Dear Neighbour,

I have been thinking about how we move forward from COVID-19 and work together to build a fairer and more just Ontario. While this pandemic is far from over, I think it is important to review what we have learned thus far and start to imagine what recovery could look like. In a recent
poll, 73% of Canadians agreed that we need “broad transformation” of our society to recover from COVID-19 together. We must take this opportunity to introduce bold change that lifts everyone up. For me, this means true reconciliation, a Green New Deal, affordable housing and robust public health services we can rely on.

Thinking about other lessons which should have been learned from our past experiences, it led me to think about the rise of anti-Asian racism as a result of COVID-19. It has been concerning to see the rise of hate in a time when we should be coming together to counter this virus. Early in the outbreak of COVID-19, the Ontario Human Rights Commission and several Asian-Canadian community groups
warned of the rise of hate speech and racism towards Asian-Canadians. They called on governments to take decisive action to educate the public and respect human rights. The burden to fight this should not be put on Asian-Canadians alone. We must work together to tackle racism in all its forms.

Looking at the devastating situation in our province’s long-term care facilities and what went wrong will be an important element of moving forward. Yesterday in the House, the NDP introduced a motion to establish a public inquiry into long-term care facilities and their response to COVID-19. Current data shows that this pandemic has affected the long-term care system in a manner disproportionate to its population, with 71.8% of deaths attributed to long-term care homes
as of May 12. Analysis by the Ontario Health Coalition has shown significantly higher death rates in privately-owned homes as compared to non-profit and governmentally owned facilities. All of these figures are deeply troubling and we owe it to our seniors to get to the bottom of it. A non-partisan, independent, public inquiry will help us understand how to rebuild our long-term care system to work better for all.

We have an opportunity to learn and grow to build a better Ontario for all. Let’s commit ourselves to pursue that opportunity.

As always, wash your hands, stay home if you can, wear a mask if you go out, be kind. We are all in this together.


Bhutila Karpoche,
MPP for Parkdale—High Park
Facebook Live on Supporting Small Businesses
Today, I hosted a discussion with ParkdaleHigh Park BIAs and TABIA about the issues facing small businesses and how we can support them. You can watch our full conversation here.
Non-Medical Face Masks
  • Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, has issued new guidelines on the use of non-medical face masks to stop the spread of COVID-19 when physical distancing is not possible.
  • It is important to note that non-medical face masks are not a replacement for staying home and physical distancing.
  • Full guidelines can be found here.
COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act

Yesterday, the Ontario Legislature met and passed the COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act. This act included new laws and amendments which address the following:

  • Allowing school board trustees to meet virtually in emergency situations
  • Enabling corporation to call and hold meeting virtually, as applicable, and extending the time period in which an annual meeting must be held
  • Allowing designations of a beneficiary to be provided electronically for Retirement Savings Plans, Retirement Income Funds, Locked-in Retirement Accounts, Life Income Funds and Tax-Free Savings Accounts;
  • Allowing electronic filing of business documents 
  • Allowing for regulations to set out the remote commissioning and notarization of documents
  • A one-time mandated election extension for the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) to give more time to support remote voting.
Prescription Drug Affordability
  • Starting today, people using the Ontario Drug Benefit program will not be required to pay any co-pay until July 1 for any prescription of 30+ days that is now being dispensed in installments.
  • Existing and new Trillium Drug Program households can apply for income reassessment to reduce the financial burden for the duration of the pandemic.
  • Full details available here.
Complications with Children & COVID-19
There are recent reports across Canada and in countries around the world which signal an increase in multisystem inflammatory vasculitis, a rare but serious multisystem inflammatory illness which impacts children diagnosed with COVID-19. While the link between this illness and COVID-19 has not yet been confirmed, the Chief Medical Officer of Health is taking steps to ensure that physicians are prepared to respond to this emerging issue. The case definition of COVID-19 has been updated to include multisystem inflammatory vasculitis as an atypical presentation in children. This will support clinical assessments of patients who may have symptoms, including children. For the full release on protecting children, click here.
Other provincial updates
  • The Province of Ontario’s State of Emergency has been extended until June 2. A full list of emergency orders can be found here
  • The Ontario government has issued a new emergency order which will allow the province to issue a mandatory management order for long-term care homes experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. This will allow the Ministry of Long-term Care to dispatch additional management assistance on a case-by-case basis.
  • The Ontario government has announced $1-million in funding for frontline agencies who support victims of gender-based violence and human trafficking. More details available here.
  • Education sector staff who are interested in voluntary redeployment to long-term care facilities will receive more information on how to register from their local employer. Details on eligibility are available here.
  • Updates on the rest of the school year and summer learning are anticipated early next week.
Attention Young Job Seekers!
Youth Employment Services (YES) is providing a virtual opportunity for unemployed people aged 15-30 who are not in school or collecting Employment Insurance through their Job Central program. This includes 3 weeks of paid skills training and 10 weeks of paid work placement. You can learn important financial literacy, resume writing, and interview skills alongside expert job coaching. The upcoming session begins on June 1. To learn more, click here.
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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