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
“…we have a long road ahead of us.  We’re at the start of a long journey of recovery and rebuilding. And I want you to know that through it all, your government will stand with you. I will stand with you…Your government will stop at nothing to protect you, to support you, and to have your back. And together, we will come back stronger and more united than ever. We will come back more determined than ever. We will rebuild what we have lost.” – Premier Doug Ford
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ontario Government’s number one priority has been the health and safety of every person in our province. This remains the case, and your government is taking actions based on the advice of our Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts.   Recent health trends have been positive. They show a decline in the number of new cases of COVID-19. Testing numbers are up and Ontario has become a leader in Canada in daily per capita testing, having achieved over 19,000 tests in one day last weekend. We must however remain vigilant. Social distancing measures must still be followed.
Stage 1 – Reopening Ontario Some seasonal services reopen Saturday May 16,more businesses on Tuesday May 19 The people of Ontario have been called on to make incredible sacrifices to help us stop the spread of COVID-19, including staying home from work, closing down businesses and going without a regular paycheque. We are taking a cautious, balanced approach to our economic reopening, to protect the health and safety of everyone. Most retailers, seasonal businesses and health and community service providers will be permitted to open or expand their services on Tuesday, May 19. The workplaces allowed to reopen are ones in a good position to put safety measures in place, while not putting a burden on public transit. This is the first stage of the government’s plan to reopen Ontario, a plan that was first outlined on April 27. On May 16 certain seasonal services and activities will also be allowed to reopen before the Victoria Day long weekend. The Premier and the government have stressed that none of these businesses must reopen, and should only do so when they are sure they are ready. You can find out more about stage one of the reopening and a list of businesses and services that can reopen at Ontario.ca/reopen. Businesses and services that will be allowed to reopen, so long as the trend on health indicators remains positive: Saturday, May 16, 2020
  • Golf courses can open, with clubhouses open only for washrooms and restaurants open only for take-out.
  • Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches may open for recreational use.
  • Private parks and campgrounds may open to enable preparation for the season and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract.
  • Businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for or ride their animal.
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
  • Retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances. They must have measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time or booking appointments beforehand or on the spot.
  • Seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors, including training and sport competitions conducted by a recognized national and provincial sport organizations. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played while maintain physical distancing and without spectators, such as tennis, track and field and horse racing.
  • Animal services, specifically pet care services, such as grooming and training, and regular veterinary appointments;
  • Indoor and outdoor household services that can follow public health guidelines, such as housekeepers, cooks, cleaning and maintenance;
  • Lifting essential workplace limits on construction; and
  • Allowing certain health and medical services to resume, such as in-person counselling and scheduled surgeries based on the ability to meet pre-specified conditions
  • Resuming professional services such as shifting Children’s Treatment Centres from virtual to in-person.
No business should reopen until it is ready. With the help of Ontario’s health and safety associations, the government has released more than 90 safety guidance documents. Find out more here: ontario.ca/page/resources-prevent-covid-19-workplace.   As well, workplaces reopening that need to source Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can go to ontario.ca/ppe to find suppliers.   Working together, we can begin to reopen businesses and services while keeping employees and customers safe. It is the responsibility of employers to keep their staff safe, so I urge them to consult the guidance information the government has prepared. The Ministry of Labour has doubled its phone capacity to take complaints from workers and hired more inspectors to help keep workers safe.   As Ontario gradually reopens, it is more important than ever to follow public health advice. After all, we don’t want all our hard work to be for nothing.
Ontario’s Declaration of Emergency Extended Until June 2 The Ontario government has extended the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until June 2. This additional time will ensure the province has the necessary tools and health care capacity to contain COVID-19, while gradually reopening businesses, services, and amenities safely. The extension passed during a special sitting of the Ontario Legislature on May 12.
Education Workers Can Now Volunteer in the Fight Against COVID-19 The Ontario Government recently passed an emergency order to allow education workers, including custodians, cleaners, education assistants, social workers, and administrative staff to volunteer in the fight against coal COVID-9 and support our frontline workers. We put out a call to our education workers to come to the aid of our hospital staff, our long-term care homes, our retirement homes, and group homes, our homeless shelters, and women’s shelters, and other congregate care facilities. The response has been overwhelming. Our school boards, trustee associations and union representatives have all come together to support this framework. They’re working with us to redeploy education workers who are not currently involved with at home learning.
Province Protecting Child Care For Parents When They Return to Work The Ontario Government is protecting licensed child care in Ontario during the COVID-19 outbreak by ensuring parents retain access to local licensed child care, as well as EarlyON Child and Family Centres. The government unveiled a plan that, together with federal and municipal partnership, provides supports to licensed child care providers to ensure they remain sustainable and ready to open when parents return to work.    Provincial Parks and Conservation Areas Open for Day Use   As of Monday, May the 11th, Ontario’s provincial parks and conservation reserves reopened for day use. These places are open for walking, hiking, bird-watching and biking. People will be able, once again, to enjoy the outdoors in one of the many beautiful parks and conservation reserves our province has to offer.   Please note that access is still limited for now, as camping, playgrounds and beaches will continue to be closed. Public health measures must be followed at all times, including practicing physical distancing, avoiding social gatherings and staying home if you’re sick
May 11 to 17 is National Nurses Week, so let’s take a moment to thank all of the nurses who are working hard to keep us safe during the pandemic. Thank you for your hard work, your caring and your compassion for every one of your patients!   And thank you to all of the women and men of Halton Regional Police, the OPP and Ontario’s other police services as we mark Police Week 2020.   Five volunteer nurses from Joseph Brant Hospital are redeploying to local long-term care homes as part of the response to greater care needs in the community. Protecting our loved ones! These are just a few of our local health heroes helping keep residents in long-term care safe in Halton Region.   Until May 31, every dollar donated to Food for Life Halton will be matched up to $150,000, thanks to The Sprott & Peter Gilgan Foundations. To donate, go to https://www.foodforlife.ca/make-a-donation/.   We also cannot forget Canada’s Snowbirds who flew over several locations in our community this week including Joseph Brant Hospital and Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, as part of “Operation Inspiration.”
This week our federal government announced several critical supports for Canadians during the COVID-19 crisis.
Starting today, students and recent graduates across Canada can apply for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). Students should set up a MyAccount on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website before applying for the CESB to make the next steps go even quicker. The Canada Summer Jobs program offers thousands of jobs for young Canadians aged 15-30 across the country.  Visit www.jobbank.gc.ca to see available jobs.  New job postings are added as they are approved for funding, so check back often as jobs are being posted daily.  The CESB provides $1,250 per month to students who qualify, or $2,000 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities.
This morning, Prime Minister Trudeau announced the extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) through August. We want businesses to keep employees on the payroll and rehire any employees they were forced to lay off.  This program will help them to do that and weather the storm to rebuild their business. While our government has unveiled a series of concrete, tangible measures to support small businesses and their employees, we know that no matter how wide we extend the safety net, some businesses still risk falling through the cracks. This week, our government announced the new Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) to support businesses not eligible for the other measures already in place. The fund, which will flow through FedDev Ontario and the other Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), is a national initiative of nearly $1 billion, including $252.4 million for Southern Ontario.  The RRRF will relieve pressures and help businesses that lack cash flow (and non-profits that support them) with immediate financial support so they can pay employees and cover costs. In the months to come, it will position them to play a meaningful role in our economic recovery. Businesses who wish to apply for the RRRF can apply online at the following link.
This week we also announced significant new measures to provide Canadian seniors with greater financial security and give them the help they need during this crisis. Our government announced $2.5 billion to provide funds to seniors to help with any additional costs associated with COVID-19, like increased dispensing fees, food delivery and other costs.  Seniors who are currently receiving Old Age Security (OAS) will get an additional $300 and those who are eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will receive an extra $200.  These are one-time payments calculated on increased costs for seniors similar to the increase in the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for families. That means if you are receiving both OAS and GIS, you will get a total of an additional $500 tax-free to help you.  If you are already receiving OAS or GIS you will automatically get this one-time increase without having to apply for it.
Canadian researchers are among the best in the world and we need them to continue their ground-breaking work in searching for new and innovative ways to diagnose, treat and cure diseases. While they are collaborating with other researchers around the world right now to find a treatment and cure for COVID-19, we also need our researchers and research institutes to continue critical work on all diseases.  These other diseases don’t stop because of COVID-19.  Today, our government announced $450M for a new temporary program to sustain the academic research community through COVID-19.  The program will provide wage support to universities and affiliated research institutes to prevent layoffs of thousands of research personnel working on research projects that are not COVID-19 related.
May 17th is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Join me on Facebook on Sunday at 11:00am for a discussion with MP Mark Holland and MP Rob Oliphant about the importance of allies and family, and what more we can all do to support the 2SLGBTQ+ Community.  The date of May 17th commemorates the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.
Teachers are doing such a great job of finding new and unique ways to engage their students during COVID-19 school closures.  One of the things I miss most during this challenging time is visiting schools across Oakville North-Burlington and speaking with students about how their federal government works for them at home as well as in Ottawa.  I would like to remind all teachers that I am happy to join your virtual classroom via Zoom any time.  Please contact my office at pam.damoff@parl.gc.ca to set up a virtual visit with me.
Here in Oakville North-Burlington we are doing a great job flattening the COVID-19 curve but its not time to let up just yet.  I know with the long weekend upon us and beautiful weather in the forecast, it will be very tempting to loosen up on our physical distancing and stay at home habits, especially as parks, garden centres and golf courses begin to reopen.  Like you, I would love to get back to normal, but its not time just yet.  This long weekend, I encourage you to get outside and walk along our beautiful trails and do some gardening, but please continue to physically distance, wash your hands often and avoid large gatherings. Thank you for doing your part and thank you to our frontline workers who keep us all safe every day.  I wish everyone in Oakville North-Burlington a very happy, healthy long Victoria Day weekend!
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.  Sincerely,  Effie and Pam