This eNewsletter is the best way that I can communicate updates to the community. Please share it with your friends, family, and neighbours, and encourage them to sign up to get these updates directly. There's new information coming out constantly, and I want to ensure that everyone stays up to date.
Earlier this week, Mayor Tory announced that all non-essential city staff would be sent home in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. While critical and emergency services continue to function, the reduction in non-essential city staff will inhibit my office's ability to answer many of your non-emergency questions. I would ask for your patience during these unprecedented times.
There are a number of informative resources available online to help assist you with questions that you may have, and I would encourage you to use these resources as your first point of contact for any inquires.
Mayor Tory has announced a 60-day grace period for property tax and utility bill payments for residents and businesses, retroactive to March 16, 2020. The City will be suspending any pending automated withdrawals that have been scheduled within the next 60-day period but not yet withdrawn. More information is available here.
Working to help essential service workers with child care options; vulnerable residents such as seniors; people affected by untreated trauma, mental health and addictions; people in need of housing supports and emergency food access; and people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Critical and emergency services remain operational.
Province of Ontario
Declared a State of Emergency to help contain the spread, and legally required the closure of:
- All facilities providing indoor recreational programs
- All public libraries
- All private schools as defined in the Education Act
- All licensed childcare centres
- All bars and restaurants, except those who provide takeout
- All theatres and concert venues
Support for those without paid sick leave, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children, which includes the introduction of the Emergency Care Benefit, providing $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks to those who do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
I'm sure you've been hearing the term "social distancing" a lot over the last little while, and I want to make sure that it is clear what this means. It is important that everyone is taking this seriously, and in order to do so it is important to understand what it is.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing means:
✅ Keeping 2 metres apart from others
✅ Staying home as much as possible
✅ Only going to stores for essential supplies
What social distancing is not:
❌ Arranging play dates or sleepovers for kids
❌ Visiting friends & family for coffee
❌ Attending crowded stores or events
This is a very difficult time for everyone, but it's important to remember that we're all in this together.
Check in on your friends, family, and other loved ones via phone or online platforms. This can be a lonely time for many, but it's important that we all remain connected.
We have a large senior population in Etobicoke-Lakeshore, and some of them may need your assistance. Check in on your elderly neighbours and see if there is anything that you can do to assist them such as picking up groceries or items from the drug store. Every trip that they don't have to take helps to reduce their risk of getting sick.
Please only purchase what is needed, and do not overbuy resources. When you do, that takes away from what the rest of our community members need. This is a time for our community to be united. Help each other, hoarding resources only makes these challenging times more difficult for others.
For seniors not living in a long-term care home, Seniors Services and Long-Term Care continues to provide essential support services to seniors already enrolled in their Supportive Housing program with personal care, medication reminders, and safety checks. Many community agencies offer supports to seniors including Meals on Wheels, friendly visiting, transportation to appointments, personal support, and adult day programs. Seniors and caregivers should check with the individual agencies to confirm continuity of service delivery. Call 211 (available 24/7 in 150+ languages) to obtain up-to-date information.
Other resources for seniors include:
Toronto Seniors Helpline: 416-217-2077 or 1-877-621-2077, for support and referral to services
Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) Home Care: 310-2222 (no area code required) to find out about services in their area
Distress Centres of Toronto: 416-408-4357, 416-408-HELP
Seniors Safety Line (Elder Abuse Ontario): 1-866-299-1011
Many have expressed concerns regarding the fact that some private, non-essential businesses remain open. While I believe everyone should do their part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, closing private businesses would be regulated by the Provincial Government, not the municipality.
As it stands currently, only the establishments outlined here by the Provincial Declaration of Emergency are legally required to close. However, the City's Medical Officer of Health is calling upon other non-essential services, such as hair and nail salons, and clothing stores to do their part in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and temporarily close their doors to support social distancing efforts.
I will provide any updates that I receive on this.