Today is June 1 and I would like to start by wishing a Happy Pride month to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community!
Random drive-thru testing for COVID-19 is scheduled to take place in Essex tomorrow. The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit and paramedics will swab willing individuals at the Essex Centre Sports Complex from 9am to 5pm. To be tested, you must bring your health card and provide your home address and contact information.
The Town of Tecumseh announced today that they have made the decision to cancel Tecumseh Corn Fest this year in order to ensure the safety of residents and visitors.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex has risen to 970 and there are now 65 deaths.
Our party has called on the provincial government to step up and help municipalities with operating funding that is desperately needed. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has estimated the hole in the operating budget across all cities is between $10-15 billion over the next six months. At the end of the April, Windsor experienced an $11.2 million drop in revenue, and the financial pressures will only continue as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ontario Ombudsman announced that they will investigate the oversight and actions of the Ministries of Health and Long-Term Care after the report from the Canadian Armed Forces last week. Our party said this news was welcome and we believe a comprehensive, find-and-fix judicial public inquiry is necessary to evaluate the foundations of the long-term care system in this province.
The Ontario government unveiled details about a new electricity initiative intended to provide relief on hydro bills. Families, small businesses and farms will now pay a fixed rate of 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This rate will remain in effect until October 31st.
This COVID-19 Recovery Rate will be followed by a new customer choice initiative. Beginning November 1, 2020, customers will be able to choose a plan that best suits their household and lifestyle with the option of either Time of Use electricity rates or tiered pricing, which will provide a set rate for electricity up to a certain level of consumption.
The provincial government also introduced a new $ 9-million dollar Energy Assistance Program to provide support to low income families who are struggling to pay electricity bills. They also announced $8 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program targeted specially to provide relief to Small Business.
Our caucus has pointed out that as a result of the announced COVID-19 hydro rate, Ontario families will pay 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour starting today, up from 10.1 cents per kilowatt hour. The Government promised a reduction in electricity bills, but unfortunately, they are only getting higher and higher. We will continue calling on the Government to lower electricity bills, not making them more expensive in the middle of a pandemic.
In response to COVID-19, the federal government will make available $2.2 billion in accelerated funding through the federal Gas Tax Fund. Normally paid in two installments a year, the funding will be made available in one payment this month. The Prime Minister said early delivery of the full funding allotment for 2020-21 will help communities quickly move forward with infrastructure projects that will improve quality of life and help restart local economies. Municipalities can use the money for projects under 18 different categories, including public transit, wastewater infrastructure, roads and bridges, disaster mitigation, broadband and connectivity, and culture, tourism and recreation.
Continue to take care of yourselves, wear your masks in public and was your hands!