Salma Zahid
Salma Zahid
Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre
April 3 update to constituents on COVID-19 response
April 3, 2020

Weekly MP update on our COVID-19 response

Hello, As I write to provide my third weekly update on our government’s COVID-19 response, I want to say that I hope you are hanging in there and to urge you to stay the course. I understand many of you are frustrated. You want to know how much longer this will go on. When life will be back to normal. When we can go back to playing basketball, to seeing a play, to having friends over for dinner. When we can go back to work. I want to know too. But the truth is, we just don’t know. It could be weeks. It could be months. We’re still learning about this virus. Scientists around the world are researching vaccines. The biggest factor in any predictive model though is us. It’s you and me. The more closely we follow the guidance of the health professionals, the sooner we get through this. Wash your hands. Stay home unless absolutely necessary. Keep two metres apart from people when you do go out for a walk. If you have symptoms or just returned from overseas, stay in your home for 14 days – no exceptions. It’s up to us to bend this curve. And I know this has been a very stressful week for many. It’s the beginning of the month, so rent and mortgage payments are due. And many are out of work and having to make tough choices. I want you to know that help is on the way. I wish it was coming faster; public servants are working around the clock in one of the largest efforts we’ve seen outside of war time. Please be patient with one another. We will get through this, and all your levels of government – the City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada – are working together, as one team Canada, to get you the support you need. Know that my team is here for you too. We may not have all the answers, but we will get you the best information we can. And know that I am taking your feedback on the programs that have been launched and where they have fallen short back to the Prime Minister and his team. They are listening, and the government is responding. We can do more, and we must do more. I’d also like to let you know that I am donating the legislated pay increase that I received on April 1st to the local food banks that are serving the people of Scarborough Centre. The staff and volunteers of these organizations are doing important work helping many more people who are in crisis right now, and if you’re in a position to support our local food banks, I hope that you will consider doing so. You’ll find updates on some of the news of this past week below. As always, please reach out if we can help. Be kind to one another. Look after the youth and check in on the seniors and see if they need any help. We’re Scarborough strong, and I know we’ll get through this. Sincerely, Salma

Scarborough updates

Facebook Live Town Hall I held two town halls this week, one for all residents of Scarborough Centre and one for youth. I miss having the opportunity to connect with you in the community during this time of physical distancing, so I enjoyed this opportunity to connect with many of you and answer your questions. I’m going to make this a weekly occurrence, so I hope you can join me next Thursday at 7PM for our next Facebook Live town hall. The voices of Scarborough Scarborough is one of the most diverse communities in Canada and, for many residents, their first language isn’t English or French. So I asked community leaders to record a message for the people of Scarborough in their mother languages. On my web site you’ll find messages from community members in English, Urdu, Tamil, Greek, Mandarin, Bengali, Dari, Gujrati, Tagalog and Arabic. Many voices, one message: Scarborough strong!

National updates

Support for individuals We recently introduced the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This benefit will support Canadians who have lost their income because of COVID-19 by providing $2,000 a month for up to 4 months. Some examples of support to workers provided by the CERB include: ●             workers, including those who are self-employed, who must stop working due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support; ●             workers who lost their employment, as well as workers who are sick, quarantined or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19; ●             working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures; and ●             workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work. All eligible workers, whether or not they are eligible for Employment Insurance, will apply through a simplified application process. Applications will be accepted starting April 6, 2020. There is no waiting period and direct deposit payments will be delivered into accounts within three business days of applicants being eligible to receive it, and cheques within 10 days. We previously announced a number of other initiatives for individuals and families, including an increase to the Canada Child Benefit, a deferral of income tax filing, a GST credit increase, and more. NOTE: To ensure your payment is made as quickly as possible once approved, we recommend that today you sign up for MyAccount thrrough the CRA and make sure you have provided your direct deposit informaiton. Support for businesses, including charities and not for profits The highlight of the federal response is the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. The subsidy will cover 75 per cent of an employee’s wages for employers of all sizes and across all sectors – including not-for-profits and charities - who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 30 per cent. The subsidy will provide up to $847 per employee, per week, between March 15th and June 6th. This significant support will help employers keep their staff on payroll, rehire those previously laid off, ensure workers can access a decent income, and position themselves to rebound when the outbreak has passed. Eligible employers will be able to access the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy by applying through a Canada Revenue Agency online portal. More details regarding how to apply for the program will follow. You can find more specifics on the program here: NEWS RELEASEGovernment Announces Details of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to Help Businesses Keep Canadians in their jobs BACKGROUNDERThe Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy We've also announced the Canada Emergency business account, which will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to qualifying small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. For more details on previously announced supports for business: Round-up of other news this week
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