The provincial government is working directly with the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) to launch a new Ontario Community Support Program that will expand services, including providing targeted funding of $11 million to Meals on Wheels to deliver food, medicine and essential support to help low-income seniors and people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions
The Ontario government also announced that the first doubled Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments will be issued this week. This program provides a monthly, non-taxable benefit to low-income Ontario seniors and the doubling of the benefit was initially announced in Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. Under this new program, individuals will receive up to $166 per month, while couples will receive up to $332 per month. These doubled payments will continue for six months and provide an additional $75 million to 194,000 vulnerable seniors who may need more help to cover essential expenses during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The government will be investing $40 million in the Residential Relief Fund which will assist with developmental services, child welfare, victims shelters and organizations delivering social services to vulnerable First Nations individuals and families with COVID-related costs.
Additionally, $148 million will be provided to municipal partners that administer social services, with funding for the province's most vulnerable as part of the province's response to COVID-19
On April 16 Finance Minister Rod Phillips said he will be watching to see companies' responses to the government to pave the way for insurance companies to lower rates due to COVID-19. Ontario made a regulatory change that will more easily allow auto insurance companies to provide breaks to their customers because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The change will allow insurance companies to provide auto insurance premium rebates to consumers for up to 12 months after the emergency has ended. Finance Minister Rod Phillips says he will be watching to see companies' responses.
Phillips says Ontario isn't dictating a certain percentage of rebate for companies to provide, but he says it needs to be "commensurate with the scale of duress that Ontario families are under. The NDP has called on the Ontario government to mandate a three-month, 50 per cent discount on auto insurance. Our office would like to encourage everyone to check with their auto insurance companies and email us at [email protected] or [email protected] if your insurance company is not providing sufficient reductions so we can pass it along to the Ministry of Finance.
The Prime Minister announced that employers will be able to apply for the CEWG starting on Monday, April 27th for the 75 per cent salary top-up to keep staff on the payroll. The government expects to have processed 90 per cent of claims by May 4th, with payments landing later that week.
The Ontario government has confirmed that for any $1 a household receives from the federal CERB benefit — because a member of the household has lost their job due to COVID-19 — the provincial government will take away either 50-cents or $1 from the household, if someone in that household is receiving social assistance benefits. The federal government specifically asked all provinces to exempt CERB benefits from any clawbacks because people need more support during this difficult time, not less. The Official Opposition released a statement calling for the government to stop, saying that it is wrong for the government to make money off the backs of OW and ODSP recipients during a pandemic.
The federal government is also launching a calculator application on the Canada Revenue Agency’s website to help employers and businesses determine how much they will be able to claim through the wage subsidy program.
The Prime Minister also announced the Emergency Fund for Community Support, a $350-million fund to support community organizations and non-profits. This money will help large and small organizations carry out important duties such as training volunteers, delivering meals to seniors and driving people with disabilities to appointments. The investment will flow through national organizations — such as the United Way and Red Cross — that have the ability to get funds quickly to local organizations that serve vulnerable populations. It will support a variety of activities, such as:
- Increasing volunteer-based home deliveries of groceries and medications.
- Providing transportation services, like accompanying or driving seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments.
- Scaling up help lines that provide information and support.
- Helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits.
- Providing training, supplies, and other required supports to volunteers so they can continue to make their invaluable contributions to the COVID-19 response.
- Replacing in-person, one-on-one contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through phone calls, texts, teleconferences, or the Internet.
Individuals who suspect they have COVID-19 or are wondering if they should be tested should consult the COVID-19 Population Health Navigator for Windsor-Essex. Already tested? You can now check your results online.
Our office is starting to hear from constituents who are now renewing there 30 day prescriptions and facing another round of needless co-pays. We are aware of the issue and trying to get the government to address the unfairness.
As of Tuesday morning, Windsor-Essex has 506 confirmed cases. Of those, 88 people have recovered and 31 people have died.
I truly appreciate hearing your thoughts on important issues. Having said that, it is best to direct any questions and concerns regarding provincial matters to my constituency office or Queens Park office. Please reach out via email at [email protected] or [email protected]. Alternatively, you can call the constituency office at 519-251-5199. This is the only way that we can keep track of your concerns and continue to monitor issues as we move forward. Thank you for your understanding.
Remember to continue listening to medical professionals on how to best prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes practicing social distancing, only going out for essentials like food or medication, and washing your hands frequently.