I am cautiously optimistic this week as it looks like Canada is starting to flatten the curve. In order to maintain this trend we need to continue to follow the advice of our public health officers. Thank you for doing your part in practicing physical distancing, washing your hands, and helping community members who require assistance at this time.
Yesterday we had the historic first virtual parliamentary sitting with about 300 Members of Parliament participating. It is important for our democratic institutions to be maintained during this pandemic, and this is a good opportunity for you to view a new type of “question period”. These virtual sittings will take place every Tuesday, and starting next week on Thursdays too, until May 25th. In person sittings with reduced attendance will be on Wednesdays. Both virtual and in-person sittings will be broadcast through ParlVu.
This week, my Facebook Live will be about vaping policy and vaping/smoking cessation. My guest is University of Toronto professor Dr. Michael Chaiton. Michael is a faculty member at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health and has a background in researching tobacco, addiction and population-based mental health.
We start live streaming at 7pm. Click here to get a reminder notification before we begin the check-in. If you can’t make it but want to ask a question, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Facebook live question”. I will try to answer as many as possible.
Canadian Commercial Rent Relief
Our government will be partnering with the provinces and territories to provide 75% rent relief to small businesses, in collaboration with their landlords. This is applicable to small business tenants who are paying less than $50,000 per month in rent, and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. The program is also available to charities and non-profit organizations, and is being administered in conjunction with the province of Ontario and CMHC.
The program is expected to launch in mid-May and more details are expected soon. You can read more the program announcement for Ontario here.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
Applications are now open for eligible small businesses to receive up to 75% of payroll (up to the first to $58,700/employee) for your employees. You can apply online through the Canada Revenue Agency here.
We have received close to 1000 emails and over 200 phone calls concerning the CERB and the CEWS. Thank you for expressing your concerns and indicating gaps; because of your feedback, some eligibility has been expanded. Please keep checking the Q&A’s on all current benefits as these webpages are updated regularly:
- CERB Q&A: Questions and answers: Canada Emergency Response Benefit
- CEWS Q&A: Frequently asked questions: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
Neighbourhood Snapshot: New Horizons for Seniors and Applegrove
Applegrove Community Complex has made the most of the newly expanded New Horizons for Seniors program, which now includes expenses and activities related to the COVID-19 outbreak. They are now able to provide a friendly phone call service to over 100 seniors to help with them with the feeling of isolation that can come with physical distancing.
Applegrove has also been active in helping with food security in the community where they are in partnership with Neighbourhood Food Hub at Glen Rhodes Church to raise funds to purchase produce and coordinate food delivery for clients unable to get to the food bank. For seniors, Applegrove is also in partnership with FoodShare and Feed it Forward to deliver weekly Good Food Boxes (fresh produce) and frozen meals to seniors and vulnerable community members.
Keep up with all the good work and ways to help out at Applegrove here.
Do you have a story to share? It could be about the New Horizons for Seniors or other programs that help our community. Please reply to this email to share.
The City of Toronto CurbTO Program Initiative
On walks around the neighbourhood you may notice extra space at certain intersections that has been allotted to pedestrians to make more room so that everyone can maintain physical distance. In our neighbourhood, the current intersections that have been identified as “hot spots” by the City of Toronto CurbTO initiative are:
- Danforth Ave and Broadview Ave (pedestrian and parking zone),
- Gerrard St E and Broadview Ave (pedestrian zone), and
- Queen St E and Carlaw Ave (pedestrian zone).
Support the Riverdale Basket Brigade
You may remember the Riverdale Basket Brigade fundraising to help the Blake Boultbee Youth Outreach Service and to provide baskets for families in need in the past. Now they are raising money to help deliver food to those in need during COVID-19. See this link for more information and to support their efforts.
Today is the last day of the Great Kitchen Party at 8pm! If you can, consider supporting local restaurants by ordering takeout. Here is a list of resources available to our neighbourhood:
Thank you for staying at home as much as possible. We will get through this together – but apart. I hope to see you soon.