Ontario's COVID-19 Action PlanPublished on March 28, 2020
An update on Ontario's response to the COVID-19 crisis.
I know many in our community are feeling anxious as the COVID-19 crisis continues to develop in Ontario, and around the world. Whether you're in self-isolation with your family, lost your job or had to close your business, or must continue to work – the challenges are real for everyone, and especially for our frontline health care workers, first responders, and so many others working to keep our essential services available, from groceries to utilities.
Please know that our Government will spare no expense to support Ontarians during this difficult time, and to ensure that no one is left behind. As a first step to fulfill this commitment, I joined my colleagues at Queen’s Park this week to help pass a $17 billion COVID-19 Action Plan.
For the latest information from the Province, including how to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19, please visit Ontario.ca/coronavirus. If you or your family develop symptoms, please use our Self-Assessment Tool to help determine how to seek further care. You may also call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000, or Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700.
While my community office is now closed to the public until further notice, my staff and I remain committed to serving you. Please contact us by phone at 905-274-8228 from Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5:00pm, or anytime by email, at [email protected].
Please do your part: Stay Apart.
Even if you feel like you aren’t personally at risk of getting sick, we all must do our part to protect each other. Stay at home, if you can. Avoid close contact (being within two metres) with anyone outside your immediate family. In particular, it’s absolutely critical that people returning to Canada self-isolate for two weeks after their return.
If you have products or ideas that you can contribute to our response to the COVID-19 crisis, I want to hear from you! Find out how you can help at Ontario Together.
If you're looking for other ways to help during this difficult time, please consider:
- Reaching out to seniors and other vulnerable people in your life, who are most at risk of social isolation. Whether they're in their own home or a long-term care or assisted living facility, check in by phone or email with the people in our community who aren't able to have visitors at this time.
- Shopping in a measured way. It's OK to stock up a bit so that you won't have to go to the grocery store as frequently as you usually would. But please make sure that you're not buying more than you will need, as others in our community will need access to these supplies as well.
- Donating to the Mississauga Food Bank or the Compass Food Bank, if you can, to help families that are struggling at this difficult time. Items in particular demand are:
- protein (fish, meat, beans, peanut butter),
- fruit and vegetables (canned, applesauce, pasta sauce, healthy soup/stew),
- rice, and
- personal care items (menstrual products, deodorant, shampoo, diapers, etc.).
While there have been a few unacceptable examples of scams and price gouging, including in our own community, I'm inspired by the incredible number of our businesses and residents who have stepped forward to help at this difficult time.
To take just one example, David Forgan and his team at Sure Good Foods have donated over 77,000 lbs. of chicken (worth over $150,000) to food banks across the province. This is the real Spirit of Ontario.
It's more important than ever to support each other, and I know Mississauga-Lakeshore is up to the challenge. We'll get through this together, even as we stay apart.
And if there's anything my team or I can do to help, please reach out to let us know.
Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP
Ontario Spirit in Port Credit
On Wednesday, we took immediate action to fight COVID-19 with a $17 billion action plan, including $3.3 billion in support for our health care system, $3.7 billion in direct support for people and jobs, and $10 billion to improve cash flows.
This support for the health sector allows us to open 1,000 additional acute care beds, 500 critical care beds, and over 72 COVID-19 assessment centres, including one in Mississauga-Lakeshore, at the Trillium Health Partners Clinical Administrative Building (15 Bronte College Court). Please note that patients are accepted only by referral from Peel Public Health or the Emergency Department.
It will also allow us to expand our COVID-19 testing capacity to 5,000 tests per day by the end of this week, and 20,000 tests per day by April 17. Similarly, Telehealth has expanded from 400 phone lines to 2,000. We have also secured tens of millions of pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our frontline staff.
To help support you, we're investing $3.7 billion to provide for:
- $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs, to pay for extra costs associated with school and daycare closures.
- Doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment for 194,000 low-income seniors (up to $166 for individuals, or $332 for couples).
- Holding electricity prices at the reduced, off-peak price (10.1 cents/kWh) 24/7 for at least 45 days.
- Emergency child care to support parents working on the front lines.
- $148 million for charities and non-profit social service organizations to improve their ability to respond to COVID-19.
- Six months of Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan and interest accrual relief for students.
And to improve cash flows for people and businesses at this difficult time, we're providing $10 billion, including:
- $6 billion for 5 months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make payments for most provincial taxes.
- $1.9 billion in Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) relief, allowing employers to defer payments for up to six months.
- Over $1.8 billion to help municipalities provide property tax deferrals to residents and businesses.
Earlier this week, our government issued an emergency order to close at-risk workplaces, and to encourage non-essential businesses to help their employees work from home.
If you have any questions about how these measures apply to your business, please call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. Help is available Monday to Sunday, from 8:30am to 5:00pm.
Learn at Home
Unfortunately our schools will not be able to reopen on April 6th, as originally planned. Minister Lecce has written an open letter to all Ontario parents to help answer some of your questions.
We recognize that the most vulnerable Ontarians, including those who live in poverty, are homeless, or are unemployed, are exposed to the most devastating impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That's why our Government is providing a $200 million Social Services Relief Fund to help municipalities, charities, food banks, shelters, and non-profits provide support to those who need it most at this difficult time.
Price gouging during the current COVID-19 pandemic is unacceptable, and unCanadian. You can report companies or individuals who are price gouging by filing a complaint online, or by phone at 1-800-889-9768.
Violations can result in a $750 ticket for an individual, or charges under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA), with the possibility of a court imposed fine of up to $100,000, and up to a year of imprisonment.
A director or officer of a corporation could face a fine of up to $500,000 and a term of imprisonment of up to one year. In the case of a corporation, a fine of up to $10,000,000 may be imposed.
To help make life a little easier and more affordable during these difficult times, we have suspended time-of-use electricity rates. For at least 45 days, you will pay only the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents per kWh.
This reduced price will be available 24 hours per day, seven days a week to all time-of-use customers, who make up the majority of electricity consumers in the province.
By switching to a fixed off-peak rate, time-of-use customers will see rate reductions of over 50% compared to on-peak rates (which had been 20.8 cents per kWh).
I'm Here For You
While my office is closed to the public, my staff and I remain committed to serving you. Please contact us by phone at 905-274-8228 from Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5:00pm, or anytime by email at [email protected].
If you need to find access to mental health support, food services, financial assistance, or more, please dial 2-1-1 anytime, day or night. They can help you find the supports you need, in over 150 languages.
More information is available online at http://www.211oncovid19.ca/
Information is also available from our partners:
I joined a small group of MPPs from all parties (observing physical distancing) to pass Ontario's $17 billion COVID-19 Action Plan at Queen's Park.