP for Oakville North-Burlington and Pam Damoff, MP for Oakville North-Burlington are addressing constituents today in a joint update regarding COVID-19. Constituents have questions about how the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario are supporting Canadians during this Pandemic. MPP Triantafilopoulos and MP Damoff are working in collaboration and with their municipal partners to make sure that the residents of Oakville North-Burlington are informed about initiatives being implemented by all levels of government through one accessible update. MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos and MP Damoff are speaking regularly, coordinating our efforts to protect the health and well-being of the people of Oakville North-Burlington. MPP Triantafilopoulos and MP Damoff will be releasing a joint update every Friday for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.

For information about COVID-19, please visit:

Canada: www.canada.ca/coronavirus
Ontario: www.ontario.ca/coronavirus
Halton Region: www.halton.ca/COVID19

“My friends, we are at the start of a long road and a long journey of recovery. The hard work of rebuilding what we have lost is still ahead of us. But we will be there for you. We will be there for each other. And together we will get the job done. Thank you and God bless the people of Ontario.” – Premier Doug Ford

As we continue to fight COVID-19 in Ontario, we watch the trends carefully every day, and we are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, as the number of new cases inches downward. The Ontario government is preparing to reopen our economy – to get it working again – safely and cautiously. We have to get this reopening right, so that we don’t slide backwards and lose the gains we have made.

Ontario has a framework to reopen, one that I spoke about in last week’s newsletter, based on clear public health criteria. This is a road map, one of measured stages, developed on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts. We will base the reopening of businesses and public spaces going forward on this medical advice.

Emergency Orders Extended Until May 19

Ontario first declared a provincial emergency on March 17, 2020. On Wednesday, based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the government has extended all emergency orders until May 19, 2020. This includes orders on closures, limited public gatherings, price gouging, and a number of other issues.

Ontario Extends Electricity Rate Relief During COVID-19

The Ontario government is extending emergency electricity rate relief to families, farms and small businesses until May 31, 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak. Customers who pay time-of-use electricity rates will continue to be billed at the lowest price, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The program was originally slated to run for 45 days, starting March 24, and the province has added an extra 24 days of relief.

Increased Mental Health Support

We know that the outbreak, with people staying at home, can cause great stress and anxiety for many people. It’s important they know they are not alone. The Ontario government is significantly increasing access to internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) programs to help Ontarians experiencing anxiety and depression, including frontline health care workers, during the COVID-19 outbreak.

These internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) programs will be provided at no out-of-pocket costs to Ontarians across the province. At Ontario.ca, people can now easily find information about the different virtual mental health care options that meet their unique needs, including online therapy options. Remember help is also available at: @KidsHelpPhone 1-800-668-6868, Connex Ontario 1-866-531-2600, or Good2Talk 1-866-925-5454.

Commercial Rent Update

The support for business tenants announced in last week’s newsletter is being rolled out over the next week. Ontario is contributing $241 million to this federal-provincial program that will provide about $900 million in support to help business tenants with their rent in Ontario.

Our government wants Ontarians – including banks, tenants, and landlords to sit down and come together to find solutions that work for everyone. We have already seen examples across the province of residential tenants and landlords working together to offer solutions that work for everyone – and we expect to see the same in the commercial sector.

We continue to work closely with the federal government and coordinate our efforts to provide maximal relief to employers in Ontario. To find out more about the program, see details on the CMHC website at cmhc-schl.gc.ca.

Reopening Ontario – Curbside Pick-Up & Delivery

On April 27, the Ontario Government released a framework with clear public health criteria to meet before proceeding to each stage of reopening. Working in partnership with our health and safety associations, we’ve released over 60 workplace safety guidelines to help businesses protect their employees and customers. Here are some of the current re-openings:

May 4
curbside pick-up for garden centres and nurseries, lawn care and landscaping, some car washes and marinas and golf courses to begin preparing for the season
car dealerships by appointment only
construction projects, including shipping and logistics, broadband and digital infrastructure, municipal and schools, as well as site preparation for institutional, commercial; industrial or residential development

May 8
garden centres and nurseries will be permitted to open to the public, with the same physical distancing guidelines as grocery stores

May 9
hardware stores and safety supply stores will be able to open for in-store payment and purchases, operating under the same requirements as grocery stores and pharmacies
people will be able to shop in these stores as long as these businesses follow strict public health measures to protect staff and customers.

May 11
retail stores with a street entrance can provide curbside pick-up and delivery.

We’re also expanding essential construction to include:
demolition work related to essential construction projects and multi-unit residential projects such as condos and apartments.
For these buildings below grade work will be permitted and existing above grade projects can continue so we can keep adding more housing and creating more jobs on the path to economic recovery.

We’ll continue working to get more businesses and services online as safely as we can.
The Premier and the government have been very clear – all public health measures remain in place and will be strictly enforced. We can’t take the progress we’ve made for granted.

Economic Recovery Survey Online

The Ontario Government wants to hear directly from people, businesses and organizations to help guide the reopening of our province and to set Ontario up for success once it’s safe to lift restrictions following COVID-19. You can take part in the survey at ontario.ca/form/survey-economic-impacts-covid-19.

Reopening Hospitals for Non-COVID Medical Care

We’ve been working with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and our health care partners to chart a clear path forward for hospitals to fully reopen once again. We have developed a framework to restart scheduled surgeries and procedures safely, starting with the most urgent surgeries like cancer and cardiac procedures.

Ontario had to be a ready for a worst-case scenario with COVID-19, but because of the collective efforts of every Ontarian to stop the spread of COVID-19 we’re now in a position where we can begin to plan for the gradual resumption of scheduled and elective surgeries and procedures.

The government is giving every hospital the ability to plan around their own unique situation, but I also know that many people are counting on these procedures to resume, because to someone waiting for a surgery, nothing is more important.

This has weighed heavily on all of us. And I want more than anything to get these surgeries and procedures back on track as soon as possible.

Congratulations to Virox Technologies of Oakville, which was awarded $850,000 from the Ontario Together Fund to help the local manufacturer double its production of disinfectants and create more jobs.

Ontario has an army of innovators, entrepreneurs, and the hardest-working people in the world ready to roll up their sleeves, support our frontline healthcare workers, and beat this virus. The $50 million Ontario Together Fund was set up to help companies make investments to retool to make urgently-needed supplies and equipment needed in our hospitals, long-term care homes and other critical public services.

Virox is planning to install a high-speed manufacturing assembly line to ramp up production of its Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide products. It is estimated that the new equipment will allow the company to produce 6,000 cases per day, which will help meet increased demand from the health care sector and general consumer market during the outbreak. The project will create 20 full- and part-time jobs and help retain 120 positions in Oakville.

“We are pleased to respond to the government’s call to action to help stop the spread of this outbreak,” said Randy Pilon, President and CEO,Virox Technologies Inc. “We pride ourselves on offering sustainable hydrogen-peroxide based disinfecting solutions and making products that are safe for people, animals and the planet. By ramping up our production with new equipment and upgrades, we will help meet the growing need in hospitals, and communities across Ontario and Canada.”

Our Community Helping Out

Oakville’s Muslim community is raising funds for Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. Oakville Hospital Foundation board member, Raza Hasan, and his family have generously offered to match donations, dollar for dollar, up to the first $25,000.

Burlington fashion designer Joseph Tassoni is meeting a need in our community and is making non-surgical masks. $5 from each masks is donated to Joseph Brant Hospital. Check out the masks at www.josephtassoni.com

Geotab in Oakville is supporting frontline and essential workers by donating personal protective equipment to local hospitals. I was very proud to attend the opening of its new head office last fall.

Get your ‘I’m Helping Burlington beat COVID-19’ t-shirt from www.giftofgivingback.ca
Half the proceeds go to the Burlington Food Bank.

I would like to thank Global Medic for joining me with 600 lbs of food donations which we delivered to the Salvation Army in Burlington and the Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre in Oakville.

The Ontario Spirit was alive and well this week in our community as we celebrated Julie, a six-time gold medalist in Rhythmic Gymnastics at the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi with her own Birthday Parade. Happy Birthday Julie!

Earlier today, we received the job numbers for April, and they tell us what we already knew –Canadians are hurting because of this pandemic. This is a very difficult time for a lot of people. Canadians aren’t alone in this, as the world faces COVID-19. Our government is focused on a comprehensive plan to get Canadians back to work.

More than 7 million Canadians are currently receiving the CERB to help make ends meet. We created the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to help employers rehire staff they have had to lay off. Since it launched last week, employers have applied for subsidies for almost 2 million workers to bring them back into the workforce. As provinces and territories start to gradually reopen over the coming months and the CERB becomes needed less and less, the CEWS will play an even greater role. Because of this, our government is extending the CEWS beyond June to help kick-start our economic re-opening and boost jobs. Employers can fill out the application at www.Canada.ca if they had to let people go and hopefully hire them back. In addition, the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) has been accessed by well over half a million businesses to give them much-needed loans. Between the CEBA and the wage subsidy, we’re helping employers across the country keep Canadians on the job.

We also know that some sectors have been hit especially hard. Minister Bains will be leading the newly created Industry Strategy Council which will take a comprehensive look into how the pandemic is affecting specific sectors and determine how to best support them.

Families in Oakville North-Burlington and across Canada rely on a strong food supply chain and our government is taking action to ensure it remains strong throughout the COVID-19 crisis. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Trudeau announced $252 million in new federal assistance for Canadian farmers and others in the agri-food sector to help redistribute food and better protect workers in processing plants. This new funding will help ensure that our farmers are being compensated for their hard work and that all Canadians will have access to fresh food during this crisis.

While many of us are being asked to stay home, millions of Canadians are being called on to go to work every day. On Thursday, the Prime Minister announced that our government finalized funding arrangements to the provincials and will provide up to $3 billion in support to increase the wages of low-income essential workers. Premiers across our country agree that we need to support essential workers, and have committed to working with our government to determine which workers will be eligible and how much support they will receive. Please refer to the Prime Minister’s news release for additional details.

Today, we mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, and the end of the Second World War on the continent. After six years of war it must have felt like that day would never come. But it did. And it came because of the courage of all those who served, and because of the sacrifice of all those who gave their lives. It has been 75 years since our grandparents and great-grandparents stood up to do their part. 75 years since they stood united and strong to ensure that we would live in peace and freedom.

On Tuesday, we joined Oakville Mayor Rob Burton and Oakville Councilors Jasvinder Sandhu and Pavan Parmar on YourTV’s “Oakville Matters” to discuss the COVID-19 crisis. We talked about the possibility of some restrictions being lifted for parks and open spaces, further rent relief for business owners, financial assistance for municipalities and public transit and when schools may re-open in Ontario. You can watch it here.

On Wednesday I joined my colleague Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Rob Oliphant for a Facebook Live to discuss our efforts to bring Canadians home during the COVID-19 crisis. Our government has helped facilitate the return of more than 26,000 passengers to Canada on 212 flights from 87 countries. This is the largest peacetime repatriation effort in Canadian History. We continue to work tirelessly with countries around the world to bring Canadians home. Rob answers many of your frequently asked questions. You can watch our conversation here.

I spoke to United Way Halton Hamilton this afternoon about how they are supporting people and organizations in our region during the COVID-19 pandemic. They talk about how the federal funding they are receiving will be used, the programs they are delivering now and the need to focus on both emergency and recovery. You can watch our Zoom conversation here.

May is Williams Syndrome Awareness Month. Tomorrow you can watch the conversation I had with my friend Oakville resident Karina Scali who was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome as a toddler. You can learn more about Williams Syndrome from Karina by listening to our conversation on Facebook at 11 am on Saturday.

The Canadian Armed Forces flight demonstration team, otherwise known as the Snowbirds, continued their cross-country flight over much of eastern Ontario this morning. The cross-country tour — named Operation Inspiration — is meant to boost morale as Canadians continue to struggle amid the COVID-19 crisis. You can follow the Snowbirds travels on Instagram and Twitter.

Thank you for reading our joint-update. We are committed to working collaboratively with all levels of government to address the needs of Canadians through this difficult time. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our respective offices, and we will be sure to share the most accurate and up-to-date information. Don’t forget to do your part to #FlattenTheCurve, and stay inside! We will get through this as Canadians do, together.


Effie and Pam