April 2-MPP update

Safe Workplaces

Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer has been working with the business and labour sector to provide advice and resources regarding COVID-19. Now more than ever, it is necessary that all employers do everything they can to make their workplaces safe.

Employers have obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations to protect workers from hazards in the workplace, including infectious diseases. Through the new job-protected leave legislation, workers are encouraged to follow the advice of medical professionals and can do so without fear of losing their jobs.

Workers can report any concerns about workplace hazards related to COVID-19 to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development using Ontario’s health and safety hotline at 1-877-202-0008.

Ontario’s government is launching a $50 million Ontario Together Fund

Today, Premier Doug Ford announced that the Ontario government is launching a $50 million fund to provide immediate support to businesses, organizations and communities to team up with the province to combat COVID-19. Through Ontario Together, the government is going mobilize our manufacturing might to get Ontario’s frontline health care workers the tools they need to do their jobs.

The Ontario Together Fund will help companies make investments to build their capacity or provide technological solutions, either in new equipment or retooling. This will allow them to quickly pivot to manufacturing critical supplies and equipment needed in hospitals, long-term care homes and other priority public services.

The Ontario Together Fund will leverage the recently launched Ontario Together website to accept proposals. The government will be looking for the most viable, innovative proposals that can quickly provide critical goods and services and the greatest benefit to the people of Ontario.

In addition, our government has worked closely with businesses across Ontario and the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association to ramp up production of ventilators to meet the need in Ontario and other parts of Canada. The government has recently placed an order with O-Two Medical Technologies who, with the support of Ontario’s world-class manufacturing sector, will produce 10,000 ventilator units for a made-in-Ontario solution.

The mass mobilization of government, business, communities and private citizens to slow the spread of COVID-19 and manufacture essential health care supplies represents one of the largest and most ambitious efforts undertaken by Ontario in generations.

Rent & Evictions Information

It’s important that people can stay in their homes to put their health and the health of others first. We’re all in this together!

Tenants who can pay their rent must do so, to the best of their abilities; but tenants cannot be forced to leave their homes if they can’t pay their rent today. The Ontario government is asking landlords to be as flexible as possible when it comes to collecting rent at this time when may are struggling.

Tenants that are having challenges paying rent due to the impacts of COVID-19 should speak with their landlords about possible deferral of rent payment or agreeing to other payment arrangements. The Federal government is also implementing a number of measures to provide financial assistance to Canadians, including the Canada Emergency. Response Benefit of $2,000/month for eligible Ontarians.

If a tenant has been locked out their unit or if they’re being threatened with eviction should contact the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit immediately at 1-800-772-9277.
Learn at Home Phase 2

The next phase of Learn at Home was announced yesterday by the Minister of Education! Students will begin receiving communication from their teachers and school board staff this week to determine the best way your child can continue learning during this period.

For our youngest learners, please lend a helping-hand in facilitating these initial conversations with educators when they begin reaching out. This early communication will help ensure all students can participate actively and fully in the rich online learning strategy. We have designed the strategy based on the technology and resources that currently exist at home.

I know that many families in York-Simcoe may not have access to the technology and broadband connection needed to participate fully in online learning. To remedy this situation, the government has instructed local school boards to offer their existing inventory of computers and devices to students who do not have in-home access.

Boards will work with the Ministry to develop a plan to expand the technology to those who need it. I also want to recognize that boards have explored alternative options for students’ access to technology, including engaging in regular conversations with telecommunications providers to determine what options exist to allow families to access Ontario’s world-leading online learning resources. I will update you as these conversations regarding technology and broadband options continue to evolve.

As part of this plan for online learning, our government has outlined the minimum expectations for student work-time in a given week based on learning materials and work assigned by your student’s teacher. These expectations, for each teacher, include:

· Kindergarten to grade three: Five hours of work per student per week, with a focus on literacy and math;
· Grades four to six: Five hours of work per week, with a focus on literacy, math, science, and social studies;
· Grades seven to eight: 10 hours of work per week, with a focus on math, literacy, science and social studies; and,
· Grades nine to 12: Three hours of work per course per week for semestered students, and 1.5 hours of work per course per week for non-semestered students, with a focus on credit accumulation and graduation.

Based on these expectations, this second phase of LearnAtHome will require students to adopt academic discipline and commitment to ensure that they can experience continued academic growth and achievement. I know our students are up to the task.
As students continue to accumulate credits during this closure period, we will provide further information about how students can align with the post-secondary application process in the coming weeks.

We will not allow any student to fall through the cracks during this unprecedented time. The Ministry of Education is equipping educators with the tools and supports they need to maximize the opportunities and achievements of all learners in the province in an online setting.

The Minister of Education has also shared an open letter to parents yesterday evening.
I encourage you to read it here.

I am so proud of the people and businesses who are hearing the call to action to help out our fellow Ontarians. Working together is the only way forward. This is the heart of the #OntarioSpirit.

As the situation with COVID-19 evolves, I want to recognize people and businesses making an effort to flatten the curve and help out our frontline healthcare workers.

If you know of a person or business in York-Simcoe that deserves to be recognized for their #OntarioSpirit, please email me at [email protected].
Online Self-Assessment Tool

Ontario has now launched an enhanced and interactive self-assessment tool. This new easy-to-use tool takes the public through a series of questions to inform those who are concerned they may have contracted COVID-19.

In a matter of seconds, this tool will help people determine if they are negative or it will provide them with guidance on where to seek care based on their needs. Critically, the enhanced tool provides the province with real-time data on the number and geography of users who are told to seek care, self-isolate or to monitor for symptoms. This data will help inform Ontario’s ongoing response in order to keep individuals and families safe.

The tool guides individuals through a series of questions and, based on their responses, users are provided clear direction on what action to take. These next steps could include directions such as; continue to practice social distancing; self-isolate; call a primary care provider or Telehealth Ontario; or in the case of symptoms such as severe difficulty breathing or severe chest pain, call 911 or go to the emergency department.
List of essential workplaces

You can find the list of essential workplaces in response to COVID-19 here. If you have questions about what will be open or if the closure of non-essential businesses will impact you, your business or your employment, call the Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
Local Assessment Centres

Simcoe – Muskoka

490 Huronia Road, Barrie. The assessment centre is located in the rear building of the Eagle Ridge complex and is NOT at the Huronia Urgent Care Clinic.

Southlake Regional Health Cente Centre

If you have been advised to visit an Assessment Centre, go to the main entrance of the Emergency Department at Southlake. You will be pre-screened by a nurse who will provide further instruction.

Status of cases in Ontario

The Status of Cases in Ontario web page will be updated with the most up-to-date information on the status of cases in Ontario, every day, seven days a week, at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. ET.
Caroline Mulroney

Member of Provincial Parliament for York-Simcoe