Good evening everyone,
The Official Opposition is calling on the Government to ensure that all workers during this pandemic have presumptive WSIB coverage for COVID-19. Both for the virus itself, and for the trauma, PTSD and mental health challenges that may come after it. Our Labour critic for Workplace Health and Safety, Wayne Gates, will table a private member’s bill on behalf of our caucus to accomplish that, because no essential worker should have to fight to prove this illness was contracted at work. Our caucus has long been advocating for proper workplace protections to ensure that all workers can go to work without fear of injury and death. I'm proud to contribute to this advocacy with my first private members bill which made it mandatory to lower flags on all municipal buildings, schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, as well as provincial government buildings on the Day of Mourning. The picture below is a copy of the official bill. As we commemorate the National Day of Mourning, we join loved ones in mourning those who lost their lives on the job, and we continue to fight for workers to ensure they have the right to protection and safety at work. Here is the link to the local labour council virtual ceremony held today.
The Ontario government provided more updates on yesterday’s framework to re-open Ontario’s economy, noting that it is just the beginning and promised that clear, sector-specific guidelines will be released later this week.
Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction Prabmeet Sarkaria announced the launch of the COVID-19 Tackling the Barriers web portal, aimed at helping organizations and businesses to clear “hurdles” during the pandemic. Through the portal, businesses can request a temporary regulation or policy change to help with the following:
- Assist the health-care system meet the needs of the emergency.
- Assist businesses in retooling or producing essential or health-related products and supplies.
- Make it easier for businesses trying to operate remotely or in a non-traditional fashion and are facing unexpected challenges.
The Ontario Energy Board has issued a statement warning consumers of scam artists trying to take advantage of people during COVID-19. The OEB has taken steps to ensure that the power to your home or low-volume small business cannot be disconnected for non-payment by your utility until July 31, 2020. If you receive a message, text or phone call from someone posing as a utility representative and threatening to disconnect your power, do not respond to it – contact your utility directly using the telephone number displayed on your bill. If you have questions or concerns about any suspicious communications claiming to be from your utility, contact the OEB at 1-877-632-2727 or email at [email protected].
Today, federal health officials released updated national projections on the scope and spread of COVID-19 in Canada. The announcement came shortly after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s update this morning that emphasized the need for a careful, coordinated and methodical framework for re-opening the economy. We may have flattened the COVID-19 curve, but “we are not out of the woods yet,” noted Trudeau.
According to the forecasting model released by public health officials today, Canada is currently on track to hit between 53,196 and 66,835 cases and between 3,277 and 3,883 deaths by May 5th. And depending on the containment efforts, it is expected that between 4,000 and 355,000 people in Canada could die from COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic
The Prime Minister also announced that the federal government has prepared six million surgical masks that will be shipped out to the provinces and territories this week, including 100,000 face shields
As the weather warms the community is beginning to contemplate yard and pool maintenance. The WECHU has received a number of requests to provide guidance and direction for these services. The Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act identifies the essential businesses permitted to operate and conditions of operation for both essential and non-essential businesses. Lawn care, landscaping and pool maintenance services are only permitted to operate if providing services necessary to maintain safety, security and sanitation of properties.
Under the direction of Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health, the WECHU is providing guidance for essential lawn care, landscaping and pool maintenance considered necessary for the health and safety of the property owner and community. In particular to ensure properties remain free from tall grass and standing water to prevent tick and mosquito breeding habitats. Permitted services include:
- Lawn cutting
- Yard maintenance (clearing of debris such as leaves, branches)
- Dethatching and rolling
- Fence or deck repairs
- Pool maintenance
All other landscaping activities for aesthetic or beautification purposes should be suspended and are not permitted at this time. This includes new fence construction, new deck builds or new pool installation. In their guidance document COVID-19: Guidance for Lawn Care and Pool Maintenance Service Providers, the WECHU further outlines instructions for the safe operation of these services for both employees and employers.
Postmedia has announced it is shutting down five local newspapers in Windsor-Essex. The five papers are: The Lakeshore News, LaSalle Post, Tecumseh Shoreline Week, Tilbury Times, and the Kingsville Reporter. The loss of local media is troubling as the voices of smaller communities may not be heard.
Five more local residents have lost their lives because of COVID-19, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit announced Tuesday. As of Tuesday morning, Windsor-Essex had 581 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Remember to wash you hands, continue to practice social distancing, and look after yourselves.