Salma Zahid
Salma Zahid
Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre
March 27 update to constituents on COVID-19 response
March 27, 2020

An update from your Member of Parliament

Hello, I’m writing to provide you another weekly update on the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before I begin with the news, let me thank everyone who is following the advice of the public health experts by practising physical distancing, and to all the Canadians returning from overseas who are following the legally mandatory self isolation of 14 days. The more we follow the instructions of the public health professionals, the sooner we will get through this. And a major thank you to the health workers, the first responders, and the people who are keeping the food on the selves in the grocery stores. We recognize the difficult work you are doing for us, and we deeply appreciate it. SCARBOROUGH CENTRE UPDATES My staff and I are now working remotely, but we remain on the job dedicated to helping the constituents of Scarborough Centre. Please continue to reach out to us by email at [email protected], or leave a message at (416) 752-2358. We will do our best to get you the information and help you need. MP Town Halls I will be hosting two Facebook Live Town Halls next week to keep in touch with you during this period of physical distancing and isolation. It’s an opportunity to share more on what our government is doing to help you, and to hear your concerns so I can bring them to the government. One will be a general town hall, and the other will be focused on youth. It’s a chance for young people home from school to learn more about government and the job of an MP, and to have their questions answered and concerns heard. Please click the links below to register and come to my Facebook page at the scheduled time and join the chat! Our heroes need help! An important message from the Scarborough Health Network: To fight COVID-19, front line physicians, nurses and other health care professionals at the Scarborough Health Network need gowns, gloves, masks and eye protection in high quantities. We are concerned that we only have a limited supply. We need these supplies in order to keep every patient and ourselves safe during this pandemic. Dentists, veterinarians, construction workers, painters, and professionals in many other industries use the same equipment that we need. We are calling on anyone in the community who has unopened and non-expired PPE to donate to our hospitals so that our medical staff can treat each patient safely and not spread disease to themselves, each other, and your loved ones. LINK Support local food banks If you're going to buy a little extra when grocery shopping this week, it should be for those in need in our community. We have five food banks in Scarborough Centre -- they're seeing increasing demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and they need your help. Please find their addresses and phone numbers below. Your donation of money or food is vitally needed and will make a difference. And -- from a distance, of course -- check in on your neighbours, especially the seniors and those with mobility challenges. See if they need help with groceries or other supplies. Remember Scarborough, we will get through this together! FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE It has been a busy week. Here’s a brief summary of some of the news, new supports and developments.
  1. Previously announced supports for individuals have been merged into the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), a benefit of $2,000 a month for up to four months. The benefit will be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency and applications will be open in early April – we will send the link when available. (More details) You qualify if you:
    1. Must stop work due to COVID-19 and do not have other income; or
    2. Are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is; or
    3. Are a parent who must stay home without pay to care for children; or
    4. Are still employed but not being paid.
  2. Canada's small and medium-sized businesses have told us that they need more help, and we've listened. Today, the Prime Minister announced major new supports that will allow more businesses to keep employees on the payroll, and potentially hire back laid off employees. More details will be coming by Monday, but the measures include:
    1. Coverage for up to 75 per cent of wages, backdated to Mar. 15.
    2. $40,000 loans, interest-free for one year, with $10,000 forgivable if conditions met
    3. Deferral of GST/HST payments and duties/taxes owed on imports until June
  3. For the safety of employees and the public, in-person service has been suspended at Service Canada Centres. Clients can apply for critical services online and by phone. To support access to critical programs and services for clients without access to technology, Service Canada staff are contacting communities to offer alternate service delivery.
  4. The government has activated the Quarantine Act to legally require that all travelers self-isolate for 14 days when they return to Canada. It is not optional, and violators face penalties. For your safety and that of your neighbours, go straight home. If you need help, ask -- the community is there for you.
  5. Global Affairs Canada is working around the clock to help Canadians stranded abroad to come home. If you can still return home by commercial means, you should do so right away. If commercial flights are not available the government is working to make arrangements, but each country sets its own rules regarding its airspace. Canadian citizens stranded abroad should take the following steps:
    1. Register with the government via the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) page.
    2. If you need emergency consular assistance, including access to the emergency travel loan program, contact consular services.
    3. Contact your MP’s office via email so they can ensure the government is aware of your case.
Please note, our office does not have information on flights. This information will be communicated directly to stranded citizens via the ROCA program. GAC officials are doing their best to help everyone, but the situation is fluid and varies greatly from country to country. I wish you and your loved ones the best during this difficult time. I am confident that, together, we will emerge stronger than before. Please be in touch if you would like to speak with me, or if my team and I can be of assistance. Sincerely, Salma
Main office - Scarborough
2155 Lawrence Avenue East, Unit 5
Scarborough, Ontario
M1R 5G9


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Hill Office
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6


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