This week the province of Ontario begins Phase 1 of reopening the economy. It remains critical to keep up our physical distancing practices. Phase 1 includes the reopening of retail stores that are located outside that have street-front entrance, new and used car dealerships, golf courses and driving ranges, and some services at marinas and yacht clubs. In addition, you can begin seeking in-person counselling for psychotherapy and other mental health support services and others. A full list of businesses included in Phase 1 can be found here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario-after-covid-19.
On Sunday afternoon, Captain Jenn Casey of the Canadian Air Force was killed in the crash of a Snowbird jet in Kamloops B.C. I’d like to offer my most sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of Cpt Casey. The Snowbirds have been crossing our country to raise the spirits of Canadians, including a flyover of the areas of Nova Scotia that were impacted by the terrible violence of the April 19 shooting. We are grateful for their service and have them in our thoughts as they deal with the tragic loss of their teammate.
The month of May is Asian Heritage Month. Many of you know we have our own East Chinatown that is home to many Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants and shops near Broadview and Gerrard. East Chinatown came about in the 1970s when rising rent in Chinatown at Dundas and Spadina caused many Asian immigrants to settle in our neighbourhood. It is also home to the only Chinese Archway in Toronto. Since it is #TakeoutWednesday, consider ordering from East Chinatown tonight. You can find a list of open businesses here.
Eid Mubarak to our friends and neighbours who have been fasting during Ramadan, which ends this weekend. I know it has been difficult to commemorate and share iftars in the usual way, so thank you for celebrating virtually to keep everyone safe.
Thank you for joining me during my Facebook Live weekly check-ins. Last week we had a wonderful conversation with the President and CEO of Michael Garron Hospital, Sarah Downey. We talked about how the hospital has dealt with COVID-19 and what the coming months will look like as we navigate this pandemic. If you missed it, you can watch it here.
This week I will be hosting Daniel Taylor of the Neighbourhood Food Hub. The NFH does incredible work providing fresh and healthy food and meals to community organizations across our community in response to COVID-19. This is an opportunity to discuss their work, as well as how we as a community can continue to support them while they support those in need. You will have a chance to ask us questions you may have about the food security, COVID-19, federal updates, and more.
Know you can’t make it but want to ask a question? Simply reply to this e-mail with the subject line “Facebook Live Question” and we will get to it during the check-in.
Three federal programs have been expanded. I have had the chance to talk with many of you about these programs and your feedback has had an impact. Thank you for taking the time to raise the issues that are important to you and know that we continue to work to provide support to our community as we navigate the changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Canada Child Benefit
To help families, the federal government is providing $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit. Eligible families will automatically receive the one-time increase this week. There is no need to apply.
To provide further support to families, the CCB will be increasing this July to help you pay for things like fresh food, schools supplies, and family activities. The increase will be in place for the 2020-21 benefit year, and will raise the maximum benefit to $6,765 per child under age 6, and $5,708 per child aged 6 through 17. Learn more here.
Extended Emergency Wage Subsidy
Over the past months I have had the opportunity to talk with hundreds of local businesses. Many had raised that they would need continued wage support as we enter the rebuilding phase of our economy. In response to this feedback raised by business owners across our country, the CEWS program will be extended through the summer to help businesses keep employees on payroll and to encourage employers to re-hire workers previously laid off. This will allow businesses the opportunity to bounce back post-pandemic. CEWS will be expanded an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020. More information can be found here.
Expanding Canada Emergency Business Account
Another top issue raised by local businesses in our conversations was the need to expand access to the Canada Emergency Business Account beyond those businesses with payroll. I have talked with many businesses who have made use of CEBA and have found it helpful in managing this difficult time. I am happy that more of our small businesses will now have the opportunity to benefit from this interest-free loan now that the eligibility criteria for CEBA will be expanded. The eligible businesses will now include those that are sole proprietors receiving money directly from their business, businesses that depend on contract workers, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll. More details can be found here.
Virtual Tax Clinic
Since usually scheduled community tax clinics have been cancelled or scaled back, our government has launched free virtual tax clinics for Canadians to get the help they need completing their taxes. If you need help you are now able to get in touch with trained volunteers who may be able to do your taxes for free. You can find more information on this program, eligibility and free tax clinics in your area here: COVID-19: Free virtual tax clinics.
Neighbourhood Snapshots: Local Heroes
This week I’d like to acknowledge Local Hero Lisa Tancré. Lisa is a resident of Chartwell Avondale and has made 50 masks (and counting) for Michael Garron Hospital. She is just limited by materials and supplies. It is thanks to community members like Lisa that Michael Garron Hospital has received so many homemade PPE from Toronto-Danforth community members after putting out the call for 1,000 homemade masks a week. In fact, we learned from Sarah Downey last week that over 60,000 masks have been donated!
In addition, Building Roots, Glen Rhodes Food Bank and Seeds of Hope are active community organizations that function and expand on a volunteer basis. These organizations are focused on food security and food related issues. Currently, Building Roots is looking for supply donations: cookie and muffin donations, and egg cartons!
Seeds of Hope is a small food delivery organization that supplies 400-600 meals per week to our community’s most vulnerable people in partnership with Second Harvest. Seeds of Hope greatly benefits from small food donations from restaurants and independent grocery stores to help them out.
Thank you for sharing your Local Hero stories. Keep them coming as as we can always use some good news during these times. Just reply to this email with your story.
International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia
This Sunday was International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. You should be able to be yourself without fear no matter who you love or how you identify. #IDAHOTB
This is a difficult time for many. If you need to reach out for support here are some community resources:
For LGBTQ2S Folks of All Ages:
The 519 Community Centre
Offering Friendly Phone Check-Ins during COVID-19.
519 Church Street | 416-355-6782
Trans Life Line:
For trans and gender non-conforming people
Friends of Ruby (formerly Eagle Youth Services)
For LGBTQ2S Youth up to Age 29
416-359-0237 | email@example.com
Peer support by and for people 29 and under
Phone 1-800-268-9688 | Text 647-694-4275 | Online Chat
Thank you for staying in touch with my office, for continuing to physically distance and for taking protective measures to keep those around you safe. As more businesses open through the coming weeks, it is important we continue to follow the advice of our public health officers and maintain physical distancing protocols.