Update from your Member of Provincial Parliament regarding COVID-19
Throughout this pandemic, our community stepped up and is working hard to ensure that we are looking after one another. Such collaboration shows resilience, strength and more importantly compassion. As we start to flatten the curve, it is important to continue the great work that we have been doing regarding social distancing. Thank you to all those staying home, volunteering and running our essential services.
As today is the national first responders’ day, I want to highlight the tremendous work that is being done by first responders throughout our country to ensure our safety during this pandemic. Their work doesn’t go unnoticed and we need to take the time to thank them properly for serving our community.
If you need help finding food banks, mental health resources or financial relief programs, I invite you to dial 211 for useful information.
Many people from our community have stepped up to help in the fight against COVID-19 by volunteering and doing their part. You can also make a difference by signing up to help those in need.
SPARK Ontario is partnering with the Ontario government to connect volunteers with opportunities to support seniors, people with disabilities and other Ontarians requiring assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Locally, Volunteer Ottawa is recruiting and deploying volunteers to respond to the volunteer needs specific to Covid-19. Ottawa Cares organizes community responses to support te most vulnerable in our communities.
These volunteer databases are also an opportunity for those who need a helping hand. All not-for-profit organizations supporting the response to COVID-19 can post volunteer opportunities so potential volunteers can be put to work quickly.
Having heard our plea and letters from our community and many others, the government declared community gardens as essential services. As of May 4th, they are open to public use for the rest of the summer. I encourage you to find your local community garden and get involved to grow local produce.
Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program
Under this program, small business tenants and landlords would each be asked to pay 25 percent of the before profit costs and the provincial and federal government would cost-share the remaining 50 percent.
To receive the loan, property owners will be required to reduce the rental costs of small business tenants for April to June 2020 by at least 75 percent. The loan is also contingent on the signing of a rent forgiveness agreement between impacted tenants and landlords. This would also include a moratorium on evictions for three months.
The OCECRA is administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and will be available until September 30, 2020. Support will be retroactive to April 1, covering April, May and June 2020.
To provide additional support for frontline workers fighting COVID-19, a temporary pandemic pay of $4/hour worked on top of their regular wages is added. In addition, there will also be a monthly lump-sum payment of $250 for four months to eligible frontline workers who work over 100 hours per month. The pandemic pay will be effective for 16 weeks, from April 24, 2020 until August 13, 2020. Further to many requests to the government, more professions were added to the list of eligible workers for the pandemic pay.
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) is aware of increasing efforts by scam artists attempting to take advantage of consumer uncertainty during this COVID-19 emergency. 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. For information contact your utility directly using the telephone number displayed on your bill.
We are all in this together.
Lucille Collard, MPP