Dear friends and neighbours,
I know our London community is passionate and vocal about access to affordable housing. The provincial government is rushing a bill through the House that would push Ontarians into precarious economic situations which could result in, worst case, homelessness. Especially in this time of crisis, when I know you are all worried and anxious about unemployment, this legislation feels heartless.
Bill 184 makes it easier for landlords to evict tenants and would make illegal rent increases legal. Next week, the bill comes back into the house. There, my colleagues and I have one last time to urge this government to do the right thing. I believe housing is a human right.
In addition to not banning evictions during the pandemic, this government ignored our repeated calls for rent subsidies so folks could continue paying rent. At this time, the government should be focussed on a healthy recovery. Not making it easier for people to lose the roof over their head.
Tell me what your concerns are. Tell me about the housing issues you’ve been having as a tenant and or as a landlord before, during and after COVID-19. This government refuses to hear your voice so let me speak on your behalf in the legislature.
Send me an email at TArmstrong-QP@ndp.on.ca.
The Middlesex-London Health Unit is issuing orders that will make masks mandatory in higher risk businesses and on public transit as of July 20.
“The evidence in my opinion is really around preventing major outbreaks that would bring us back to the second wave and that’s what we’re doing here with this order,” MLHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie said.
Federal government updates
New federal models in Canada show progress in the fight to curb the spread of COVID-19, but that significant hotspots remain.
Andrea Horwath wrote to Canada’s Minister of Employment asking the federal government to be ready to take action if the provincial government fails to quell the virus’s spread among migrant workers. Horwath expressed concern about Ontario’s recommendation that agri-farm workers who test positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic continue working.
- Air Canada has indefinitely suspended direct flights between Ottawa and five other Canadian destinations due to the pandemic.
Provincial government updates
The Premier announced much-needed funding for municipalities today. However, it falls billions short of what municipalities need to protect the most vulnerable. The Premier then passed the buck on to the federal government to come up with the rest.
Long-term care summit
Last night, my colleagues and I in the Official Opposition held a virtual summit on long-term care. The summit brought together participants from across Ontario – from advocates and family members to experts and frontline workers – to address the origins of the long-standing crisis in long-term care, how to stamp out COVID-19 hotspots in the short run, and how to overhaul the system to provide the highest quality care.
Dr. Amina Jabbar, who joined Official Opposition leader Andrea Horwath in conversation during the summit, said change is only possible when we have a system that prioritizes people over profits.
She also said that family caregivers have effectively been forced to perform unpaid labour to fill the labour gap.
We know the system needs to be completely overhauled. Thank you to those who were able to participate. Your experiences and expertise helps us inform how we lay the foundation for a better long-term care and home care system that truly supports and enables seniors. Feel free to get in touch if you missed it and wanted to share your thoughts.
You can rewatch part of the summit here.
Bill 175 update
By enabling further privatization in home and community care, the London Health Coalition worries that Bill 175 poses a threat to the future of public health care. Many of you have written to me about your concerns and I want you to know that I share them. I will not be voting in favour of this bill.
After the Premier failed to protect migrant workers, COVID-19 spread to more than 670 workers in Essex County. The local health unit was forced to overrule the Premier’s order to keep infected workers on the job and were left scrambling to find housing for hundreds of infected workers.
The Official Opposition maintains that the Premier’s response to COVID-19 is all over the map and shows his government has no plan to help migrant workers
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 available 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.
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
The Canadian Mental Health Association has put together a list of supports available in Ontario.
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.