April 10 update to constituents on COVID-19 response
April 10, 2020
Weekly MP Update on COVID-19 response
This week, I would like to send my thoughts and best wishes to the members of the Jewish, Sikh and Christian faiths celebrating Passover, Vaisakhi and Easter, and Tamils celebrating their New Year on Tuesday.
These are normally occasions where family and community come together and that's just not possible this year, at least in the traditional sense. I want to thank you for your understanding of the need for physical distancing, and for coming together virtually instead. I know I'm sad to be missing our annual Multifaith Easter Dinner. Our sacrifices now mean we will all be able to celebrate together sooner, and I look forward to that day.
This was also a challenging week as our government and the province released modelling of projected COVID-19 cases
and deaths based on different scenarios. The numbers may seem stark, but it also demonstrates that we still have an opportunity to control the epidemic and to save lives. We all play a role in what the future will hold by using tried and true public health measures, including staying home when possible, maintaining physical distancing, meticulous handwashing, and covering our coughs.
And please remember that it's OK to not be OK. Resources are available for anyone who needs emotional support navigating crises or stresses related to COVID-19
Below I'll provide an update on the government's announcements this week, including new support for students. Please know that the government recognizes there are gaps in the coverage for both individuals and for businesses. I am communicating your feedback to the Ministers responsible for these programs, and adjustments have and are being made.
If you'd like to speak to be personally, please email my team at [email protected]
or leave a voicemail at (416) 752-2358. And while my team will be taking a rest this weekend, we are here to help you with your federal government issues.
I wish the best to you and your family during this challenging time. Together, we shall overcome and emerge stronger from this challenge.
Facebook Live Town Hall
I held my second Facebook Live town hall yesterday to connect with the people of Scarborough Centre and answer your questions about our response to COVID-19. I will continue to hold these town halls weekly, and I invite you to join me. Below you can find a replay of this week's call, and the registration link for next week's.
Local support and resources
- If you are food insecure and are unable to make it to the food bank, 5n2Kitchen can help by delivering a free meal to your home. If you need this help in Scarborough. please visit 5n2kitchen.com/ to learn more. They're also accepting donations & volunteers.
- To provide easy access to community supports for vulnerable seniors in Scarborough, Carefirst, Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (SCHC), Senior Persons Living Connected (SPLC), and Transcare are offering access and referrals to essential supports to help keep seniors home and out of hospital. Beginning Monday April 13, people can call one # to reach any of the four agencies at 416-736-9372 or toll free at 1-888-834-8776.
- Our office has a list of other local resources. Please email at us at [email protected] and we will let you know if there are resources we can connect you to.
Support for individuals
Support for businesses
- The special one-time Goods and Services Tax credit for low and modest-income families should have been deposited on Thursday for eligible families. If your payment was clawed back due to tax owing to the government, please contact our office and we can help reverse that.
- Applications for the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) opened this week, and many people have already received their first payments. We have many public servants in Scarborough that work for CRA and have done amazing work to get this system built so fast and I want to thank them. More information on eligibility and applications at this web portal. We recognize that the CERB might not address all the various work situations Canadians have right now and we continue to look at ways to support all Canadians during this difficult time.
- Summary of all support for individuals
- Parliament will meet Saturday to debate and approve the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. As proposed, the subsidy would 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 15 per cent in March, and 30 per cent in April and May. More information is available online. Once approved by Parliament, application information will be available for businesses.
Personal Protective Equipment
Our government is investing $2 billion to purchase protective personal equipment, including things like more masks and face shields, gowns, ventilators, test kits and swabs, and hand sanitizer.
We have signed procurement contracts with several Canadian companies to make medical supplies such as ventilators, surgical masks, medical gowns and test kits. We've also signed letters of intent with five other companies: Precision Biomonitoring, Fluid Energy Group, Irving Oil, Calko Group, and Stanfield's.
This initiative will help companies that are already making things like masks, ventilators, and hand sanitizer massively scale up production, and it will also provide support to those who want to retool their manufacturing facilities to contribute to this fight.
The government has ordered millions of supplies to ease the pressure on health care facilities, including more than 230 million surgical masks (over 16 million have already been delivered), 75 million N95 masks on order, nearly 10 million pairs of medical gloves received and procuring hundreds of millions more.
We are mobilizing all of Canada to protect our healthcare workers so they can continue to protect all Canadians. All hands on deck.