Hi friends and neighbours,
I spent yesterday connecting with multiple families with loved ones in Earls Court Village long-term care home. During our virtual town hall, they told me what it's been like having a loved one in care during the pandemic and how we can build toward a better system for all of as to age into.
As I said last week, I plan to do hold similar events with all the long-term care homes in my riding so please do get in touch if you'd like to help my office set that up.
In Queens Park, this was a whirlwind week in which the provincial government passed a number of omnibus bills that, in our opinion, were merely a power grab and in no way serves public interest. These supposed COVID-19 recovery bills don't actually have anything to do with COVID-19 recovery. They don’t help LTC residents or struggling small businesses. They don’t help kids & educators get back to school safely. They don’t consider how to help folks like you recover and come out of this pandemic thriving. On behalf of our community, I will continue to keep pushing for better.
Long-term care town halls
Like I mentioned above, yesterday I hosted a virtual town hall with the Earls Court Village long-term care home family council. Thank you to those who joined in. Your feedback was much appreciated.
I am planning similar town halls with the other long-term care homes in London-Fanshawe. If you are a member of the family councils in Meadow Park, Chelsea Park, Kensington Village, Dearness and Henley Place and would like to help us organize, please get in touch.
Phone: (416) 325-1872
Also I'll be joining my colleague MPP Jamie West for a virtual town hall on long-term care. You can find more information here.
Provincial government updates
- At his daily press conference, Premier Ford dismissed the need for an independent preparedness review to ensure the province is ready to handle a potential second wave of COVID-19. Of course, my colleagues in the Official Opposition and I believe a preparedness review is necessary to get us safely through a second wave.
- My colleague, MPP Lisa Gretzky, tabled a motion in the Legislature this week urging the government to implement a COVID-19 Essential Caregiver Strategy, which would recognize essential caregivers as more than visitors.
- Another colleague, MPP Tom Rakocevic is again calling on the government to stop allowing auto insurers gouge Ontarians. The Premier has refused to require insurers to provide discounts during the pandemic, even though accidents and rates of driving, have plunged.
On July 6, the Superior Court of Justice order that had suspended residential evictions was amended so that the suspension ends at the end of month in which the state of emergency is terminated.
The government has said that the state of emergency is to end July 24, meaning evictions can begin starting Aug. 1. Especially with Bill 184, a bill that would make it easier for landlords to evict people despite the ongoing pandemic, passing in the legislature this week, myself and tenant rights advocates are growing concerned.
We continue to advocate that the government extend the ban on evictions, and actually enforce it.
We’ve also heard that there have been instances in which the commercial eviction ban is not being enforced. If you are in this situation, please get in contact with my office.
Safe school re-opening
Parents, teachers and school boards have expressed increasing frustration with the government's failure to provide details on a safe reopening of schools or funding to ensure schools can meet new health restrictions.
Experts are also calling on the government to reverse course on his pursuit of a hybrid back-to-school model they say will hurt children and families, and to open more child care spaces. Meanwhile, the Education Minister is expected to make an announcement on the reopening next week without waiting to consult with school boards.
Our emergency action plan for a safe return includes job-protected leave for parents and more funding for schools and child care.
For more information you can also visit: www.healthunit.com/novel-coronavirus
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-CO@ndp.on.ca 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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.