Dear Neighbour,

Today, I want to focus on two important issues that there have been more updates on.

Child care
Child care centres had been previously informed that the government had changed the rules allowing operators to use provincial grants to pay their staff the remaining 25 per cent not covered by the federal government’s pandemic wage subsidy. Now they are being told they have to pay the province back the wage top-up funds retroactively, leaving many centres tens of thousands of dollars in debt. The province’s retroactive funding decision has put child care centres in a deficit position that will impact ongoing sustainability.

As well I have heard from local child care centres that they have received a notice from the government saying that fees cannot be hiked up to accommodate for reduced capacity. While this is a relief for parents, it puts a lot of strain on child care centres, many of which are non-profit centres, for whom costs are simply too high to operate without government funding support. The centres are being forced to consider staff lay-offs, cancelling infant programs or reducing ECE wages, while others are holding off on reopening altogether until they can get clarity on how badly they are in debt.

My colleagues and I are calling on Premier Ford to listen to Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC) and the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO) and immediately provide new provincial funding for the child care sector so they can re-open safely with the necessary support for educators, staff, programs and families. You can take action to support affordable, accessible child care by signing the OCBCC’s Open Letter to Ford

Pandemic pay
After more than two months since pandemic pay was promised, about
375,000 Ontario essential workers are still waiting for pandemic pay. Many of you have written to me asking when you can expect to receive it. My colleagues and I have continually been pushing the government to not delay the roll out of the pandemic pay. The government has released a revised timeline (below). As you will see, there is no date specified for when employees will receive it but the rollout of funding to employers should be completed this week. 

My colleagues and I are pushing to expand the list to include all workers on the front-lines of the pandemic including midwives, laboratory workers, physician assistants and many others who have been left out without any explanation. We are also continuing to push for the pay to be retroactive to the very beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.

You can find other provincial updates below.

As always, wash your hands, practise physical distancing, wear a mask when needed, be kind. 


Bhutila Karpoche,
MPP for Parkdale—High Park
Wedding and Funeral Restrictions
  • The guidance for attendance at wedding and funeral ceremonies has been updated.
  • Consistent with the guidance for places of worship, any indoor venue housing a wedding or funeral will be allowed to operate at 30% of their building capacity, with appropriate physical distancing measures in place for those outside an individual’s social circle.
  • Outdoor ceremonies will be limited to 50 attendees. 
  • The maximum number of people allowed to attend a wedding or funeral reception, indoors or outdoors, remains at 10 people.
Stage Two Re-opening
  • More public health units across the province have moved to Stage Two of the reopening plan
  • All public health units, except for Peel, Toronto, and Windsor-Essex, are in Stage Two as of today. 
  • The status and readiness of the remaining public health units remaining in Stage One will be reassessed on Monday.
Visitors to Acute Care Settings

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, has issued a memo to acute care settings across the province to provide advice on visitor policies. At this time, he is recommending that visitor restrictions are lifted and screening measures are implemented to ensure safe visitations. This recommendation applies to all public and private hospitals in the Province of Ontario, however, visitor policies are ultimately decided by individual hospitals based on their current circumstances. If you are looking to visit someone in an acute care setting, confirm with the hospital before attempting to visit.

Race-Based Data Collection

Thanks to advocacy by community members and public health experts across the province, the government is proposing a regulatory change to mandate the reporting of data on race, income, language, and household size for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. Anonymized data will be available to recognized researchers through the Ontario Health Data Platform. The collection of this data will better allow the government and researchers to understand the impact of the pandemic.

Other Provincial Updates
  • The Ministry of Labour has released a guide for creating Workplace Safety Plans for businesses in Stage 2 regions of the province. This tool will help business owners formulate a plan to keep workers and customers safe.
  • CSA Group Testing and Certification has received funding from the Ontario Together fund to increase their capacity for testing and certification of Personal Protective Equipment for compliance with safety standards.

The Ontario government has announced a partnership with the Ontario Science Centre and Science North to create educational content for students and teachers during the COVID-19 closures. The province is providing $1.5M for the creation of STEM learning resources for students in K-12.

Happy Retirement, Tina & Kostas!
I join our neighbours in Runnymede in congratulating Tina & Kostas Bottis on 38 years of business for St. John’s Variety, at St. John’s & Willard. St. John’s Variety has been a fixture of the community and a favourite of students and staff at nearby King George JPS, James Culnan CS, and Runnymede CI. Tina & Kostas opened the store when they immigrated to Canada from Greece. Wishing you all the best in your retirement!
Reminder: For the most up-to-date information please visit Toronto Public Health, Ontario Ministry of Health, and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Contact information is available on my website here.
Community Office
While our office is closed to the public as part of our efforts to manage the COVID-19 virus, we will continue to provide services for constituents via phone and email. Thank you for your patience and flexibility during this time. 

Phone: 416-763-5630
Copyright © 2020 MPP for Parkdale—High Park, All rights reserved.

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