With the news that at least 12 Canadian Armed Forces members deployed to help in Ontario’s long-term care homes have contracted COVID-19, our party released the following statement:
"We want to send our best wishes for a full and speedy recovery to the brave members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have contracted COVID-19 in Ontario long-term care homes. These soldiers put the lives of vulnerable seniors first by walking into long-term care homes to help without hesitation — it’s the kind of bravery and kindness that generations of Canadian military members are known for, worldwide. Ontario’s Official Opposition joins a grateful nation in pulling for their recovery, and return to good health.”
Ontario has consistently underperformed on COVID-19 testing, averaging under 9,000 tests per day this week, and has missed its own targets all but one time since April 15. Today, MPPs Lisa Gretzky, Taras Natyshak and I released a statement on testing. You can read that here.
The Provincial government announced the launch of a new Ontario Tools Grant program this summer, to help apprentices purchase equipment. An estimated 11,600 Ontario apprentices are eligible to receive:
- $1,000 each in motive power sectors;
- $600 each in construction and industrial trades; and
- $400 for those in-service sector trades.
The grant program is slated to invest $2.5 million in 2020-21 and $7.5 million in 2021-22 and ongoing. The government is also forgiving $10 million in outstanding loans owed by apprentices for tool purchases.
Noting that some 90 per cent of tourism and hospitality workers have been displaced by the economic shut down, the Provincial government announced a partnership with UNITED HERE Local 75 to launch a Virtual Action Centre. The centre is expected to help up to 7,000 workers in the sector with counselling for mental wellness and stress management, health and safety training for those returning to work, technical skills training, language training, and peer group facilitation and employment preparation through video conferencing.
The centre will be operated by UNITE HERE, a union representing workers in hotels, restaurants, racetracks and casinos, laundry, food service, airport concessions, textile and general manufacturing and distribution centres.
The Prime Minister reported that in the 10th weekly call with the premiers since the pandemic began, the country’s leaders discussed three main elements that need to be in place to support the re-opening of the Canadian economy:
- Increased testing capacity to quickly identify and isolate new cases;
- Accelerated ability to do contact tracing; and
- Ensuring data collected is shared across all provinces and territories.
The Prime Minister added that the federal government will work closely with the provinces and territories on all three of these priorities, which he said are vital to not only support the re-opening of the economy, but to also stem the impact of a potential second wave of the virus.
Building on the first priority noted with the premiers, the PM offered an update on a national testing strategy. He reported that nationwide Canada is testing on average 28,000 people daily, and the federal government is working to increase the number to a target of 60,000 per day.
Addressing concerns that Canadians may not be aware of what aid programs are available to help their particular situation, the Federal government announced the launch of a new online tool. By answering a series of simple questions, the online tool will generate an array of programs for which people may be eligible. You can find that here.
As businesses and public places begin to open up — and following another spike in the number of local COVID-19 cases — the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said Friday it will begin randomly testing people in high traffic areas. You can read the Windsor Star article here.
The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex is now at 843 with 63 deaths.
I hope everyone enjoys their weekend, but please continue to practice social distancing, wear a face mask in public, and wash your hands often.