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Dear Neighbour,

The main focus provincially continues to be on long-term care.


The province launched the COVID-19 Action Plan: Long-Term Care Homes adding new measures to prevent further outbreaks and deaths from COVID-19 in long-term care homes. Please find the details below.

A CBC investigation released today found that under the Ford government, inspections at long-term care homes were scaled back. Only nine of Ontario’s 626 homes got a full proper inspection, the so-called resident quality inspections (RQIs), which are the detailed unannounced inspections.

As I shared yesterday, Premier Ford announced a new rule intended to limit staff who work at long-term care facilities to work at just one home. However, we learned today that the
 regulation contains a giant loophole – allowing temp agency LTC workers to continue working at multiple locations. This is troubling because workers from temp agencies make up a significant part of long-term care staffing. We cannot waste any more time and we cannot leave huge loopholes open.

As well government guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health says that workers who tested positive for COVID-19, but are not symptomatic, “may return to work if remain asymptomatic 72 hours from test and continue with appropriate PPE at work…”

My colleagues and I have called on the government to eliminate the loophole and fix the guidelines allowing health care workers who have the COVID-19 virus to return to work with the most vulnerable Ontarians as it flies in the face of what we know about the virus — that it spreads whether you have symptoms or not.

Problems in long-term care facilities were not created overnight. It is the result of years of underfunding and neglect. The sad truth is that seniors in too many long-term care homes haven’t been getting the care they need or the attention they deserve. A big lesson from the pandemic is that we cannot wait any longer to fix our long-term care system.


Finally, tomorrow is April 16, which could mean eviction day for small businesses that were unable to pay April’s rent as landlords are entitled to lockout commercial tenants. While there is a moratorium on residential evictions, there is no such restriction on evicting commercial tenants. If you are a small business and you get locked out, please contact me immediately. I will continue to work with local BIAs and push for action on Save Main Street proposal. Also, please find below some ways you can continue to support our local businesses.

Wash your hands. Stay home (except if you must work). Be kind. We are all in this together.

Warmly,

Bhutila Karpoche,
MPP for Parkdale—High Park
COVID-19 Action Plan: Long-Term Care Homes 
This plan adds new measures to prevent further outbreaks and deaths from COVID-19 in long-term care homes, including:   
  • Aggressive Testing, Screening, and Surveillance: enhancing testing for symptomatic residents and staff and those who have been in contact with persons confirmed to have COVID-19; expanding screening to include more asymptomatic contacts of confirmed cases; and leveraging surveillance tools to enable care providers to move proactively against the disease.
  • Managing Outbreaks and Spread of the Disease: supporting long-term care homes with public health and infection control expertise to contain and prevent outbreaks; providing additional training and support for current staff working in outbreak conditions.
  • Growing our Long-Term Care Workforce: redeploying staff from hospitals and home and community care to support the long-term care home workforce and respond to outbreaks, alongside intensive on-going recruitment initiatives.
  • More details here.
Supporting Local Small Businesses
While we must push for government relief for small businesses, here are some small ways we can all support our local businesses:
  • Purchase a gift card to be used when the business reopens.
  • Get takeout or delivery from a local restaurant while practicing physical distancing.
  • Shop online at local businesses. Many local BIAs have a list of local businesses that are still open.
  • Tell friends who might be interested in your favourite local businesses.
  • If you’ve purchased from them, leave a positive review.
  • Look for virtual classes.
Save Main Street Proposal
Small and medium-sized businesses, charities and community-based non-profits should get help from the province, including:
  • A 75 per cent commercial rent subsidy up to $10,000 a month for three months.
  • A utility payment freeze.
  • A remote-work setup fund, which could help them with things like setting up an online retail operation, or buying laptops and software for staff.
  • An auto insurance grace period for taxis and car-sharing drivers, established in partnership with the insurance industry and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority.
  • A designated emergency fund for small businesses and entrepreneurs who have faced historic barriers to accessing traditional capital, as proposed by the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce.
  • The cost of the Save Main Street plan is estimated to range from $850 million to $1.15 billion.
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.
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Community Office
While our office will be closing 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
Email: BKarpoche-CO@ndp.on.ca 
BhutilaKarpoche.ca
Copyright © 2020 MPP for Parkdale—High Park, All rights reserved.


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