Happy Friday everyone!
The provincial government is expecting to make a new announcement on the future of childcare and public schools next Tuesday and is expected to lift the limit on small gatherings from five up to ten.
Today, the Ontario finance watch dog, the Financial Accountability Office, released a new report on job losses in Ontario and its impact on the province since the COVID-19 pandemic began. According to the findings, nearly one in three jobs in the province have been directly affected through either job losses (1.1 million) or sharply reduced hours (1.1 million).
Our party released a statement saying that Ontarians have worried not only about their health, but their family’s financial health as well. Today’s numbers show that life isn’t getting any easier, and that the programs to help businesses keep staff on and pay the rent have missed the mark. Women are continuing to lose their jobs at an even faster pace, with over 575,000 women being laid off in Ontario since February. The Ontario government needs to step up to offer real financial supports to workers and small businesses in Ontario, especially women, so they can get through the worst of this crisis and begin to re-build our economy once the pandemic is over.
The Prime Minister confirmed that his government will be extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy by another three months, to the end of August. The government will also work with labour groups and stakeholders to make additional adjustments to the program and will be reviewing the eligibility criteria, including the 30 per cent revenue decline threshold.
The federal government also announced that the first set of job postings for students and recent graduates are now up on the Job Bank Canada website and also on the Job Bank Canada app, and thousands more will be posted online in the coming weeks. The Prime Minister encouraged students to check it out as a placement not only means a paycheck, it is also experience for jobs that are key to our fight against COVID-19. The website can be found here.
While everyone should do their best to file taxes before June 1st deadline, the Prime Minister announced that those who are unable to apply in time will continue to receive their CCB and HST benefits until the end of September.
The federal government also announced $450 million to help researchers and research institutions who have seen their labs close or that are facing having to lay off staff. This money is expected to flow through universities and affiliated research institutes that have been affected by the pandemic, and to provide temporary support on wages through federal granting agencies. An estimated 15,000 health researchers and lab technicians at hospitals and medical institutes across the country have seen their work halted as it’s not COVID-19 related, and are facing funding pressures as the nation prioritizes the pandemic.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is urging residents to continue to follow public health protocols as more businesses and services resume in-person operations under the province’s multi-phase plan to restart the economy. As of Friday morning, 762 local residents have tested positive, an increase of 11 from Thursday. Of the total, 396 cases have been resolved. No new deaths were announced on Friday.
Finally, I hope everyone enjoys their Victoria Day long weekend. Please continue to practice social distancing if you go out in public and wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.