I have had the opportunity to talk with many of you over the past weeks about your concerns and ideas relating to our country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Your feedback has had an impact on the development of our government’s policies and I appreciate the time that you took to share your thoughts as to how we can keep supporting a strong community and country.
My recent Facebook Live events have been a great opportunity to answer your questions about COVID-19 and our federal government’s response. They have also allowed me to share and discuss our community’s work to support one another.
I will be doing another weekly Facebook Live check-in tonight at 7pm. Click here to get a reminder notification before I go live! We’ll be starting with a discussion of the creative community and what the government has been doing to support the artists, musicians, producers and technicians who help drive Canada’s music, television, film, book and other creative industries.
If you can’t make it but want to ask a question, send an email to email@example.com with the subject line “Facebook live question”. I will try to answer as many as possible.
The Canadian Emergency Response Benefit has expanded to cover and support even more Canadians through this difficult time. The benefit is now available to support:
- Canadians who are earning $1000 or less a month,
- Those who would have worked a seasonal job but lost the opportunity, and
- Those who has run out of Employment Insurance as of January 1st, 2020.
Further, for artists and creators who are receiving royalty payments from prior copyrighted works are eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, provided that they meet other requirements. Please read more about it here. Applications for the new eligibility can apply in a few days; we will update.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced funding for Canada’s Northern communities.
Territories will receive funding:
- To support their COVID-19 health and social services preparations and response.
- To support northern air carriers, and ensure the continued supply of food, medical supplies, and other essential goods and services to remote and fly-in communities
- To support and assist businesses with operating costs not already covered by other Government of Canada measures
- Nutrition North Canada to increase subsidies so families can afford much-needed nutritious food and personal hygiene products.
You can read more about our support for the North here.
Emergency Wage Subsidy Expansion
When the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy was first announced it was required that employers demonstrate a decrease in revenue by comparing revenues for March, April, and May 2020, to revenues from the same months in 2019. However, our government has expanded the criteria to make the subsidy even more accessible. The legislation – which was passed during an emergency sitting of Parliament this past Saturday – now permits employers to use one of two approved benchmarks to compare March, April and May 2020 revenue:
- Employers may take an average of revenue (the formula is specified in the legislation) from January and February 2020, and compare the revenue from March, April and May 2020, to that same average; or
- Employers may compare the revenue from March, April, and May 2020, to revenue from the same months in 2019
There have been other adjustments as well, including allowing alternate accounting methods to demonstrate impact. You can find the latest information about the Emergency Wage Subsidy here.
Don’t forget that Neighbourhood Window Walks are continuing throughout April. In fact, the neighbourhood of Felstead Park was just featured in a CBC news piece.
This is a great way to get creative and get outside while still practicing safe physical distancing. We encourage those that want to participate to hang up a piece of art in their window that corresponds with the certain day, and those who can, to go take a walk through the neighbourhood and spot out all the ways our neighbours were able to get creative in their windows. Please see a list of window walk themes below:
Canada Takeout Day
Today marks the first Canada Takeout day since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Through social media, Canadian citizens, celebrities, and public officials alike have come together to promote a safe way for our communities to support restaurants and eateries.
If you can, order some takeout from a local restaurant and help support their staff and those that supply food and produce. You can also visit the Facebook page where “Canada’s Great Kitchen Party” will be streaming with Canadian celebrities and athletes like Jim Cuddy, Tessa Virtue, and more. Visit the page for more information and to watch their weekly Wednesday #TakeoutDay Great Kitchen Party at 8pm here.
For some inspiration check out these lists of businesses that are open (note that we have added East Chinatown since our last update):
In Toronto and across Canada, the Danforth is known as the heart of Canada’s Greek Community. Like our other communities marking important religious holidays – including those who will soon be marking the start of Ramadan – this year will be unlike any other. Please remember to protect those you love by staying home. I know it is not easy but we need to keep up the hard work to protect the safety of loved ones and neighbours. Many churches including Metamorphosis are streaming their services so you can watch online, and if you need more information you can consult the Greektown BIA website for contact numbers of our local churches.
To all of my Greek friends and neighbours, I wish you all the best for a safe and happy Easter.