February E-Newsletter

Published on February 09, 2021

 


Message from your MPP

Dear Neighbours,

We are officially in the month of February. For some families, this might be the very first snow-filled winter they experience in Ontario and what a brisk welcome it has been.

This month takes on added significance during COVID-19. First, with Valentine’s Day and Family Day, now more than ever are we reminded of the priceless and intangible value of family and friends. Despite being physically apart, we are all finding new ways to connect with each other – over Zoom or FaceTime, for example. That being said, it is quite easy to feel socially isolated during these times. That is why I challenge each and every one of you to reach out and rekindle an old bond – a simple conversation can make all the difference nowadays.

February also marks Black History Month, a designation that has been recognized in Ontario since 1979. We are all called to celebrate and recognize the rich and diverse contributions by people of African and Caribbean descent. We can recall the history of Lincoln Alexander, the first Black Member of Parliament in the House of Commons, who also became the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. This Black History Month takes on a new meaning during this pandemic, as we recognize that not everyone has been impacted by COVID equally. 

That being said, as our case count declines by the week, we are now closer to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I know that you have been following all provincial and local health guidelines, and are getting increasingly restless. I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart for your sacrifices, and ask for your continued patience. With new unknown variants, the need to be vigilant and not tempted to squander our good progress is of the utmost importance. 

If there is anything this last year has taught us, it is that there is no challenge that we cannot overcome if we all come together. For what you have all experienced in the last twelve months, you are all heroes in your own right.

I look forward to a time where we can all safely gather again!

Sincerely, 

 

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Stay Home, Stay Safe, Save Lives 


 

On January 12, 2021, Ontario made a second declaration of emergency in response to an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases. This stay-at home order continues to remain in effect until at least February 9, 2021 to protect the safety of you, your loved ones and all Ontarians. By staying home, we're not only saving each others lives but we're also protecting our health care system from being overwhelmed.  

While you're home and staying safe, what a better time than now to learn a new language. I'm happy to present the diversity of Ontario as many of your neighbours teach us how to stay home and stay safe in multiple languages!  No matter what the language however, the message remains the same - Stay Home, Stay Safe and Save Lives. Together we can help stop the spread of COVID-19. 


Investing in Ontario


To reduce the risk of COVID-19 from entering long-term care homes from the community, the government is providing up to $125 million to immediately add over 500 critical care and high intensity medicine beds to hospitals in areas with high rates of COVID-19 transmission

The new funding will help homes adhere to enhanced staff and visitor testing requirements and continue to improve COVID-19 prevention and containment. This new investment brings Ontario’s total funding to protect long-term care homes since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to $1.38 billion. 


The government is providing $7.5 million to help educators better support children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The funding will be used to deliver online courses and training opportunities for teachers and educational assistants in all 72 of Ontario's district school boards. Ontario is also investing in subsidies for educators to take the ASD-specific Additional Qualification course.


The government is providing $5 million to support Ontario’s agriculture and horticultural societies to help offset their losses due to cancellation of fall fairs and exhibits as a result of COVID-19. This includes: 

  • Base Support Funding: $1.8 million will provide eligible agricultural societies with $7,000, and eligible horticultural societies with $1,140 in funding to support their continued delivery of agricultural and horticultural education across Ontario.

  • Hardship Funding: $3.2 million Hardship Funding for eligible agricultural societies will provide additional support, which will be based on their reported gate receipts from 2019. This will help off-set operating losses, liabilities, and fixed overhead costs. 

To further combat crime across the province, the government is investing in cloud-based technology to allow evidence, once physically handled, to be shared securely amongst justice sector partners through the Digital Evidence Management program. This will ensure timely access to evidence, capacity to store and share large files, reduce delays and enable police to spend more time investigating crimes and keeping their communities safe.


Through the Ontario Together Fund, the government is providing over $2.3 million in funding to McMaster University and University of Toronto - who are playing a critical role in the fight against COVID-19 as they research, develop and test personal protective equipment. 

  • $1,122,000 in University of Toronto to support its Dalla Lana School of Public Health’s mask testing facility to ensure N95, surgical and procedure masks meet Health Canada personal protective requirements.

  • $1,212,000 in McMaster University to accelerate the work at its newly created Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials to work with Canadian manufacturers with their R&D needs in designing, manufacturing and testing of PPE.   

Investing in Mississauga 


Ontario is providing more than $51.5 million for 12 public infrastructure projects in Mississauga through the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream (PTIS) of the Investing in Canada plan. Projects involve various upgrades to public transit infrastructure including new heated bus shelters with digital signage and new, fully accessible bus stop pads. MiWay fleet buses will undergo major rehabilitations which include the replacement of engines, transmissions, and energy storage systems that will extend the useful life of the city's bus fleet while helping reduce maintenance and operating costs. All transit buses will receive upgrades to their video monitoring and scheduling systems.

Ontario is also investing $2.9 million for two regional Transhelp public transit infrastructure projects. These projects include the replacement of existing specialized transit buses with 69 new specialized, 8-metre buses and new propane-powered buses, with side-mounted lift carrying up to six wheelchair passengers. Also, the adoption of the PRESTO electronic fare collection system including the design, planning, purchase and hardware installation of up to 145 portable, tablet-based, electronic payment units. 


Ontario is providing $375 million through the Gas Tax program to help deliver public transit services to 144 communities and more than 13 million Ontarians this year. The City of Mississauga will receive 18.9 million and the Region of Peel will get $494 598 in funding through this program, money that can be used to extend service hours, buy transit vehicles, add routes, improve accessibility or upgrade infrastructure.
Funding for the Gas Tax program is determined by the number of litres of gasoline sold in the province during the previous year. Municipalities supporting public transit services in their community receive two cents per litre of provincial gas tax revenue collected.

The Ontario government is providing police services across the province with additional tools and resources to combat crime and keep communities safe by investing approximately $181 million over two years through the Community Safety and Policing Grant (CSP) programSixteen police services will receive funding for projects that combat gun and gang violence, sexual violence and harassment, as well as human trafficking — three areas identified as provincial priorities. 

Peel Police Services Board will receive over $17.1 million in funding for their Community Mobilization ProgramDeveloped within Peel Regional Police, the Community Mobilization Program focuses on improving the lives of community members by preventing and reducing crime through community policing. Officers assigned to this program work together in small teams to identify community priorities, engage with community members, motivate community participation and increase trust.


Ontario is investing in Seniors Active Living Centres for their contributions in helping Ontario’s seniors stay socially connected during COVID-19 via virtual and remote programs. Through this funding, Mississauga-Malton's Frank McKechnie Community Centre and Malton Community Centre will be receiving nearly $54 000 respectively. 

 


Queen's Park Update


The government is extending off-peak electricity rates of 8.5c/kWh, 24/7 for all residential, small business, and farm customers until Feb, 9 2021. Changes happen automatically for electricity consumption as of January 1, 2021. 

If you're finding it difficult to pay for your electricity and natural gas bill during this time, you can apply for additional support through the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for residents (CEAP) or small businesses (CEAP-SB). To apply, contact your electricity and/or natural gas utility. 


Effective February 4, the government is providing clarity regarding pet grooming during COVID-19. Pet grooming businesses can open if they:

  • Are strictly necessary to prevent an animal from requiring foreseeable and reasonably imminent veterinary care.

  • Are providing services that an animal owner has been required to obtain pursuant to an order issued under the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act, 2019.

Pet grooming businesses may only open to provide the above-noted services if they only provide the services by appointment, permit one appointment for one animal at a time and if services are provided through curb-side pickup and drop-off of the animal.


 

As truck drivers continue to work long hours and bring essential goods into the province, the government is supporting them by improving 14 existing truck rest areas, building 10 new rest areas and adding 178 additional truck parking spaces at four existing ONroute travel plazas. 

The province is also educating the public about the signs of human trafficking and raise awareness about the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline through signs being posted at ONroute locations, rest areas, carpool lots and truck inspection stations.



Supporting the Safe Reopening of Schools


To further ensure health and safety for students and staff, Ontario has made an additional $381 million in funding available for schools. Provided under the federal Safe Return to Class Fund, this investment will be used to improve air quality and ventilation in schools, support online learning, promote student mental health and hire additional staff.

Ontario is investing $80 million for additional technological devices, such as laptops and tablets, to support school boards in getting about 160,000 additional devices province-wide.

Peel District School Board will receive over $6 million and Dufferin Peel Catholic School Board will receive nearly $3 million in funding for technological devices. 

 

Ontario is investing $10 million in immediate and new    mental health supports, including an immediate increase of $1 million in Kids Help Phone.


To support the safe re-opening of schools across the province, our government has introduced enhanced public measures to protect students and staff from COVID-19 in the classroom. These measures include:

  • Access to targeted asymptomatic testing for students and staff;
  • Mandatory masking requirement for students in Grades 1-3, and masking requirement for Grades 1-12 outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained;
  • Enhanced screening for secondary students and staff;
  • Guidance discouraging students from congregating before and after school; and,
  • Temporary certification of eligible teacher candidates who are set to graduate in 2021 to stabilize staffing levels

Peel District School Board will receive nearly $3 million for air quality and ventilation, $5 million for health & safety and $231, 755 for student transportation. Dufferin Peel Catholic School Board will receive over $1.7 million for air quality and ventilation, $2.5 million for health and safety, and $101, 433 for student transportation. 

Students in Peel will return to in-person learning on February 16 


Send in your Applications!


The province is providing a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to eligible small businesses to help cover their decreased revenue expected as a result of the Province-wide Shutdown. This grant also provides flexibility for small business owners so that they can spend it however makes the most sense for their businesses (e.g. paying rent, paying employee wages, maintaining inventory, etc.).

Eligible small businesses include those that are required to close or restrict services subject to the Provincewide Shutdown effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26, 2020; have 100 employees or fewer at the enterprise level; and have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019. New businesses established since April 2019 will also be eligible provided they meet the other eligibility criteria.

To apply, click here  www.ontario.ca/COVIDsupport 

 

 

The government has expanded the list of health care providers eligible to administer COVID-19 vaccines. This could include nurse practitioners, registered nurses and registered practical nurses, along with pharmacists, pharmacy students, interns and pharmacy technicians. Health care professionals who are able to administer the vaccine can register and apply through Ontario's Matching Portal.

Individuals interested in supporting the broader COVID-19 vaccination plan in roles such as data entry and scheduling, can also express their interest through the portal. 

 

 

 


The Ontario government is investing $4.5 million in 2021-2022 to help protect and recover plants and animals that are in danger of disappearing in the province.

The funding will be provided to non-profit organizations, Indigenous communities, conservation authorities, and other groups/individuals for on-the-ground projects through the Species at Risk Stewardship Program that help preserve species at risk and their habitats.

Applications for the 2021-2022 program are open until February 9, 2021 at 3 pm. If you or someone you know wants to at risk species, click here to apply.



The government is investing up to $3 million to support Ontario’s horse experience businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions through the new Equine Hardship Program. The program will provide individual businesses offering horse related experiences up to $2,500 per horse and up to a maximum of $20,000 in financial support to help cover direct costs for feed, water, veterinary care and farrier services needed to maintain horses.

To learn more and apply for the program, click here.



Support for Learners - Applications Due Next Week!


Ontario's Support for Learners program has been launched to help families with kids in online learning.  The program provides $200 one-time payment for kids to grade 12 or $250 for kids with special needs till age 21. Application are due on Feb 8th, 2021, click here to apply

 

If you have applied and have not received the payment as of yet, please feel free to call our office at 905 696 0367 or email us at [email protected], we'll be glad to connect with the Ministry and help you. 


Mental Health - Let's Talk about it 


January 28th marks Bell Let's talk day, an annual campaign which helps raise awareness about mental health by focusing on fighting stigmas around mental illness, improving access to care, supporting world-class research and leading by example at workplace mental health.

Data shows that almost 30% of Ontarians will experience a mental health or addiction problem during the course of their lives. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 38% of Canadians say their mental health has declined due to COVID-19, and people already struggling with their mental health were twice as more likely to say their mental health has declined due to the pandemic. In positive news, 83% of Canadians now say they are comfortable speaking with others about mental health. Let's continue to end the stigma around mental illness and talk about our mental health. 

 It's important to remember, you are not alone. There is always someone to listen to your feelings and services available to support your journey to mental wellness during and after these unprecedented times. Whether you're a youth, adult or senior, below are services available to support your mental well being.

 


Support for Youth and Adults 

If you're a child or a youth and would like to speak to someone about your mental health, call the Kids Help Phone line at 1-800-668-6868

If you're an adult or a youth experiencing feelings of anxiety or depression or anger, Ontario's Bounce Back program is providing free, guided mental health support. Services include workbooks, activities and videos to help you through your journey towards mental wellness. Visit https://bouncebackontario.ca to access supports. You can also speak with a mental health coach by calling 1-866-345-0224.  

Adults can also Text WELLNESS to 686868 to chat with a volunteer crisis responder 24/7. 

 

Support for Frontline Workers

If you're a frontline health care worker facing anxiety, burnout or post-traumatic stress disorder during COVID-19, find out if Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is right for you.

Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) is a practical, short-term program delivered online. It can also help you cope with situations related to COVID-19, such as isolation, pressure caring for family and community members, information overload and stress.

Supports include self-referral, online peer discussion groups & access to confidential support from a clinician. Click here for more information  

 

 

Support for Seniors

Ontario is investing $12 million to add new mental health beds in hospitals and to expand programs that support the mental health and well-being of seniors in Ontario. This includes $10.9 million to create additional 46 in-patient mental health beds in 16 hospitals. Through this funding, Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga has received $934,400 for 4 beds.

This investment will directly support patients experiencing mental health challenges, including those experiencing a mental health crisis that require treatment and care more appropriately provided in a hospital setting.

Enhanced support is also being provided to the Seniors Safety Line with an additional investment of up to $130,000. If you need help with a case of senior abuse, call the 24/7, confidential line by dialing 1-866-299-1011.


Mississauga Malton Youth Council Update 


 

 

The Mississauga-Malton Youth Council is beginning to roll out their projects in the coming weeks. The chosen projects for the 2021 year include a Financial Literacy Webinar, Mental Health Week, a community issues podcast, and social media accounts directed at ensuring youth are in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines.

The group has begun to roll out their social media accounts, so do follow them at mmc_yc on Twitter/Instagram, or on Facebook

 

 

 


Connecting Virtually


On January 12, I hosted a community roundtable on the impacts of online learning and working on families in Mississauga-Malton. Joined by Ontario's Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, we discussed the science behind youth cognitive development, as well as highlighting funding towards mental health supports and for purchasing connectivity devices for students. I thank all the parents and students for sharing their experiences of being virtual at home and for supporting each other during this time.

On January 19, I had the pleasure of virtually meeting students from St. Francis Xavier Secondary School. These bright and inspiring youth who are members of the school's Model Parliament club, were full of energy and thought provoking questions. Watch out for these incredible young women and men - our leaders of today and tomorrow!

 


Read my Monthly Mississauga News Column 


   


COVID-19 Update 


Under the current stay-at-home order, all Ontarians are required to stay at home with exceptions for essential permitted purposes or activities, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work where the work cannot be done remotely. Additional restrictions include: 

Outdoor Gatherings: outdoor organized public events and gatherings limited to 5 people

Masking: Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering indoors in public spaces. Face coverings outdoors are recommended if you're within 2 m of someone outside your household. 

Retail: All non-essential retail stores, including hardware and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m.  

EnforcementIndividuals can either be issued a ticket for a set fine amount established by the Ontario Chief Justice. 

  • In response to the reduction in COVID19 vaccine supply, Ontario continues to administer first doses to residents in each long-term care, high-risk retirement, and First Nations elder care home, with an updated goal for completion of February 10. 
  • The government is taking immediate action to ensure all Ontarians are protected from the UK variant of the COVID-19 and its other strains that are being detected outside of Canada by implementing a six-point plan to stop spread of COVID-19 variants
  • The plan includes mandatory testing of travellers at Toronto Pearson International Airport, enhanced screening and sequencing, maintaining public health measures, strengthening case and contact management, enhancing protections for vulnerable populations and leveraging data. 
  • To help people safely isolate and keep their families safe, the government is investing $42 million which is providing 1,525 additional beds for safe isolation with 840 beds in Peel
  •  If you're experiencing symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19 and do not have a separate room or place to self-isolate safely, there are free, private units available in Peel and Mississauga. Free transportation, meals, and on-site medical support is provided while you're isolating.
  •  For more information visit click here  or call Peel Region Human Services at 905-281-1269 to sign up or get more details about the program. 
  • On January 16 and 17, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Trade and Skills Development launched a Big Box Blitz in the province to ensure compliance with COVID-19 safety requirements. To date, inspectors have visited 1,000 stores with 243 visits and 23 total tickets issued in regions including Peel. 
  • Officers will also be promoting and enforcing COVID Safety requirements during breaks, in lunchrooms and in work vehicles. If you're an employer, click here to learn more about controlling exposure to COVID-19 at break times.


COVID-19 Testing Near You



 

Metrolinx Update 


The Eglinton Crosstown West Extension (ECWE) is one of four new subway projects that will transform transit in our region. To support the design and construction planning for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, there will be utility work and investigative drilling happenin at Eglinton Ave. W., between Renforth Dr. and Commerce Blvd. Work begins this month and will take approximately 1-2-weeks to complete. 

Hours of Work

  • Work can occur between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m, Monday to Friday.
  • Work may be rescheduled due to weather conditions or unforeseen circumstances.

What to Expect 

  • Residents nearby can expect to hear noise caused by a drill rig, trucks and other equipment.
  • Work equipment may be left onsite until the work is completed.

Traffic and Pedestrian Impacts 

  • During construction hours for the utility work, lane reductions and pedestrian detours maybe required. No traffic or pedestrian impacts are anticipated for borehole work.
  • Every effort will be made to minimize disruptions and expedite work

Upcoming Events 


While it's tough not being able to meet physically due to COVID-19, we can continue to celebrate our annual traditions virtually and re-kindle the bonds that make our community so strong and unique. I'm excited to share that your community office of Mississauga-Malton will be hosting it's 3rd Annual Paint Night on February 13th, 2021.
With Family Day and Valentine’s Day approaching, what can be a better time to come together with our loved ones, connect with fellow neighbours, and cherish the moments.

 

Are you a food and beverage manufacturer looking to expand your reach to new markets? If so, Ontario's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs will be holding a webinar with great tips from industry experts and trade commissioners on how you can successfully expand to the Netherlands and Germany.  

Topics include new and upcoming food trends, the free trade agreement, doing business in a post-COVID-19 world, and opportunities for you as an Ontario supplier. The webinar will take place on February 10th at 10 am.

 

 

 

 

 


Share your Feedback!


 2021 Budget Consultation 

 

Ontario's 2020 budget is part of a three-year plan that provides resources to protect and support Ontarians during the COVID-19 pandemic, while laying the groundwork for a strong recovery fueled by economic growth. Leading up to the spring 2021 Budget, the government will be consulting with individuals across the province to hear ideas on how to continue supporting workers, families and business owners during COVID-19 . 

Participate in the online 2021 budget consultation by sharing your ideas via email, mail or through an online survey by February 12. 

Have thoughts on Digital ID? 


The government has launched consultations on it's new Digital ID program. Through this program, families  and businesses in Ontario will have the option to securely and conveniently prove their identity online for government and private sector services. For example, a parent could more easily access their children's immunization records and share them online with their school.

Public Consultations for the Digital ID are now open. Take a online survey to share your thoughts about this new program. Surveys are open until 11:59 p.m. February 26, 2021.

Increasing Campus Safety 

 

The government is proposing changes to sexual violence and harassment policies at postsecondary institutions. This would require two changes: protecting complainants from irrelevant questioning about their sexual history and ensuring they're not subject to disciplinary actions for violating an institution's drug and alcohol use policies at the time an alleged sexual violence took place.

To provide your feedback or comments on this proposal, click here.