March 2021 E-Newsletter

Message from Your MPP 


Dear Neighbours,

We are officially in the month of March and it is hard to believe we will be marking one year since the start of the pandemic in Ontario. As we look back at our ongoing journey through COVID-19, it is evident that our individual and collective self-sacrifices are making a difference. On February 17, the province reported daily cases under 1000, the first time since October 2020. On March 1, the Region of Peel opened the first of its three mass vaccination clinics in Mississauga at University of Toronto Mississauga's Wellness Clinic. As of March 5, more than 820,714 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario, the most among all Canadian provinces.

While this last year has been extraordinarily unique, the resilience and spirit demonstrated by all Ontarians has been remarkable. I’m sure we’re all feeling fatigued and restless, but I want to stress that we must remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19 and its variants. Let's continue to keep up our self-discipline and hard work and follow all public health guidelines. 

I would also like to wish all daughters, mothers, aunts, and grandmothers a very happy International Women’s Day. On March 8, we celebrate the social, economic, political, and cultural achievements of women worldwide, while also recognizing the strength, determination, and vibrancy that they display on a daily basis.  I, for one, am proud to say that over the last 4 years, 29% more women have enrolled in Ontario’s STEM programs. I #ChoosetoChallenge each of you to thank the women in your life for the role that they play in making our world a better place. Share a photo of how you're safely celebrating International Women's Day 2021 at [email protected]

I also encourage all of you to take socially distanced walks along some of our pristine neighbourhood trails. Even brief 30 minute walks have been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, improve self-esteem, lower stress levels, and offer a better night’s rest. Changing little habits in our daily routines is just one way we can get over our state of fatigue, and help our physical and mental well-being.

Spring is just around the corner!

Sincerely,


Investing in Ontario 


Ontario is investing $115 million to train up to 8,200 new personal support workers for Ontario’s health and long-term care sectors. Nearly 2,200 students will be eligible to receive a $2,000 tuition grant to help them complete their studies, as well as a stipend to complete the clinical placement part of their training.

Registration for the program will be available through the Ontario College Application Service.


Ontario has launched a two-year $115 million Skills Development Fund for employers, apprenticeship training delivery agents, unions, post-secondary institutions, community organizations. The fund is designed to help reduce obstacles to hiring, training and retaining during COVID-19 while preparing workers for the province's economic recovery. 

Submissions for the fund closed on February 28, 2021. 


The government is investing $23.5 million over the next five years to help the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation improve quality of life for seniors living with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

The funding will support innovative research and programs to help seniors with brain health related issues live at home longer and reduce the cost of care delivery.


The government is investing $12 million over the next 3 years to support the Greenbelt Foundation’s ongoing work to protect the Greenbelt in the Golden Horseshoe region. 

The projects delivered through this funding will focus on planting trees to increase natural cover, enhancing recreational opportunities for people to experience nature, and maintaining and enhancing green infrastructure and climate resilience.


The government is investing $7 million towards mental health and addiction services for postsecondary students.

The funding will provide supports for students on-campus and online and can be used to address the needs of vulnerable groups including Indigenous students, LGBTQ students and students with disabilities.


The government is investing $6.48 million to strengthen mental health and addiction supports for victims, front-line workers, Indigenous families and youth in the justice system.

The funding will allow victim assistance organizations to hire more staff, provide safe housing and mental health services for First Nations youth and families while helping community organizations provide COVID-19 emergency services.


The Ontario government is investing more than $4.8 million to upgrade broadband at public libraries in unserved and underserved communities. The investment will provide greater community access to education and vital services, while creating more economic opportunity for residents.

As a first step in the broadband upgrade process, site surveys and assessments will be conducted to identify eligible library branches, with priority given to those with inadequate broadband located within 5 km of a secondary school.


The government is investing over $4.1 million to help train 373 new Personal Support Workers (PSWs) and providing them with additional health and safety resources. This includes $3,921,644 in funding for 8 PSW training projects and 373 participants expected to benefit from these projects

  • $295,500 for Canadore College
  • $941,000 for the Canadian Career Academy of Business & Technology Inc Renfrew Counties
  • $265,810 to Mohawk College of Applied Arts & Technology

The government is investing $1.2 million over three years to help young Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned tech start-ups access the resources and tools they need to succeed in the province's changing economy.

The funding will be provided through Ryerson University DMZ's Black Innovation Programs, which support Black-led businesses by connecting them with customers, capital, experts and a community of entrepreneurs and influencers. 


The Ontario government is investing up to $2.6 million over two years through the Safer and Vital Communities (SVC) grant to help communities combat hate-motivated crime. The funding will help 26 community-based, not-for-profit organizations and First Nations Chiefs and Band Councils, in collaboration with their police partners, implement local projects that tackle discrimination, foster greater inclusiveness and address the increase of police-reported hate crime.

We are investing $2.5M in Face Drive Health to accelerate the deployment & production of its innovative wearable contact tracing technology, TraceSCAN. This will help keep workplaces safe from COVID-19 and create made-in-Ontario jobs.

The government is providing up to $2 million in additional funding to extend the Build Back Better pilot project through 2023 and help eligible municipalities rebuild infrastructure damaged by extreme weather to a higher standard.

This investment is part of Ontario's Municipal Recovery Assistance (MDRA) program and will better protect communities from the impacts of natural disasters.


The Government of Ontario is providing up to $118,500 to develop COVID-19 resources for the health and safety of temporary foreign workers and employees in the agri-food sector.

The new resources, will be designed by the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association in different languages and distributed to farms, greenhouses and food processing operations across Ontario.


Investing in Mississauga 


The government is providing $150 million in additional funding to help municipal transit systems address the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Through this investment, Mississauga will receive $30.4 million, ensuring reliable and flexible public transit access for all residents. 


As part of Ontario's ongoing efforts to build and improve local schools, the province is providing Peel District School Board $860,000 to  to tender a major retrofit to Brandon Gate Public School.

This critical investment will improve the learning environment for the students of Mississauga. Additionally, the project is part of Ontario's capital investment program to support students with better learning spaces.


As part of the Safer and Vital Communities Grant, the Council of Agencies serving South Asians will receive $110 000 to establish a consistent hate crime reporting approach in regions including Peel.

The project will focus on increasing community awareness on how to identify hate crimes and the safe methods of reporting them. The project also involves training Peel Regional police staff on how to work with racialized communities to report and address hate crimes and build solid relationships with communities.


The government is investing up to $4.5 million through the Seniors Community Grant program to support over 180 diverse community projects. These projects are helping older adults stay connected with their communities during COVID-19 through virtual programming to help older adults maintain their physical, mental and social well-being. 

Through this funding, Mississauga-Malton organizations supporting the health and well-being of seniors during the pandemic have received a total of $72, 777 in funding. Specifically, Family Services of Peel has received $24,525, Sai Dham Food Bank has received $23, 652 and Rameshwar Mandir & Cultural Sabha Inc. has received $24, 600. 


Ontario is investing more than $7 million in 87 local and virtual events and initiatives through the Reconnect Festival and Event Program. The program is helping municipalities and organizations deliver innovative and safe experiences that allow them to reconnect with their communities during COVID-19.

Through this funding, Mississauga Malton’s Carassauga Festival Inc. will receive $20,750 for their event Cooking with Carassuaga. This free, online event features cooking classes, cooking demonstrations from local chefs showcasing food from around the world, along with live virtual classes.


Queen's Park Update 


Closure of Campgrounds 

The province is extending the temporary closure of campground and backcountry campsites and roofed accommodations, like cabins, yurts and cottages in Ontario Parks to March 8

Ontario Parks remain open and continue to provide facilities and services for local and safe outdoor day-use activities like walking, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and skating at over 30 provincial parks. COVID-19 measures, modifications and restrictions will apply.

Limit for Small Estates 

On Feb 12, Ontario announced new changes to help simplify the process of applying to manage small estates. 

Setting the limit for a small estate at $150,000 and removing the requirement to post a bond in most small estate probate applications effective April 1.

 

 

 

Moving March Break

 

On February 11, the government announced that March break will be postponed until April 12-16, 2021.

This decision, that is based on the advice of health experts, is to limit opportunities for congregation and ensure classrooms remain open for learning.

 

 

 

Supporting the Mental Health of

First Responders 


Ontario is establishing 4 new mental health collaborative tables to better support the mental health and well-being of policing, fire, corrections, and paramedic services personnel.

The tables will help inform actions to change behaviours that stigmatize those struggling with mental health challenges, achieve a healthier work-life balance, promote mental health resiliency, and build awareness of supports, treatments and recovery options.

 

 

 

 

 

Supporting Families and the Child Care Sector 

On March 8, regulatory amendments that support working families and improve the child care and early years sector will take into effect. 

The regulatory amendments, which take effect on March 8, 2021, will:

  • Exempt certain authorized recreational providers from their three-hour operating limit.

  • Enhance health and safety protections in licenced child care settings 

  • Reduce regulatory burdens on child care operators. This includes no longer requiring licensees to seek ministry approval for children 44 months and up to bring their own meals from home.

 


Send in Your Applications!


Summer Job Opportunities for Students 

Ontario’s Minister of Government and Consumer Services has officially launched the 2021 Summer Employment Opportunities program. The program will provide up to 5,000 students or recent graduates with jobs in Ontario’s public service.

The Summer Employment Opportunities are full-time, temporary positions ranging from 7 – 18 weeks between May and September. Through the annual program, young Ontarians can gain valuable work experience, learn new skills and trades all while cultivating new friendships.

Applications are now open at: Ontario.ca/SummerStudents. The first closing date is March 10, 2021, with closing dates staggered until June 1, 2021.

 

Ontario Small Business Support Grant - Expanded

 

On Feb 16, Ontario expanded the number of small businesses that can apply for the Main Street Relief Grant from 2-9 to 2 to 19 employees in all eligible sectors – including the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector.  

 Mississauga small businesses have received $61,711,199 in total funding through the grant. This one-time grant is for small businesses facing difficulties due to the recent shutdown, helping them to pay rent, employee wages, maintain inventory and other expenses. To apply for the grant visit Ontario.ca/COVIDSupport.

If you have applied for the grant, you can check for a status update here


Support for Black Entrepreneurs 

The Black Innovation Programs, now in their second year, support Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned tech start-ups with resources including skills development workshops, sales and marketing training, mentorships, and dedicated workspaces.

The program also helps businesses access advice from industry experts on how to attract investors, expand revenue growth and market their product to wider audiences.

Click here to Enroll


Legislative Affairs 


The Protecting Ontario Elections Act, 2021

 

On Feb 25, the Attorney General of Ontario introduced the Protecting Ontario Elections Act to make it easier and safer to participate in provincial elections and ensure Ontarians remain at the centre of the elector process. If passed, the act will:

  • increase advance polling days from 5 to 10 in a COVID-19 environment

  • Double the amount individuals can donate to a candidate, constituency association, leadership contestant or party from $1,650 to $3,300 per year. 

  • Guard Ontarians from irregular camping spending and outside influence and interference

  • Clarify the rules that allow Members of Provincial Parliament to maintain individual social media accounts before, during and after a writ period

Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy Act, 2021 & the Accommodation Sector Registration of Guests Act, 2021

On Feb 22, also know as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, the government introduced new legislation and amendments to existing legislation,  reinforcing Ontario's commitment to fight human trafficking and continued leadership in responding to this pervasive crime. The proposed changes: 

  • Support a long-term provincial response to human trafficking

  • Strengthen the ability of children's aid societies and law enforcement to protect children

  • Support more survivors in obtaining restraining orders against traffickers

  • Increase the government's ability to collect non-personal data to understand and respond to human trafficking

  • Provide law enforcement with more tools to locate victims and charge traffickers.  

Accelerating Access to Justice Act, 2021

 

On Feb 16, the Attorney General of Ontario introduced legislation to improve access to justice for all Ontarians. The act proposes to modernize processes and barriers in provincial courts, tribunals, estates law, family law and child protection sectors. In particular, the act would:

  • Help fill judicial vacancies faster and encouraging more lawyers to apply by moving the applications process online
  • Permanently allow the virtual witnessing of wills and powers of attorney,
  • Give children a greater voice in the court process
  • Expand and guarantee the ability of Francophones to file documents in French at all Ontario courthouses
Click Here to Read about Current Bills

Bill 231, Protecting Ontarians by Enhancing Gas Station Safety to Prevent Gas and Dash Act Update


Gas And Dash continues to put our communities at risk, while harming gas station workers and innocent bystanders. The amount of cases in Ontario has quadrupled in the last 10 years, jeopardizing everyone's safety. Bill 231, one of my recent legislative priorities, intends to eliminate this 100% preventable crime, by introducing phased mandatory fuel prepayment as seen successfully in Alberta and British Columbia. Let’s protect the safety and security of all Ontarians and put into action Bill231.

To sign a petition and help legislate Bill 231, please contact our community office at 905-696-0367 or send an email to [email protected]

 


COVID-19 High Priority Testing 


On February 3, I joined the Premier of Ontario and the Solicitor General for an update on Toronto Pearson International Airport's mandatory testing program. With COVID-19 variants a major concern, it's imperative that we protect our borders and prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

On February 1, the province mandated on-arrival testing for international travellers at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Thank you to all the health care workers and partners for carrying out testing procedures and protecting Ontarians and travellers. 


COVID-19 Update


  • Effective March 8, the Region of Peel will be transitioning out of the stay-at-home order and into Ontario's revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework at the Grey-Lockdown Level

  • Ontario is introducing an "emergency brake" to allow the Chief Medical Officer of Health, in consultation with the local medical officer of health, to immediately advise moving a region into Grey-Lockdown to interrupt transmission.

  • Applicants living in a region subject to  Grey-Lockdown zone may not book an in-person road test at a DriveTest centre in another region. If you live in a region that is subject to the Stay-at-Home order, or is in the Grey (Lockdown) level, and try to attend a DriveTest location for a road test outside of your COVID-19 level, you will be turned away.


Rapid Testing

 

  • Ontario has continued to be a national leader in testing. To-date, we have completed over 10 million COVID-19 tests.

  • Ontario is deploying rapid test kits to more essential workplaces and sectors to quickly identify and help stop the spread of COVID-19. 

  • The province has deployed approximately two million rapid antigen tests and 175,000 rapid diagnostic tests to essential workplaces and highly vulnerable settings. At scale, the province will be deploying approximately one million tests per week across targeted sectors.

    • Rapid tests are now being used in long-term care homes, retirement homes, congregate care settings, First Nations communities and many essential workplaces including manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain, constructions and food processing.


 Vaccine Update - Moving to Phase 2 


Quick Facts

  • 820,714 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to date. Click here for daily vaccination updates. 

  • On February 26 HealthCanada approved AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccines. These vaccines can be kept at refrigerated temperatures for at least 6 months, helping Ontario and all provinces and territories accelerate the vaccine rollout to more residents. 

  • On March 5, Health Canada authorized the first one-shot COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnsonmaking it the fourth vaccine that can be administered to Canadians.

  • The Region of Peel has opened 3 mass vaccination clinics in Mississauga for high priority populations. These clinics include University of Toronto Mississauga's Wellness Clinic, The International Centre, Paramount Fine Foods Centre's Field House.

  • Currently vaccination appointments for residents over 80 years old will be directly booked by hospital partners based on availability. 


Keeping Workplaces Safe 


Inspections Blitz in Peel Region 

 

To protect employees in the warehousing and distribution sector in Peel from COVID-19, the government has launched an inspection blitz. These inspections are focusing on adherence to COVID-19 safety requirements, including physical distancing, screening, masking and the need to have a safety plan to keep everyone at work safe.

In the most recent two-week campaign in Peel Region, inspectors visited 208 warehouses and distribution centres and issued 26 tickets. The most common areas of non-compliance were related to safety plans, screening and masking.

Safety Resources at Work

The government has also made sector-specific workplace COVID-19 safety fact sheets, guides and posters available at Ontario.ca/covidsafety. These include multilingual tip sheets for employers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bullying Ends Here 



Feb 24 marked Pink Shirt Day, a story of a student who was bullied for wearing a pink t-shirt on his first day of high school. According to a 2019 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health study in Ontario, 22% of students reported being bullied over the internet in the past year while 11% of students reported bullying others over the internet in the past year. 

Pink Shirt Day, however, is also a story of students who encouraged everyone in their school to wear pink and stand in solidarity with the grade 9 student being bullied. It's important that we all follow in the footsteps of these inspiring youth and challenge bullying and harassment of any kind. 

If you are a victim of bullying or know someone who is, call the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 for support. Let's take a stand against bullying and treat everyone with dignity and respect. 


Dry February 


Last month was “Dry Feb”, a challenge to go alcohol-free for 28 days and raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Did you know 1 in 3 Canadians are aware of the link between alcohol and an increased risk of cancer? In fact, excessive drinking habits impair the body’s ability to absorb nutrients associated with cancer risk.

Going dry, however, means you’ll have healthier skin, better sleep, more energy, and above all, a feeling of accomplishment. I encourage you to try going dry for a month or for a timeframe that's realistic to you. You can also join the fight against cancer by visiting dryfeb.ca and learning more about this cause. 


Staying Warm 


The Region of Peel's Street Outreach program ensure those suffering from homelessness are protected from the bitter cold and have access to housing. Their team consists of both a 24/7 Street Helpline and mobile outreach groups providing on-site supports including:

  • access to shelter
  • COVID-19 prevention services
  •  medical services and urgent supplies (e.g. food, clothes, and blankets)
  • connection to other supportive programs, including mental health, addiction, and employment services

If you see someone shivering and or struggling on the street, please call the Street Outreach Team at 1-877-848-8481. Let’s do our part to bring warmth and safety to everyone in this cold weather.  


Connecting Virtually 


Ontario Meets Government of Punjab  

On February 5, I was pleased to join Ontario's Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, MPP for Mississauga-Streetsville with the Government of Punjab. We discussed the strong trade & investment relationship between Ontario &
Punjab and reinforced connections that encourage economic recovery from
COVID-19.

 

 


Townhall for Places of Worship 

 

On February 18, I had a productive consultation with faith leaders in Mississauga-Malton who are playing an essential role by bringing the community together through virtual services. Our government will continue working with places of worship on a re-opening plan that will keep staff and devotees safe and connected.

Contact your local place of worship to see what virtual services are available to support you and the community. 

 

 

 

Monthly Initiatives 


Mississauga-Malton's 3rd Annual Paint Night 

On February 13, Mississauga-Malton families joined me in celebrating our 3rd Annual Family Day Paint Night! We were also joined by a series of special guests, including the Premier of Ontario, the Minister of Education, the Minister of Government and Consumer Services, the Minister of Jobs, Training and Skills Development, and finally the Associate Minister of Children and Womens’ Issues. This year was unique in that we had our wonderful Community Ambassadors provide all the free paint kits and canvasses to residents via contactless delivery.

A huge thanks goes out to local artists Celia Wilson and Viraj Ponkshe, who guided participants with their expert advice. In the time of COVID, it was truly heart-warming to see everyone spread laughter and cheers, all while meeting new friends and neighbours. I look forward to welcoming even more of you at Mississauga-Malton's Paint Night event next year!


Seniors' Fun Hour 


 On February 3, I was pleased to join Mississauga-Malton's seniors and communities for a Seniors' Fun Hour. We accompanied by Ontario's Minister of Seniors' Accessibility who shared the benefits of laughter therapy, especially during COVID-19. Big shoutout to our amazing seniors for doing a great job in creating Origami animals with the help of Vidhya Raj from Malton Women Council and continuing the traditions of laugh, fun and well-being during these unique times. 


Black History Month Celebration


 
As part of our Black History Month celebration, I joined emerging Black entrepreneurs and small businesses from Mississauga-Malton for an engaging and meaningful conversation. It was truly inspiring listening to the experiences of these leaders and seeing their dedication and hard work to fulfill their dreams.
Thank you to Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development for providing valuable information about how workers can upscale and acquire new skills through programs such as Ontario's Pre-apprenticeship Training program. Shoutout to representatives from Royal Bank of Canada for highlighting supports available for Black small businesses and youth. 
I was also pleased to join Malton Neighbourhood Services, Peel Children's Aid Society and Malton Black Development Association for their Black History Month celebrations during the month of February. 

Mississauga-Malton Youth Council Update 


The Mississauga-Malton Constituency Youth Council is very excited to be making tangible progress on all their projects. Please show your support by listening to the first three episodes of their podcast, including a special episode with the interns from the Ontario Legislative Internship Program (OLIP). 
The Council's COVID-19 youth-focused education & awareness videos are set to be published on YouTube in two weeks. 
The Youth Council also had a very productive discussion with MPP Anand regarding what issues they felt were affecting them the most. These issues included OSAP, youth unemployment, and mental health supports. 
If you want to support our Mississauga-Malton youth, you can follow the MMCYC on

Ready my Monthly Mississauga News Column 


 


Out and About in the Community


Impressed to meet Halena Lekkas, a ten-year-old girl who took the initiative to raise over $9,000 for Food4Kids in Mississauga. Big shoutout to her parents for nurturing her values and helping her to realize her dreams

Meeting with members from Architectural Conservancy of Ontario  to discuss the importance of preserving heritage sites in Mississauga and across the province. Our beautiful cultural and natural landmarks play a vital role in boosting tourism, supporting the economy and promoting the well-being of our communities. 

 On February 26, I had the pleasure of meeting SEVA Food Bank and Ontario Trillium Foundation. Thank you to the foundation for providing a strategic investment of $57 200, enabling the food bank to support the 40% increase in new families accessing the food bank for the first time this last year. 

Celebrating Hurricane Hazel's 100th birthday with Mississauga MPP colleagues with the former Mississauga Mayor. Her thoughts and actions are an inspiration for many Ontarians, including myself. 

Join Peel Children's Aid Society to celebrate the anniversary of Akoma’s Wraparound Service, which ensures Black, African, and Caribbean families and youth in Ontario have the resources and support they need to grow and succeed.

At Four Corner Health Centre with the Premier of Ontario and Frank, part of the security team at Westwood Square. The teams at Four Corners are helping us support harder-hit communities by delivering testing, PPE & important health materials in many languages. 

Visiting Guru Lakshmi Restaurant in Mississauga-Malton on Super Bowl Sunday. I encourage you to continue supporting local restaurants and businesses through takeout services, curbside pick-up and by shopping online. 

Wonderful to join Malton Black Development Association's Black History Month Celebration. Honoured to be invited to an amazing platform for the community to participate in exciting contests, presentations, and trivia games that celebrate the rich heritage of Black Canadians.

Inspiring to meet Malton resident and champion, Maranda Bacchus with Karen O'Rourke. Last year, Maranda started the Give Back Initiative, sending backpacks along with school supplies and PPE to students up to grade 12 living in Malton. 

Celebrating Mississauga-Malton's 3rd Annual Paint Night with the Premier of Ontario and Ministerial colleagues on Family Day.

Pleasure speaking with Peel Police Services Board's recently appointed Chair, Ahmad Attia. We had a productive conversation about issues impacting Mississauga Malton. 


Your Feedback Matters

On Feb 17, the government launched a 60-day consultation to grow Ontario’s Greenbelt and help protect more farmlands, forests, wetlands and watersheds from future development. In particular, the government is seeking public input on how best to grow the size and quality of the Greenbelt, including:

  • the Paris Galt Moraine
  • protecting urban river valleys, and increasing the Greenbelt's footprint into high density urban areas

I encourage you to share your thoughts on how we can further protect our environment. Send in your comments via email at [email protected] or submitting a comment on the Environmental Registry of Ontario by April 19, 2021.

 


Upcoming Events




Join Mississauga-Malton's Community Ambassador Program



COVID-19 Vaccination Notifications