January 2021 E-Newsletter

Published on January 04, 2021

Message from the Desk of Your MPP

Dear Neighbours,

I wish you and your families a bright and happy New Year. As we ring in 2021 and commit ourselves to goals old and new, it's necessary to reflect on the experiences of 2020. In the words of philosopher Paul Freire, "Looking at the past must be a means of understanding more clearly what and who we are so that we can more wisely build the future."

It is difficult to consider 2020 without mentioning COVID-19 and how it has impacted our lives. The pandemic changed interactions between our loved ones, co-workers, and communities. It altered the way we mark milestones, how students engage in learning, and how businesses interact with customers. Many businesses had to slow down or close to stop the spread, leading to enormous economic impacts on our province. For many, physical distancing and self-isolation increased mental health and addiction challenges. Despite the effects, we will recover.

COVID-19 will reshape society as we move ahead. What will remain is the courage and resilience displayed by all Ontarians. Frontline heroes have risked their lives for the broader public. We’ve found innovative ways to stayed connected through technology. Small businesses, charities, and places of worship donated meals and supplies to those in need. Scientists worked across borders to develop vaccines against COVID-19 in record-breaking time. We must all share the praise.

The past year has revealed that when we come together we can meet any challenges. Moving ahead, I look forward to collaborating with you to make Mississauga-Malton a place for everyone to live and grow safely.

Let's have a healthy and prosperous New Year!

 

Sincerely,

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Investing in Ontario


Queen's Park Update 


 

Ontarians can now renew their drivers licenses online at http://ServiceOntario.ca

  • If you have a Class G or M licence, you can renew your licence online using your current driver's photo.
  • If you're a senior aged 80 or above, the province is temporarily waiving driver’s licence renewal requirements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The province is now permanently allowing licensed restaurants and bars to include alcohol with food as part of a takeout or delivery order. Additional reforms include:  

  • removing restrictive rules to allow for the delivery of alcoholic beverages in food boxes and meal kits;
  • allowing eligible alcohol manufacturers to deliver their own products and charge a delivery fee,
  • allowing restaurants and bars to offer mixed cocktails and growlers as part of a takeout or delivery order; and,
  • permitting eligible manufacturers to sell spirits and 100 per cent Ontario wine at farmers’ markets.

Starting January 1, the government is implementing a 28-day period where electricity consumption will be billed at the lowest price, the off-peak rate of 8.5 cents, 24 hours a day.

  • the off-peak price will automatically be applied to bills of all time-of-use and tiered customers.
  • this includes all residential, small business, and farm customers who pay regulated rates. 

 


A Look at Legislation 


Protect, Support, and Recover from COVID-19 (Budget Measures) Act, 2020

On December 8, Ontario’s 2020 budget received royal assent. The budget is a comprehensive annual plan outlining where and how the government will be spending money. This budget contains a total of $45 billion in support for families, communities, and small businesses, including:

  • $380 Million in cash transfers to parents ($200-$250 per young child)
  • $100 Million for skills training programs for Ontarians impacted by COVID-19
  • A Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit to make homes safer and more accessible for seniors
  • $2.6 Billion in infrastructure funding for highways and bridges
  • An additional $2.5 Billion for the hospital sector to fight the pandemic. 

 

 


Supporting Local Restaurants Act, 2020

On December 2, the government’s Supporting Local Restaurants Act, 2020 received royal assent. This act provides a financial break to many restaurants providing food delivery services by capping food delivery service fees to 15% and all delivery fees to 20%. In turn, the act will:

  • Help local restaurants stay in business
  • Protect food delivery drivers’ wages
  • Protect customer rates for restaurant food

 

 

 


Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2020

On December 8, the government’s Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2020 was passed in the legislature. This act primarily intends to reduce regulatory burdens for Ontario’s businesses while also supporting job creation for residents. In addition, it will:

  • Address gaps in intercommunity bus services, making transit better
  • Further digitize government services for citizens
  • Allow for more university opportunities for students
  • Protecting the health and safety of all Ontarians by supporting renewable and alternative fuels and emissions reduction technology
  • Requiring water bottling companies to receive support from the host municipality prior to applying for a new or increased permit to take groundwater

Safe Restart Agreement - Funding for Region of Peel 



 

 

 

 

On December 16, I had the pleasure to virtually meet the Chair of Peel Region for a very special and important announcement. The City of Mississauga will receive an additional $20.9 million and the Peel Region $20.5 million under the province's Safe Restart Agreement. The discretionary funding will be used to offset operating costs for critical services and help ensure that Mississauga and Peel do not carry an operating deficit into 2021. 

The Ontario government is allocating an additional $695 million across the province to provide financial relief for municipalities.This investment builds upon the first phase of the federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement announced this summer.

 

 

 

 

 


Send in your Applications Now


The province is investing $20 million to help small businesses jointly sponsor and train apprentices through the new Group Sponsorship Grant. The program will help group of employers see an apprentice through to completion of training and provide apprentices with the support needed to become a registered journeyperson. Organizations and employers are eligible for grants up to $1 million annually for a maximum of three years. Click here to view eligibility criteria and to apply for the program.

The Ontario Volunteer Service Awards recognize individual volunteers in the province for continuous years of commitment and dedicated service to an organization. Adults are recognized by the length of time they've volunteered with one organization, ranging from five to 65 years of continuous service. Youth (24 years old and under) are recognized for two or more years of continuous service. If you're an organization, you can nominate up to nine volunteers, with a maximum of six adults. Applications are open until January 25, click here to apply

The government has redesigned the Second Career program, which now focuses on training jobseekers for in-demand jobs in their local communities including advanced manufacturing, life sciences, information and communications, and supportive health services. The updated program will also help more people get back to work faster through shorter duration training. If you've been laid-off in one of the sectors (hospitality and food services, retail, transportation) most impacted by COVID-19 since March 1, 2020, you can apply for this program and receive up to $28 000 for tuition costs and living expenses while getting retraining for a new job. To apply for the program, book an appointment at your nearest employment services agency. 

Ontario is providing new financial support for families during the province-wide lockdown by expanding the Support for Learners program to include all secondary school students. Starting in January 2021, parents of all high school students will be eligible to receive a one-time payment of $200 to help with education expenses. Support will be available for those who attend a public or a private school or those who are homeschooled. Applications will be live starting January 11 to February 8. The application deadline for Support for Learners for children or youth aged 0 to 12 & for children or youth aged 0 to 21 with special needs is also being extended to February 8.


That's a Wrap! 


On December 15, Ontario concluded it's 2020 virtual mission to India. It is always a pleasure to take part in Ontario’s business mission to India. This is an opportunity for our business leaders from Ontario's tech, AI, and advanced manufacturing industry to sit down and build mutual partnerships with many competitive sectors from India.

Through this year’s virtual mission, Indian companies like Pack Universe and PCI have invested in our valuable expertise and will expand their business operations in the province. The mutual partnership will promote employment, sustainable development and economic growth in Ontario as we recover from COVID-19. This will translate into domestic trade and jobs right here in Mississauga and across the province.

 


Roundtable with Sports Organizations 


On December 16 and 22, I hosted a roundtable for Mississauga’s sports organizations. Sports are an integral part of Mississauga’s identity - it is why we are home to countless athletes and hundreds of sports organizations dedicated to their craft. Unfortunately, COVID-19’s effect has not left sports exempt. Coaches and sports administrators shared how their athletes, families, and the future of sporting have had to adapt. We also discussed strategies to continue supporting the sports community post-pandemic. I thank our many sports organizations and hope to continue working with them to fulfill the dreams of our athletes as safe to do so.


A Self-Isolation Guide  


If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, are waiting for COVID results or have tested positive for the virus, please remember to self-isolate. Here are some tips on how to safely self-isolate at home:

  • remember to stay at home, do not go to work, school or other public places
  • stay in a separate room, away from other people in your home and use a separate bathroom and toiletries if possible. 
  • make sure that shared rooms have good airflow (e.g. open windows).
  • keep a distance of at least 2m from household members at all times and wear a mask when you're in close contact with them.
  • stay connected socially by meeting with friends and family virtually.
If you or someone you know are in need of essential supplies such as groceries while you're self-isolating, call our community office at 905-696-0367. If you're unable to safely isolate at home, call 905-799-7700 to access Peel's COVID-19 Isolation and Recovery Program. 


Mississauga-Malton BINGO - Holiday Special 


To spread the holiday cheer during COVID-19, on Dec 10 and 17 Mississauga-Malton came together to play Holiday BINGO. We were also joined by special guests, Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues and SuperFan Nav Bhatia. These virtual bingo games, which were intially held during the summer, have been a wonderful way to stay connected with our neighbours and community members as we practice social distancing. A huge congratulations to all our winners and players, I look forward to reconnecting with you in the New Year. 


Safe Celebrations at Home 


The 2020 holiday season was different than past years, as we celebrated festivals such as Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa while maintaining social distancing with people outside of our immediate household. Despite the unique circumstances brought forward by the pandemic it did not stop Ontarians from practicing yearly traditions in safe and innovative ways. 

The most important part about the festival and holiday season is the moments we share with our loved ones, whether its in-person or virtually. I was glad come together with my family and create our own Christmas village at home, to ring in the most wonderful time of the year! I hope you also had a joyous and safe celebration with your family and loved ones. 

 

 


 Mississauga-Malton Youth Council Update 


The Mississauga-Malton Youth Council has been making excellent progress this month. In their most recent meeting, members outlined and discussed community projects which will become their focal point heading into 2021. In addition, we briefly chatted about experiences in the online learning environment. In a short time, it has been spectacular to see this group of talented and passionate youth working together to support their community. They are as excited as I am to share more details about themselves and their work which you will be able to find on their social media soon. Stay tuned for details!


Giving Back to the Community 


December 5th marks International Volunteer's Day, a global celebration of volunteers and their selfless service. Volunteers are leading social change around the world and especially during COVID-19. I would like to give a shout-out to everyone who has volunteered to help their communities during this time whether it's through delivering food supplies, fundraising for charities, donating blood or personal protective equipment. 

 

Special mention goes to the volunteers at our community office who have stepped forward this year by packing and delivering care packages for our residents. Thank you for your time and efforts. I'm reminded of a famous quote by Winston Churchill, "we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give". 

 


COVID-19 Update 


  • On December 26, 2020, Ontario issued a province-wide shutdown which will be in effect until January 9, 2021. Restrictions will remain in place from January 9 to January 23 for all 27 public health unit regions (including Peel Public Health) in Southern Ontario.  

 New School Protocols in Peel Region:

  • Elementary school students will return to in person learning on January 11

  • Secondary school students will continue learning remotely until January 25 and resume in-person learning on that date
  • During the applicable period, schools will be closed, except for staff who are unable to deliver quality remote teaching, instruction or support to students from home and to provide access for child care centres in school


Child Care Operations 

  • Child care will remain open for the duration of the Provincewide Shutdown period

  • From January 4-8, 2021, when elementary students move to remote learning, before and after school programs will be closed and emergency child care will be provided at no cost for health care and frontline workers

  • Operators of before and after school programs that are required to close are prohibited from charging fees or otherwise penalizing parents during this time period (e.g., parents must not lose their respective child care spaces

Businesses Permitted to be Open

  • Restaurants, bars and or drink establishments
    • take out, drive through, and delivery permitted only, includes sale of alcohol
  • Supermarkets, convenience stores, indoor farmer’s markets and other stores that primarily sell food are open for in-person retail
    • The number of persons occupying any room that is open to the public cannot not exceed 50% capacity of the particular room
  • Discount and big box retailers that engage in retail sales to the public and meet the following conditions:
    • Sell groceries to the public
    • Limit the number of persons occupying any room that is open to the public in the business to not exceed 25% capacity of the particular room

  • Stores that sell liquor, including beer, wine and spirits
    • Limit the number of persons occupying any room that is open to the public in the business, does not exceed 25% of the particular room. 
       
  • Additional business open under specific restrictions 

Ontario’s Vaccine Distribution Implementation Plan


 

  • On December 15, the province began the first phase of its vaccine distribution implementation plan which includes the vaccination of over 2,500 health care workers.

    • Ontario is expected to receive 90,000 additional doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine through January 2021 which is being distributed to 17 hospitals, including Trillium Health Partners and William Osler Health System.


       

      Anita Quidangen became the first person in Ontario and Canada to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Anita is a personal support worker at a long-term care home in Toronto and one of many frontline heroes who continue to provide care for our most vulnerable.

      Tamara Dus (on the left), Director of Health Services at UHN, was the first in Canada to give the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

       

      Peel Region's first COVID-19 vaccine was administered to Bella Rego, a registered nurse at Camilla Care Community, a Mississauga long-term care home hard-hit during the first-wave of the pandemic.

      The vaccine was given by Nasha Zaheer, a registered nurse who has been on the front lines since the very beginning in March, working in the first dedicated COVID-19 unit at Trillium Health Partners.  

       

       


  • The government has released an Ethical Framework for COVID-19 vaccine distribution which is developed in parternship with the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force. The framework is critical for ethical and effective distribution and will help to promote consistency, stewardship, accountability, and public trust.

    • The Ethical Framework includes the following principles to guide COVID-19 vaccine distribution:


Read my Monthly Mississauga News Column 


   

 

 

Your Feedback Matters 


Ontario’s heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries were among the first and hardest hit by the pandemic and are expected to take the longest to recover. To support their recovery, our government is calling all partners in the heritage, tourism, sports, and arts and culture sectors for their feedback on a White Paper that will inform the development of a strategic five-year plan – to be released in spring 2021. Do send in your suggestions to [email protected]  

 

Ontario has released a survey to gather feedback from the public on their experiences with the towing industry. The survey will remain open for five weeks until January 15, 2021. Input from the survey will be used to help inform the development of a provincial oversight model that will increase safety, outline protections for consumers, improve towing industry standards and consider tougher penalties for violators. The survey will remain open until January 15, 2021, click here to participate in the conversation.