COVID- 19 Update from Caroline Mulroney, MPP, April 27, 2020
A Framework for Reopening our Province
With recent modelling showing early signs that enhanced public health measures — including staying home, physical distancing and hand washing — are working to stop the spread of the virus and flatten the curve, Ontario is now preparing for the next phase of its plan to respond to the outbreak. Today, our government released A Framework for Reopening Our Province.
This framework outlines the criteria Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will use to advise the government on the loosening of emergency measures, as well as guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces. To reopen the economy, the government will consider factors such as the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and the ability to implement protective measures to keep workplaces safe.
Our government is planning a stage-by-stage approach to reopening the economy to ensure there are appropriate measures in place so workplaces can open safely. Public health officials will carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health.
To support the next phases of Ontario’s Action Plan, the new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee and MPPs will be consulting with a wide variety of people across the province, to help assess the impact of COVID-19 on the provincial economy and develop a plan to move forward. We will hear directly from business associations, chambers of commerce, municipal leaders, the postsecondary sector, corporate leaders, small business owners, community and social service providers, Indigenous partners, Franco-Ontarians, entrepreneurs and others. I look forward to connecting with all of our partners here in York-Simcoe for your valuable input, suggestions and ideas.
Our government will continue to work with public health officials and sectors to give employers guidance on how to operate safely in the current environment and keep employees safe. As the public health measures are adjusted, businesses will still be required to follow best practices or guidelines for COVID-19 based, including measures to restrict activities.
Ontario is in a strong position thanks to the actions of individuals. A successful reopening of our province requires people and employers to continue doing their part, so our hard work and sacrifice pays off.
Pandemic Pay for the Broader Public Sector
Our government’s priority is the health and safety of all Ontarians, and we are singularly focused on our response to the COVID-19 outbreak
This temporary pandemic premium pay will provide additional support and relief, encouraging staff to continue working and attracting prospective employees to help maintain safe staffing levels and the operation of critical frontline services.
These frontline workers are often putting themselves or their loved ones at risk to help save lives and we owe them an incredible debt of gratitude. That is why we are authorizing a temporary $4/hr worked pandemic premium for the next four months. In addition, employees working over 100 hours per month would receive lump sum payments of $250 per month for each of the next four months.
These workers are delivering critical services that support all Ontarians, including the most vulnerable members of our communities. This will ensure essential workers on the frontlines are being compensated adequately, while safeguarding the sustainability and viability of the health and social services sectors.
School Closure Extended until at least May 29th
We will do whatever it takes to keep our students safe. The government is taking a careful approach which provides our medical experts the time to review the modelling and make the best decision for the safety of our students and the future of learning.The government took immediate action to close schools in Ontario, the first in Canada to do so.
We continue to monitor the evolving situation and if necessary, the closure may be extended further to protect the health and safety of Ontario’s school communities. Regardless of what transpires over the coming weeks, Ontario’s students will be able to complete their school year with confidence. In particular, for students in their final year, we are removing all impediments to ensure students graduate and pursue post-secondary education.
Our government will also move forward to replace the remainder of Professional Activity (PA) days and examination days with instructional time and introduce an expanded summer learning program that will focus on credit recovery, supports for vulnerable students, and course upgrading. Boards are to find solutions at the local level in keeping with this direction while upholding collective agreement obligations.
Governments Invest $2.5 Million to Grow Agri-food e-Business During COVID-19
The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced many businesses to re-think the way they market, sell and deliver their goods and services, and the agriculture and agri-food industry is no exception. That is why we’re supporting the growth of agri-food e-business and helping the sector to market its goods online.
Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the federal and provincial governments are investing up to $2.5 million to help businesses and organizations quickly expand their marketing channels and grow e-business opportunities.
The Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative will help food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations increase online sales and provide Ontario families with greater access to a wide variety of foods and agriculture products.
Our government remains committed to supporting the agriculture and agri-food sector during this unprecedented time.
Please click the following link to read about the PSW temporary wage increase.
Please click the link below
I want to provide a statement from David Goldfield in regards to his very scary experience dealing with a positive covid client. He wanted to thank everyone for their support and good wishes!! He is thrilled to announce no other staff or clients results were positive. Halsey Lodge is not considered a breakout and has been taken off the list. David Goldfield
I want to say David should be very proud of himself and his staff!! The fact he had an actual positive client in his home and no one else was effected is amazing!! It is a wonderful example of a home who followed great procedures for safety and isolation. Great Work!!!
It is so important to report quick and follow all the steps asked of us. I think David felt very supported and happy with the handling of the entire situation. I hope no one else has to ever experience this! However if you do we will be here to help and support in every way we can.
My best wishes for the client who is still in hospital. We are all thinking of her.
Below you’ll find a letter from Wayne Emmerson to Council, he is the Chairman and CEO for the Regional Municipality of York. You can click the links within the letter for more information.
Members of Council:
Following today’s Committee of the Whole meeting, I am providing a summary of the three issues discussed:
Social Service Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Committee Report
The Social Service response to COVID-19 Global Pandemic Committee Report
outlines how York Region is responding, and plans to respond, to the social service needs of vulnerable residents.
Through short-term actions in the mandated areas of Housing, Children’s Services, Income Supports and Homelessness, York Region is working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among vulnerable populations, maintain the health and safety of our residents and reduce the burden on the health care system.
These actions include:
· Temporary rent subsides
· Increased funding housing stability and homelessness prevention programs
· Establishment of free emergency child care centres
· Extending funding to seasonal shelters
· Providing additional funding through grocery store gift cards to Ontario Works clients
In 2019, Regional Council approved $5.6 million in Regional funding for 45 projects identified to help low income residents under the Community Investment Fund
. Many of these projects have become even more critical due to COVID-19, while others may no longer be feasible as planned (school food programs, projects that cannot fulfill physical distancing requirements). Through this report, York Region is seeking authority to reallocate funding to the most critical activities.
To help identify and respond to social services needs beyond the Region’s mandates areas, the Region has partnered with United Way Greater Toronto to establish a Service Table that includes participation from 47 community agencies. Additionally, working tables for food security, homelessness supports and senior’s services have also been established. More information about the Community Service Tables can be found in the Working together to support our most vulnerable
article published to York.ca on Friday, April 10, 2020.
Please feel free to share this information with your Councils, local organizations and community agencies.
If agencies in your communities are looking for assistance and resources, please encourage them to join one or more of these tables by contacting Katherine Chislett, Commissioner of Community and Health Services at [email protected]<
Provision of Personal Protective Equipment to Group Homes, Homes for Special Care, Lodging Homes, shelter workers and personal services workers
Sadly, positive cases of COVID-19 in York Region continue to rise. Unfortunately, some of our most vulnerable residents are being affected due to outbreaks in long-term care and retirement homes, group homes and community care settings.
To help address this, we have asked the Premier and Health Minister to extend the provision of Personal Protective Equipment beyond hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes. The provision must include Group Homes, Homes for Special Care, Lodging Homes, shelter workers and Personal Service Workers.
This change will help support the essential workers in all settings and ensure both supplies and equipment is expedited to those most in need. Dr. Kurji has already asked for staff in groups homes within the Region to wear face masks and have provide each home with an initial supply.
A copy of the letter is included.
Dr. Kurji has provided an update following discussions this afternoon between York Region and a representative from Central Region of Ontario Health, who was very receptive to the PPE needs of Group Homes, Homes for Special Care and Lodging Homes and has outlined a process to follow. Staff from Public Health and Community and Health Services will relay this information in webinars to the appropriate homes. These homes will register through an online form when their supply reaches a 14-day and then a 7-day maximum. Priority will be given to homes in outbreak mode and they will receive supplies within a 24 to 48-hour window.
Your support in sourcing PPE through donations and bulk purchases will be helpful on all fronts, as we discussed during committee this morning.
Ontario Extends Declaration of Emergency to May 12th to Continue the Fight Against COVID-19
On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and with the approval of the Ontario legislature, the Ontario government is extending the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act for a further 28 days.
This will allow the government to continue to use every tool at its disposal to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since we first learned of COVID-19, Ontario has actively monitored the situation and continues to act decisively to contain the spread of COVID-19. Although the actions we have taken to-date are making a difference, the spread of COVID-19 remains a serious threat and we must keep up our efforts to contain it. These measures will remain in place until May 12, at which time they may be extended.
The Ontario legislature today also introduced and passed the COVID-19 Support and Protection Act.
This bill will continue to help us protect the public by amending five key Acts: the Education Act; the Planning Act; the Development Charges Act, the Police Services Act and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act.
Through this legislation, our government will allow school boards to continue to retain a vital source of revenue for new school projects, and also provide a fair and consistent approach to addressing school suspensions and expulsions.
Our government has listened to our municipal partners and is proposing to give them the time they need to focus on public health priorities by suspending planning decision timelines. We are also proposing changes to give municipalities the flexibility they need to support their communities in response to COVID-19.
Today’s legislation would also give municipalities flexibility by allowing the extension of the deadline of their first community safety and well-being plan.
We are also helping OSAP borrowers in this act by temporarily suspending student loan payments and initiating six-month interest-free moratorium on OSAP loans.
We will continue to take decisive action to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and well-being of all Ontarians.
Securing Critical Medical Equipment and Supplies
Yesterday, Premier Ford and the Minister of Health, Christine Elliott announced that over the last six days, more than 13 million surgical and procedural masks, 200,000 N95 respirator masks, and 38 ventilators had been delivered to Ontario’s pandemic stockpile warehouses.
We will continue to ensure that patients, frontline health care workers and first responders have the critical equipment and supplies they need most to protect themselves during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Nothing is more important than protecting the health and safety of patients and the workers caring for them, as well as our first responders. We will continue working around the clock to add to the provincial stockpile to ensure that we are equipped to support those fighting this outbreak on the frontlines.
Ontario Protects Parents During COVID-19
COVID-19 has imposed significant financial pressure on working parents in our community. We need to support our parents who may be facing reduced income or layoffs during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Yesterday, we announced a new emergency order has been issued, and any child care operators currently charging fees without delivering child care service, to no longer do so. This order also means that parents cannot lose their child care space because they are not paying fees during this period. This will provide much needed relief for parents during the outbreak.
We know that the child care sector, like many others, is facing significant financial pressures. Child care providers can seek supports for businesses and individuals under the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery Plan.
From protecting health and safety, to jobs and incomes, we will do whatever it takes to get our province and our incredibly resilient people through this.
Ontario Significantly Expanding COVID-19 Testing
To stop the spread of COVID-19, the Ontario government is implementing the next phase of our strategy to significantly expand and enhance testing.
Within the next five days, we’re committing to doubling the number of COVID-19 tests we perform daily. By the end of April we’ll be performing up to 14,000 tests per day. In addition to the ongoing testing of the general public at any of the assessment centres now established across the province, Ontario will be proactively testing several priority groups.
These groups include residents of long-term care and retirement homes, health care workers, first responders, Indigenous communities, specific vulnerable populations and more.
This will help to identify cases early, contain them and prevent putting more people at risk. This testing strategy follows extensive efforts to expand Ontario’s lab testing capacity, which helped to quickly eliminate a backlog of approximately 10,000 people within less than two weeks. To date, Ontario has conducted over 94,000 tests.
These new efforts will inform us all on how we can best protect ourselves and our families
Please take the time to watch the video below of Scot Davidson, York-Simcoe MP, fighting for our needs with the government. Has done a lot for us and also dropped off the 2000 gloves. Please click the link below for the video.
Please read everything carefully and follow the links for posters and videos(you must click the link below for those, not in in the text below. Click the link below for full information.
UPDATE: STAFF USE OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT IN GROUP HOMES Personal Protective Equipment Recommendations for Staff In an abundance of caution, given the amount of confirmed COVID-19 cases in institutional/live-in settings in York Region, and to be in line with current staff procedures in other institutional settings, group living residences are asked to immediately implement the following personal protective equipment (PPE) procedures for staff: All staff and essential visitors wear surgical/procedure masks at all times for the duration of full shifts or visits in the group living residence – this is required regardless of whether the residence is in outbreak or not During breaks, staff may remove their surgical/procedure mask but must remain 2 metres away from other staff to continue to practice physical distancing Change their surgical/procedure mask if it becomes damp or soiled (see “Conserving Masks” below) Continue to use Droplet and Contact Precautions for supporting residents with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 which includes: o Facial protection such as surgical masks and N95 respirators (N95 respirators are not needed unless performing an aerosol generating procedure) o Eye protection such as safety glasses, face shields or masks with visor attachments, o Gloves o Isolation gown York Region Public Health will be supplying group homes with an initial supply of surgical/procedural masks in order to augment these new procedures. We will be delivering these masks in the next few days. The following resources provide direction on putting on (donning) and taking off (doffing) PPE: Link to PPE Poster Putting on and taking of PPE Poster on how to wear a mask Visit this link for a video on removing PPE safely