Dear friends and neighbours,
On January 12th afternoon, the Ontario government declared a State of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA). The new stay-at-home order that came into effect as of 12:01am January 14th requires everyone to remain at home with exceptions for permitted purposes or activities, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for work where the work cannot be done remotely. In addition to limiting outings for these purposes, all businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does work from home.
I know there’s been confusion about the order and enforcement. My team and I continue to seek clarity from the government. In the meantime, below you’ll find resources and FAQs.
My colleagues and I in the Official Opposition have expressed our concern that the measures announced by Premier fall short and have echoed the call from experts for paid sick days and immediate eviction bans (residential and commercial).
Other measures we’re pushing for:
At least 10,000 more staff in long-term care, plus infection prevention and control experts in every nursing home
A massive ramp-up of testing and contact tracing, including in-workplace and in-school testing, and the vaccination schedule
Restricting non-essential travel in between regions
Know that I will keep fighting for these measures so that we can save lives and see people through this terrible pandemic. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write in and advocate for better from this government. I am receiving hundreds of emails daily and we are doing our best to respond, get answers to your questions and take your ideas and concerns forward to the government.
Please read on for more updates on the restrictions, stay home and stay safe.
As always, though my office is physically closed due to the lockdown, my staff and I continue to be available to you via email or telephone.
Questions about enforcement:
London police say enforcement will be largely complaint-driven, or in instances where officers observe something against the rules that puts people at risk. They're assuring residents that they will not enter a home, pull over a vehicle, or stop a person on the street for the sole purpose of checking compliance with the order. The measure requires that Ontarians stay home except for essential activities like getting food or exercise.
Small business grants
The Province’s application portal for small business grants has finally opened. In case you missed it, the provincial government will be providing up to $20,000 for eligible businesses impacted by the shutdown.
Eligible small businesses include those that:
Were required to close or significantly restrict services due to the Provincewide Shutdown being imposed across the province effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26.
Have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level.
Have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019. New businesses established since April 2019 will also be eligible if they meet the other eligibility criteria.
You can find more details about the application process and eligibility here.
After over a decade of advocacy by parents and community members the Summerside community will be getting their long-awaited school. I'm so excited to hear that the community's strength and determination have finally paid off.
The school closure in our region remains extended until January 25th.
I know this will be a hardship for many of you who have to work while caring for kids at home. My Opposition colleagues and I are urging the government to introduce a family care days program to ensure parents with children learning at home don’t miss a paycheque.
We're also calling on the Premier to implement the below to ensure classroom are safe to return to sooner rather than later:
- broad in-school asymptomatic testing program
- capped class sizes at 15
- properly ventilated classrooms with enough space to socially distance
- speed up the lethargic vaccination program and get teachers and education workers their shots ASAP
For a local perspective and analysis, read more here.
*TVDSB announced that the extension might last beyond Jan. 25th. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.
Please continue to reach out to my office with feedback, concerns and questions. Hearing from you is integral to how we push this government into much needed action. Email me at TArmstrong[email protected] to let me know and we’ll do our very best to help.
Resources in the community:
Addiction Services Thames Valley
ADSTV has launched a selection of Supportive Information Sessions online at adstv.ca. These recorded sessions and downloadable tools are based on ones previously offered nearly every weekday at their facility. ADSTV is also preparing to provide services in a face-to-face setting. Visit their website for updates.
Hydro bill assistance
Monday July 13th, eligible London Hydro customers who have fallen behind on their bills because of the pandemic can apply for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program. For details on the program see: http://oeb.ca/CEAP To apply check: http://londonhydro.com on Monday
Online Tool to Find COVID-19 Financial Help
The Government of Canada has released a new web-based benefits finder tool to help people living in Canada determine which government benefits programs best meet their needs. The tool includes provincial benefit programs.
The Canadian Mental Health Association has launched Friendly Callers, a new outreach program that matches volunteers with seniors for a weekly check-in. If you, your parents, your neighbours, or any senior you know would like to participate in this program, call CMHA at 519-434-9191 ext. 2223 or email [email protected] Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Emergency Community Support Fund
Community service agencies can now apply for emergency funding through the Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF). These funds are for you to respond to COVID-19 in your community.
Canadian Mental Health Association
The Canadian Mental Health Association has put together a list of supports available in Ontario.
London Small Business webinars
The London Small Business Centre has compiled a collection of webinars covering a range of business topics. The webinars listed are offered by our local community, organizations throughout Ontario and beyond.
LifeSpin put together this list of resources for folks in London.
CLEO has a legal resource specifically for COVID-19 related issues.
The Ontario Government has created a centralized COVID-19 page which can be found here.
Middlesex-London Health Unit has opened two COVID-19 screening centres. For more on that and other public health information visit Middlesex-London Health Unit’s page here.
If you are interested in up-to-date information regarding Ontario Government announcements and programs I recommend monitoring the Ontario Newsroom.