Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program to help businesses and commercial property owners who are facing unique challenges, including small businesses who were unable to cover their rents for April, May and June. The assistance is being rolled out in collaboration with the provinces and territories.
The Prime Minister said that Canada is still a long way from being ready to agree to relax mutual travel restrictions along its border with the United States.
The provincial government will be further enhancing protective measures and expanding its testing capacity to protect the most vulnerable sectors. This will include expanding testing for many priority groups such as folks in long-term care, retirement home and developmental charities and shelters including special testing for pregnant women and homeless populations. Our caucus recognizes the need to expand testing so we have a clear picture on how widespread COVID-19 is in the province. Ontario continues to fall behind the rest of the provinces when it comes to COVID-19 testing.
Acting on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health care professionals, the Ontario government has expanded hospital capacity in preparation for any COVID-19 outbreak scenario. The province has added 1,035 acute care beds and 1,492 critical care beds and taken steps to ensure hospitals have the staff available to care for a sudden surge in patients.
The Financial Accountability Office released a new report this morning detailing the economic impact of COVID-19. According to the report, 1.2 million Ontarians have had their job status impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, meaning one in six jobs have been touched by the pandemic. Statistics Canada had already indicated that 403,000 people lost their jobs in Ontario in March as a result of government measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The Ontario government is enabling auto insurance companies to provide temporary insurance premium rebates to drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The province has amended a regulation under the Insurance Act to help ease the financial pressure on working people and families during this public health crisis. By amending this regulation insurance companies would be able to provide auto insurance premium rebates to consumers for up to 12 months after the declared emergency has ended.
Our party had called for the province to mandate a 50 per cent discount to auto insurance, and ensure that drivers can defer their reduced payments until after the pandemic if they’ve lost income as a result of COVID-19.
Locally, Windsor-Essex has 427 confirmed cases. Of those, 55 people have recovered and 18 people have died.
Remember to wash your hands, practice social distancing, and check on your family and loved ones (by phone or video, of course).