Salma Zahid
Salma Zahid
Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre
May 15 update to constituents on COVID-19 response
May 15, 2020


While all the days may seem like they're blending together these days, we have come to the Victoria Day long weekend and the unofficial kickoff to summer. I hope you're able to enjoy this long weekend with your family and loved ones - but please do so safely, keeping in mind the advice of our public health professionals for physical distancing. Do get outside and enjoy some fresh air - but be careful and be smart!

We're starting to see positive signs, with the Ontario government announcing the first phase of its re-opening plan. It's an important step, but if we don't stay disciplined and cases increase there will need to be a step back. So, when you're out wash your hands, wear a mask to protect others and keep your distance. And remember, retail workers are trying to navigate a challenging new world and are under a lot of stress. So please be patient, be kind, and follow the guidelines each store is putting in place for your safety and theirs's.

Summer usually means students beginning summer jobs. This will be a little different this year. We have had a lot of interest in the Canada Summer Jobs program from Scarborough employers, and these employers will begin the hiring process soon. Students should watch for summer job opportunities. We also launched the Canada Emergency Student benefit today; look below for information on how to apply.

I'm also glad this week that we announced direct financial support for low income seniors who have been struggling with increased out of pocket expenses during the pandemic. The assistance for seniors that qualify for OAS and GIS will be automatic and on the way very soon.

And by extending the time period for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and promising to broaden the criteria for businesses to qualify, we're putting in place the tools to encourage the return of economic activity and business as it is safe to do so.

Finally, I had the opportunity his week to take place in several tributes to our frontline workers and visit local long-term care homes. I'm so grateful for the hard work and sacrifice of our frontline workers and impressed by the way our community has come together. Whether it's by showing out support for health care professionals, donating to the food bank, or helping isolated neighbours, Scarborough has been stepping up and showing our community spirit.

Enjoy the long weekend. Stay safe and be well!



Scarborough updates

Thanking our frontline workers

On Thursday joined MPP Christina Mitas, Councillor Michael Thompson, the Wexford BIA and members of the Scarborough community for a drive by to show our support for the frontline workers and the residents of Wexford Seniors residence. Thank you for all your important work!

Honouring nurses during nursing week

Just a wonderful tribute to our frontline workers outside this home on Warden Avenue in Scarborough. They are making many sacrifices to care for us during this pandemic.

And during #NationalNursingWeek a special thank you to our nurses. You are all #HealthCareHeroes.

Supporting local food banks

Thank you Maktab Tarighat Oveyssy Shahmaghsoudi (School of Islamic Sufism) for your generous donation to the Takbeer food bank!

Virtual income tax clinics

If you usually went to one of our free income tax clinics and still need help filing your taxes, free virtual options are now available.

The clinics are available to those with modest income and a simple tax situation, including social assistance recipients, newcomers to Canada, persons with disabilities, homeless persons or housing shelter residents, seniors and students.

Please note that the tax filing deadline has been extended to June 1st. And while eligibility for programs such as Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income Supplement, Canada Child Benefit and the GST Credit will be extended, you are encouraged to file your taxes as soon as possible.

Find out more and locate a clinic near you

Weekly town hall

For this week's town hall I was joined by special guests Mel Galeon of FV Foods and Benjamin Law of Jing Yin Temple. You can watch a replay of the town hall below. And please stay tuned to my social media for details on the platform for next Thursday's town hall!

Local support and resources

My team has compiled a list of local resources for those in need, such as food banks, as well as services to assist vulnerable seniors with medication and grocery delivery.

Please seeCOVID19: Scarborough Centre community resources

National updates

Applications open for Canada Emergency Student Benefit

As of today, applications are now open for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). For students that don't qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), you may qualify for $1,250/month ($2,000 if you have dependents or a permanent disability). Learn more about the criteria and apply through the online portal.

And students are encouraged to monitor for summer job opportunities.

More support for seniors

I have been pressing our government to take further action to support seniors on fixed incomes facing significant lost income and increased out of pocket costs, and I can share that this week the government announced that:

The OAS/GIS payment will benefit more than 6.7 million seniors, and will be paid automatically to eligible recipients.. This builds on earlier support already announced for seniors, including:

And I would also note that seniors are eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if they lost significant employment income due to COVID-19.

Expanding the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is supporting nearly 2 million workers across the country - covering 75% of wages for employees in hard-hit businesses. To help even more businesses support their workers and rehire people as they reopen, our Government is extending, and expanding, the CEWS.

The expanded CEWS will be extended by an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020 to ensure Canadian workers continue to have the support they need during these difficult times. We will consult with key business and labour representatives over the next month on potential adjustments to the program to incent jobs and growth, including the 30 percent revenue decline threshold. Any potential changes following the consultation will have as key objectives to maximize employment, ensure the CEWS reflects the immediate needs of businesses, and support the post-crisis economic recovery.

Learn more: Government extends the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

More support for small businesses

We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a major toll on Canada's small and medium-sized businesses. We've launched a number of programs to help, but we recognize that not all of them have been the right fit for all businesses.

And that's where the new Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) comes in. This fund, which will flow through FedDev Ontario and the other Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), will help more businesses and organizations get the support they need during these difficult times.

Click here to learn more.

More support for large businesses

We have already launched financing programs to help Canada's small and medium-sized businesses get through the COVID-19 pandemic. And with the new Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF), we're helping larger employers that need it with bridge financing.

This bridge financing is intended for firms that need it - it's not low cost lending, nor is it to rescue companies that were already facing insolvency.

And we will protect taxpayers by:

Click to find out more.

Online resources


Scarborough Centre Community Office
5-2155 Lawrence Avenue East
Scarborough, ON M1R 5G9
Tel. (416) 752-2358 Fax (416) 752-4624

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