COVID-19 Update (May 11th)Published on May 11, 2020
I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend. As we continue to progress through the COVID-19 Pandemic I am inspired every day by the many stories of our members of our community coming together from all walks of life. Whether it is companies like Cameco stepping up to give $250,000 back to local charities for COVID-19 relief or your neighbor checking to see if you need anything at the store, our community is coming together better than ever before.
Last Monday I hosted a Trent Hills Virtual Town Hall with members of our community who shared their concerns and asked questions regarding our government's response to COVID-19. I have found these municipal consultations very helpful and we've had the chance to really drill down on local issues/concerns.
Tomorrow at 5:00 PM I will be hosting my third town hall for members of our riding who live in Orono, Newcastle, Kendal, and Newtonville with Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster. You can find the Zoom link to this week's meeting here.
Use Zoom on your computer using Meeting ID: 858 3340 6251 OR Call-In 1-647-374-4685 and enter the meeting ID.
A Framework for Reopening Our Province
As we continue to work towards reopening our government is continuing to support people and businesses to get back on their feet. You can learn more about our framework to reopen here.
Provincial Parks Update
Today we are opening 500 provincial parks and conservation reserves across the province and will open the remaining 115 on Friday. We’re counting on people to be responsible when enjoying our parks and asking they continue to follow all of the public health measures, including physical distancing, to stop the spread of COVID-19. At this time, camping is not permitted at any provincial park or conservation reserve. All buildings and facilities including washrooms, water taps, campgrounds, backcountry campsites, roofed accommodations, playgrounds, and beaches continue to be closed. Learn more about this announcement here.
Thursday, May 21st I will begin hosting consultations with stakeholders across the riding to learn how the pandemic has impacted local businesses and services, to gather ideas as Ontario prepares to restart the economy. Ideas from these consultations will be fed to the government’s new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee. The Committee will take in this feedback to identify how best to protect and support people and jobs, restart the economy and move towards recovery across Ontario.
There are six sector-led consultations for Northumberland-Peterborough South :
- SME and Non-Profits – May, 21st from 5:00pm - 6:30pm
- Manufacturing – May, 28th from 5:00pm - 6:30pm
- Tourism / Arts / Culture - June 4th from 5:00pm - 6:30pm
- Agriculture / Food Processing - June 8th from 5:00pm - 6:30pm
- Development / Construction - June 1th from 5:00pm - 6:30pm
- Professionals - June 18th from 5:00pm - 6:30pm
If you would like to take part in these consultations please email my office at [email protected] or call 905-372-4000 for more information.
Last week, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce announced that the publicly-funded schools will remain closed until at least May 31st. This extension was based on expert advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Health. The closure may be extended further, with decisions made based on the best evidence available, in order to keep students safe.
Regardless of what happens over the coming weeks, Ontario’s students will be able to complete their school year with confidence. In particular, for students in their final year, the government is removing impediments to ensuring that students graduate and can pursue post-secondary education. This includes replacing the remainder of Professional Activity (PA) days and examination days with instructional time and introducing an expanded summer learning program that will focus on credit recovery, supports for vulnerable students, and course upgrades. I would like to say thank you to the teachers and parents in our riding who are helping their kids learn at home during this difficult time, and even though schools are currently closed you can still register your child to start kindergarten next year here.
The health and safety of all Ontarian's continues to be our top priority. That is why, last week we announced we are going to slowly begin the ramp-up of surgeries in our hospitals. Resuming scheduled hospital-based care for patients who have been waiting for treatment is on all our minds and has to be very carefully weighed with the overriding need to ensure Ontario hospitals can maintain the capacity to be ready for any surge in COVID-19 patients. It’s a framework on ‘the how’, not ‘the when’, directing hospitals on how to determine what is right in their communities and in agreement with the COVID-19 response oversight/response tables that are set up in each region. You can learn more about our plan here.
Electricity Rate Relief
One of Ontario’s first actions in response to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 was to institute emergency electricity rate relief for families, farms, and small businesses. We knew that following the best advice of our health professionals and staying home would mean using more electricity during the day. That emergency order was set to expire, a concern that I heard about from many of my constituents, and one that I raised with Energy Minister Greg Rickford.
Last week, Premier Ford announced that time-of-use (TOU) customers will continue to pay the “off-peak” price of 10.1 cents/kWh. This will remain in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, until May 31st. By extending emergency relief to TOU customers, the government is ensuring electricity pricing will be one less thing for people to worry about during the COVID-19 outbreak. You can learn more about this announcement here.
Support for Child Care
Together with federal and municipal partnerships, we are taking action to support licensed child care providers to ensure they remain sustainable and ready to open when parents return to work. Our plan is temporary, and targeted, which includes direct financial support, streamlined administrative processes, and direction that all child care centers will be required to maximize all available support under Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
This builds on the first objective of our plan: saving parents money, by prohibiting child care providers from charging families during the closure period. Our plan harnesses the full support of all levels of government and ensures the sector and the child care spaces families depend on remain available in urban and rural communities across Ontario. Learn more about child care supports here.
As always, if you have any questions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic or anything else please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by email at [email protected] or give us a call at 905-372-4000.
Again, you can find government supports at covidsupports.ca. We are all in this together so please stay home and stay safe.