As you may have heard, this morning Premier Ford declared a state of emergency. I support this move as it will allow the government to use all possible powers and dedicated funding to support healthcare workers and respond swiftly to COVID-19.
Over the last several days, my office has been receiving many emails from constituents particularly tenants, families with childcare needs, gig workers, those in the arts sector, retail and service industry workers, health care workers, seniors etc. about COVID-19 and its impact. I completely understand the uncertainty and worry people are feeling. We are extracting issues from all the emails and raising them with the government on how we need to address what people are facing. The top concern I’m hearing is the loss of income and consequences of it. People are calling on both the federal and provincial governments to do better to protect people financially.
On Thursday, the Legislature will reconvene to pass emergency legislation. While the provincial government has agreed to provide some job security and prevent employers from requiring sick notes during this pandemic, it falls well short of what people need now.
As such we are calling on the government to add additional measures to the emergency legislation.
The top unaddressed concerns include:
- Protecting people from losing a paycheque, or being expected to get by on inadequate Employment Insurance or Ontario Works payments alone, as a result of taking COVID-19 precautions or because of the illness
- Guaranteeing that no one can be punished in any way for missing a rent or mortgage payment
- Financial support for Ontarians not covered by Employment Insurance — especially those working in the gig economy
- Immediate financial support for small and medium-sized businesses so they can continue to pay employees without becoming insolvent
- Specific supports for vulnerable people, including seniors and those receiving OW and ODSP support, so they can access the groceries and medications they need to self-isolate if need be
As part of my effort to ensure information and updates are being publicized effectively, you will find below a summary of the announcement today from Premier Ford.
Thank you to everyone for practicing social distancing and doing your part to flatten the curve.
I want to end with heartfelt thanks to the all workers on the frontlines of this public health emergency and for all they are doing to keep us safe.
Wash your hands. Stay home, if you can. Be kind. We are all in this together.