It is an anxious time for our community and people across Ontario as we respond to the unfolding COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
My team and I are working to put together the latest public health advisories from reliable sources as well as information on local programs and supports available in our Scarborough Southwest community. Let's look out for our neighbours - we are all in this together.
This page will be updated regularly. Please share any local resources that you come across by emailing DBegum-QP@ndp.on.ca so that we can include them.
The latest updates from the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Find out how to protect yourself, what to do if you’re sick and how to recognize possible symptoms at ontario.ca/coronavirus
- On March 19, MPPs passed emergency legislation in response to COVID-19. While there is still much more to do, this first step will guarantee job-protected leave for COVID-19 related absenses and ensure that pharmacies and grocery stores can remain well supplied. See the Ontario government announcement here
If you are experiencing a fever, persistent cough or difficulty breathing, immediately contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000, Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 or your primary care physician. You can also use this online self-assessment tool.
Please do not visit an assessment centre unless you have have been referred by a healthcare professional. Do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.
We encourage constituents to stay home (get fresh air, but keep physical distance), avoid crowds, and practice social distancing where possible. Here are are some best practices from the World Health Organization:
- Stay home as much as reasonably possible;
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water;
- Maintain social distance by staying at least six feet away from those you are speaking with;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
- Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing, either with a bent elbow or a tissue;
- Seek medical attention if you have a fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing;
- If you have travelled recently, remain self-isolated for 14 days upon returning to Canada.
If you are concerned you may have COVID-19, please use this online self-assessment tool or call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.
Important travel advisories and restrictions related to COVID-19, from the Government of Canada travel.gc.ca
Canadians outside the country who are directly impacted by COVID-19 will be able to apply for an emergency repayable loan to facilitate their return to Canada and to cover basic essential needs while they work towards their return. Each application will be assessed according to their specific situation and needs. Find out more here: Financial help for Canadians outside Canada
It’s essential that we all continue to get our information from reliable and informed sources as we respond to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Below are links to COVID-19 fact sheets in some of the most commonly spoken languages in our local community. Please share these with people in your networks who may need them:
Français (French): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-french-2020-02-18.pdf
中文 (简体) (Simplified Chinese): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-simplified-chinese-2020-02-18.pdf
中文 (繁體) (Traditional Chinese): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-traditional-chinese-2020-02-18.pdf
Ελληνικά (Greek): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-greek-2020-02-18.pdf
Español (Spanish): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-spanish-2020-02-18.pdf
Full list of available languages here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus#section-11
My office will continue to offer services and information to residents during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak via telephone 416-261-9525 and by email at DBegum-CO@ndp.on.ca. You can contact us Monday to Friday from 10:00AM to 4:00PM. Please leave us a voicemail so that we can get back to you as soon as possible. On the guidance of the Ontario Public Service we will not be accepting drop-ins to the office and meetings will be by appointment only.
Ontario's State of Emergency has declared no gatherings of over 50 people and the closure of certain public spaces. For example:
- Bars and restaurants (takeout and delivery may be still available)
- Licensed child-care centres
- Schools and Private schools
- Recreation Centres (including visitor services at parks) and gyms
- Visitor and Cultural attractions
What can I do to protect myself if I am unable to work from home?
The public health guidance is to work from home wherever possible. However working remotely is not feasible in many workplaces. If you are in this situation, it is important that you follow all health and safety protocols related to your workplace. Under the Occupational Health & Safety Act, most of Ontario’s workers have the right to refuse unsafe work. If you are in a unionized workplace, consult your staff rep before refusing any work. It is also recommended that you practice social distancing and proper hygiene as much as possible to reduce the risk of infection.
Is there any financial help available?
The Federal Government announced new economic measures to help workers, families and businesses cope with financial hardship. This includes expanded EI and Canada Child Benefit and the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to eligible
For more information, visit here.
Who is Eligible for EI?
Workers who pay EI premiums are eligible for EI if:
- you cannot work because of a medical condition, such as COVID-19;
- you have lost at least 40 per cent of your usual weekly pay; and
- you have worked a minimum of 600 hours in the year before your claim, or since your last EI claim.
The one-week EI sickness benefits waiting period is being waived if you are in COVID-19 quarantine. Call the new dedicated toll-free phone number so you can be paid for the first week of your claim:
Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)
Do I need to provide a doctor’s note to my employer to get my sick-leave benefits?
While a medical certificate signed by your doctor is usually required to get sick-leave benefits, this will not be the case during the COVID-19 crisis. During this time, the government is waiving the need for a sick note for patients who are required to miss work due to self-isolation or quarantine.
Will my time off during self-isolation or quarantine be paid by my employer?
If your work can be done remotely for the period of self-isolation or quarantine where you are not sick, your employer should allow remote work paid at your usual rate of compensation. If you become sick, your sick day entitlements will vary depending on the language in your contract or collective agreement. If you have zero sick leave benefits—the Employment Standards Act applies, which is currently three unpaid days.
The federal government has indicated it will provide financial support to businesses to continue to pay employees during self-isolation and quarantine.
The provincial government has passed emergency legislation to provide infectious disease emergency leave for anyone unable to work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes provides unpaid leave and job protection for individuals under quarantine or in isolation, or providing care to a child as a result of school and day care closures. More details here.
- The federal government has announced some new funding for small and medium sized businesses impacted by COVID-19, and we continue to advocate for parallel provincial protections. For a list of the federal and provincial funding available to your business, fill out the online tool at innovation.canada.ca
- Also announced by the federal government is a 10% wage subsidy for small businesses for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee, and $25,000 per employer. More details of this are expected to be made available soon.
- The City of Toronto has announced a range of economic support and recovery measures for individuals and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more here.
The Ontario Government has suspended the issuing of eviction notices until further notice. Sheriffs have been asked to suspend the enforcement of eviction orders, including scheduled eviction orders. Evictions are paused until further notice. We have heard reports that despite this, tenants are continuing to be threatened with eviction at this time. We are calling on the government to support legislation that guarantees in law that no one can be evicted for any reason during the pandemic, nor punished in any way for missing a rent payment.
Please note — this is for general information purposes only and not intended to be legal advice.
- Tenants are still expected to pay their rent on time.
- Tenants should keep copies of messages to their landlord to show that they tried to pay their rent on time. Tenants should document how they informed their landlord that they could not pay their rent on time. Tenants who pay their rent late or fail to pay their rent will enter arrears (they will owe their landlord for their late rent).
- Tenants who have reduced hours or are laid off as a result of COVID-19 or are in quarantine and unable to work and cannot pay their rent on time should inform their landlord as early as possible.
- Tenants who lose income because of COVID-19 should document changes to their finances. This includes saving letters, emails or text messages showing that you were laid off or had your hours reduced because of COVID-19.
- If your landlord files to evict you at the Landlord and Tenant Board, tenants can request that their landlord meet with them so they can negotiate a plan to pay back their arrears.
- Generally speaking if a tenant has never had problems paying their rent before and is able to show a realistic plan to both pay their rent on time and pay their landlord arrears, the Landlord and Tenant Board Members will give tenants a chance to repay any late rent before terminating a tenancy.
- Landlords can still serve notices to tenants and fax applications to the Landlord and Tenant Board. As a tenant, your landlord can still serve you notices such as an N4 if you miss your usual timeline to pay your rent.
- At present, neither the federal nor the provincial government have suspended rent payments.
- If you have more questions and live in Scarborough Southwest, please email DBegum-CO@ndp.on.ca
The federal government has announced a 6-month, interest-free moratorium on Canada student loan payments.
The province of Ontario has extended the validity of expiring health cards during the State of Emergency. Expiring and expired health cards will continue to provide access to health services during this period. If you need help getting an OHIP card renewed or replaced, please contact my office at DBegum-CO@ndp.on.ca.
- The province of Ontario is is extending the validity period of driver licences, licence plate validation, Ontario Photo Cards, and Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration certificates during the State of Emergency.
- The Ministry of Transportation is also automatically extending the due dates for medical or vision reports, which both reduces the need for in-person visits, but also ensures that patients do not need to visit their doctors, helping the health system to focus on containing COVID-19.
- Scarborough Food Security Initiative is operating out of the Oakridge area and offering help with food and supplies for anyone between paycheques and delivery of groceries or medication for individuals self-isolating. They are also seeking volunteers.
- Beginning March 23rd, Rod & Joe's No Frills at Kingston Rd and Midland Ave is offering dedicated shopping hours for seniors and people with disabilities on Tuesdays and Fridays from 8am to 9am. Staff will be available to help those who need assistance.
- South Asian Women's Rights Organization (SAWRO) based in Teesdale is offering assistance for community members with applications for EI.
- Mutual aid/caremongering groups are safelt connecting vulnerable neighbours with the supports they need. Groups serving our area where you can post requests for support or offers of support include:
On Monday, March 23 the provincial government announced the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces in order to contain COVID-19 in Ontario.
This closure will come into effect Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m. and will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of extending this order as the situation evolves. Please see below for businesses that are considered essential. If you are unsure whether your business is part of one of the categories below, the government will be making a 1-800 number and website available on Wednesday for any inquiries.
(For the purposes of this order, businesses include any-for-profit, non-profit or other entity providing the goods and services described herein. This does not preclude the provision of work and services by entities not on this list either online, by telephone or by mail/delivery. Note that teleworking and online commerce are permitted at all times for all businesses.)
1. Businesses that supply other essential businesses or essential services with the support, supplies, systems or services, including processing, packaging, distribution, delivery and maintenance necessary to operate;
Retail and Wholesaling
2. Businesses engaged in the retail and wholesale sale of food, pet food and supplies, and household consumer products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences and businesses, including grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, markets and other similar retailers;
3. Businesses that provide essential items for the health and welfare of animals, including feed, animal food, pet food and animal supplies including bedding;
4. Beer, wine and liquor stores and alcohol producers, and stores that sell beer and wine through arrangements with authorized providers; cannabis stores and cannabis producers;
5. Gas stations, diesel, propane and heating fuel providers including providers of motor vehicle, aircraft and water/marine craft fuels;
6. Motor vehicle, auto-supply, auto and motor-vehicle-repair, including bicycle repair, aircraft repair, heavy equipment repair, watercraft/marine craft repairs, car and truck dealerships and related facilities;
7. Hardware stores and stores that provide hardware products necessary to the essential operations of residences and businesses;
8. Business providing pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical services, including pharmacies and dispensaries;
9. Businesses that supply office products and services, including providing computer products and related repair and maintenance services, for individuals working from home and for essential businesses;
10. Safety supply stores (for e.g. work clothes, Personal Protective Equipment);
Food Services and Accommodations
11. Restaurants and other food facilitiesthat prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or takeaway, together with food delivery services;
12. Hotels, motels, shared rental units and similar facilities, including student residences;
Institutional, Residential, Commercial and Industrial Maintenance
13. Businesses that provide support and maintenance services, including urgent repair, to maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of institutional, commercial industrial and residential properties and buildings, including, property management services,plumbers, electricians, custodial/janitorial workers, cleaning services, , security services, fire safety and sprinkler systems, building systems maintenance and repair technicians and engineers, mechanics, (e.g. HVAC, escalator and elevator technicians), and other service providers who provide similar services
Telecommunications and IT Infrastructure/Service Providers
14. Businesses engaged in providing or supporting Information Technology (IT) including online services, software products and related services, as well as the technical facilities such as data centres and other network facilities necessary for their operation and delivery;
15. Businesses providing telecommunications services (phone, internet, radio, cell phones etc) as well as support facilities such as call centres necessary for their operation and delivery;
16. Taxis and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for activities of daily living;
17. Businesses and facilities that provide transportation services to businesses and individuals including by air, water, road, and rail including providing logistical support, distribution services, warehousing and storage, including truck stops and tow operators;
18. Businesses that provide materials and services for the operation, maintenance and safety of transportation systems (road, transit, rail, air and marine) including delivery of maintenance services such as clearing snow, response to collisions, and completing needed repairs to the transportation systems.
Manufacturing and Production
19. Businesses that extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, products, equipment and materials, including businesses that manufacture inputs to other manufacturers (e.g. primary metal/ steel, blow molding, component manufacturers, chemicals, etc. that feed the end-product manufacturer);
20. Businesses, facilities and services that support and facilitate the two- way movement of essential goods within integrated North American and Global supply chains.
Agriculture and food production
21. Businesses that farm, harvest, process, manufacture, produce or distribute food, including beverages, crops, animal products and by-products, aquaculture, hunting and fishing;
22. Businesses that support the food supply chain including assembly yards, livestock auctions, food distribution hubs, feed mills, farm equipment suppliers, feed suppliers, food terminals and warehouses, animal slaughter plants and grain elevators;
23. Business that support the safety of food including animal and plant health and animal welfare;
24. Businesses that provide veterinary services, and that supply veterinary and animal control medications and related supplies and testing kits;
25. Businesses that help to ensure safe and effective waste management including deadstock, rendering, nutrient management, bio hazardous materials, green waste, packaging recycling;
26. Construction projects and services associated with the healthcare sector, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space;
27. Construction projects and services required to ensure safe and reliable operations of critical provincial infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy and justice sectors beyond the day-to-day maintenance;
28. Construction work and services, including demolition services, in the industrial, commercial, institutional and residential sectors;
29. Construction work and services that supports health and safety environmental rehabilitation projects
30. Capital markets (e.g., the TSX);
31. Banking & Activities related to Credit Intermediation; credit unions;
33. Businesses that provide pension services and employee benefits services;
34. Businesses that provide financial services including payment processing, the payroll division of any employer (as defined by the Employment Standards Act/Occupational Health and Safety Act), any entity whose operation is the administration of payroll, banks and credit unions;
35. Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of mining materials and products (e.g. metals such as copper, nickel and gold) and that support supply chains in Northern Ontario including;
a. Mining operations, production and processing;
b. Mineral exploration and development;
c. Mining Supply and Services that ssupport supply chains in the mining industry including maintenance of operations, health and safety.
36. Businesses that provide chemicals and gases to support the natural resource sector analytical labs and drinking water and wastewater sectors and other essential businesses;
37. Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of forestry products (e.g. lumber, pulp, paper, wood fuel, etc.);
38. Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of aggregates to support critical infrastructure repairs and emergency response requirements (e.g. sandbags, armour stone barriers, etc.);
39. Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of petroleum and petroleum by-products;
40. Businesses that support environmental management/monitoring and spill clean-up and response, including environmental consulting firms, professional engineers and geoscientists, septics haulers, well drillers, pesticides applicators and exterminators, management of industrial sewage/effluent (eg for mining operations), and environmental laboratories;
Utilities and Community Services
41. Utilities, and Businesses that support the provision of utilities and community services, including by providing products, materials and services needed for the delivery of utilities and community services:
a. Waste Collection, Waste/ Sewage Treatment and Disposal, operation of landfills, and Hazardous Waste Disposal;
b. Potable drinking water;
c. Electricity Generation, transmission, distribution and storage;
d. Natural Gas distribution, transmission and storage,
e. Road construction and maintenance;
f. police, fire, emergency services including coroner services and pathology services ;
g. corrections and courts services;
h. other government services including licenses and permits;
42. Businesses engaged in or supporting the operation, maintenance and repair of critical infrastructure (railways, dams, bridges, highways, erosion control structures, etc.);
43. Newspaper publishers;
44. Radio & Television Broadcasting;
45. Telecommunications providers;
46. Businesses and organizations that maintain research facilities and engage in research, including medical research and other research and development activities;
47. Businesses that provide products and services that support research activities;
Health Care and Seniors Care and Social Services
48. Organizations and providers that deliver home care services;
49. Retirement homes;
50. Long-term Care Facilities;
51. Independent health facilities;
52. Laboratories and specimen collection centres;
53. Manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers of pharmaceutical products and medical supplies, including medications, medical isotopes, vaccines and antivirals; medical devices and medical supplies
54. Manufacturers, logistics and distributors of products and/or services that support the delivery of health care in all locations (including but not limited to hospitals, labs, long-term care homes, other residential health care, physicians, nurse practitioners and midwives, and home care services);
55. Businesses that provide products and/or services that support the health sector or that provide health services, including mental health and addictions and counselling supports.
56. Businesses that sell, rent or repair assistive/mobility/medical devices, aids and/or supplies.
57. Businesses that provide personal support services (many seniors and persons with disabilities, who can afford to, hire individuals to assist with the activities of daily living).
58. Health care professionals providing emergency care including dentists optometrists and physio-therapists;
59. Not-for-profit organizations that provide critical personal support services in home and also provide residential services for individuals with physical disabilities (such as the Centre for Independent Living and March of Dimes);
60. Businesses and all other organizations that support the provision of food, shelter, safety or protection, and/or social services and other necessities of life to economically disadvantaged and other vulnerable individuals, including but not limited to food banks, violence against women emergency shelters, homeless shelters, community housing, supportive housing, children's aid societies, residential services for adults with developmental disabilities and for children, and custody and detention programs for young persons in conflict with the law;
61. Professional and social services that support the legal and justice system;
62. Rental and leasing services, including automobile, commercial and light industrial machinery and equipment rental;
63. Businesses providing mailing, shipping, courier and delivery services, including post office boxes;
64. Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers;
65. Professional services including lawyers and para-legals, engineers, accountants, translators;
66. Businesses providing funeral, mortician, cremation, transfer, and burial services, and any related goods and products (such as coffins and embalming fluid);
67. Land registration services, and real estate agent services and moving services;
68. Businesses providing security services including private security guards; monitoring or surveillance equipment and services;
69. Businesses providing staffing services, including temporary help;
70. Businesses that support the safe operations of residences and essential businesses;
71. Businesses that provide for the health and welfare of animals, including veterinarians, farms, boarding kennels, stables, animal shelters, zoos, aquariums, research facilities and other service providers;
72. Child care services for essential workers, and home child care services of less than six children;
73. Businesses providing cheque cashing services;
Business Regulators and Inspectors
74. Organizations, including Administrative Authorities, that regulate and inspect businesses.