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Updates on COVID-19 from the City of Burlington

Marianne Meed Ward - Wear a Mask

Welcome to the Mayor Meed Ward’s standing page dedicated to COVID-19 updates from the City of Burlington and our public health professionals and experts.

This page will be updated has often as new information is available and released.

On Saturday, March 21, 2020, Mayor Meed Ward declared a state of emergency for the City of Burlington.

A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.

If you have questions about what the state of emergency means, please head to the COVID-19 FAQ page (bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ) – this page is continually updated with new questions as we encounter them from the public.

The City of Burlington also has a dedicated page for Q-and-As from COVID-19 Public Town Halls, please click the link.

If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, please visit Halton Region Public Health’s website at halton.ca/coronavirus for further instructions about diagnosis and testing.

The Province of Ontario has an online self-assessment tool for anyone experiencing some symptoms but are unsure, please click the link to access it.

Click this link for what Physical (Social) Distancing Means and how best to employ it: Physical (Social) Distancing Infographic.

To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.

The City of Burlington has a dedicated COVID-19 webpage on resources for residents and non-profit organizations at burlington.ca/covid19resources.

We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.

HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:

COVID-19 UPDATES

Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020:

  • STATEMENT: Burlington Mayor Asks Residents to Stay in their Regions During Lockdown, Support Local Businesses Through Online Shopping & Curbside Pickup
  • ‘Tis the Season in Burlington with Santa’s Holiday Magic Trail and Story Time
  • Tim Hortons Free Holiday Skating Returns to Burlington; Household Rentals to Become Available
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today the Premier, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health provided details regarding how to celebrate the holidays. the Ontario government, based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and input from the Public Health Measures Table, is providing preliminary guidance on how to safely celebrate this year and protect your loved ones. – Media Release
      • No matter where you live in the province, the safest way to spend the holidays this year is by only celebrating in person with the people you live with and celebrating virtually with everyone else. If you live alone, consider exclusively celebrating with one additional household as a safe way to spend the holidays.
      • While public health measures to keep Ontarians safe may be different in communities across the province, the following is some general advice to consider when planning your holiday season (full list in the release – click hyperlink).
      • While the above is recommended advice from public health officials, please remember you must adhere to public health and workplace safety measures and rules in your region.
      • A new holiday web page will be launched shortly to provide more direct and up-to-date guidance on how individuals and families can plan for a safe holiday season.
      • Ontarians are advised to visit Ontario.ca/covidresponse to learn what public health measures are in place in their community, and check with their public health unit for any additional information or restrictions. Advice may also vary by the level a public health unit is in, which can change depending on public health trends in the region as the holiday season approaches.
      • Social Gathering Limits by Level under the Regulations
        1. In all levels, people are required to comply with public health guidance on physical distancing;
        2. Indoor and outdoor limits cannot be combined to increase the applicable limit;
        3. The specified limits apply to gatherings even if in a private dwelling, including houses, apartment buildings, condominium buildings and post-secondary student residences;
        4. The limits do not apply to a gathering of members of a single household.
      • Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect and Orange-Restrict: The limit for indoor social gatherings is 10 people. The limit for outdoor social gatherings is 25 people.
      • Red-Control: The limit for indoor social gatherings is five people. The limit for outdoor social gatherings is 25 people.
      • Lockdown (Stage 1): Indoor social gatherings are not permitted, except for a gathering of members of a single household, or a gathering that includes members of a household and one other person from outside that household who lives alone. The limit for outdoor social gatherings is 10 people.
      • Before taking questions the Premier made a number of comments about the Auditor General’s report. “I have serious, serious problems with this report. To say Dr. Williams wasn’t leading the response – it just isn’t right. It’s actually wrong. The report undermines the province’s health team and I won’t stand for it.”
    • Question Period:
      • After the actions of the owner of Adamson’s restaurant and protests that are being planned it seems like you are losing people’s support. Why should people trust you? Premier, “we are leading North America with lowest number of cases per 100,000. I get it people are frustrated. I was nice to the guy yesterday, but buddy you need to shut down. It’s absolutely irresponsible.” Regarding opening businesses, “I am not going to bend. I am not going to start reopening businesses.”
      • There were several questions regarding the Auditor General’s report. The Premier’s responses were quite heated. “The Auditor General’s role is to find value for money, it’s not to give medical or health advice. Don’t start pretending you’re a doctor or a health professional because I’ll tell you, you’re not. Stick to the numbers.” He said in the time he has been Premier he has never criticized the Auditor General, “but when you start throwing hand grenades at Dr. Williams and Minister Elliott, it is totally unacceptable.”

Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Government of Canada signs new agreement for a COVID-19 antibody therapy – Media Release
      • Today, the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced that the Government of Canada has signed an agreement with Eli Lilly for an initial order of up to 26,000 doses of their COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapy Bamlanivimab (LY-CoV555).
      • Under the agreement, deliveries of Bamlanivimab will begin in December 2020 and be completed in February 2021. Beginning in March 2021, Canada will have the option to purchase additional allocations, based on the current medical need in Canada and the global product availability.
      • Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses. Bamlanivimab (LY-CoV555) is a monoclonal antibody designed to block the virus from attaching to and entering human cells, thus potentially preventing the virus from causing COVID-19 illness.
      • Eli Lilly co-developed this therapy with AbCellera Biologics, a Vancouver-based technology company that searches, decodes and analyzes natural immune systems to find antibodies that can be developed to prevent and treat disease. The partnership combines AbCellera’s advanced antibody therapy discovery platform with Eli Lilly’s development, manufacturing and distribution capabilities.
    • Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, November 24, 2020Speech
      • There have been 337,555 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 11,521 deaths. Nationally, there are close to 57,000 active cases across the country. Over the past week, labs across Canada have tested an average of over 75,500 people daily, with 7.6% testing positive.
      • Yesterday 5,713 cases were reported nationally. In addition, there were over 1,300 new cases reported for Saturday and Sunday. This brings the average daily case count to over 5,050 cases for the past week.
      • Following last week’s epidemiology and modelling update, it’s clear that we need to strengthen our response. Specifically, to bring down the rapid rate of growth, we need to combine a range of public health measures with tightened prevention practices by individual Canadians. In many ways, we have more to bring to this round of the effort in terms of experience, tools and knowledge. But things are different this time; there are more regions of the country with high infection rates and it is clear that COVID-19 knows no bounds. Communities, jurisdictions and whole regions that were little, if at all, impacted in the past are now seeing community spread. Some areas are experiencing very high rates of infection for the first time. Nunavut has implemented territory-wide restrictions, some of the Atlantic provinces have seen an increase in cases, and the Prairie provinces now have some of the highest infection rates in the country and are feeling a heavy strain on their healthcare systems.
      • Although it is still too early to know the impact of strengthened public health measures implemented in areas across Canada, we do know from the experience of many other countries that to be successful a package of measures is required and it’s not one size fits all. Most importantly, we know that public participation is vital to success.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Ford, Minister Elliott Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care announced that the Ontario government has deployed new COVID-19 rapid tests to provide faster results in regions of high transmission and rural and remote areas. As an additional tool to help keep essential workers safe, rapid tests will also be used to screen staff in long-term care homes and select workplaces. These new tests will provide Ontarians with more access to innovative testing options and will help to quickly identify and manage outbreaks to stop the spread of COVID-19. – Media Release
      • Ontario has received approximately 98,000 ID NOW tests that are initially being used in hospitals and assessment centres in rural and remote communities, as well as to test people as part of early outbreak investigations in hotspot regions where there are high concentrations of COVID-19 cases. Two hospitals are using ID NOW, with 20 additional hospitals preparing to launch rapid testing. Hospitals will be able to test people, such as staff and patients, who are either symptomatic or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
      • ID NOW tests continue to be distributed in Simcoe Muskoka, Southwestern Ontario and Eastern Ontario, and the program will be expanded to other areas of the province beginning in December. Continued rollout of this test is planned for in Toronto and Peel and work is underway with Ontario Health and local public health units to support rapid testing deployment across the province. Ontario also continues to work closely with Toronto Public Health and Peel Regional Health Unit to bring rapid testing into the regions’ outbreak response, using rapid testing to help with early identification and investigation of outbreaks.
      • The province has also received 1.2 million Panbio rapid antigen tests that will support a screening program for long-term care homes and other workplaces. To date, Panbio tests have been deployed to six long-term care operators for potential deployment in over 30 long-term care homes, 27 retirement homes, eight hospitals, and 11 industry partners such as Ontario Power Generation, Air Canada and Magna, with plans to expand further across province. Ontario is expecting to receive up to 1.5 million more Panbio tests by the end of December.
      • Panbio tests will also be used in a broader eight-week pilot for participating employers in the private, public and non-profit sectors, prioritizing access for health care settings, essential frontline settings, and congregate settings.
      • The ID NOW test uses molecular testing with a nasal, nasopharyngeal or throat swab. Molecular testing detects genetic material of COVID-19 to diagnose people with symptoms.
      • The Panbio test uses antigen testing with a nasopharyngeal swab only. Antigen testing detects specific proteins from the virus to screen and identify people who need further testing.
    • Question Period:
      • With 1 in 3 schools in Toronto having active cases of COVID have you been down playing the issue in schools? Premier, “no. I never down play what’s happening.” He spoke about his transparency with the public. “We need to focus on the education system.” He spoke about the rapid tests and what a “game changer” they will be. Minister Elliott, said that the decisions about lockdowns were based on data and the importance of keeping essential services open and keeping children in schools. “We want to make sure children will be safe in school. It is important to both their physical and mental health.” She said they have a very “rigorous plan in place” for schools.
      • The Premier was asked to comment on the situation at Adamson BBQ (a restaurant in Etobicoke that opened for inside dining in spite of the lockdown rules). Are you angry that by-law officers aren’t ticketing people? Premier, “I can’t get angry at a business person. They’re hurting right now and are struggling to stay afloat. But they have to follow the rules. The quicker we get things under control the sooner we can reopen.” He urged people to “please follow the rules.”
      • In response to comment from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business the Premier was asked, will you stand by the rules that you have put in place for the lockdown for the full 28 days? The Premier again said the situation isn’t fair. “This is what the health table put in front of us. You can’t shut down every other aisle (in Walmart) – it’s just not feasible. I will always follow the health advice. I’m doing everything I can to support businesses. This is what frustrates me the most watching small business suffer. I hear you. I want to get through this as quickly as possible.”
      • You referred to people who held private parties as those who’s “cheese has slide off the cracker” why the change in tone regarding Adamson’s BBQ, who was publicly defiant of the new rules? Premier said he did not condone the behavior, “I just want the guy to shut down.” He said that he differentiates between a person renting a storage locker for a party and a business owner “holding on by his fingernails. My heart breaks.”

Monday, Nov. 23, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on November 23, 2020 Statement
      • At this time, there are 54,999 active cases across the country. The latest national-level data indicate daily averages of 4,739 new cases (Nov 13-19) and over 58,400 people daily, with 6.6% testing positive (Nov 8-14).
      • Provincial and territorial data, indicate that an average of 1,840 people with COVID-19 were being treated in Canadian hospitals each day during the most recent 7-day period (Nov 13-19), including 376 of whom were being treated in intensive care units. During the same period, there were an average of 71 COVID-19-related deaths reported daily. This situation is putting pressure on local healthcare resources and forcing hospitals to make the difficult decision to cancel elective surgeries and procedures in several areas of the country.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier, Minister Elliott and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones announced the creation of the Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, building on the steps the government has been taking to prepare for the delivery of a vaccine. The task force will advise the province’s development and implementation of an immunization program, including the ethical, timely and effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Ontario. – Media Release
      • Rick Hillier, former Chief of Defence Staff for the Canadian Forces and Commander of the NATO-led forces during the War in Afghanistan, has been named Chair of this new task force, leading the largest vaccine rollout in a generation. His extensive leadership experience in providing governance, strategic and public policy advice, and leading multiple national and international endeavours will help lead Ontario in the successful implementation of the COVID-19 immunization program.
      • The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force members will include cross-government and external representation with diverse expertise in operations and logistics, federal-provincial relations, health and clinical domains, public health and immunization, ethics, and information technology and data. The task force will provide advice and recommendations on the timely and efficient execution of Ontario’s COVID-19 immunization program. It will ensure the province can immunize people as quickly and safely as possible, as the various vaccines in development become available. The task force will advise on:
        1. Delivery, storage and distribution of the vaccines;
        2. Support for health care system partners to deliver a phased vaccination program that initially prioritizes vulnerable populations and follows with mass immunization;
        3. Clinical guidance on vaccine administration and surveillance of vaccine uptake;
        4. Data, reporting, and technology to provide timely, relevant and accurate information to clinicians conducting vaccine administration, decision-makers, and the public; and
        5. Implementation of a broad and sustained public education and community outreach effort to encourage vaccination.
      • Other members of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force will be announced in the coming days.
      • The province is planning the early rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine program with vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna. Planning is already underway with federal and provincial partners to prepare for the receipt and rollout of the vaccine. Confirmed allocations of the number of doses and schedules for delivery to Ontario is expected shortly. The government will provide updates as more details are available.
    • Question Period:
      • Why is The Bay on Queen Street completely open when small businesses had to close? He said to small business owners, “we are there to support you.” Dr. Yaffe, “regardless of what’s open or not – the advice we are giving is don’t go out if you don’t need to.” (The guidelines were changed over the weekend to remove discount and department store-type retailers from the permitted list for Grey or lockdown regions)
      • Big retailers in Manitoba who sell essential and non-essential items have to cordon off the non-essential items. Why didn’t Ontario do this? Premier, “I know this is unfair, but we have put additional supports in place” for small businesses. Logistically it would be very difficult for big box retailers to block off non-essential items in their stores. He has spoken to retailers about their experience in Manitoba and it hasn’t been easy.
      • The Premier was asked to comment on the motion to reappoint Dr. Williams. Premier, “I don’t believe in changing your dance partner in the middle of the dance especially when he is an incredible dancer.” He talked about the work that Dr. Williams has done to date.
      • Can you provide any further details on the roll out of the vaccine? Premier, “the easy part is to cut a cheque to get the vaccine. The hardest part is the logistics. This will be a massive undertaking and will require military precision.” Minister Elliott, “first we need to know when we will be receiving the vaccine and how much we will be getting.” She expects the first tranche will come in March. As the vaccine requires two vaccinations within 21 days she said the record keeping will be extremely important. She talked about the diversity of the people on their task force.
      • If people got private COVID testing done would this be a way they could gathering for Christmas? Premier, “it would help.” Minister Elliott, “we are recommending that if you don’t have to go out don’t. Stay within your household.” She said that people need to follow the guidelines that are in place for their region.
      • Small businesses are being forced to close during the busiest time of year. Would you consider appointment shopping or smaller numbers in stores? Dr. Yaffe, “it is very unfortunate that our public health measures are having a negative impact.” She said that there more deaths and more impact on hospitals. “The bottom line is health is the most important thing. We can’t just let the numbers keep going up without doing anything. We are trying to take a balanced approach without impacting on civil rights.” She spoke about some countries putting curfews in place.
      • Dr. Williams’ performance has been criticized, especially his communications. What do you have say about that. Premier, “I have the utmost respect for all medical professionals, but don’t criticize unless you have walked a mile in someone else’s shoes.” He commented on Dr. Williams’ integrity and honesty. “He could easily walk away, but he didn’t. This is nothing to brag about, but we still have the lowest numbers for a region our size and Dr. Williams and his team played a big role in getting us there.”
      • What data are you looking at to support closing small retailers. The Premier said that last week the media was “bringing our every doctor who said we should be closing things down. This week they’re bringing out small business owners.” Dr. Yaffe, said that the data is somewhat limited. For one third of the cases they can’t identify where people contracted the virus, that means there is community spread. “We know people are getting infected when they are around other people in small spaces, that aren’t well ventilated. I’m not saying this is happening in small retailers, but it could be.”
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Motion Tabled to Reappoint Chief Medical Officer of Health – Statement
        1. Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, issued the following statement announcing that Dr. David Williams has agreed to remain Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, should the motion be passed:
        2. “I am very pleased to announce that in response to a request from government, Dr. David Williams has agreed to stay on as Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.  This morning we tabled a motion to reappoint Dr. Williams. Should the motion be passed, Dr. Williams will be reappointed commencing February 16, 2021 up until September 1, 2021.

Friday, Nov. 20, 2020:

  • Ontario Extends COVID-19 OrdersMedia Release
    • The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended all orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA) until December 21, 2020.
    • The extension of orders under the ROA is part of Ontario’s multi-faceted response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On November 13, the government updated its Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework to lower the thresholds for each level in the framework. The framework takes a gradual approach that includes introducing preventative measures and allows for additional public health and workplace safety measures to be introduced or removed incrementally. It provides for five levels of public health measures that could be applied to public health unit regions: Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Lockdown being a measure of last and urgent resort.
    • The list of orders under the ROA that have been extended can be found online on the Government of Ontario’s website.
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today the PM gave what was referred to by the media as a “raw and emotional plea to Canadians”
      • “I don’t want to be here again, you don’t want me to be here again. We need to do everything we can to stop the spike.”
      • He said cases are spiking massively across the country.
      • “We are going to have to really tighten up again. We have to do this for another few weeks, another few months. We have done this before.”
      • He said that all orders of government have come together to stop the spread.
      • The best way to protect the economy is to get the virus under control. “Doing the things to protect people’s health is the best way to minimize long term damage to our economy.”
      • He reminded Canadians that the federal government will continue to be there for businesses and citizens if there are further shutdowns. “Going into lockdown and supporting businesses while in lockdown is a better way of ensuing success than trying to tough through a virus running around unchecked”
      • He spoke emotionally about the toll the pandemic has taken on front line health care workers and the health care system.
      • Canada could have up to 20,000 cases a day by December 31
      • He asked Canadians not to travel, to stay home and asked employers to make work from home arrangements, where possible for employees. He will be working from home as much as possible and will once again address Canadians from in front of his house.
      • He confirmed the border between Canada and the US will remain closed until December 21, 2020.
    • Question Period:
      • What went wrong? PM, “we are seeing spikes around the world. Lots of things are contributing to this. There are lots of things we all could have done differently. I am seeing Premiers, mayors and public health officials across the country putting tighter restrictions in place.”
      • Are you prepared to do anything about inter-provincial travel? PM, “I am telling people NOT to go out if they don’t have to and not to travel if you don’t have to. I am not contemplating invoking the Emergency Measures Act to shut down provincial borders.” He said he would not be using a “federal hammer.”
      • Are you recommending a nation-wide lockdown? “No I am not.” He said he wanted to remind Canadians that the federal government “had their backs”
      • Why did you reference a lockdown specifically?  He said the federal government is here to assist and support decisions made locally by Provinces. “There isn’t one approach that will work for all parts of the country. We will be here to support individuals and businesses.” He said his job was not to judge or criticize the decisions made by provinces.
      • Is part of the problem mixed messaging or are people just tired of all this? PM, “people are tired of this. People want this to be over.” The arrival of vaccines may have led people to think they did not have to follow the public health protocols. “We need to know the end is near, but we aren’t there yet. It was simpler in the spring when I could tell everyone to stay home but millions of Canadians suffered. It was a blunt tool. Targeted actions are better. It is unfair and frustrating – there is no question. Everyone is sick and tired of this.”
    • Update on COVID-19 in Canada: Epidemiology and Modelling – November 20, 2020
      • National daily case counts of COVID-19 are increasing significantly. There have been 4,776 cases on average for the past 7 days.
      • Rapid growth is occurring in several provinces
      • More health regions are reporting higher rates of COVID-19 infection. 48 health regions are reporting > 50 cases per 100,000 population
      • Each new case in Canada is spreading to more than one person keeping the epidemic in a growth pattern
      • The percentage of people testing positive is increasing nationally
      • Escalating incidence among high-risk adults, aged 80 years and older
      • Number and size of outbreaks are increasing in a variety of settings
      • Hospitalizations have also increased following the increase in reported cases
      • We are seeing an increase in the number of COVI-19 related deaths following weeks of increased disease in Canada (65 deaths/day on average in the past 7 days)
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
    • In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, local medical officers of health, and other health experts, the province is moving certain public health unit regions to new levels in the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework, which includes moving Toronto and Peel into Lockdown. These necessary measures are being taken to limit community transmission of COVID-19 in order to keep schools open, safeguard health system capacity, and protect the province’s most vulnerable populations. – Media Release
    • Based on the latest data, the government intends to move Peel Public Health and Toronto Public Health into Lockdown effective Monday, November 23, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. This action is being taken to help stop the spread of COVID-19, while prioritizing the continued opening of schools, child care centres and other key services to the fullest extent possible.
    • Measures under Lockdown include, but are not limited to:
    • Schools, before and after school programs, and child care will remain open;
    • Post-secondary schools open for virtual learning with some limited exceptions for training that can only be provided in-person, such as clinical training or training related to a trade;
    • No indoor organized public events or social gatherings except with members of the same household. Individuals who live alone, including seniors, may consider having exclusive, close contact with one other person;
    • Outdoor organized public events or social gatherings limited to a maximum of 10 people;
    • Wedding services, funeral services and religious services, rites or ceremonies where physical distancing can be maintained can have up to 10 people indoors or 10 people outdoors;
    • Retail permitted to be open for curbside pick-up or delivery only, with certain exceptions such as for supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, discount and big box retailers selling groceries, beer, wine and liquor stores, safety supply stores, and convenience stores, which will be allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity;
    • Restaurants, bars, and food and drink establishments will only be able to provide takeout, drive-through and delivery. Indoor and outdoor dining services are prohibited;
    • Personal care services closed;
    • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments closed; and
    • Indoor sports and recreational facilities, including pools, closed with limited exceptions.
    • To further support public health regions, the province is making additional enforcement mechanisms available to local medical officers of health who have applied additional measures based on their local conditions and needs. The government is amending Ontario Regulation 950 under the Provincial Offences Act, allowing for a ticket to be issued for any contravention of a COVID-19 specific communicable disease class order issued by a medical officer of health. The government will also ask the Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice to establish a set fine to be attached to any ticket issued for violating a section 22 order relating to COVID-19 made by a local medical officer of health.
    • Based on the latest data, the following public health unit regions will move from their current level in the framework to the following levels effective Monday, November 23, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.:
    • Red-Control: Durham Region Health Department and Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services.
    • Orange-Restrict: Huron Perth Public Health, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, Southwestern Public Health, and Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
    • Yellow-Protect: Chatham-Kent Public Health, Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Grey Bruce Health Unit, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health, Peterborough Public Health, and Thunder Bay District Health Unit.
    • Trends in public health data will continue to be reviewed weekly to determine if public health units should stay where they are or be moved into a higher level. Public health units will stay in their level for a minimum of 28 days, or two COVID-19 incubation periods, at which time, the government will assess the impact of public health measures to determine if the public health unit should stay where they are or be moved to a different level. The Ministry of Health will continue to communicate regularly with local medical officers of health on local context and conditions to help inform the classification of their public health unit region.
    • For retirement homes, homes in public health regions that are in Red-Control or higher will be in high alert with visitor restrictions as outlined in the Retirement Homes COVID-19 Visitor Policy. Homes will continue to be notified of their alert status by the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority.
    • The Ontario government is now providing $600 million in relief to support eligible businesses required to close or significantly restrict services due to enhanced public health measures, doubling its initial commitment of $300 million made in the 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support Recover. Call 1-855-216-3190 for more information.
    • In her remarks Minister Elliott made mention of a changes in the gathering size (5 indoors and 25 outdoors) for regions in the red zone, however I was not able to find this change in the release or on the website. Dr. Williams did indicate that more details will be coming along with a phone number that people can call for clarity.
    • Question Period:
    • Will the Province be providing any guidance regarding Christmas, similar to what Premier Legault has provided?  Premier, “over the next few days we will be rolling out that guidance for the holidays.”
    • Is there a travel restriction in place? Premier said this was discussed in depth. Dr. Williams, “ we are asking people in the higher areas to not go to lower coloured areas. We haven’t put travel restrictions in place, but we are asking people not to travel.”
    • Clarification was requested regarding malls. Minister Elliott, said the essential service stores in malls can be open for in store shopping. Other stores can only provide curbside pickup, which the Minister expects will take place out side in the mall parking lot. They do not want to see large crowds gathering indoors.

Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020:

  • Joseph Brant Hospital COVID-19 Outbreak on Inpatient Unit
  • Apply to run an Outdoor Neighbourhood Ice Rink; Burlington Rotary Centennial Pond to Open in December
  • Letter from Burlington Mayor and Team Burlington on 2020 Provincial Budget sent to Finance Minister, Premier
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Ford and Minister McNaughton announced the launch of a series of education and enforcement campaigns to ensure businesses across the province are taking the necessary steps to keep employees, consumers and the public safe. These campaigns will support the current efforts of police, municipal by-law officers, and public health inspectors to educate businesses and enforce the COVID-19 health and safety requirements. Officers will be asking employers to produce their workplace safety plans. – Media Release
      • The campaigns are being carried out in strategic locations, drawing on a team of more than 200 provincial offences officers from across ministries. To date, three education and enforcement campaigns have taken place. Almost 1,000 workplaces have been visited, and the response from business owners and operators has been overwhelmingly positive. No tickets have been issued and all contraventions were resolved with compliance assistance.
      • In Peel Region, where a two-day campaign was carried out from November 6-7, 2020, 50 provincial offences officers and six by-law officers visited 330 retail establishments with a focus on supermarkets, big-box stores and shopping malls. More than 82 per cent of businesses were found to be compliant with public health requirements under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (“Reopening Ontario Act”).
      • If a person or business is not found compliant with orders under the Reopening Ontario Act, they could be ticketed with a fine of $750 under the Reopening Ontario Act. Where prosecuted without issuing a ticket and on conviction, individuals could be fined up to $100,000, and directors and officers of a corporation could be fined up to $500,000. Any individual convicted of an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act could also receive a term of imprisonment of up to one year. The maximum fine for a corporation convicted of an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act is $10,000,000.
      • Certain businesses and establishments in the Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Lockdown levels are required to develop a COVID-19 safety plan and make it available in writing for review. Whether workplaces are currently operating or planning to start up, employers need a plan to put controls in place to make the workplace safer for everyone. Employers can use current public health and workplace health and safety information or guidance to help develop their plan.
    • Question Period:
      • Regarding Bill 218, Burlington was preparing to do public consultation on ranked ballots. Why would you prevent cities from moving to ranked ballots? Premier, “we want standardization across the Province, We have been voting this way for 100 years. It’s very simple, first past the post. We don’t want to confuse people.”
      • He was asked to comment on the letter to the Minister of the Environment from Halton mayors regarding Bill 299, that proposes changes to the Conservation Authorities Act. The Premier said that he would consult with the Minister of the Environment and “ask him to get to Halton.”
      • Will there be any additional supports announced for business (to assist with any tough measures that may be coming)? The Premier said that there is $300 million “on the table now” from the Province together with billions from the Federal government. “We will never turn our back on them. I know there is nothing better than keeping your doors open.”
      • Can you give us a sense of the scale of closures you are looking at (for the hotspots)? The Premier said that he hasn’t received the recommendations from Dr. Williams yet. Dr. Williams, “the recommendations are with Minister Elliott and the other tables for review.” He did not comment on what he has actually recommended.
      • The Governor of New York is closing schools. Are you giving any thought to closing schools in Toronto? The Premier again said the safest place for children right now is in schools. Dr. Williams said the table that reviews education and public health is looking at the data New York used to make their decision.

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care announced the Ontario government is providing $2.4 million to support an additional 13 Ontario Health Teams across the province to provide better, connected care to patients. These teams are a new way of delivering care that brings together health care providers and organizations to work as one coordinated team to improve patient outcomes. This new collaborative model is helping the province respond more quickly and effectively to COVID-19 and end hallway health care. – Media Release, Backgrounder
      • Through an Ontario Health Team, patients will experience easier transitions from one provider to another, including, for example, between hospitals, home care providers or long-term care homes, with one patient story, one patient record and one care plan. As Ontario Health Teams are established, patients and families will also have access to 24/7 navigation and care coordination services. This includes enabling the further expansion of virtual care for patients through dedicated funding to maintain access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the addition of 13 new Ontario Health Teams, the province now has a total of 42 teams which will cover over 86 per cent of the province’s population at maturity.
      • The Ontario Health Team model has already proven how a collaborative team can support each other in times of need such as when there is a significant outbreak at a long-term care home. These teams were able to come together and respond quickly to address staffing shortages; infection, protection and control measures; and support keeping residents and staff safe during COVID-19.  These stronger partnerships between hospitals, primary care, home and community care and long-term care homes will create a connected health care system that focuses on the needs of patients and is a key recommendation by the Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission.
      • To further protect long-term care home residents, staff and visitors, the Ontario government is also updating testing guidance in communities with greater transmission of COVID-19. Starting next week, in long-term care homes in public health unit regions in the Orange-Restrict, Red-Control and Lockdown levels under the COVID-19 Response Framework, the following changes will be made:
        1. Staff, essential caregivers and support workers who provide direct care to residents need to be tested for COVID-19 weekly and show proof of a negative test result.
        2. Support workers who do not provide direct care to residents must verbally attest to having received a negative COVID-19 test result in the past two weeks and not subsequently tested positive.
      • For long-term care homes in regions at the Green-Prevent and Yellow-Protect levels, testing will continue every two weeks for staff, volunteers, caregivers and visitors.
      • Premier Ford said the numbers in Toronto, Peel and York region are extremely troubling. “We are staring down the barrel of another lockdown.” He said new measures will be discussed at Cabinet in the coming days and announcement will be made on Friday.

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones announced that the Ontario government is providing over $37 million to significantly expand mental health services across the justice system. The funding will be used to expand mobile crisis teams across the province, hire additional staff, and support the creation of tailored programs for First Nations communities. This is part of the government’s $176 million investment this year in the Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario’s plan to build a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions system. It is also a key component of Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover. – Media Release
      • The impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, including prolonged physical distancing, financial uncertainty, and being constantly inundated with new information about the virus, have caused many Ontarians to experience a range of mental health and addictions challenges, which has led to an increase in the demand for services and supports. As part of the $176 million investment, the province is providing mental health and justice services that will lead to better supports for individuals with mental health and addictions challenges, including help to reduce their interactions with police. This includes:
        1. Over $6.5 million for mobile crisis services.
        2. $5 million for safe bed programs to support mobile crisis teams
        3. Over $14 million for supportive housing programs designated for justice involved individuals
        4. $2 million for addictions/withdrawal specialists to support safe beds.
        5. $4 million for enhanced addictions programming within adult correctional institutions
        6. $2 million for mental health and addictions peer support for offenders under community supervision.
        7. $2.25 million for a corrections peer support program.
        8. $1.1 million for mental health and addiction supports to vulnerable and marginalized persons as part of the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Justice Centres
      • In addition, Ontario continues to build strong evidence-based research on post-traumatic stress disorder and occupational stress injury ― two common mental health challenges affecting Ontario’s frontline heroes. These findings will help identify new tools and programs to support the mental health and well-being of these brave women and men, as well as other public safety personnel.
    • Question Period:
      • Minister Lecce announced that he is looking at a possible extended Christmas shut down. How should parents prepare? The Premier said, “parents want their kids in school. Minister Lecce will have an announcement soon so they can prepare.”
      • What should parent do right now to prepare? Premier, “let’s not confirm that right now. It may not happen.”
      • The 10 person limit for indoor dining in large restaurants seems unfair. Premier, “everything about COVID is unfair. After I heard about the 6,500 projected cases we had to act.” Minister Elliott, “we have been consulting with the Chief Medical Officer and the public health table and their have been direct links between COVID spread and restaurants and bars. It is unfair, but we need to do this now so things don’t get worse.”
      • Dr. Williams yesterday said that he hopes all regions in Ontario will be in the green zone by Christmas. Shouldn’t people be planning for a smaller Christmas? The Premier said we need to be very cautious about Christmas. He hasn’t spoken to Dr. Williams but said that he is “a glass half full” person. Minister Elliott, ‘”we are very hopeful all of Ontario will be in green but it’s not something we can count on. Dr. Williams is being very optimistic, which is his nature.”
      • How long would the Christmas break be extended? Premier, “ I think parents want to keep schools open as long as we can.” He said Minister Lecce would be discussing this with Dr. Williams and they would bring a proposal to the cabinet for a decision.
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Ontario Opens COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream for MunicipalitiesMedia Release
      • To build on governments’ commitment to protect the health and well-being of individuals and families during the pandemic, Ontario is now accepting applications from municipalities for local infrastructure projects under the new Local Government sub-stream of the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure stream to allow local governments to proceed with tendering and procurement as soon as possible.
      • On October 28, Ontario announced up to $1.05 billion in federal-provincial funding through the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure stream under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) to build or renovate health and safety-related projects in long-term care, education and municipalities that will help Ontario respond to the impacts of COVID-19. This includes up to $250 million for the Local Government sub-stream that will help municipalities to address critical local infrastructure needs, which they can start applying for today.
      • Eligible projects include infrastructure to support physical distancing, social infrastructure, active transportation and disaster mitigation projects. Each municipality is allocated a certain amount of funding for which they can apply, with a minimum allocation of $100,000. Successful projects will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis and be nominated by the Province to the federal government for approval by March 2021.
      • The application deadline is December 21, 2020, for municipalities submitting single projects and January 7, 2021, for those with multiple projects through the Transfer Payments Ontario website.

Monday, Nov. 16, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on November 16, 2020 – Statement
      • At this time, there are 49,723 active cases across the country. The latest national-level data indicate daily averages of 4,348 new cases (Nov 6-12) and 54,668 people tested, with 5.8% testing positive (Nov 1-7). Outbreaks continue to contribute to COVID-19 spread in Canada, including increased activity among vulnerable populations and settings (elderly adults, long-term care residents, and Indigenous communities). Although the size can vary from just a few cases to larger clusters, outbreaks are being reported in a range of settings including long-term care and assisted living facilities, schools, congregate living settings, industrial work settings and social gatherings.
      • With colder weather, we are moving indoors. Larger clusters tell us that closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded places where many people gather and close contact situations can amplify spread of the virus. Jurisdictions continue to highlight informal social gatherings and activities as an important driver for spread. In these more relaxed settings, such as family and holiday celebrations and recreational activities, letting our guard down and not consistently maintaining public health practices, can lead to many exposures and infections. For these reasons, it is recommended that everyone wear a non-medical mask when spending time indoors with people from outside of your immediate household.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Doug Ford, Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade announced the establishment of Supply Ontario, a new centralized procurement agency that will enable a whole-of-government approach to purchasing goods and services, saving taxpayers money. Supply Ontario will ensure that schools, hospitals, and the entire public sector always have the critical supplies and equipment they need to keep individuals and families safe, while supporting job creation and economic growth. – Media Release
      • During the height of COVID-19, the government’s experience of sourcing PPE and critical supplies and equipment (CSE) shed light on the fragmented nature of Ontario’s supply chain system. Supply Ontario will provide tangible results, including:
        1. Delivering the best value by sourcing high-quality goods at scale to serve the public interest in a financially responsible way.
        2. Stabilizing access to critical products, including PPE.
        3. Stimulating job creation and economic growth by purchasing more Ontario-made goods.
        4. Driving innovation of emerging technologies.
        5. Connecting small businesses and entrepreneurs to government and its customers by acting as a first purchaser for emerging technologies and paving pathways to the marketplace to drive innovation in Ontario.
      • By centralizing the government supply chain and streamlining complex procurement processes, small and medium sized businesses will face less administrative burden.
      • The government recently secured a contract with PRIMED Medical Products to manufacture levels 1 and 2 surgical/protective masks in Ontario through a competitive procurement process. Beginning this fall, PRIMED will produce 50 million masks annually over the next five years. This will provide health care and essential service providers across the province with a secure, local supply they can rely on. This initiative will help Ontario’s public health officials plan ahead and reduce the province’s reliance on strained global supply chains.
      • The new supply chain agency is part of Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government, which includes more than 30 projects that will change the way people and businesses interact with government. Projects in the Action Plan fall into four categories:
        1. Making government services more digitally accessible
        2. Reducing red tape and simplifying policies
        3. Improving government purchasing
        4. Creating more responsive and flexible public services
    • Question Period:
      • Are you prepared to make the advice you received from the public health table public?  While the Premier spoke about transparency, he did not  answer this question.
      • Public Health Ontario recommended thresholds four times lower that what your original guidelines included. Do you admit you were wrong? Premier, “Dr. Williams signed off on the recent changes to the guidelines. I will take responsibility for everything in the province. I will take the advice from our doctors. We will continue to be transparent.” The Premier went on to say that he is “the only politician in the country that comes out everyday and takes questions. And the questions are tough. I am going to keep coming out here every day.” Minister Elliott, “we have been transparent with the people of Ontario. We do daily briefings. Dr. Williams does briefings twice a week with no politicians. We will continue to keep the public fully informed.”
      • How much has the holiday shopping season impacted your decision on a lockdown? Premier, “health and safety is the top priority. If numbers continue to spike I won’t hesitate for a minute to shut things down.” Minister Elliott, “the health and well being of the people of Ontario is our number one priority.” She said we need to be careful that malls do not become super spreaders, so we need to limit the number of people going to malls at one time. She encouraged people to shop online.
      • Have you discussed how people should be celebrating Christmas? Premier, “be cautious. Follow the protocols.” He said that we shouldn’t be having large gatherings. Minister Elliott said that she and Dr. Williams have been in discussion about this. “We may have to do thing differently this year.” She said that she hoped to have some information to share shortly.
      • Why was Halton grouped together with regions like Peel, that are doing a lot worse? Premier said that seeing the projections of 6,500 cases per day was a “wake up call.” “Our focus is on lowering and flattening the curve. We have an opportunity to get out hands around this now with the help of the people.”

Friday, Nov. 13, 2020:

  • Halton Region Moves into Control Stage with Support of Medical Officer of Health, Mayors & Chair; What it Means for You
  • Red/Control Phase Brings Changes to City of Burlington Recreation Programs and Facilities
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM spoke about yesterday’s twenty-first call with Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers to discuss their shared response to the COVID-19 pandemic. – Readout
      • First Ministers discussed the recent and alarming increase in COVID-19 cases across the country, and the need for all orders of government to keep working together to keep people safe and to protect jobs. Premiers provided updates on the situations in their jurisdictions.
      • Prime Minister Trudeau reiterated that responding to the pandemic remains the Government of Canada’s top priority.
      • He said that they spoke about the additional needs they may have. He also said that the federal resources are not infinite.
      • First Ministers also discussed Canada-U.S. relations following the United States’ presidential election in early November. First Ministers were joined by Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, Kirsten Hillman, who participated in this discussion.
      • The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced the details of an investment of $1.5 billion in the Workforce Development Agreements (WDAs) with provinces and territories. This investment will help Canadians in underrepresented groups and those in sectors that have been hardest hit by the pandemic – such as construction, transportation, and hospitality – quickly access supports to re-enter the workforce. It could include skills training, on-the-job training, employer-sponsored training, financial assistance and benefits, employment counselling and services, and job opportunities. This funding is in addition to the $3.4 billion provided to provinces and territories in 2020-21 under the WDAs and Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDAs). – Media Release
      • Today’s announcement is part of the government’s plan to make the largest investment in Canadian history in training for workers. This will help us reach our goal of creating over one million jobs. Working with the provinces and territories, we will support Canadian workers as they build new skills in growing sectors, help them receive education and accreditation, and connect them to employers and good jobs.
      • All provinces and territories have accepted the Government of Canada’s offer of additional funding through WDAs. The $1.5 billion investment will be allocated as follows (rounded to the nearest million): Ontario: $614 million
      • Under the WDAs and LMDAs, provinces and territories have flexibility to support their individual recovery efforts from the pandemic. For example, the scope of eligible expenses under these agreements has been broadened to include costs associated with online training, new physical distancing requirements, and mental health supports.
    • Question Period:
      • You said that you told Premiers that federal resources were not infinite, what was the context of this? The PM, “we are there to support them, but there is a threshold if cases continue to surge, where we may have chose to help one region over another. We want to see the case numbers drop.”
      • Do you trust the Ontario government’s approach to COVID? PM, “we had a good conversation with all the Premiers about their efforts. We are seeing a troubling surge across the country. Dr. Tam’s projection of 10,000 cases/day in December is a wake up call for everyone. It is best if we move quickly and firmly.” He said the job of the Federal government is to continue to be there for provinces and territories and for our citizens. “Whatever it take for as long as it takes.”
      • Quebec has said that they may extend their Christmas Break for schools. Will you support parents during this time? PM, “we are here for Canadians. We will help them get through this pandemic. Quebec hasn’t made a decision yet. Our approach is to be there for Canadians. I need to reassure families that our government is there for them.”
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Public Health Measures Table, the Ontario government is taking immediate action to respond to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases and is updating the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework, by lowering the thresholds for each level in the framework. These necessary updates will help limit the spread of COVID-19 while keeping schools open, maintaining health system capacity, protecting the province’s most vulnerable, and avoiding broader lockdowns. – Media Release
      • The framework changes are in response to the current data and trends, and will lower the threshold for each of the five levels for: weekly incidence rates, positivity rate, effective reproductive number (Rt), outbreak trends and the level of community transmission. Based on these new thresholds, the followin public health unit regions would be moved to the following levels in the framework:
        1. Red-Control: Hamilton Public Health Services, Halton Region Public Health, Toronto Public Health, York Region Public Health
        2. Orange-Restrict: Brant County Health Unit, Durham Region Health Department, Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Niagara Region Public Health, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, Region of Waterloo Public Health
      • Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health.
      • Please visit Ontario.ca/COVID19 for the full list of public health region classifications that will come into effect as of Monday, November 16, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. Toronto Public Health will move into the framework on Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.
      • Assignments to the current levels would last for a minimum of 28 days or two-incubation periods, at which time the status of these public health unit regions will be reassessed on a weekly basis. However, movement to a more restrictive zone will be considered sooner if there are rapidly worsening trends.
    • Question Period:
      • Why did you wait so long? Why are you so resist to what  Premier, “the modelling I saw yesterday is not the modelling I saw 10 days ago. I can reassure that if I saw 6.500 cases ten days ago I would have made changes. I have been decisive. I have been here every day. I will continue to be decisive.
      • You keep talking about your heart breaking for the business owners what about the families of people who have died? Premier, “this weighs on me. I am one of the few politicians in the country that takes calls from people directly.” The Premier was quite emotional when responding to this question.
      • Why is Halton moving to the red Zone. Dr. Williams said that Halton would be moving to the orange zone, but with the changing thresholds they moved to the Red.

Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020:

  • Female Ontario Mayors Joint Statement: Support Women-led Businesses Key to Economic ‘She-covery’
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on November 12, 2020 – Statement
      • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 277,061 cases of COVID-19, including 10,685 deaths reported in Canada; these cumulative numbers tell us about the overall burden of COVID-19 illness to date. Though the cumulative number is high and continues to increase, with several regions experiencing accelerated growth, it is important to remember that the vast majority of Canadians remain susceptible to COVID-19. This is why it is important for everyone to continue with individual precautions that will keep ourselves, our families and our communities safer.
      • At this time, there are 43,177 active cases across the country. The latest national-level data indicate daily averages of 4,015 new cases (Nov 4-10) and 54,668 people tested, with 5.8% testing positive (Nov 1-7). Outbreaks continue to contribute to COVID-19 spread in Canada. Although the size can vary from just a few cases to larger clusters, outbreaks are being reported in a range of settings including long-term care and assisted living facilities, schools, congregate living settings, industrial work settings and large social gatherings.
      • With colder weather, we are moving indoors. Canadians should avoid the 3Cs settings – closed spaces, crowded places and close contact situations – wherever possible. Larger clusters tell us that closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded places where many people gather and close contact situations can amplify spread of the virus. Spread in informal social gatherings and activities is also occurring. In these more relaxed settings, such as family and holiday celebrations and recreational activities, letting our guard down and not consistently maintaining public health practices, can lead to many exposures and infections. For these reasons, it is recommended that everyone wear a non-medical mask or face covering when spending time indoors with people from outside of your immediate household.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today’s Premier Doug Ford, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Donna Skelly, Parliamentary Assistant for Job Creation and Trade joined Mayor Fred Eisenberger in Hamilton to congratulate Heddle Shipyards on their new long-term agreement with Vancouver-based shipyard Seaspan to fabricate Ontario-made ship components under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. – Media Release
      • In the 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover, the government has taken significant steps to make the province more attractive to businesses and manufacturers like Heddle Shipyards. Through a plan to create growth, including lowering job-killing electricity prices, investing in the skilled trades, and providing tax relief, the government is creating an environment for future investment, job creation and a strong economic recovery.
      • Over the next decade, Heddle Shipyards will be the primary supplier for ladders, gratings and handrails for the JSS 1 (currently under construction), JSS 2, and an Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel. These components will be manufactured at their facilities in Hamilton, St. Catharines, and Thunder Bay, creating jobs across Ontario’s advanced manufacturing supply chain. These projects will generate tens of millions of dollars in economic activity in Ontario, employ at least 50 workers, and create the potential for additional opportunities, such as supplying larger ship modules in the future.
      • Seaspan and Heddle have also partnered to bid on the construction of the Polar Icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. If won, Heddle will support the construction through its modular fabrication program.
      • This announcement reinforces Hamilton’s status as a critical transportation hub sitting at the crossroads of trade and commerce for the province and the country. The City of Hamilton was recently designated as a Foreign Trade Zone by the federal government, joining Niagara and Windsor. Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs) attract new investment and encourage Ontario and Canadian businesses to expand internationally by providing local businesses with access to tariff and tax exemption programs, while importing materials or goods. The FTZ designation further positions Hamilton as an international transportation hub.
      • The Premier asked bikers not to visit Port Dover tomorrow for the annual Friday the 13th gathering. He asked people to be “responsible.” He called the numbers, “alarming and concerning we have to stay on high alert.”
      • He says he knows there is COVID fatigue, but says “we need to stick together.”
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked to respond to Andrea Horwath’s call for a two week shut down. Premier, “that’s her perspective. We are taking a more balanced approach. How can you measure the mental health impacts on small business owners.”
      • The Premier was asked to comment on the story that said he ignored advice regarding the new framework. Premier, “this is totally inaccurate and I am sorry to hear that. That’s one doctors perspective.” He said Dr. Williams approved the framework. “The easy thing to do is to shutdown the province. It’s easy for people who are guaranteed a pay cheque every week to say to shut down the province. We are taking a balanced approach.”
      • Why is there no consistency in reporting “bad actors” who do not follow public health rules? Premier, “people have to be responsible. We need everyone to follow the protocols.” He said he was really disappointed that “after being up here every day preaching that people don’t follow the protocols.” Mayor Eisenberger said that as of yesterday, upon request, council will name businesses.
      • How do you stick to this approach in light of what is happening? You don’t seem to be doing a lot. “I respectfully disagree. This framework gives us the flexibility to move quickly. It allows for transparency and we are going forward with it. But we are open to changing it, nothing is concrete during a pandemic.”
      • Regarding the PM invoking the Emergency Measures Act. “It wouldn’t go over very well at all. We don’t need a nanny state telling us what to do.” He was also not in favour of the federal government funding Public Health units directly.

Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM spoke about the rising cases across the country. He said, “beating COVID is the only way to protect the economy.”
      • The federal government is here to help communities. With the record spikes across the country the PM urged “Premiers and mayors to do the right thing now.” He said that if something is missing the supports  – “reach out.”
      • “The situation is a great concern to me. Job one is keeping people safe.” He said that 3.3 million rapid test have been sent to provinces and territories and more will follow.
      • Health Canada has approved a new hand held rapid test. This test will provide results in 15 minutes.
      • The PM and the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, announced $20 million in new funding to create a temporary Veterans Organizations Emergency Support Fund. This will provide financial support to Veterans organizations who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and who are in need of immediate support. – Media Release
      • The $20 million will be provided in the form of grants to non-profit and charitable Veterans organizations, including The Royal Canadian Legion ($14 million), ANAVETS ($1 million), True Patriot Love ($1.5 million) and VETS Canada ($850,000) to cover a portion of their operating expenditures. These payments will all be made before the end of the year.
      • Additionally, an application process is now open for the remainder of this fund so that additional Veterans organizations affected by COVID-19 may access support.
    • Question Period:
      • Why did you appeal to Premiers and Mayors today? Are you concerned they loosen restrictions too quickly? PM, “we have seen a spike in cases. The Federal government is there to support businesses and Canadians. This gives local authorities the ability to act. The best thing to do to protect Canadians and our economy is to protect the health of Canadians. To make those decisions easier the Federal government is there. We are making it easier for the provinces and territories to do the right thing and shut down. We need to put the health of Canadians first to protect the economy.”
      • Are you seeing any local shortfalls? PM, “we are there to respond to local needs. We are asking provinces and municipalities if there is more we need to do to help them make the right decisions quickly.”
      • Was not invoking the Emergency Measures Act the right thing to do? PM, “we have worked extremely well with the provinces and territories right from the beginning. We are seeing a big spike in cases as winter is approaching and we will be moving to spending more time indoors.” He said that acting quickly, and shutting down early is better than delaying and waiting for COVID to go away on it’s own. He spoke about targeted shutdowns and putting limits in where necessary. “We need to act quickly to prevent challenges further down the line. As a federal government we are here to support Canadians.”
      • What are you seeing that is worrisome? PM, “we are seeing a strong resurgence and record numbers of daily cases in regions where they could be doing more. Our role is not to tell provinces and territories to shut down, but we are there to make it easier for them to do the right thing. We will support businesses and Canadians. We aren’t doing businesses any favours by keeping them open when we are seeing a surge in cases. The only way to ensure our economy will be strong moving forward it to do the right thing now.”
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today by Premier Doug Ford, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, and Stan Cho, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance provided detail about the Ontario government’s  proposal to give municipalities the flexibility to target property tax relief to small businesses. The province is also considering matching these reductions, which would provide small businesses with as much as $385 million in municipal and provincial property tax relief. This initiative is part of the 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover.Media Release
      • Through the 2020 Budget, the government also announced that it will level the playing field by lowering high Business Education Tax (BET) rates for over 200,000 employers, or 94 per cent of all business properties in Ontario, starting January 1, 2021. This will create $450 million in immediate annual savings and represents a reduction of 30 per cent for many businesses currently subject to the highest BET rate in the province.
      • Property taxes are one of the most unavoidable costs businesses face. They must be paid, even when business is slow, as it has been for so many this year. In Ontario, there is a wide range of BET rates across the province, despite promises made by governments over the last 25 years to fix this inequity. This creates an unfair challenge for businesses operating in communities where rates are higher.
      • “Time and time again, we have heard that unfair property tax rates in some parts of the province are creating barriers to job creation and growth,” said Minister Phillips. “We heard loud and clear that levelling the playing field and addressing unfair property tax rates is one of the most important things we can do to support small business in our communities.”
      • Rates will be reduced to 0.88 per cent. For many employers, this represents a reduction of 30 per cent.
      • Taken together, these property tax measures could mean a business like a bakery shop in Toronto could receive $5,000 in municipal tax relief and $4,000 in provincial property tax relief if the local government applies a 30 per cent discount with the proposed new small business property subclass. Combined with a $1,500 BET reduction, this bakery shop owner would receive a total of $10,500 in property tax savings in 2021.
      • The Ontario government is also helping main street businesses stay open and stay safe by offering a grant of up to $1,000 for the costs of personal protective equipment (PPE), with applications for the $60-million Main Street Relief Grant becoming available online on November 16, 2020. Small businesses with two to nine employees in the retail, accommodations and food services, repair and maintenance, and personal and laundry services sectors can apply for this one-time grant. Eligible businesses, whether applying for the Main Street Relief Grant for PPE or for property tax or energy rebates in affected regions, will be able to do it all through one application on a new online portal. For more information, please visit ontario.ca/smallbusiness.
    • Question Period:
      • What are the measures and indicators in the orange restrict zone? Premier, “we have a strong, strong framework that gives communities guidance. Within any jurisdiction the local medical officer of health can add more restrictions. It’s a baseline that provides an opportunity for early intervention.”
      • If you have trouble articulating the measures after all the briefings you have received how to you expect regular Ontarians to understand them? The Premier said that the messaging has not been confusing and that the framework provides clear guidelines.
      • Was the PM speaking to you today? Premier, “I don’t know if he was. I want to thank him for his support, but we need ongoing support for small businesses.”
      • Can a local medical officer of health issue a complete lockdown? Premier, “yes, but we have never taken that approach.” Mayor Tory, “what we have learned is that the system is more complex than it needs to be. We have been working together to keep people safe. We have been working respectively in collaboration with the province.”
      • Some people are saying that the cure (lockdowns, restrictions, etc.) is worse than the disease. What do you think? Premier, “some people have that opinion. I rely on the health and science. Health is number one and the economy is slightly behind that.”
      • Manitoba is moving to a provincial lockdown, are you talking about that for the GTA? “we are not ruling anything out. We will be working together with the local medical officers of health and the local mayors on any decisions. If numbers get totally out of control I won’t hesitate to do whatever it takes.”
      • We keep hitting daily record numbers. What are your options? “I never give up. We will get through this. Am I concerned, 100% I am. We are throwing everything we can at this.”

Monday, Nov. 9, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced an investment of $1.75 billion to help connect Canadians to high-speed Internet across the country, grow businesses, and create jobs. This investment will connect 98 per cent of Canadians across the country to high-speed Internet by 2026, with the goal of connecting all Canadians by 2030. – Media Release
      • Announced originally in Budget 2019 as $1 billion, today’s additional funding of $750 million for the Universal Broadband Fund will help advance projects with partners, like the Canada Infrastructure Bank, to connect Canadian households and businesses in underserved communities over the next six years. This includes a $150 million Rapid Response Stream with an accelerated application process to allow shovel-ready projects to get started right away. With today’s announcement, the federal government has made $6.2 billion available for universal broadband since 2015.
      • Today’s announcement is the largest one-time federal investment in broadband and will make a real difference in the lives of Canadians and businesses across the country. It will support Canadians living in rural, remote, and northern communities and move forward the Government’s commitment to create over one million jobs.
      • The Government of Canada will work with partners to provide all Canadians with at least 50 megabits per second download speeds and 10 megabits per second upload speeds, no matter where they are in the country. These speeds will allow Canadians to telework, participate in e-learning, and access telehealth resources.
    • Backgrounder
      • Multi-pronged approach to getting Canadians connected
        1. Rapid Response Stream – To help accelerate the timeline for connecting all Canadians, the Government of Canada is including a Rapid Response Stream for the Universal Broadband Fund, making up to $150 million available for projects that will be completed quickly and will provide Canadians service by November 15, 2021.
        2. Large-Impact Projects – Canada needs a combination of projects to solve our connectivity challenge—large and small, regional- and community-based, driven by large ISPs and by local companies and communities.  To advance large, high-impact projects, with the ability to leverage many sources of funding, ISED is looking to partner with the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), with a view to identifying larger projects with strong economic fundamentals. These projects must be transformative in terms of results and scope—targeting a large number of households. As a business case, it makes sense to involve the CIB, which is available to offer low-cost loans for broadband projects.
        3. Support for a Diversity of Projects -The Connect to Innovate program supported a range of projects—projects from small ISPs, municipal-led projects, Indigenous projects, as well as projects from the larger ISPs. To ensure a diversity of applicants that reflect community needs, the Universal Broadband Fund is dedicating resources to help applicants that need support to build partnerships, understand available sources of funding and navigate the application process. This will ensure the Universal Broadband Fund can support the needs of all applicants, but especially smaller applicants such as municipalities or Indigenous groups. The pathfinder service includes support via phone or email, ongoing updates to frequently asked questions, and webinars.
        4. Mobility Projects Benefitting Indigenous Peoples
      • Eligibility and Selection
        • The Universal Broadband Fund allows almost any Canadian entity to submit an application; however, individuals and federal entities are excluded from applying to the program. Eligible applicants must have the ability to design, build and run broadband infrastructure and must identify who will build, own and operate the broadband network.
        • Projects will be selected using a three-stage assessment process that will ensure that applications from a wide variety of applicants across Canada can be considered. Ultimately, the projects that will be selected will be those that best meet the objectives of the program.
        • It is anticipated that successful projects will be announced starting in early 2021.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier Doug Ford, Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, at Interior Finishing Systems Training Centre in Woodbridge announced that the Ontario government is investing $511,100 in the Pathways to Post-Military Employment program to support the return of 180 military veterans and reservists to civilian life. This program, administered by non-profit organization Helmets to Hardhats Canada, will help veterans draw upon their unique skills and experience and connect them with good jobs in the construction industry.  – Media Release
      • Pathways to Post-Military Employment will offer job matching with employers in the construction sector, provide formal skills evaluations and support on-the-job training. This program will provide opportunities for veterans and reservists in several fields, including skilled trades, management, administration, planning, scheduling, logistics, security, engineering, and accounting.
      • Helmets to Hardhats is delivering the Pathways to Post-Military Employment program in partnership with Canada’s Building Trades Unions, the Council of Ontario Construction Associations, the Electrical Power Systems Construction Association, the Construction Labour Relations Association of Ontario, Veterans Emergency Transition Services Canada, the Royal Canadian Legion Ontario Command, and Good Shepherd Ministries.
      • Since launching in 2012, Helmets to Hardhats has placed 1,040 veterans into highly skilled, well-paying construction industry opportunities as they start their second career. Forty per cent of those placements were in Ontario.
      • This investment will also help provide homeless veterans with housing, aftercare support, food, clothing, medical care, addiction support, mental health services and crisis intervention in Toronto.
    • Question Period:
      • Given the numbers are you questioning the strategy? Premier, “as you know this is world-wide. The numbers are going up world-wide. We have the lowest number for a large jurisdiction. I respect what the Peel Chief Medical Officer of Health is doing.” He said that the more we follow the protocols the quicker we will get through this.
      • He was asked to respond to the criticism from epidemiologists about the new guidelines.  Aren’t you creating a false economy? Premier, “ I respect all the epidemiologists. I am not going to get into what one doctor says versus another. I listen to the docs on our health table.” He thinks it is healthy to have differing opinions.
      • What does it say about your guidelines, if Peel’s Chief Medical officer of Health added more restrictions. Premier, “this framework gives regions the flexibility to add extra guidelines as they see fit. I have said this before no one knows better what their communities need than the local Chief Medical Officers, the mayors, councillors and MPPs.” He said the provincial framework is required for early intervention.
      • Are the numbers we are seeing our new normal? Is keeping businesses open our only option? The Premier said he is trying to keep a happy balance. “They are coming at me from all ways. I never make a decision without consulting with stakeholders.” Minister Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, “when you change people’s routines it impacts their mental health.” He said there has been an increase in suicides, relapses and addictions.

Friday, Nov. 6, 2020:

  • Fitness and Team Sports to Return to Burlington Facilities; Tansley Woods Pickleball Season Extended
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • While in Ottawa Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, and Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Cultural Industries announced the Ontario government is investing nearly $45 million to create up to 254 more beds in hospitals and alternative health facilities in Ottawa, including nearly $18 million to address ambulance offload times in Ottawa and the hiring of more frontline staff. This is part of the government’s $15.2 billion investment in health care announced yesterday in the 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover. The first pillar of the Action Plan ― Protect ― outlines how the province is protecting people during the COVID-19 pandemic by improving access to care and reducing surgical backlogs. – Media Release
      • In Ottawa, Ontario’s investment for up to 254 total patient beds will help alleviate hospital capacity pressures and reduce wait times. This includes:
        1. 120 beds at the Greystone Village Retirement Home, operated by Bruyere Continuing Care;
        2. 56 beds to be operated by the Queensway Carleton Hospital;
        3. 39 beds and 20 ambulatory offload spaces at the Ottawa Hospital;
        4. 10 beds at Montfort Hospital; and
        5. 9 beds at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).
    • The Premier also announced that at the request of the local medical officer of health, and with the support of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Toronto Public Health would remain in a modified Stage 2 until November 14, 2020.Media Release
      • As of Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., public health unit regions would be moved to the following levels:
        1. Lockdown: No public health unit regions.
        2. Red-Control: Peel Regional Health Unit.
        3. Orange-Restrict:  Ottawa Public Health and York Region Public Health.
        4. Yellow-Protect: Brant County Health Unit; City of Hamilton Public Health Services; Durham Region Health Department; Eastern Ontario Health Unit;  Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit; Halton Region Public Health; Niagara Region Public Health; Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services; Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit; and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.
        5. Green-Prevent: Algoma Public Health; Chatham-Kent Public Health; Grey Bruce Health Unit; Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health; Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit; Hastings Prince Edward Public Health; Huron Perth Public Health; Lambton Public Health; Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit, Middlesex-London Health Unit; North Bay Parry Sound District; Northwestern Health Unit; Peterborough Public Health; Porcupine Health Unit; Public Health Sudbury & Districts; Renfrew County and District Health Unit; Southwestern Public Health, Thunder Bay District Health Unit; Timiskaming Health Unit; and  Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
      • Trends in public health data will be reviewed weekly. At the same time, the government will continually assess the impact of public health measures for 28 days, or two COVID-19 incubation periods to determine if public health units should stay where they are or be moved into a different level.
    • Question Period:
      • You said the new framework was meant to give businesses certainty. Why is this announcement coming out so late? The Premier said that restaurants can still be open in the red zone with limited capacities. “The numbers in Peel are going through the roof, especially in Brampton. I absolutely hate making these kinds of decisions.” He noted that as uncomfortable as it is to close businesses we have seen that it works. “Folks in Brampton have to hunker down.” Minister Elliott, “the numbers in Peel are escalating, actions need to be taken. Percentage positive rate is 11%, we would like it at 2.5%” Supports are being sent to Peel to assist with contact tracing.
      • With the role public health has played in the pandemic why wasn’t there any new funding for them in the budget? Minister Phillips, “we have invested $170 million to support public health and community based supports.” He also spoke about the support to municipalities they have provided.
      • With the property tax breaks for businesses will residential property taxes go up? Minister Phillips, “we are giving municipalities the flexibility.” Municipalities can choose whether or not to implement this option.
      • Putting Peel in the red zone is actually loosen restrictions. Dr. Loh asked that Peel remain in modified stage 2 for another week, why didn’t you follow his advice? Premier, “this discussion has been going on since last night. I have spoken with the mayors.” He said where they ended up is a “fair compromise, while protecting the integrity of the framework. We collaborated and cooperating with the Mayors, and worked with the local chief medical officer of health and Dr. Williams. This is a relatively fair compromise. I don’t want to have to lockdown the Province again.”
      • Gyms and restaurants have been closed for 28 days, they did not contribute to the increase in cases, why keep them closed? Premier, “ I listen to the advice of the medical experts. I have two choices, I ignore them or I take their advice. There are over 100 doctors giving us advice.”

Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020:

Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020:

  • Halton Medical Officer of Health Issues Statement in Response to Province’s new COVID-19 Response Framework
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier Doug Ford, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure and MPP for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, and Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, were at the local Haliburton County Public Library in Minden Hills. They announced a historic investment of nearly $1 billion over six years to improve and expand broadband and cellular access across the province. The $680 million being announced today is on top of the $315 million to support Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan. This funding will be used for shovel-ready projects starting in 2019-20, will create jobs, and connect unserved and underserved communities during COVID-19 and beyond. – Media Release
      • The investment announced today doubles funding for the Improving Connectivity in Ontario (ICON) program, bringing the new total to $300 million. This program now has the potential to leverage more than $900 million in total partner funding to improve connectivity in areas of need across Ontario. As part of Ontario’s broadband and cellular action plan, ICON is one of several provincial initiatives underway to improve connectivity across Northern, Eastern and Southwestern Ontario.
      • Over 1.4 million people in Ontario do not have broadband or cellular access, and as many as 12 per cent of households in Ontario, mostly in rural, remote or Northern areas, are underserved or unserved from the perspective of broadband, according to Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) data.
      • In October, the province released Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government. Improving access to broadband and cellular service is one of the initial projects. Through Ontario Onwards, the province will help make government services more efficient and the lives of people and businesses better. Today’s announcement is another example of the government’s commitment to making Ontario the world’s leading digital jurisdiction.
      • ICON was launched in July 2020. The program leverages partner funding by inviting applicants like telecom companies, municipal governments, First Nation communities, and non-profits, to submit innovative proposals and lend their investment, expertise and experience to improve connectivity in communities across Ontario. The province funds a portion of each approved project.
      • Over the past several months, Ontario has partnered with the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) to invest $71 million in a $213 million project to improve access to cellular service and mobile broadband in Eastern Ontario.
      • The province is investing in the $190 million Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) project to bring high-speed broadband to 50,000 more homes and businesses across Southwestern Ontario. In the past few months, SWIFT Inc. has awarded contracts to bring high-speed Internet to thousands of residents in Lambton, Wellington, Norfolk, Oxford, Dufferin, Essex and Caledon. More contracts are expected in the coming months.
    • Question Period:
      • Are there specific projects in mind for this funding? Minister Scott, “we want more connectivity for all of Ontario. This is the start of many conversations with municipalities and telecom providers.” She said that she is also looking forward to the federal government coming to the table with funding.
      • Are the thresholds in the Red zone (of the Province’s new framework) set too high? Premier, asked if the people who made these comments had read the whole plan. “This is about early intervention. This is a good plan with unprecedented transparency.”
      • Is the target of 100,000 test daily an achievable target? Premier, “other than going door to door I’m not sure what else we can do to get people tested.” He said the Province’s capacity was up to 50,000 test per day and that the Province was looking at different types of tests. “If you have symptoms, please get tested. We can’t force people to get tested.”
      • Are there specific types of technology you want to see (for the broadband projects)? Minister Scott, “ we are looking at everything. Innovation is on the table.”
      • Some experts and medical professionals are saying these guidelines are too late in the game. Has your new plan missed the mark? Premier, said that many stakeholders were consulted. “It’s easy to be an armchair quarterback. I think we did a really good job and simplified things. But, there is only so much government can do.”
      • What role did the Province’s fiscal situation play in the development of the plan? Minister Phillips, “we have made unprecedented investments to protect Ontarians. It’s about balance. We must understand the many determinants of health including mental health.”
      • Will there be ways to increase revenues in the budget? Minister Phillips, “you will have to wait until tomorrow for the details of the budget. There will be no new taxes or charges. The focus is on protecting and supporting Ontarians, while setting a foundation for recovery. We will have the resources and we will not be raising taxes.”

Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020:

  • Ontario Releases COVID-19 Response Framework of Preventative Measures to help avoid Broader Closures
  • Temporary Outdoor Patios & Tents: Burlington City Council Approves Bylaw Amendments, Program Changes & Extension to Encourage Economic Recovery During COVID-19
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, and Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health announced that in consultation with consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, the Ontario government has developed the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework – Media Release
      • The framework is meant to ensure that public health measures are targeted, incremental and responsive to help limit the spread of COVID-19, while keeping schools and businesses open, maintaining health system capacity and protecting vulnerable people, including those in long-term care.
      • The framework takes a gradual approach that includes introducing preventative measures earlier to help avoid broader closures and allow for additional public health and workplace safety measures to be introduced or removed incrementally.
      • It categorizes public health unit regions into five levels: Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Lockdown being a measure of last and urgent resort. Each level outlines the types of public health and workplace safety measures for businesses and organizations. These include targeted measures for specific sectors, institutions and other settings.
      • As the province continues to expand access to real-time data, enhancements are also being made to Ontario.ca/coronavirus, Ontario’s one-stop shop for information on COVID-19. Information about the spread of the virus, and public health and health system capacity will now be available on the website. This includes local cases by public health unit regions, the total number of cases, resolved cases, deaths, and tests completed and how many are positive. The province will continue to add data sets as they become available, such as sources of outbreaks as a subset of overall cases. This information will better help businesses, organizations and local communities access key information to prepare in advance for any changes in their region.
      • To provide the utmost transparency, each public health unit will be classified according to current framework indicators. Proposed classifications based on data for the week of October 26, 2020 can be found below. These will be confirmed by the province on Friday, November 6, 2020 and become effective on Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. Final decisions on moving public health unit regions into the framework will be made by the government based on updated data and in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, local medical officers of health and other health experts, and will be reviewed weekly.
    • Supporting Businesses affected by COVID-19 Public Health Measures
      • The Ontario government is making $300 million available to businesses required to close or significantly restrict services in areas subject to modified Stage 2 public health restrictions (Ottawa, Peel, Toronto, and York Region) or, going forward, in areas categorized as Control or Lockdown.
      • Beginning November 16, 2020, eligible businesses will be able to apply for temporary property tax and energy cost rebates directly to the province through a single, online application portal. Many businesses should expect to receive their rebate payments within a few weeks of finalizing and submitting their completed application. Eligible businesses include restaurants, bars, gyms and cinemas.
    • Public Health Unit Region Classifications
      • As of November 7, 2020, the province will transition public health unit regions to the new framework. The following proposed classifications for public health unit regions are based on data for the week of October 26, 2020. Updated data will be used for final review by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and approval by Cabinet on Friday, November 6, 2020.
      • Yellow-Protect:
        1. Brant County Health Unit;
        2. City of Hamilton Public Health Services;
        3. Durham Region Health Department; and
        4. Halton Region Public Health.
    • Question Period:
      • What your proposing seems to have more emphasis on businesses than prevention. Premier, “this emphasis is still on prevention. This will help us put the measures in place earlier.”
      • There is no mention of schools in the new guidelines. Dr. Williams, “schools have reopened with enhanced measures.” He said they are finding that students are coming to school with COVID, they are not being infected at school. What we need to do is a better job at protecting ourselves from catching COVID, this will prevent children from catching it and then bringing it into schools.
      • Can Ontarians feel safe dining indoors now? Premier, “we still need to be super cautious. We can’t let our guard down.” The Premier also said that the new dashboard would provide “unprecedented transparency.” Dr. Williams said these new approach can be referred to as “harm reduction.” Providing the public with the information about what businesses are supposed to be doing at each level will help people make informed choices about where the go and what they do. He said that they are asking the public to be even more engaged and “turn the decision making over to the public.” He admitted that the Province had to do more communications.

Monday, Nov. 2, 2020:

  • Mayor Meed Ward’s Op-Ed in Hamilton Spectator: Halton Leaders and MOH are on the same page
  • Important Changes to Joseph Brant Hospital COVID-19 Testing Service
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Doug Ford, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, and Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, announced that the Ontario government is increasing the hours of direct care for each long-term care resident to an average of four hours per day. This commitment will make Ontario the leader among Canadian provinces in the provision of care for long-term care residents. The announcement was made in advance of the release of Ontario’s 2020 Budget on November 5, 2020.  – Media Release
      • This new commitment to improve quality of care includes:
        1. Average daily direct care of four hours a day per resident. Direct hands-on care is provided by nurses or personal support workers to support individual clinical and personal care needs.
        2. Hard targets set over the next four years to achieve this standard by 2024-25. Progress against these targets will be measured and reported regularly.
        3. Unprecedented changes to educate and recruit the tens of thousands of new personal support workers, registered practical nurses and registered nurses that will be required. As part of the province’s COVID-19 Fall Preparedness Plan, the province is taking the first step by recruiting an additional 3,700 frontline workers for its health workforce.
      • The increase in average daily hours of care builds on supports recently announced for long-term care, including investing $1.75 billion over five years to increase long-term care capacity and spaces for seniors, as well as the government’s commitment to build 30,000 new long-term care beds over 10 years. The government is also driving the development of new long-term care homes through the Accelerated Build Pilot Program, adding 1,280 beds by early 2022.
      • Minister Phillips said that the 2020 Budget has three pillars. Today he announced that “protect” was the first pillar.
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked about the Cabinet meeting today to discuss the plan for reopening of restaurants and gyms. He said that Cabinet would be reviewing the recommendations from the health table. He said that he would be in discussion with the mayors in all the regions. “We will review what the health table has brought to us and will have an announcement soon.”
      • The Premier was asked to comment on the data that was shared last week. If he had that information before the decision to move regions to the modified stage 2 would he have closed gyms and ended indoor dining? He said that Peel and Toronto account for 28% of the province’s population and 67% of the cases. Premier, “I have to rely on the advice from the doctors. We have to follow health and science.” Mayor Crombie, “we closed down at the right time. We’re not see the transmission in restaurants and gyms. When it is safe to reopen restaurants and gyms the Premier will reopen them.” She said that the cases were coming from private gathers and events.
      • What do you think is happening in Ottawa to get their numbers down? The Premier complimented Mayor Watson on his efforts. He said that Mayor Crombie and Brown were also working really hard. “I have never seen so much cooperation between the 444 municipalities, the Province and the Federal government before.”
      • What’s going on with the flu shots? The Premier said that the Province has ordered a million more flu shots than they normally do and everyone who wants a flu shot should be able to get one. To Rexall Pharmacies, “don’t overbook people. You know how many flu shots you ordered.”
      • Given Ontario’s current case numbers and the seven day rolling average, why would you consider loosening the restrictions on restaurants and gyms? Premier, “I am trying to do a happy balance. I will take the advice from the health table. We are doing pretty good as a Province.”

Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
        • Today by Premier Doug Ford, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Doug Downey, Attorney General, Jeff Lehman, Mayor of Barrie and Dennis Darby, President & CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, at Napoleon, in Barrie the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), with the support of the Ontario government, is launching a new Ontario Made Consumer Directory. This guide will make it easier for shoppers to find made-in-Ontario products, while supporting local businesses and manufacturers. By promoting Ontario-made products, this initiative will support good-paying jobs and set the province down the path to further growth, renewal and long-term economic recovery. – Media Release
        • Ontario’s manufacturing sector is the economic engine of Canada, directly accounting for over 12 per cent of the province’s economy, with nearly $300 billion in annual shipments and $200 billion in exports. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturers across the province stepped up to innovate by ramping up or shifting their production lines to produce more food, personal protective equipment, and other essential supplies. In September alone, an increase of 51,700 jobs pushed Ontario’s manufacturing employment 17,000 jobs above pre-COVID levels.
        • Consumers can easily find these made-in-Ontario goods in the new online, searchable directory at SupportOntarioMade.ca. This includes products that are made in local communities, participating retailers and company profiles.
        • The Ontario Made program is helping the province’s manufacturing base regain and recover revenues lost due to COVID-19. Manufacturers and producers are encouraged to register and promote their products on the SupportOntarioMade.ca website and use the Ontario Made logo. Regional webinars where manufacturers can learn more about the program will be hosted by CME to increase the volume and variety of registered Ontario Made products for consumers.

       

    • Question Period:
      • Will regions ins modified stage 2 go back to stage 3 after the 28 days? When will they be notified, a day before? Premier, “we will need to take a surgical approach.” He gave the example of Peel, where Caledon is “complaining that they are getting punished” because of the case numbers in Mississauga and Brampton. He said that today’s modelling numbers were a little good news. He did not answer the question about when they will be notified.

Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on October 28, 2020 – Statement
    • Address by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance to the Toronto Global Forum: Canada’s plan for a strong economic recovery from COVID-19 – Speech
      • We are doing everything in our power to keep Canadians healthy, safe and solvent.
      • This approach is, of course, fully in line with our government’s values. We believe passionately in a Canada where we take care of each other, particularly the most vulnerable among us – seniors, women, young people, Indigenous Peoples, Black and other racialized Canadians. And, I am proud to say, that is what Canadians are doing, with our government’s support, from ocean to ocean to ocean.
      • Our policies have a heart, to be sure. But they are driven just as powerfully by a prudent, dispassionate economic calculus. One that is extraordinarily important.
      • It is just not practically possible, never mind fair, to ask workers to stay home, or businesses to shut their doors, without providing the financial support they need to compensate for lost income.
      • So, the concern about pandemic spending is not about our aims or our intent. It’s about capacity. Canadians are careful about the nation’s finances. I know this very personally. I am from rural northern Alberta, which is not, culturally, a place much steeped in the ideas of helicopter money. And the question I hear from there, and in downtown Toronto too, is this: Can we afford it?
      • I am going to start with a simple answer, and then I will elaborate.
      • The simple answer is – yes, we can.
      • While advocating expansive fiscal policy to battle COVID-19 – and to grow our way out of the coronavirus recession – I am not among those who think Canada should have a fling with Modern Monetary Theory, which holds that deficits don’t matter for a government that issues debt in its own currency.
      • Whether on Bay Street or Main Street, there are no blank cheques, and there are no free lunches.
      • Our fiscally expansive approach to fighting the coronavirus cannot and will not be infinite. It is limited and temporary
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Doug Ford, Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care announced the Ontario government is providing up to $1.05 billion in combined federal-provincial funding through the new COVID-19 Resilience infrastructure stream to build or renovate health and safety related projects in long-term care, education and municipalities. – Media Release
      • The funding is part of the federal government’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and reinforces the commitment of both the federal and provincial governments to protect the health and well-being of individuals and families during the pandemic.
      • Eligible projects under the COVID-19 Resilience stream will fall under four main categories:
        1. Community, recreation, health and education renovations (e.g. retrofits, repairs or upgrades to long-term care homes, publicly funded schools and co-located childcare centre facilities, recreation centres or shelters);
        2. COVID-19 response infrastructure (e.g. heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, new builds or renovations to enable physical distancing);
        3. Active transportation (e.g. parks, trails); and
        4. Disaster mitigation, adaptation, or remediation (e.g. flood mitigation).
      • The COVID-19 Resilience stream will deliver:
        1. Up to $700 million for education-related projects to be nominated and administered by the Ministry of Education;
        2. An allocation-based program that will deliver $250 million to municipalities to address critical local infrastructure needs, including $6.5 million that will be directed toward Indigenous and on-reserve education, through the Ministry of Infrastructure in collaboration with the Ministries of Education and Indigenous Affairs; and
        3. Up to $100 million for long-term care projects to be identified and administered by the Ministry of Long-Term Care.
      • Eligible projects must begin by September 30, 2021 and be completed by December 31, 2021. Additional details about the COVID-19 Resilience stream and intake opening dates will be available in the days and weeks ahead.
      • The COVID-19 Resilience stream will be 80% cost-shared by the federal government and 20% cost-shared by the Province for public infrastructure ― further reinforcing the support being provided to build and renovate health and safety-related projects in long-term care, education and municipalities.
    • Question Period:
      • Pharmacies are turning people away for flu shots because they just don’t have the supply. Premier, “we ordered a year in advance. We ordered more than we usually do and have ordered additional supplies. We ordered 5. 1 million doses and have distributed 4.8 million doses so far. I think we ordered enough.”
      • The Premier was asked a number of questions about MPP Oosterhoff again today.  If your MPP didn’t get the message has your message not been clear? What is the way you are handling MPP Oosterhoff’s behavior saying to restaurant and small business owners? Premier, “he made a mistake and he has to do better. We all have to do a better job.” Regarding the message to restaurants and small business owners, “I understand what you are saying.”
      • Goodlife Fitness is saying that after 6 million workouts there have been no cases. Will you consider reopening gyms? Premier, “no one wants to reopen the economy more than I do. I am in contact with the mayors in the four hotspot regions. We have to be collaborative and work together on a plan that the Chief Medical Officers are comfortable with. I am pushing to get things opened up.”
      • Did you say we are flattening the curve? Premier, “I wouldn’t go as far as flattening, but we see it going in the right direction. But, I have said that before. Things are looking positive and it’s put me in a good mood. I am so proud of all the people in Ontario. I am very proud of all my ministers.”
      • People are saying that no matter how many sacrifices they make they aren’t seeing things change. You see the fatigue and frustration in people. Premier, “I see the fatigue in people. But I am here to give people hope. We are doing so much better than anywhere else in the world. We will do everything we can to get the gyms open. Let’s look at the glass at being half full, not half empty.”

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020:

  • Statement from Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health — Oct. 26, 2020
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, Mayor Patrick Brown and Dr. Naveed Mohammad, President and CEO of William Osler Health System were in Brampton as the announcement of  $116.5 million to create up to 766 more beds at 32 hospitals and alternate health facilities across the province. This investment will help reduce surgical backlogs and improve access to care during COVID-19. The funding is in addition to the $2.8 billion the province is providing in the government’s COVID-19 fall preparedness plan. – Media Release
      • The new beds announced today are in addition to the $234.5 million investment for 139 critical care beds and up to 1,349 hospital beds included in Ontario’s fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19. This brings the total investment to $351 million for more than 2,250 new beds at 57 hospitals and alternate health facilities across the province. These beds will add more capacity for hospitals in COVID-19 hotspots such as Toronto, Ottawa, Peel and York region. It will also help those facing occupancy pressures and support the continuation of surgeries and procedures.
      • William Osler Health System will be receiving up to 87 total patient beds to help alleviate hospital capacity pressures and reduce wait times. This includes 41 beds at Osler’s Brampton Civic Hospital and 46 beds at Osler’s Etobicoke General Hospital.
    • Question Period:
      • Why does Brampton have only one testing facility? Minister Elliott responded and said that the Province has increased testing capacity and has now tested almost 5 million people in the Province. She said pharmacy testing was available for asymptomatic people. Pop up testing centres are also being used for people who don’t feel comfortable coming in for testing.
      • Will you commit to setting up another testing location in Brampton? Minister Elliott said she would commit to looking into whether another site was needed in Brampton.
      • The Premier was asked to comment on the different approach being taking in Alberta, where they are also seeing a spike in cases. Premier, “we are taking a more cautious approach than Alberta.” He said that Ontario has a larger population than Alberta. “I do like what they are doing at the Calgary airport.” A pilot is being done where travelers are being tested at the airport to determine if they need quarantine during their visit.
      • What do you think about the motion your nephew is taking to Toronto city council about food delivery service commission caps? Premier, “we have to protect restaurant owners. Some delivery companies are charging 30%.” He urged companies to “give back, help out and support the restaurants. You’re making a fortune, give back.”
      • You called people who skirted the rules yahoos and you said you would be on them like an “800 pound gorilla”. Is MPP Oosterhoff a yahoo? Will you be coming down on him like an 800 pound gorilla? Why are there no repercussions for him? Premier, “ I encourage everyone, it is absolutely critical that when you go into a restaurant you have to wear face covering. MPP Oosterhoff came out, he apologized and he said it’s not going to happen again. He acknowledged a mistake was made, I accept that. I take him at his word. Everyone makes mistakes. I support him. He understands.”

Monday, Oct. 26, 2020:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Ontario government will release its 2020 Budget on Thursday, November 5, 2020. It will focus on protecting the health and safety of the people during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing much-needed supports to families, workers, and employers, and laying the foundation for future growth, renewal and economic recovery. – Media Release
      • The Budget will build on Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, which was updated this summer to make available a projected $30 billion in response to the global pandemic.
      • Since releasing Ontario’s Action Plan in March, Ontario businesses, families, and workers have benefited from initiatives put forward by the government:
        1. Providing relief to over 63,000 small business tenants through the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program (CECRA).
        2. More than 19,000 emergency supplies leads have been converted into more than $880 million in purchases of critical supplies and equipment to support staff on the front lines, including 148 million masks, 439 million gloves, and 29 million gowns through the Ontario Together portal.
        3. Providing $75 million for 194,000 seniors by doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment from April to September 2020.
        4. Building domestic capacity to manufacture 10,000 ventilators through an innovative partnership between O-Two Medical Technologies and Linamar and producing 50 million N95 masks annually beginning in early 2021 through a joint federal-provincial investment in a new 3M facility in Brockville.
        5. Saving businesses over $330 million by reducing red tape and the elimination of unnecessary paperwork.
        6. Helping students with six months of Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan and accrual relief.
    • Question Period:
      • You said there would be a decision today about Halton and Durham. Did the letter from the mayors and MPPs have an impact? Premier, “I spoke with Mayor Burton. This is unique. None of the mayors, MPPs, or the chair agree. I encouraged them to a write a letter. It was twisted in the around in the media to suggest we don’t agree. The number one focus is the safety of people, right next to that is the economy. I always reach out to the mayors and MPPs first and then I reach out to the small business owners.”
      • Was there a decision about Halton and Durham over the weekend. Do politicians now have a say in the decisions about shut downs, I thought decision were made based on the medical advice? Premier, “politicians are always consulted.” He said the Halton situation was very unique in that none of the local politicians, the MPPs or the MP agreed with the Medical Officer of Health. He suggested that a letter be written. He commented on his incredible MPPs Jane McKenna and Parm Gill.
      • What is the Province’s strategy regarding the shut downs. Are they working? Premier, “there are of raft of things I get briefed on before we make any decisions on closures.” Minister Elliott, “we consider a consistent set of issues – number of new cases, ability to test and trace, hospital capacity and the opinion of the local medical officer of health.” She said what we are seeing now are the impacts of Thanksgiving. “The numbers in some areas are going down.”
      • Are you seeing a push back from some regions? Premier, “I feel confident. There’s always been push back. It’s not easy. We are trying to stay down the middle of the road, balancing health and economics.”
      • Was the letter successful? The Premier said he spoke with Mayor Burton and told him I need your support.  “We don’t make decisions based on letters. This was unique situation where all the local politicians did not agree with the Chief Medical Officer of Health.”
      • Do you still have confidence in MPP Sam Oosterhoff? “I have 100% confidence in Sam. He apologized. Everyone makes mistakes. He is a great representative and I am proud to have him on the team.”
      • Where does Halton stand now? Minister Elliott, “it is something we are still considering. We are looking at the medical evidence and will be in discussions with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and will consider the factors I mentioned earlier – number of new cases, ability to test and trace, and hospital capacity .”

Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020:

Friday, Oct. 23, 2020:

  • YWCA Hamilton’s Women of Distinction Awards – Nominations Open for Halton Region
  • City Looks to Help in Winter Planning for Burlington Restaurants
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Prime Minister announces funding to advance the development of Canadian COVID‑19 vaccine technologies – Media Release
      • The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced an investment of up to $173 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) in Quebec City-based Medicago to support Canada’s response to COVID-19 and future preparedness. The project, valued at a total of $428 million, will advance Medicago’s virus-like particle vaccine, developed on the company’s unique plant-based production platform, through clinical trials. It will also establish a large-scale vaccine and antibody production facility to increase Canada’s domestic biomanufacturing capacity.
      • The government has signed an agreement with Medicago to secure up to 76 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate, enough to vaccinate 38 million people. This is the first domestically developed vaccine candidate the Government of Canada has secured.
      • The government will also invest up to $18.2 million in Vancouver-based biotechnology company Precision NanoSystems Incorporated (PNI) through the SIF. This investment will support a $24.27-million project to help advance the development of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate through pre-clinical studies and clinical trials. The government is also providing up to $23.2 million in funding through the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program to advance six COVID-19 vaccine candidates in various stages of clinical trials.
      • At this time, there are no vaccines authorized for the prevention of COVID-19. All vaccine candidates must go through pre-clinical and clinical trials. Health Canada will continue to review evidence of safety, efficacy, and manufacturing quality for each vaccine candidate as it becomes available to decide whether the product will be approved for use in Canada.
    • Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, October 23, 2020 – Speech
      • Canada’s public health community has mobilized and collaborated like never before to stand up and sustain this response. We’ve all had to adapt and adjust as new information emerged, while at the same time navigating through the sea of uncertainties. And yet, the public health workforce has endured, and remains steadfast in the commitment to protect and improve the health and resilience of the populations we all feel privileged to serve.
      • But despite public health’s efforts – no one sector can solve a pandemic alone. Pandemics are whole of society events. That means the impacts extend across society, not only by affecting those who become ill, but also by impacting the health, social and economic systems that affect our overall wellbeing. It also means that minimizing the pandemic’s impact, both today and in the future, depends on all of our actions, now.  The longer a pandemic goes on and the less we all do to minimize the related disruptions the more its impacts will be felt.
      • The public in public health means, as practitioners, we serve the population but also that the collective actions of the public are a vital part of the power and success of our solutions!
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services announced that the Ontario government is investing an additional $8.7 million to support the planning and design of the new Quinte Health Care Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital in Picton. Once complete, this new state-of-the-art hospital will replace the existing aged facility, expand capacity, improve access to quality care and help end hallway health care for patients and families in Prince Edward County – Media Release
      • The new Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital will provide patients and families in the region with the following:
        1. Six additional in-patient beds, bringing the total to 18 beds in private rooms, with the ability to expand to 23 beds for future capacity;
        2. A larger, 24/7 emergency department that will provide more space for staff and patients;
        3. Modern surgical suites to deliver care with the best technology available;
        4. Dialysis treatments and diagnostic imaging; and
        5. Outpatient care services including minor surgical procedures such as endoscopies.
      • The helipad currently located at the hospital will be relocated to a nearby location, ensuring patients continue to receive emergency air transport and access to critical care services. Following design of the new hospital, project procurement is expected to begin in 2021. The procurement process will ensure a fair, open and transparent selection of a proponent to begin construction on the new hospital.
      • Rural hospitals like Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital play a critical role in ensuring equitable access to high quality care for patients and families across Ontario. This new hospital in Picton is part of Ontario’s investment of $27 billion over 10 years to build new and expanded hospital infrastructure.
    • Question Period:
      • Beyond the 28 day closures are there other things the Province can do? Premier, “ I hate having to shut things down. We need to have a balance between public safety and the economics.” He said the health table has been pragmatic with their recommendations. “We want to keep our hands around this, while balancing the economy.”
      • Will Halton Region be moving to a modified Stage 2? Premier, “Halton’s numbers are concerning. We will be having a discussion over the weekend. I have spoken to the Mayors. We will have a decision on Monday.”
      • When will flu shots be available for everyone? Minister Elliott said that September shipments were sent to long term care homes and hospitals. Since then shipments have been distributed to pharmacies and then to public health agencies who sent them to doctors offices, nurse practioners, etc. “We are expecting another shipment next week.” They have also ordered another supply from the federal government. She again said that this isn’t a shortage of doses. The Premier said that he was waiting for everyone else to get their flu shot before he got his. He wasn’t going to jump to the front of the line.
      • Will Durham be part of your discussions over the weekend? Premier, “we will be discussing all regions that have increases over the weekend.”

Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Doug Ford, Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA) spoke about the new legislation that was introduced. A package of legislative and policy measures that would, if passed, accelerate the building of key infrastructure projects to create jobs and lay the foundation for a strong economic recovery. The Ontario Rebuilding and Recovery Act, 2020 would support the construction of better-connected highways and public transit networks, transit-oriented communities, and affordable housing – Media Release, Backgrounder
      • The proposed legislation, introduced by Minister Mulroney earlier today, would reduce barriers in the planning, design and construction of major infrastructure projects like highway and public transit networks, and support the growth of transit-oriented communities.
      • If passed, the suite of additional measures would help to further reduce risk and costs, mitigate unnecessary delays and could encourage competitive bidding associated with transit projects. In addition, the government would work to modernize policies and align processes for consistency to improve public services.
      • The government is also helping to address zoning, land availability and site plan approval concerns for priority long-term care home development by leveraging support from the Provincial Land and Development Facilitator and by recognizing that the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing has existing authority to make Minister’s Zoning Orders under the Planning Act. This approach is already benefiting communities like Ajax, Mississauga and Toronto.
      • Additional measures announced today will also support more private sector investments to potentially fund and accelerate broadband expansion in communities across the province.
      • Accelerated delivery of these projects would also boost Ontario’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, getting more people back to work more quickly. In order to support this ambitious infrastructure plan, Ontario requires a strong skilled trades and professional workforce. That’s why the government remains committed to helping workers and employers seize opportunities by increasing apprentice registration and training opportunities through major infrastructure projects.
      • Following introduction, the Ministry of Transportation intends to post a link to the bill on the Environmental Registry of Ontario for a 30-day comment period and, if required, would provide additional opportunities for public engagement.
      • The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is seeking, through proposed legislative changes, to:
        1. Extend authorities under the Transit-Oriented Communities Act, 2020 (TOC Act) to other provincial transit projects, such as GO Heavy Rail and light rail transit which would be specified in regulation.
          1. Amend the TOC Act to extend authority to provide exemptions from the Hearings of Necessity provisions in the Expropriations Act to other provincial transit projects for TOC.
          2. Amend the TOC Act to provide authority to enter into new types of commercial arrangements for other provincial transit projects for TOC to the Minister of Transportation and provide the Minister of Transportation with the ability to delegate this authority by regulation to Metrolinx or other government agencies.
      • The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) will consult with municipalities to identify what additional authorities or tools they may need to be granted/delegated to expedite the delivery of critical local infrastructure projects.
    • Question Period:
      • Yesterday you fired a warning shot to insurance companies. Are you wiling to regulate them? Premier, “I’ve had it with these insurance companies. They are refusing to insure people. I am onto these guys. The people are the priority – not these insurance companies that have been making millions for years.”
      • What happens after the 28 days (in the communities that are in modified stage 2)? Are you concerned about Toronto’s positivity rates? “Yes I am super concerned. I really hope we can bring the numbers down. “ He said that they are looking at what he referred to as the “poop report”, the wastewater study.
      • Minister Elliott says there is no flu shot shortage, but seniors are saying they can’t get the high dose flu shot. The Premier, said that people should call ahead before going to a pharmacy for a flu shot. “We have ordered 5.1 million doses, more than any previous year.” He committed to getting the exact numbers of doses the Province has received, when the balance is expected and where the flu shot have been distributed. He also committed to sharing this information.

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020:

  • All Sport Games Paused on City of Burlington Sports Fields and in Facilities
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues announced that the government is providing $24.3 million in targeted investments to hire additional staff, increase access to counselling and therapy, create new programs to help manage stress, depression and anxiety, and address eating disorders and other challenges facing children and youth. This funding is part of the government’s $176 million investment in the Roadmap to Wellness, a comprehensive plan to build a fully connected mental health and addictions system across the province. – Media Release
      • The government is making targeted investments in community-based mental health supports and services for children and youth with a focus on evidence-based and innovative programs including:
        1. $11 million for over 80 children and youth mental health service providers to enhance capacity and access to critical frontline child and youth mental health services, including:
          1. Hiring additional staff;
          2. Purchasing and developing additional resources to increase access to services such as counselling and therapy, intensive and crisis services; and
          3. Supports for families and caregivers of children and youth with mental health and addictions challenges.
        2. $5.8 million for youth wellness teams at 10 Youth Wellness Hubs across Ontario. These youth-friendly service locations are designed for youth, and offer walk-in access to primary care and mental health and addictions services for people between the ages of 12 and 25;
        3. $3.7 million for a new eating disorders program. This early intervention program will help prevent and support children and youth up to the age of 25 that may be struggling with an eating disorder. There will be four pilot sites to start, with plans to expand the program across the province;
        4. $2 million for the implementation of an Ontario Structured Psychotherapy Program for families, children and youth. This new program will provide evidence-based mental health supports for children, youth and their families that will help them develop skills to manage stress, depression and anxiety in a healthy way;
        5. $1 million for child and youth mental health services delivered in congregate settings. This funding will help provide care that will better meet their needs; and
        6. $800,000 to support the creation and operation of Eating Disorders Ontario, which will help with quality improvement across the whole eating disorders sector.
    • Question Period:
      • Where are we with the testing backlog? Premier said people should now be able to get their results within 24-48 hours. “We are geared up to do 50,000 tests a day, but 50,000 people aren’t coming in to get tested.” Minister Elliott, “25,000-30,000 test can be processed within 24-48 hours. This is very important to all Ontarians. We are up to date on testing. There is no backlog.”
      • The Premier was asked about the liability protection legislation that was introduced. Does that mean families who lost loved ones in long term care homes can’t sue? Premier, “ families can continue to sue long term care homes that were reckless and careless.”
      • Long term care homes can be sued, but the threshold of proof for families is increased. What do you say to families? Premier, “this does not protect long term care homes 100%. I asked about this and they told me it we had to include all these businesses.”
      • Who are you protecting, people or your friends like Mike Harris? Premier, “I am protecting the small business owners, that’s who I am protecting. Small business owners who are being gauged by insurance companies.”
      • You have ticked off people who have lost loved ones in long term care homes. What do you have to say to them? Premier, “speak to your lawyer. Continue suing them they will be held accountable. We are not protecting negligent long term care homes.”
      • Regarding the legislation that will prevent the use of ranked ballots – you were elected using a ranked ballot system. Premier, “we don’t need any more complications with ranked ballots, we’ve been voting with first-past-the-post since 1867.” News article

Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020:

  • Virtual Remembrance Day Ceremony in Burlington for 2020
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Doug Ford, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and Robin Martin, MPP for Eglinton—Lawrence announced the Ontario government is investing $550 million to build 20 new schools and eight permanent school additions across the province in 2020-21. These new projects will create nearly 16,000 new student learning spaces and 870 new licensed child care spaces as part of the government’s ongoing efforts to improve and build modern schools. – Media Release
      • Today’s announcement was made at Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School in Toronto, where the Toronto Catholic District School Board will receive $24 million from the Capital Priorities Program to create 620 new student spaces through upgrades to the existing building infrastructure.
      • The government is investing over $12 billion in capital grants over 10 years, including $500 million in 2019-20 and the $550 million for 2020-21, and working with school board partners to identify other priority large-scale school-based capital projects. Today’s announcement continues to build upon the government’s up to $1 billion commitment over five years to create up to 30,000 new child care spaces, including up to 10,000 spaces in new schools
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked about the change for dance studios. Owners of boutique fitness studios are accusing your government of picking winners and losers. The Premier explained that dance studios are teaching groups of students that are in “cohorts” similar to schools while the fitness studios have different groups of people coming in a different times. “I am doing everything I can to get these places open as soon as possible.”
      • Why aren’t masks required in dance classes in hotspots? Premier, “they have cohorts like schools.”
      • The Premier was asked to comment on the conflicting messages regarding Halloween – people are frustrated and tired of the confusing guidelines. Premier, “the guidelines are clear. I have to take the advice of the Chief Medical Officer. I am not cancelling Halloween. We are asking people not to go door to door in the hotspots. .”
      • What is the plan regarding enforcing the Halloween rules? “The plan is to trust people. We don’t have enough police to enforce Halloween house parties or if parents decide to drive their kids to other areas to trick or treat. The only way we will get through this is by following the rules. I understand that people are on edge.”
      • What’s going with testing (only 24,000 tests were done yesterday)? The Premier said that the backlog was caught up and anyone going for a test now should get their results in 1-2 days. “We can’t force people to get tested. I’ve never seen anything like this. We are geared up to do 50,000 tests but people are not coming in to get tested.”
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Ontario Extends COVID-19 Orders to Protect the Public – Media Release
        1. The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is extending most orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA). This extension will be in effect until November 21, 2020 to ensure the government continues to have the necessary tools to contain the spread of COVID-19.
        2. Orders in effect under the ROA have been extended by 30 days with the following exceptions:
          1. Electricity Price for Regulated Price Plan (RPP) Consumers has only been extended until October 31, 2020.  Beginning November 1, 2020, time of use customers will have the option of choosing between time of use electricity rates or tiered pricing.
          2. Access to Personal Health Information by Means of the Electronic Health Record will expire on October 22, 2020 as changes to the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004, that recently came into force, make the order unnecessary.
        3. Ontario is also amending emergency orders for regions under modified Stage 2 regulations (Toronto, Ottawa, York and Peel Regions) to clarify that classes delivered for the purpose of teaching or training amateur or professional dancers in dance techniques are permitted to operate provided specified conditions are met. This change to the regulation recognizes that dance styles such as ballet, hip hop, and ballroom, can still be taught and practised safely when certain public health measures are followed, similar to other permitted activities, such as cheerleading and gymnastics. Dance classes that do not meet the specified criteria (e. g. a Zumba class) would not be permitted.
        4. Additionally, regulations Rules for Areas in Stage 2 and Rules for Areas in Stage 3 have been amended to remove restrictions on in-person teaching and instruction for fire departments. The amendments, similar to what is currently in place for police training, are critical for public safety and the safety of fire department personnel.

Monday, Oct. 19, 2020:

  • Halton Medical Officer of Health Issues Community Letter Responding to Rising Cases of COVID-19
  • Provincial Government Message: Stay Safe and Follow Public Health Advice This Halloween
  • Provincial Government Media Release: How to celebrate Halloween during COVID-19 — download window displays to let trick-or-treaters know you’re giving out candy
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Doug Ford and Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board and Chair of the Future State Modernization Committee, released an action plan to make government services simpler, easier to use, and more convenient and accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government includes more than 30 projects that will improve the way people and businesses interact with government, saving them both time and money. – Media Release, Backgrounder, Digital Identity Backgrounder
      • The Action Plan is a roadmap to make public sector services more customer-focused and digital- and data-driven, while increasing the speed of government operations and decision-making. Through it the government is focusing on:
        1. Making government services more digitally accessible, such as providing new and improved digital health solutions to frontline care personnel, so they can rapidly and securely access a patient’s health records from anywhere and from any device.
        2. Reducing red tape and simplifying policies while protecting public health and safety, such as reducing barriers to development and construction approval by allowing a digital application process to get shovels in the ground faster on transit and housing projects.
        3. Improving government purchasing by leveraging the combined bulk-buying power of the province, while taking advantage of the world-class capabilities of local Ontario businesses, to transform how the government purchases goods and services, so the province can have the supplies it needs.
        4. Creating more responsible and flexible public services, such as re-designing core internal processes or permit applications, so citizens can get what they need faster and easier, such as driver’s licences and health cards.
      • One of the projects identified in the Action Plan is developing a digital identity, based on digital wallet technology. Starting in January 2021, the government will consult with industry on how the province could introduce a secure digital identity for Ontarians by the end of 2021, allowing citizens to safely verify their identity, online or in person. A digital identity will make life easier and more convenient, while protecting people’s data and helping to combat identity fraud. For example, using a digital identity:
        1. A senior could check in to a doctor’s appointment online. This touchless registration would support COVID-19 safety protocols;
        2. A small business owner could cut through red tape by registering for licences and permits and opening accounts online; or
        3. A student could skip a trip to the bank to open their first account by verifying their ID online.
      • The Premier said that cabinet will be meeting to discuss dance studios today.
    • Question Period:
      • What’s behind the cancelling of Halloween? Premier, “we aren’t cancelling Halloween. We’re asking people to celebrate Halloween differently. I hate doing this.” Dr. Williams, “It’s not something we want to do. We are concerned with level of community transmission in hotspots. We have provided alternatives. Be safe, have fun and do it in a safe way.”
      • You are encouraging people to do things outdoors. People are allowed to eat on a patio, but you won’t allow kids to walk outside to collect pre-packaged candy. Premier, “I am following the advice of medical experts. Ottawa, Peel, Toronto and York didn’t want it – I feel terrible about this”
      • Is public policy being driven by fear? Premier, “ I am going on the medical advice.” Dr. Williams, “this is our first Halloween with COVID. This is about collective activity.” He said that they want to keep schools open. The groups kids go trick or treating with aren’t necessarily the same kids they go to school with. They want to keep the school co-horts safe. The concern is that there will be too many people in close contact, some would follow the rules and some wouldn’t.
      • How is it fair that civil servants have kept their jobs, while you are putting people out of work by shutting down restaurants and other businesses. Premier, “COVID sucks, what can I say, it’s terrible.” He said that members of the public service have been working from home. He also said that he and the Minister of Finance have returned 105 of their salaries. Minister Bethlenfalvy, “more than 60% of the public service has been working in their work places. We are all in this together.”
      • Confusion about the public health advice coming from the Province. It seems that the advice is all over the place sometimes. Premier, “kids are in co-horts at school. On Halloween kids are going to hundreds of doors. I think this is as clear as it can get.” Dr. Williams, “we are trying to keep our messages consistent. What’s happening in schools is going very well.” There are a lot of people weighing in about what they think. He feels this is what is getting people confused. He encouraged people to go to the Provincial website for details. “We have to understand the nuisances of particular settings (dance studios for example).”

Friday, Oct. 16, 2020:

  • All City of Burlington Indoor Fitness Classes to be Paused, Sport Groups Limited to Training Only in City Facilities as of Oct. 17
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with premiers on continued efforts to address the impacts of COVID-19 – Readout
      • Yesterday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc held the twentieth call with Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers to discuss their shared response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
      • Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, Kirsten Hillman, provided an update to First Ministers on Canada-U.S. relations in the lead up to the United States’ presidential elections.
      • First Ministers continued discussions on the recent and significant increase in COVID-19 cases in certain parts of the country. They emphasized the importance of encouraging Canadians to be vigilant and follow public health advice. The Prime Minister highlighted the federal government’s assistance to provinces and territories in need of additional support, and updated premiers on the procurement and distribution of rapid testing solutions. The Prime Minister also highlighted the need for all orders of government to work together to ensure the health and safety of seniors in long-term care facilities. The Prime Minister also updated premiers on international travel restrictions.
    • Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, October 16, 2020 – Speech
      • The resurgence of COVID-19 cases affecting many parts of the country is concerning and something we must keep top of mind to plan safer activities for ourselves and our families during the Fall and Winter.
      • I encourage everyone to heed the advice of local public health authorities, as their recommendations are based on the local situation. In order to keep COVID-19 activity at a manageable level, particularly in areas experiencing high infection rates, restrictions or limitations may be imposed on higher risk settings or activities.  But regardless of the local situation, if you have symptoms, even mild ones, stay home and self-isolate.
      • Getting the flu shot protects you and those around you, providing you protection from infection and serious illness, and reducing the likelihood of you spreading the illness to others. By keeping you and others healthier, the flu shot is also an important prevention measure to help reduce the burden on Canada’s health care system during this unprecedented time.
    • Government of Canada launches new COVID-19–related challenges to help reduce environmental impact of PPE in Canada – Media Release
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Ontario Moving Additional Region to Modified Stage 2
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Ford was joined by Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade welcomed the decision by Roche to invest $500 million over five years to establish a Global Pharma Technical Operations site to oversee its global supply chain in Mississauga. This investment is expected to create 500 jobs ― 200 by the end of 2020 and up to 300 more by the end of 2023. It will enhance Ontario’s competitiveness and leadership in the life sciences sector. – Media Release
      • The Global Pharma Technical Operations site will be responsible for supporting Hoffmann-La Roche Limited’s global manufacturing and supply chain operations, including monitoring safety, quality and distribution of pharmaceutical products shipped around the world. In 2012, Roche Canada established Mississauga as a Product Development Site, overseeing clinical trials both in Canada and globally. The success of this site, along with Ontario’s highly skilled science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce, world-class colleges and universities and competitive business environment, saw the province win out over 12 international locations and Roche sites to secure this new investment, while positioning the province for future opportunities.
      • Through the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, the government is further reducing regulatory burdens and encouraging investment in the life sciences sector by allowing businesses to write off in-year capital costs on new equipment and delivering on the government’s commitment to cut corporate income taxes through the $3.8 billion Ontario Job Creation Investment Incentive.
      • In order to position Ontario as a top tier destination for job-creating investment, the government has established Invest Ontario, a new investment agency that will be a “one stop shop” for targeting investors, with an initial focus on advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and technology. Invest Ontario will bring a private-sector approach to business development and build on the many benefits of Ontario, including: a high quality of life, world-class education and research institutions, a highly skilled workforce, a strong and growing innovation sector, and being a jurisdiction that is squarely focused on reducing red tape and lowering the cost of doing business.
      • The Premier also announced that effective on Monday at 12:01 a.m. York Region will move into a modified Stage 2 for 28 days.
      • There was no mention of Halloween during the briefing.
    • Question Period:
      • How did you decide to move York Region into modified Stage 2 and not other regions like Halton? Premier, “we saw the numbers going up.” Minister Elliott, “the trends in York have been in the wrong direction and we need to act now.” The Premier spoke about Halton Region and the issue with pick up hockey and drinking in the dressing room after a game. “I am begging the people of Halton, please follow the guidelines!”
      • What is the long term plan for communities that are in modified stage 2? Do business owners have to wait for decision every 28 days? Premier, “(this decision) bothers me. I have to listen to the experts. We have to weigh the economic issues against the health issues.”
      • Pharmacies are frustrated about the “shortage” of flu vaccines. Minister Elliott, “we do not have a flu vaccine shortage. Everyone who wants a flu shot will be able to get one – including the high dose.”
      • The Premier was asked about MPP McKenna’s release asking people from outside of Halton to come to area. Premier, said he spoke with Jane McKenna and Mayor Burton. People from hotspots are coming to Halton to work out in gyms. He asked people to stay within their regions. “Follow the protocols and guidelines.”
      • If things are so bad in York, why are you waiting until Monday? Premier, “you get criticized if you do it too soon.” He said that cabinet asked the doctors to give restaurateurs a few days to use up their inventory. He encouraged people to get take out in York Region. “We are trying to maintain a balance.”
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Ontario Supports the Production of Critical Supplies to Fight the Spread of COVID-19 – Media Release
        1. The Ontario government continues to work together with businesses and the manufacturing sector to expand production of domestic PPE to ensure preparedness, both now and for the future. To support the fight against COVID-19, Greenfield Global is investing a total of $75 million at their facility in Johnstown Ontario to produce the medical-grade alcohol critical to making hand sanitizers used by Ontario individuals, families, and front-line workers.  The Ontario government is investing $2.5 million through the Ontario Together Fund in support of this project.
        2. With Ontario’s support, Greenfield will undertake a major upgrade of the Johnstown facility’s distillation technology to produce over 114 million litres, or the equivalent of over 150 million one litre bottles, of specialty medical-grade alcohol annually, which will be used in hand sanitizers and other applications that rely on high purity alcohol. The project will help reduce Ontario’s dependency on other jurisdictions as a source of high-grade alcohols and will strengthen the province’s position as a leader in PPE production, while creating new jobs.
        3. Through the Ontario Together Fund, the government is delivering targeted investments that will increase the province’s stockpile of Ontario-made products and PPE. This new manufacturing capacity will help the province to combat the current COVID-19 outbreak and prepare for potential challenges in the future, while supporting local businesses during the safe and gradual reopening of the province.

Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020:

  • Joint Media Release from Burlington MPP McKenna and Mayor Meed Ward
  • Burlington Providing $124K to 59 Local Businesses in 1st Round of Safe Restart COVID-19 Relief Grants
  • Ontario’s Big City Mayors call for Relief, Recovery as they Respond to Second Wave of COVID-19
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on October 15, 2020 – Statement
      • As the number of individuals who test positive continues to increase nationally, more health regions are reporting elevated rates of infection that inevitably put a strain on local public health resources. Although there are still areas of the country where disease activity remains low, none of us, anywhere, can afford to be complacent.
      • Maintaining physical distancing is a key measure to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. I recognize this is not easy for everyone. Wear a non-medical mask or face covering in crowded places, closed spaces with poor ventilation and close-contact situations where you cannot maintain physical distancing of at least two metres. The virus is transmitted by people when they sneezing, coughing, talking, shouting and singing. When everyone wears a mask we all protect each other. Visit Canada.ca for more information on how to wear a non-medical mask or face covering correctly.
      • To get COVID-19 infection rates down to a manageable level, reduce the number of in-person close contacts and adhere to proven effective public health practices, like washing your hands frequently and staying home if you have symptoms, even mild ones. We all have different circumstances, but when it comes to being in close contact with others, remember that every person you encounter brings their whole network and contact history with them. Every one of our actions, in every moment matters.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlight from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, and Jamaal Magloire, Canadian NBA All-Star and Toronto Raptors team ambassador spoke about the Ontario government working with some of the most influential brands in Canada, including Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, to encourage more people to download the made-in-Ontario COVID Alert app and help protect people across the country from the pandemic. – Media Release
      • To support businesses large and small, the government is launching a new webpage that will provide them with the tools they need to promote the app and build on its success to-date.
      • Today, Nova Scotia joins Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and almost 4.5 million Canadians, in this national effort to download the COVID Alert app and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
      • Ontario is working with major employers from a variety of sectors, from banking and insurance to large retailers, telecommunications, media and entertainment companies, to promote the COVID Alert app. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the Toronto Raptors, the Toronto Argonauts, Toronto FC and the Toronto Maple Leafs used their voice to encourage people across the province to download COVID Alert to protect themselves and their loved ones.
      • More than 1,130 one-time keys have been entered by app users in Ontario who have tested positive for COVID-19, in turn notifying Ontarians of potential exposure to the virus and allowing them to take necessary public health precautions.
    • Question Period:
      • How many rapid tests is Ontario expecting and where will they be used? Minister Elliott, “we expect the first shipments very soon.” They have been conducting an analysis of the best use of these tests. The Minister said that using them in long term care homes and northern communities were some of the options.
      • Has the Premier received a commitment from third party delivery companies yet? The Premier issued his “second warning” to them today, before “putting down the hammer.” “Be part of the team – don’t be greedy.”
      • Is there a plan to balance the budget by 2023-24? The Premier said he doesn’t believe in raising taxes, he would rather “drive efficiencies.” He said that the government could save $2.3 billion by centralizing procurement, “the party is over.” Minister Bethlenfalvy, “we will spare no expense to keep the people of Ontario safe. There will be a time to look at the books, but now is not the time.”
      • Dance studios feel unfairly lumped in with gyms for closures in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa. The Premier said, “I am going to address it, I am on it. I will drill down for you.” He said that he may not always agree, but he has to listen to the advice of the health experts. He talked about the need to balance the health concerns with impacts on the economy when making these decisions. Minister Elliott urged people with concerns about what is open or closed to contact their local medical officer of health or reach out to the Ministry of Health.
      • What about people travelling from hotspots to other regions, like Halton to work out? The Premier asked that people workout at home. Minister Elliott, “please stay within your regions. We are watching every part of the province.”
      • What happens if people don’t listen? Premier, “if the spread continues, we will have to close things in other regions.”

Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on October 14, 2020 – Statement
      • Fall is upon us, and so is the start of flu season. Influenza, or the flu, is a serious and highly contagious respiratory infection. This year it is more important than ever to get your flu shot.
      • The flu shot provides protection against infection with influenza A and B viruses that are expected to circulate in the Canadian population this fall and winter while COVID-19 activity continues. Although the flu shot doesn’t provide protection against infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, it will help reduce the risk of you getting the flu before, during or after a possible COVID-19 infection. Having both illnesses close together in time, or at the same time, could put you at higher risk for severe illness.
      • Getting the flu shot protects you and those around you, providing you protection from infection and serious illness, and reducing the likelihood of you spreading the illness to others. By keeping you and others healthier, the flu shot is also an important prevention measure to help reduce the burden on Canada’s health care system during this unprecedented time.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health announced that the Ontario government is expanding case and contact management to help track, trace and isolate new cases of COVID-19. – Media Release
      • The province has hired 100 new contact tracers, many of whom are starting work this week, with up to 500 more recruits expected to be hired by mid-November. These new positions are part the province’s fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, which dedicates $1.376 billion to enhance and expand testing and contact tracing in the province.
      • To expedite the onboarding of these additional staffing resources, the government is partnering with Ian Martin, an Ontario-based recruitment firm that has extensive experience in supplying COVID-19 staffing resources.
      • Ontario Public Service (OPS) staff are also volunteering for redeployment to provide surge support for contact tracing this fall and winter, and over 600 Statistics Canada employees have been onboarded since July to assist with contact follow-up.
      • There are currently more than 2,750 case and contact management staff active across all public health units, tracing and managing COVID-19 cases ― up from approximately 1,500 staff in the spring. These 600 new recruits and 600 personnel from Statistics Canada will bring the total number of case and contact management staff to nearly 4,000. The members of this critical and growing workforce are all working to keep Ontarians safe and healthy.
      • In addition, Ontario has also successfully implemented a centralized Public Health Case and Contact Management (CCM) I&IT System in public health units across the province. This user-friendly system significantly reduces duplication, speeds up processes and allows for more efficient case and contact management work to be completed. Direct integration with the Ontario Laboratory Information System eliminates the need for health unit staff to re-type COVID-19 data into the province’s former integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS).
    • Question Period:
      • Is there a Province-wide message regarding end of life visits for families? Premier, said he understands the pain people are going through. “We will do what we can to get you into the hospital.” Dr. Yaffe, “the policy should be that close visitors are allowed to come in, following proper protocols.” She said she will be following up with Ontario Health to make sure there is a clear communication about this.
      • The Premier was asked about the TTC being packed and people not wearing masks. The Premier reminded municipalities that he fought hard to get proper funding for transit agencies and communities from the Federal government. He also reminded Toronto and the TTC that they received $400 million of funding.  Dr. Yaffe, “we need everyone on public transit to wear a mask. If the bus you are going to get on is full, you have to weigh the risk.” She said people need to consider how much personal risk they want to take. What is the length of their trip? Can they wait for another bus to come? “Everyone must wear a mask, and practice good hand hygiene.”
      • The spin studio outbreak in Hamilton was raised again today. Is the Province looking at sector closures as a result? Dr. Yaffe, was well aware of the outbreak at SpinCo. “We need to review the guidelines for spin studios and gyms.” She has made recommendations to the Health Table that are currently under review.
      • What is going on with the supply of flu vaccines? Minister Elliott, said that there is no shortage of flu vaccines. The first shipments were sent to priority settings like hospitals and long term care homes. “Shipments are coming in regularly. The next shipments will be sent to pharmacies and primary care physicians.” She suggested that people call ahead to pharmacies before going in to get a flu shot to ensure they have received their shipment.
      • The Premier was asked to comment on the Prime Minister’s comment “blaming” provinces for the lack of testing and contact tracing. Premier, “he must not be talking about Ontario, we are kicking butt when it comes to testing.”
      • Why were gyms grouped with restaurants in the recent closures in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa? Premier, “I will always follow the advice of the health experts.” He also said the $300 million in funding assistance announced for businesses is not just for businesses in the three hotspots. It is available to all business that were impacted by the closures throughout the province. Dr. Yaffe, “there is evidence that there has been exposure in these types of establishments.” She said that before making decisions about closures the benefits and risks are always considered. “We try to come up with the best balance to minimize exposure and minimize the impacts on business.”

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today, Premier Doug Ford, Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and MPP Christine Hogarth, were at Mamma Martino’s Restaurant in Etobicoke to highlight government support for the industry. – Media Release
      • The Ontario government is encouraging everyone to support local restaurants and the food services industry during COVID-19.
      • To provide relief for local restaurants and other businesses impacted by the new public health measures, Ontario announced $300 million to help offset fixed costs, including property taxes, hydro and natural gas bills.
      • The government is also supporting small business through its Main Street Recovery Plan by:
        1. Committing to permanently allow licensed restaurants and bars to include alcohol with food as part of a takeout or delivery order before the existing regulation expires;
        2. Permanently allowing 24/7 deliveries to restaurants;
        3. Supporting the distribution of local food and food products by increasing the range of products sold at the Ontario Food Terminal;
        4. Ending outdated and duplicative rules so businesses can focus on their work;
        5. Modernizing regulations to allow businesses to innovate and meet the challenges of today;
        6. Providing mental health supports to business owners and employees who are struggling;
        7. Providing $57 million with federal partners through the Digital Main Street program and creating new Digital Main Street squads to help small businesses grow online; and
        8. Launching a new portal to assist small businesses to quickly find the supports and information they need.
      • The Premier said the Province is working on how to get the money out to businesses quickly.
      • He urged big third party delivery companies to drop their commissions. “Do the right thing.”
      • He also urged Ontarians to get take out once a week to support local restaurants.
    • Question Period:
      • Do you have plans to move any other communities back to Stage 2? Premier, “as of today we don’t. I am praying we don’t have to expand this.”
      • In light of the outbreak at a Hamilton gym, Spin Co, the Premier was asked if he would be tighten how gyms operate or issuing a Province wide closure. Premier, said that what they are seeing in the contact tracing is upwards of 50 to 100 contacts per person in some cases. “This one of the reasons we had to close them down.” Regarding the Hamilton situation specifically, he said that he would be speaking with Dr. Williams, the health table and Hamilton’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, “we will see what they say.”
      • What numbers are you looking for after the 28 days?  Premier, “I can’t give you an exact number now.”
      • Why has the Red Cross been called into Ontario long-term care homes? Premier, “it’s all hands on deck.” He thanked Minister Blair for his support. “We want to make sure we have all the supports we need in long term care homes.”
      • What do you say to those who are saying this is all a hoax? Premier, thanked the media for their support throughout the pandemic. “The media has been phenomenal. Without the media we would not have been able to get our message out. There is no hidden agenda. This is real, as real as I am standing here. I am telling you what I know. I am sharing the facts. I am here to protect the people of Ontario and their families.”
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Governments Investing $26.6 Million to Further Protect Ontario Agri-Food Workers During COVID-19 – Media Release
        1. The governments of Canada and Ontario are taking additional steps to help farmers better protect the health and safety of agri-food workers in the province during the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure the continued supply of locally grown food all year round.
        2. A new agreement between Ontario and the federal government will see Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada invest an additional $11.6 million to help support efforts by Ontario producers to stop the spread of COVID-19 on their farms. Actions such as building physical barriers for worker separation, upgrading HVAC systems and enhancing hand-washing facilities will be eligible for this funding.
        3. The federal funding that will be delivered by Ontario is in addition to the Ontario government’s commitment in June of up to $15 million to support workplace safety enhancements in the sector through the Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program.
        4. Under the expanded program, the amount farmers can claim for preventive expenses including a combination of workplace modifications, PPE, transportation and temporary housing will double to $15,000.
        5. The program will also include a new category for small capital projects of up to $100,000 for housing modifications, workplace modifications and equipment to allow greater physical distancing for workers.

Friday, Oct. 9, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Government announces new, targeted support to help businesses through pandemicMedia Release
      • Today the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, announced the government’s intention to introduce new, targeted supports to help hard-hit businesses and other organizations experiencing a drop in revenue. The government plans to introduce legislation to provide support that would help these businesses safely get through the second wave of the virus and the winter, cover costs so they can continue to serve their communities, and be positioned for a strong recovery, including:
        1. The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, which would provide simple and easy-to-access rent and mortgage support until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The rent subsidy would be provided directly to tenants, while also providing support to property owners. The new rent subsidy would support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop, by subsidizing a percentage of their expenses, on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Organizations would be able to make claims retroactively for the period that began September 27 and ends October 24, 2020.
        2. A top-up Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy of 25 per cent for organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order issued by a qualifying public health authority, in addition to the 65 per cent subsidy. This follows a commitment in the Speech from the Throne to provide direct financial support to businesses temporarily shut down as a result of a local public health decision.
        3. The extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until June 2021, which would continue to protect jobs by helping businesses keep employees on the payroll and encouraging employers to re-hire their workers. The subsidy would remain at the current subsidy rate of up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020. This measure is part of the government’s commitment to create over 1 million jobs and restore employment to the level it was before the pandemic.
        4. An expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), which would enable businesses, and not-for-profits eligible for CEBA loans—and that continue to be seriously impacted by the pandemic—to access an interest-free loan of up to $20,000, in addition to the original CEBA loan of $40,000. Half of this additional financing would be forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022. Additionally, the application deadline for CEBA is being extended to December 31, 2020. Further details, including the launch date and application process will be announced in the coming days. An attestation of the impact of COVID-19 on the business will be required to access the additional financing.
    • Prime Minister announces additional support for food banks and local food organizations – Media Release
      • The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced an additional investment of $100 million through the Emergency Food Security Fund. This investment will help improve access to food and increase food supply for vulnerable Canadians across the country, who are facing the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
      • The Government of Canada will provide this funding to national and regional organizations, who will then support food banks and local food organizations across Canada in order to help reach people experiencing food insecurity.
    • Government of Canada and provincial partners support research addressing mental health impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians – Media Release
      • The Government of Canada and provincial partners are joining forces to address the mental health and substance use challenges facing Canadians, which have increased because of the pandemic.
      • Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Canada’s Minister of Health, announced an investment of more than $10.2M in COVID-19 mental health and substance use research. This investment will support 55 research teams from across the country to tackle the mental health and substance use crisis that is emerging as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
      • The projects announced today will focus on priority populations, including individuals who use substances; families, children and youth; vulnerable and at-risk groups; front-line and health care workers; public safety personnel; aging populations; and Indigenous Peoples and communities.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, Director of the Institute for Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation and the Dalla Lana Chair of Public Health Policy at the University of Toronto announced that in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Public Health Measures Table, and local medical officers of health and other health experts, the Ontario government is introducing additional targeted public health measures in the Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto public health unit regions. These modified Stage 2 restrictions will be for a minimum of 28 days and reviewed on an ongoing basis. – Media Release, Backgrounder
      • Effective Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., these targeted measures are being implemented in Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto as a result of their higher than average rates of transmission. Measures under a modified Stage 2 include:
        1. Reducing limits for all social gatherings and organized public events to a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors where physical distancing can be maintained. The two limits may not be combined for an indoor-outdoor event;
        2. Prohibiting indoor food and drink service in restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, including nightclubs and food court areas in malls;
        3. Closing of:
          1. Indoor gyms and fitness centres (i.e., exercise classes and weight and exercise rooms);
          2. Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments;
          3. Indoor cinemas;
          4. Performing arts centres and venues;
          5. Spectator areas in racing venues;
          6. Interactive exhibits or exhibits with high risk of personal contact in museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, etc.;
        4. Prohibiting personal care services where face coverings must be removed for the service (e.g. makeup application, beard trimming);
        5. Reducing the capacity limits for:
          1. Tour and guide services to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors
          2. Real estate open houses to 10 people indoors, where physical distancing can be maintained.
          3. In-person teaching and instruction (e.g. cooking class) to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, with exemptions for schools, child care centres, universities, colleges of applied arts and technology, private career colleges, the Ontario Police College, etc.
          4. Meeting and event spaces to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, and
        6. Limiting team sports to training sessions (no games or scrimmages).
      • Given the extraordinary costs associated with these functions, wedding receptions scheduled for this weekend may proceed under existing public health rules. Effective Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., updated public health measures will apply to wedding receptions, including new gathering limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors at event spaces.
      • In addition to the measures being implemented in the Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto public health unit regions, the Chief Medical Officer of Health is also urging all Ontarians to:
        1. Limit trips outside of home, except for essential purposes only such as work where it is not possible to work from home, school, grocery shopping, medical appointments, and outdoor healthy physical activity. In addition, travel to other regions in the province, especially from higher transmission to lower transmission areas, should only be for essential purposes;
        2. Practise physical distancing of at least two metres with those outside your household;
        3. Wear a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge or where it is mandatory to do so; and
        4. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly; and following gathering limits and rules.
      • As these necessary public health measures come at a cost to small businesses, Ontario has planned to and will make $300 million available to assist significantly affected businesses with fixed costs, including property taxes, hydro and natural gas bills.
      • This support will be provided by the province and will be made available in any region where these measures are necessary. More details will be released in the coming days.
    • Question Period:
      • Is there any thought to “locking down” those at the greatest risk? Dr. Williams, “in the first wave we did not lock down seniors, except those over 70.” He asked that seniors limit their contacts and activities.
      • Others have been pushing for these measures for some time, it seems like you were the last one to see this coming. Did you take too long? Premier, “I take the advice of our health table. I was briefed last night at 7 p.m. I made a decisive decision.” He said that he was immediately on the phone with the Minister of Finance regarding supports as well as with the Deputy Prime Minister, who announced funding for small businesses impacted by public health closures today. “This was the toughest decision I have made since becoming Premier. If I didn’t make this decision now I would have been negligent.”
      • What do you think went wrong? Dr. Williams put the blame on the public. Are you getting the best advice? Premier, “I have complete confidence in Dr. Williams and the other doctors and specialists around the health table.” The Premier compared Ontario to Quebec, which is the closest in size and is also seeing an increase in cases and community spread. Dr. Williams, “the responsibility is on all of us. You can’t test or contact trace your way out of this.” He said people got casual, with the public health measures and their social circles. Contact tracing in the first wave had contacts at about 3 to 5 people, now we are seeing contacts well over 10 and in some cases 100. “It’s our job collectively to work on this.”
      • Does the Province have the authority take these measures? Premier, “we do have the powers. We checked with legal. We have to act now.” Minister Elliott, “we have the legal authority to take the measures we are. It will be better for our economy if we take these steps now.”
      • Regarding the supports that are in place for affected business. Minister Phillips, we have been working with the Federal government as well as the municipalities regarding the property tax rebates. The Deputy Prime Minister was moved by the Premier’s request.” He said if there was an expansion of these public health measures to other communities the Provincial assistance would be available to businesses in those communities as well.

Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020:

  • FEDERAL/PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s joint Federal and Provincial briefing:
      • Today the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, today announced their commitment to Ford Motor Company of Canada’s investment in its Oakville Assembly Complex. – Federal Media Release, Provincial Media Release
      • This project, valued at $1.8 billion, will include federal and provincial contributions of $295 million each. This will help secure 5,400 well-paying middle class jobs across Ford’s production workforce in Canada and grow our green economy, especially in Southern Ontario where thousands of Canadians are employed across the auto supply chain. A repurposed battery-electric vehicle (BEV) production plant for the Oakville Assembly Complex is in line with the Government of Canada’s commitment to sustainable growth. Electrification will allow us to position the innovative Canadian automotive industry as a global leader in BEV manufacturing.
      • Building electric vehicles here in Ontario is a critical component in securing future investments across the electric vehicle value chain. This includes opportunities for the province’s mining industry, because electric vehicle batteries require various minerals found in Ontario’s North. In addition to securing the future of the Oakville Assembly Complex, this investment is a major win for the auto parts industry in Ontario and its 63,000 workers who help build parts and components for vehicles assembled in the province and abroad.
    • Question Period:
      • The Prime Minister was about his thoughts on people going to private clinics for COVID tests. PM, “one of the foundational elements of our country is our universal health care system. No one should have to pay for a COVID test.” He said that he has asked the Health Minister to “lean into this” issue. “It is unacceptable for people to have to wait in line for hours to get a test, or for their results.”
      • The PM was asked to comment on the cancellation of the rebate program in Ontario for electric vehicles. The PM, said he would encourage government’s across the country to do their part.
      • The Federal government recruited thousands of volunteers to help with contact tracing. Were the Provinces asked if they needed the volunteers? PM, “contact tracing is essential. We knew we needed to make resources available to the Provinces. We let the Provinces know we had resources available to support them.” Premier Ford, thanked the PM for the offer of contact tracing assistance. “We will continue to train contact tracers.”
      • The PM and the Premier were asked about their relationship. The PM, “different orders of government have come together to work on the pandemic. Our goals are the same, to keep people safe and bring our economy back. People can have confidence that governments are working together to support them.” Premier Ford, “ it’s about working together to come up with solutions. We are all working together collaboratively, with all levels of government so we can come back stronger.”
    • Today’s other Provincial announcements:
      • Ontario Supporting Local Festivals and EventsMedia Release
        1. Ontario is investing $9 million through the new Reconnect Festival and Event Program to support municipalities and event organizers during COVID-19. This funding will be used to maintain public safety requirements and allow people to reconnect with their communities through online, drive-through and other innovative experiences. Organizers will be developing creative programs such as virtual Remembrance Day events, reverse holiday parades with drive-by static floats, drive-in music concerts and movies, holiday tree lightings and New Year’s Eve displays that light-up iconic buildings.
        2. The application period for the Reconnect Festival and Event Program runs from October 8 to December 1, 2020.
        3. The Reconnect Festival and Event Program is open to organizers with a minimum $50,000 operating budget and the capacity to safely reconnect Ontarians with their communities.

Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on October 7, 2020 Statement
      • One important part of slowing the spread of COVID-19 is testing which helps to rapidly identify cases. This ensures cases can be isolated and cared for appropriately, and their close contacts reached as soon as possible. With elevated case numbers in a variety of regions across Canada, test and trace strategies need to be customized in order to address the local situation.
      • Currently approved testing methods include those which diagnose an active infection, such as molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. These tests take nasal or throat swab samples and evaluate them in the laboratory. This method can be quite sensitive and provides results in about one to three days.
      • Rapid antigen testing is another type of diagnostic test, which can be done at a point-of-care, such as a pharmacy or doctor’s office, without the need of a laboratory. It still requires a nasal or throat swab, but can provide results in as little as 15 minutes. The antigen tests are not as sensitive as PCR laboratory tests, but are accurate in the early stages of infection when you are symptomatic and the viral load is higher. These can be helpful in regularly testing individuals in certain settings like remote work sites or crowded facilities as well as in outbreak settings to quickly identify those who have been exposed to ensure rapid public health action.
      • All tests currently available in Canada must be performed by a health care professional. At this time, there are no at-home test kits authorized for sale in Canada.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier started his remarks today by saying, very clearly that “we ask people to spend the holiday with only the people you live with. If you are alone you can pair up with another household.”
      • The Premier was joined by, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions today to announce that the government is providing an additional $176 million this year to help expand access for critical mental health and addictions supports during COVID-19. – Media Release
      • This funding is part of the province’s investment of $3.8 billion over 10 years and enables Ontario’s comprehensive plan, A Roadmap to Wellness, to deliver high-quality care and build a modern, connected and comprehensive mental health and addictions system.
      • The increased funding will help address urgent gaps in care, enhance access to mental health and addictions services, create new supports and expand programs in several priority areas, including:
        1. Community-based services in English and French, including services for children and youth;
        2. Mental health and justice services;
        3. Supportive housing for individuals with serious mental health and addiction challenges, and who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless;
        4. Community and residential addictions, including treatment and care for opioid addictions;
        5. Increased supports for Indigenous peoples, families, and communities; and
        6. More hospital in-patient beds for mental health and addiction patients.
      • As part of this funding, the province is investing in targeted community and residential addictions services including:
        1. $4 million for nurse practitioners for detox services to improve the medical management of clients who are withdrawing from substance use in residential withdrawal management facilities;
        2. $8 million for addictions day and evening care to increase access to intensive non-residential addictions and substance use treatment services for youth and adults;
        3. $3.5 million for in-home/mobile withdrawal management services to increase access to community withdrawal management services for hard to service clients, including those located in rural areas; and
        4. Over $900,000 for an additional four inpatient beds at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to support capacity pressures at CAMH.
      • Premier Ford, Minister Elliott and Minister Tibollo joined CAMH to celebrate the grand opening of the third phase of their historic redevelopment project. The McCain Complex Care and Recovery Building and the Crisis and Critical Care Building will transform mental health care in the province, with spaces that support recovery and promote community integration for patients in a connected and coordinated system of care.
    • Question Period:
      • Are there any additional supports coming for small businesses (something more meaty than what was announced today by Minister Sarkaria)? The Premier said that he was consulting with Ministers Phillips and Fideli and there would be a further announcement next week.
      • The City of Toronto feels they have provided you with the data required, to make a decision about restaurants. The Premier said that his decisions are based on the advice of Dr. Williams and the Health Table. He said, “I’m not going to the impact the lives of 7,600 business owners because of 20 bad actors. Can you imagine the impact that would have on their mental health? I can’t destroy 7,600 businesses over a few bad actors.”
      • Yesterday, you said twice we were flattening the curve? Isn’t it too early to say that? The Premier, “you are right. We have to be careful about saying that. I just want to make it through Thanksgiving with the protocols and guidelines we have in place.”
      • When will you and Dr. Williams respond to Dr. De Villa’s request? “I can’t speak for Dr. Williams.” “Sometimes the messaging isn’t as clear as it should be, including myself.” He said that all levels of government need to be clear with their communications. Regarding Dr. De Villa, “I know she feels that she has the weight of the world on her shoulders. We are going to work with her and her team.”
      • How concerned are you about Thanksgiving? Premier, “we are always concerned around holidays, because people are getting together. Please just stick to your household. Is it tough on everyone? Is it tough on our family? Yes it is.” Minister Elliott, “the numbers are very concerning and we are watching them very closely. That’s why we are asking people to only gather with their households over Thanksgiving.” She reminded people that the best course of action is to wash your hands frequently, wear a mask, physically distance and stay home if you aren’t feeling well.

Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today the Premier was joined by, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Dr. Yaffe, Associate Medical Officer of Health, and Matt Anderson, CEO of Ontario Health.  The Premier announced that  Ontario has completed over four million COVID-19 tests since the beginning of the pandemic and continues to lead the country in both the number of tests completed and daily testing capacity. – Media Release
      • In partnership with Ontario Health, Public Health Ontario, local public health units, hospital and community laboratories, the government has developed a province-wide integrated laboratory system. At the start of the outbreak, Ontario was conducting 4,000 tests per day. The province is now well on its way to building the capacity to process 50,000 daily tests by mid-October and 68,000 daily tests by mid-November to ensure readiness to effectively respond to any surges in cases or outbreaks.
      • Expanding the province’s testing capacity has been imperative to tackling the second wave of COVID-19. In an effort to expand this access, the province has expanded testing sites to participating pharmacies. Currently, 77 pharmacies across the province are collecting COVID-19 samples with over 5,800 samples collected since September 25, 2020. Ontarians who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and are eligible for testing within provincial testing guidance may visit a select pharmacy by appointment for a free test, with or without a valid Ontario Health Card. Additional pharmacies will be offering testing in the coming weeks.
      • As the weather begins to get cooler, assessment centres have shifted to online booking to provide certainty and convenience for those who need a test. This will complement telephone booking that remains available where used.
      • The best way to combat COVID-19 is to continue to follow strong public health advice that reduces the risk of transmission and helps keep Ontarians safe.
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked several times to clarify the message to Ontarians regarding Thanksgiving. Reporters said the messaging from the Province on this has been confusing. The Premier, “I am hearing the opposite.” He said that comparing people gathering in your home to people going to restaurants was like comparing “apples to bananas.” “At restaurants they have protocols in place, only six people are allowed at a table, they take everyone’s name.” He said that “Thanksgiving is going to make or break things. We have a big family. I told Karla only ten people.” He went on to say, “hang off the hugging and kissing.”
      • Is it 10 people or is it only the people in your household? The Premier, “stay within your household.” Dr. Yaffe, “COVID is spread from person to person. Minimize your interactions with people you don’t know. We are hoping people will stick within their household this year for Thanksgiving.” If someone lives alone they can be invited into your household. Dr. Yaffe said her son, who lives alone will be coming to her house for Thanksgiving.
      • How many people are you having over for Thanksgiving? The Premier, “I need to confirm.”
      • The Premier was asked again about closing restaurants. Premier, “I don’t want to target restaurants. They are holding on by their finger nails.” He said that he has spoken to Mayors Crombie, Brown and Watson and “they support what we are doing.” He said again that he hasn’t seen the “hard core data” to warrant closing restaurants.
      • It’s almost impossible to book a testing appointment in Toronto. Premier, “if you don’t have symptoms, don’t get tested.” Matt Anderson, “the key thing is safety. Having people without symptoms line up with people without symptoms to get a test isn’t safe.” He said that they wanted focus on safety and convenience. Booking appointments will allow for improved turn around times for results. He said that they will be working with hospitals to ensure testing capacity is being provided in the right places.

Monday, Oct. 5, 2020:

  • What’s Open and Closed at the City of Burlington on Thanksgiving Day
  • Mayor Meed Ward’s Weekly Update: October 5-12, 2020
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • At his briefing today the PM was joined by Dr. Tam and Dr. Njoo.
      • The PM said the number of cases continue to rise throughout the country.
      • He urged Canadians to continue to wear masks, wash their hands frequently and maintain physical distancing. Seven provinces have now launched the COVID Alert app.
      • The government’s main priority continues to be everyone’s safety. “We will continue to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes.”
      • He spoke with Mayor Tory and will be speaking with the mayors of Ottawa, Brampton, Montreal and Quebec City.
      • Dr. Tam said that Ontario and Quebec account for 80% of the daily new cases. We must all remain vigilant. “Some communities have re-instated some community based health measures to prevent the spread.”
      • She called on Canadians to “redouble efforts to follow public health measures we know to be successful – wash your hands frequently, wear a face covering and stay home if you are feeling sick.”
      • Dr. Tam’s Remarks
    • Question Period:
      • The PM was asked to comment on private testing. PM, “it is important for Canada to have an accessible, universal health care system.” He said that he would be speaking to the Minister of Health.
      • Are we losing the battle? The PM, “people need to make responsible choices now – wear a mask, stay home if you are sick and wash your hands. All Canadians need to do their part.”
      • Why were we caught flat footed? “Everything we have in place, has not been enough. With everything governments (of all levels) are doing to prepare for the second wave, ultimately it comes down to Canadians making smart choices.”
      • The PM was asked how often he was getting tested. He said that right from the beginning, when his wife was diagnosed, he has been following public health advice. Earlier in September, he had a “tickle in his throat”, he spoke to his doctor who recommended he get tested. He did and the results were negative. He stayed home for a few days and then went back to work. “Every step of the way I have been following public health advice.”
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today the Premier and Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce announced that the government is $35 million to provide additional immediate school board supports in the communities of Peel, Ottawa, Toronto and York Region to enhance public health measures and protection strategies as they confront higher rates of transmission in their communities. – Media Release
      • This funding is part of the government’s robust and comprehensive $1.3 billion plan to safely reopen classrooms across the province, including additional resources to help school boards hire more staff, keep class sizes low, and enhance cleaning in schools.
      • To further enhance the safety of students and staff, this funding will be used for:
        1. Providing increased distancing between students through the hiring of additional teachers, early childhood educators, and educational assistants; and
        2. Providing increased remote learning supports, including the hiring of additional teachers, early childhood educators and educational assistants, as well as devices for students who have chosen to learn remotely.
    • Question Period:
      • Should people avoid going to Peel, Ottawa and Toronto? Dr. Williams said that there are no internal provincial travel restrictions in place. “We have asked people to limit their social contacts at this time.”
      • What numbers would you have to see, before you close schools? Minister Lecce, “we have an obligation to keep our kids in school.” Dr. Williams. “ we are all working hard to keep schools open.” He said that local medical officers health are also concerned about keeping schools open.
      • Is the Province looking at moving high risk areas back to Stage 2? Dr. Williams, “we are reviewing the data from Toronto and Ottawa. We implemented changes on Friday. Dr. De Villa has asked for more extensive measures. The Health Table will continue to look at their data. We are also looking at we can do Provincially and what they can do locally.”
      • Regarding shutting down restaurants. The Premier was very reluctant to shut down restaurants, “without the hard core data.” “We’ll do it in a heartbeat, but we have to see evidence before taking someone’s livelihood away from them and shut their lives down. I want to exhaust every single avenue before I ruin someone’s life.”
      • The Premier was asked if he thought his messaging was confusing and if he thought people were tuning him out? He said, “we all have to be on the same page.” Referring to all levels of government. He said that everyone was collaborating and working together. “What it comes down to is you have use your judgement. You have to use common sense.” He said we have been “loosey goosey” but now everyone has to tighten their circles.  Minister Elliott, said that regarding Thanksgiving people should not be holding large gatherings and that vulnerable people should be protected.

Friday, Oct. 2, 2020:

Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today the PM, Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Michael Sabia, Chair of the Canada Infrastructure Bank announced $10 billion in new major infrastructure initiatives to create jobs and economic growth. The Canada Infrastructure Bank’s (CIB) Growth Plan will help Canadians get back to work and is expected to create approximately 60,000 jobs across the country. The three-year plan will connect more households and small businesses to high-speed Internet, strengthen Canadian agriculture, and help build a low-carbon economy. – Media Release, Backgrounder
      • The Growth Plan will invest in five major initiatives:
        1. $2.5 billion for clean power to support renewable generation and storage and to transmit clean electricity between provinces, territories, and regions, including to northern and Indigenous communities.
        2. $2 billion to connect approximately 750,000 homes and small businesses to broadband in underserved communities, so Canadians can better participate in the digital economy.
        3. $2 billion to invest in large-scale building retrofits to increase energy efficiency and help make communities more sustainable.
        4. $1.5 billion for agriculture irrigation projects to help the agriculture sector enhance production, strengthen Canada’s food security, and expand export opportunities.
        5. $1.5 billion to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission buses and charging infrastructure so Canadians can have cleaner commutes.
      • To accelerate the delivery of projects in which the CIB intends to invest, it will also allocate $500 million for project development and early construction works.
      • Today’s announcement is part of the government’s campaign to create over one million jobs to rebuild from the pandemic, and our more than $180 billion commitment to invest in new infrastructure across Canada
    • Question Period:
      • In the red zones in Quebec some businesses have been forced to close. What is the government doing to help? The PM, “ we are here for families. We unanimously passed legislation to provide direct income support, through EI, of $500/week to people who have lost their jobs.” The government is also extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. “We are looking at targeted ways to help small businesses. The Federal government will continue to support Canadians throughout this pandemic.”
      • Is the Infrastructure Bank looking at supporting the hospitality sector? Mr. Sabia, “our priority is to implement the $10 billion investment plan. We remain interested in broadening what the bank is involved in. Our focus is on building new infrastructure.”
      • The Bank has been slow to get money out the door. The PM, “we put forward something very innovative that we had to figure out how to deliver. This is a new way to leverage public and private money that will create benefits for Canadians and long-term prosperity for companies.” Mr. Sabia said the plan is to make announcements in 2020. “We analyzed hundreds of projects before making today’s announcements. This plan is built on real projects.”
      • How difficult is it going to be to attract third party investors in this economy? Mr. Sabia, “Canada is attractive for global investors. The issue will not be how to attract capital.”
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, and Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health announced that the Ontario government is supporting personal support workers (PSWs) and direct support workers in the home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services sectors by investing $461 million to temporarily enhance wages. This investment will help the province attract and retain the workforce needed to care for patients, clients and residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. – Media Release
      • The province is providing a temporary wage increase effective October 1, 2020 to over 147,000 workers who deliver publicly funded personal support services:
        1. $3 per hour for approximately 38,000 eligible workers in home and community care;
        2. $3 per hour for approximately 50,000 eligible workers in long-term care;
        3. $2 per hour for approximately 12,300 eligible workers in public hospitals; and
        4. $3 per hour for approximately 47,000 eligible workers in children, community and social services providing personal direct support services for the activities of daily living.
      • The temporary wage enhancement will be reviewed on a regular basis and could extend through March 31, 2021, in connection with regulations made under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020.
      • This temporary wage enhancement continues to build on the province’s COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, which includes an investment of $26.3 million to support PSWs and supportive care workers.
    • Question Period:
      • Why is this pay raise not permanent? The Premier, “we are the first government to stand up for PSWs. Stay tuned.” He said that he would fight for them at budget time in March.
      • What are the metrics you consider if you have roll things back? Minister Elliott, “there are a variety of issues we consider including daily increases, hospital admissions, and the “r” factor.” Dr. Williams said that a variety of metrics are used and each one has a different impact. He said that the numbers are reviewed with local medical officers of health. He said that while they look at these metrics, there is also a “nuancing of the metrics.”
      • Since wave 2 will be worse, what will you be considering when deciding if we have to go back to Stage 2. Premier, “the best way we can help businesses is to follow the health guidelines.”  Dr. Williams said that when Stage 1, 2, and 3 were developed they were thinking about reopening things and schools were closed then. “ We are not looking at closing schools now. The approach now is different. The opening was Province-wide, what we are looking at now is more specific.” He said we are not looking at a repeat of Stage 2, instead the approach will be more “strategic or surgical.”
      • Are you planning any additional measures for restaurants?  Premier, “everything we do is evidence based. There has to be a justification before we close things down. The cases we are seeing in restaurants are amongst staff not patrons.” Dr. Williams, “ we are looking at the data. Most of the infections have been with staff who need to be more stringent when they are not with patrons. Some reports of staff coming to work that aren’t feeling well and staff working at various locations. We are getting information and advice form the local medical officers of health.”
      • Is there anything imminent coming for restaurants? Premier, “not right now, But everything, is on the table.”

Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020:

  • Important Changes to COVID-19 Testing at Joseph Brant Hospital’s Assessment Centre and Drive-Thru Clinic
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked to explain his decision making rationale using the four key public health indicators outlined in their Stage 2 and Stage 3 plans. The Premier said that both Dr. Williams and Minister Elliott were very pragmatic when it came to making decisions. He said that Dr. Williams, “gets it. He is trying to ensure there is a happy balance between taking care of people’s health and keeping the economy moving.” Dr. Williams said that he works together with a collection of different specialists and experts. “The first wave came on more suddenly and was travel related.” For this wave some measures will need to be done in a more targeted way. “Decisions need to be timely, efficient and effective. There is no easy formula.”
      • Your message is not getting though to young people. Why not use different platforms?  The Premier said the Province would be using TikTok . “Let’s be honest, young people know. Their parents tell them, their friends tell them.” They need to consider how their actions could impact their loved ones.
      • For the second wave what would be the projected number of cases and deaths with no intervention? Dr. Williams, “the projection is that by the second week of October we could see over 1,000 cases per day, if we do nothing. We were able to flatten the curve during the first wave. We can do it again.” He said people have gotten casual. “If we all do what we’re supposed to do we can flatten the curve again.”
      • Cabinet will be considering advice today from Dr. Williams about returning parts of Ontario to Stage 2, related to restaurants. Are you willing to tell 45,000 people in two cities their jobs are on the line? Premier, “everything is on the table. We aren’t rolling things back today. I’m not saying it’s never going to happen.” Dr. Williams, “it’s premature to make conclusions about decisions cabinet may make. It’s a different time. We are giving recommendations and advice to cabinet for their consideration.
      • What is your thought process for balancing the COVID numbers and imposing restrictions? Premier, “we take a very measured approach. I don’t believe in taking a hatchet to things. When you are talking about shutting down the economy – that’s an extremely tough decision. You have to measure the impact on people’s livelihoods. We weigh everything.”
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Ontario Releases Updated COVID-19 Modelling for Second Wave – Media Release / COVID-19: Modelling Update
        1. The Ontario government today released updated COVID-19 modelling, which shows the province is experiencing a second surge in cases similar to what other jurisdictions have experienced. The province is providing the public with full transparency about the consequences if Ontarians are not vigilant in adhering to public health measures. The Chief Medical Officer of Health says Ontarians must be vigilant in adhering to public health measures to reduce the number of new cases and the spread of the virus.
        2. Key highlights from the modelling update include:
          1. Ontario is currently on an upward trajectory similar to what its peer jurisdictions, including Victoria, Australia and Michigan in the United States, have experienced.
          2. Cases are currently doubling approximately every 10 to 12 days.
          3. The growth in cases was initially in the 20 to 39 age group but now cases are climbing in all age groups.
          4. Forecasting suggests that Ontario could be around 1,000 cases per day in the first half of October.
          5. Intensive Care Unit (ICU) occupancy is currently steady, but it is predicted that admissions will likely rise with an increase in COVID-19 patients being hospitalized.
          6. Ontario may see between 200 and 300 patients with COVID-19 in ICU beds per day if cases continue to grow.
          7. In order to reduce the spread and the number of new cases, it remains critical that Ontarians continue to adhere to public health measures, including avoiding large gatherings, physical distancing and wearing a face covering.

Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020:

  • City of Burlington Challenging all Businesses to join in the “POST Promise”
  • Burlington Safe Restart Program to provide eligible small businesses with grants of up to $2,500 towards COVID-19 reopening guidelines
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Prime Minister co-chairs high-level meeting to address economic devastation caused by COVID‑19 and announces new funding to fight the pandemic Media Release
      • Today, the Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau of Canada and Andrew Holness of Jamaica, and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres convened the second High-Level event on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID‑19 and Beyond.
      • Heads of state, governments, and international organizations met to discuss how to bolster and urgently accelerate our global response to the immediate significant economic and human impacts of COVID‑19, and advance concrete solutions to international development over the medium and long-term.
      • During the meeting, Prime Minister Trudeau announced an additional $400 million in international development funding this year. This new funding will go to trusted partners on the ground fighting COVID‑19, and will enable Canada to support the recovery and resilience of developing countries. It will also address short-term humanitarian and development needs caused by the pandemic and other crises.
      • The pandemic has caused immense social and economic distress throughout the globe but it has acutely affected low- and middle- income countries. Through the High-Level event, the global community is coming together to enable recovery and build a future that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient.
    • Government of Canada signs agreement for COVID-19 rapid tests and analyzersMedia Release
      • The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, and the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, today announced that the Government of Canada has signed an agreement with Abbott Rapid Diagnostics ULC to purchase up to 7.9 million ID NOW rapid point-of-care tests, pending Health Canada authorization of the tests.
      • If authorized, these tests would be deployed to provinces and territories to support them in ramping up surge capacity for COVID-19 testing.
      • Under the agreement with Abbott, the Government of Canada is also purchasing up to 3,800 analyzers, which are the devices that perform the test and deliver the rapid results.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlight from today’s briefing:
      • Premier Doug Ford, Dr. Merillee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health announced that the Ontario government is investing close to $540 million to protect residents, caregivers, and staff in long-term care homes from future surges and waves of COVID-19. The funding is part of the province’s COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19. Media Release
      • As part of the Fall Preparedness Plan, the government is enabling necessary renovations and measures to improve infection prevention and control, shoring up personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpiles, and building a strong health care workforce.
      • The new investments include:
        1. $405 million to help homes with operating pressures related to COVID-19, including infection prevention and containment measures, staffing supports, and purchasing additional supplies and PPE;
        2. $61.4 million for minor capital repairs and renovations in homes to improve infection prevention and control. These repairs and renovations may include minor upgrades to support physical distancing, plumbing or water supply cleaning, updating HVAC systems, or repairing or replacing furniture and equipment that cannot be fully cleaned;
        3. $40 million to support homes that have been impacted by the changes in occupancy numbers due to COVID-19. As the sector has been directed to stop admissions of third and fourth residents to larger rooms, a key source of income for each operator will be impacted. This funding will help stabilize the homes through the transition to lower occupancy rooms;
        4. $30 million to allow long-term care homes to hire more infection prevention and control staffing, including $20 million for additional personnel and $10 million to fund training for new and existing staff. This new funding will enable homes to hire over 150 new staff;
        5. $2.8 million to extend the High Wage Transition Fund to ensure that gaps in long-term care staffing can continue to be addressed during the pandemic;
          1. Provide all long-term care homes with access to up to eight weeks of supply of PPE so they are prepared in case of outbreaks. This supply will be available starting the week of October 5, 2020. The province will also continue to deliver PPE within 24 hours of urgent requests;
        6. The government continues to look at innovative solutions to provide more care where and when people need it. Through the skills of community paramedics and working with municipal partners, the government will be making an investment to help people on the long-term care waitlist stay in their own homes longer.
      • The province will also be making changes to its visitor policy to long-term care homes, to ensure that long-term care homes in areas of highest community spread are able to continue to keep residents safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 within their homes. Effective Monday, October 5, 2020, visitors to long-term care homes in these areas will be restricted to staff and essential visitors only, which includes essential caregivers.
      • Residents and substitute decision-makers are encouraged to identify up to two individuals as essential caregivers. Doing so will ensure the continuation of visits and support the physical and mental well-being of residents at the home.
      • Essential caregivers must continue to follow all public health measures, including having a negative COVID-19 test within two weeks of a visit, passing active screening at the home, wearing a mask and additional PPE as directed, and practising frequent handwashing.
    • Question Period:
      • Isn’t it too late to be announcing money for renovations? The Premier said that they have made several previous announcements for long-term care homes. “We’re doing quite a bit.” Minister Fullerton, “many homes have not been in outbreaks. This announcement give homes the opportunity to provide more infection controls.”
      • Why are you making this announcement now, shouldn’t this have been done weeks ago? The Premier said there are 78,000 people living in long term care homes and there are currently only 78 cases of COVID. “We are throwing everything we can at this.” He told reporters to stay tuned for an announcement over the next couple of days regarding how the government will be supporting PSWs.
      • The Premier and Dr. Williams were asked to comment on the Toronto Medical Officer of Health saying that social bubbles aren’t working in Toronto. Dr. Williams said that the concept of social bubbles is one they value. But, the question is how vigilant people have been with their social bubbles. “People have become less disciplined and more casual. Can people be trusted to maintain the integrity of their social bubbles? We will see if there are any further measures needed in these hot zones (Toronto, Peel and Ottawa).”
      • Wait times at assessment centres are hours long, have you lost control of the situation? Premier, “absolutely not. I spoke with the Deputy Prime Minister and the Prime Minister about the rapid test and now Abbott is coming out with a rapid test. This rapid test is a game changer. The whole country combined isn’t doing as many test as we are in Ontario.”
      • Shouldn’t you be closing things down now, like Quebec is doing? Premier, “things are very different in Quebec. Outbreaks are higher and they are doing less testing.” Dr. Williams, also said the situation in Quebec is very different than Ontario. “We are looking at further enhancing measures. We are trying to better understand what is causing the regional increases.”
      • What about Thanksgiving and Halloween? Dr. Williams said that both are being discussed at the Health Table. “We want people to tighten up their bubbles. There will be specific advice about Thanksgiving soon.”

Monday, Sept. 28, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on September 28, 2020 – Statement
      • As I have discussed previously, the ongoing increase in Canada’s daily case count is an indicator of accelerated epidemic growth in some regions of this country. While Canadians and public health authorities alike are rapidly responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to be mindful that we are doing so in the midst of an “infodemic.” That is an overabundance of information about COVID-19, including rumours and misinformation, sometimes deliberately spread.
      • During any public health crisis, access to reliable, accurate and timely information is essential to protect our health. This is being recognized today by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI).
      • Public health officials across Canada have been working tirelessly to provide Canadians with the information they need to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19.
      • I urge everyone to consider the source of the information they share with others. And when we come across new information, we need to think critically about it, check the source and not share it further, if there any doubt about its credibility.
      • For additional trustworthy information about COVID-19, the Government of Canada website, Canada.ca/coronavirus, is a good place to start. You can also find reliable information on your provincial and local health agency website, as well as from international agencies like the World Health Organization and the Red Cross.
    • Other news:
      • GTHA Mayors and Chairs committed to fighting COVID-19 resurgenceMedia Release
        1. Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area met to discuss the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the resurgence. They noted with serious concern escalating case count numbers in large parts of the region.
        2. The Mayors and Chairs thanked the provincial government for taking action on Friday to reduce restaurant and bar hours based on public health advice to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We believe strategic action like this is needed to target hot spots while keeping the vast majority of businesses open across the GTHA.
        3. All the Mayors and Chairs are consulting with their local Medical Officers of Health about what further action should be taken now in light of escalating case counts. A number of municipalities on the call indicated they were seriously considering further restrictions on restaurant capacity as part of a broader concern about the spread of COVID-19 in those settings.
        4. Concern was also expressed about capacity related issues as relates to banquet halls and the desirability of examining this sector from a health and consistency standpoint.
        5. Given that every public health action will have an impact on the businesses focused on, the Mayors and Chairs will continue to advocate for financial support from the provincial and federal governments to support businesses who are doing the right thing and complying with public health measures.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today by Premier Ford and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health announced that the Ontario government is investing $52.5 million to recruit, retain and support over 3,700 more frontline health care workers and caregivers to ensure our health care system can meet any surge in demand, while continuing to provide safe and high-quality care to patients and long-term care residents. This investment is part of the province’s COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19. – Media Release
      • In order to increase and stabilize the health care workforce, the province is investing an additional $26.3 million to support personal support workers (PSWs) and supportive care workers, including:
        1. $14 million for the Personal Support Worker training funds to continue training PSWs in the home and community care and long-term care sectors;
        2. $10.3 million for the new Personal Support Worker Return of Service Program, to recruit and retain recent graduates to work in long-term care homes and in the home and community care sectors. This program will provide a $5,000 incentive to 2,000 recent graduates for a six-month commitment to work in these settings;
        3. $1.3 million to train 160 supportive care workers to provide basic home support services; and
        4. $700,000 in accelerated PSW training for 220 students with prior health experience to practice in Ontario.
      • The province is investing an additional $26 million to support nurses, including:
        1. $18 million for Ontario’s Nursing Graduate Guarantee program, which provides full-time salary and benefits for over 600 nurses with a focus on recruiting in areas of need such as long-term care homes and acute care settings; and
        2. Up to $8 million to add over 800 nurses to the health system in areas of need across the province.
      • The province is supporting frontline workers, families and caregivers by:
        1. Investing $200,000 to improve the matching algorithm for the Ontario Matching Portal, which will enable employers to get faster matches that best meet their needs;
        2. Expanding training, tools and resources available to frontline workers across the social services sector; and
        3. Continuing to update visitor policies for congregate care settings, including long-term care, that promote family and caregiver involvement to support better care and reduce isolation.
      • The Premier confirmed that Ontario is in the second wave of COVID
    • Question Period:
      • How will the second wave be worse? Dr. Williams, said “the potential is that it can be worse, we are on the upward slope of the second wave. If its is a tsunami wave, it will be far worse, like we have seen in other countries.” He also said that the command table is watching key metrics like: hospitalizations, ICU usage, LTC cases, percent positivity, etc., which are nudging up, which is also why the Province wasn’t to get ahead of the curve. “We need to try and flatten this curve. We have to hunker down.”
      • Do we know if the virus has mutated? Dr. Williams said, “there have been some mutations taking place, but we do not know what affect it is having on the virus.” “We are doing a lot more testing now of young people than we were during the first wave. The first wave had a greater impact on the older population.”
      • The Premier was asked to comment on Ontario Hospital Association’s request to move Toronto and other regions back to Stage 2. Minister Elliot, “ we can understand the concerns of hospitals. We are taking advice from Dr. Williams and the public health table. “We don’t want to have to go back to Stage 2, but we will do whatever we have to protect Ontarians.”
      • What are the thresholds for moving back to Stage 2? Dr. Williams, said they are watching things at the public health table. “Unlike the first wave where there were cases throughout the Province, most cases are now concentrated in dense urban areas. We have better data.” He also said that if measures had to be taken they would be done in connection with the local Medical Officers of Health and would be more selective and focused on specific areas of risk. “We know where the outbreaks are happening. It is presenting itself differently in different parts of the province. The approach will be different than before.”
      • The Premier was asked to comment on a motion by Toronto Councillor Stephen Holyday asking that all City issued phones automatically have the COVID Alert APP loaded on them. The Premier supports this. “All government employees with a government phone, should download the APP. The cell phones are the property of the taxpayers.”

Friday, Sept. 25, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, September 25, 2020 – Speech
      • We are continuing to see an increase in daily case counts nationally, with the most rapid rises in Quebec and Ontario. The number of COVID-19 cases in hospital is also on the rise in these two provinces, as well as in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. These are worrying signs. We know how quickly the virus can spread. These surges in cases can overwhelm public health and health care system resources in localized areas.
      • The latest epidemiological analysis and modelling studies show that unless we work together now to slow the spread of the virus, we will face a big resurgence in areas currently experiencing increasing COVID-19 activity.
      • Local public health authorities cannot do this alone.  Each of us must take action to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.
      • This is why we all need to re-commit to following the individual protective measures that we know work, including physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and wearing a non-medical mask in closed spaces, crowded places and close contact situations when distancing is difficult.  And most importantly, stay home and self-isolate if you experience any symptoms, even mild ones.
      • I also urge everyone to limit their in-person close contacts, as much as possible.  We all have different responsibilities when it comes to being in close contact with others, but remember that every person you encounter brings their whole network of contact history with them.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health announced that the Ontario government is investing $741 million to help clear the backlog of surgeries and build more capacity in the health care system to effectively manage surges and outbreaks in COVID-19 cases. This is part of the province’s COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19. The plan will help the province quickly identify, prevent and respond to any scenario in order to protect communities. – Media Release
      • To support the health care system as it works to reduce surgical backlogs and improve access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario has already taken the following actions:
        1. Released A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic, a comprehensive framework to help hospitals assess their readiness and begin planning for the gradual resumption of scheduled surgeries and procedures, while maintaining their ability to respond to COVID-19 and the upcoming flu season; and
        2. Invested in virtual care providing alternatives to in-person care that limit the transmission of COVID-19, while maintaining access to care.
      • Ontario is making the necessary investments to expand access to services and surgical and procedural backlogs by:
        1. Investing up to $283.7 million to support additional priority surgeries including cancer, cardiac, cataract, and orthopedic procedures;
        2. Extending diagnostic imaging hours at health care facilities for MRIs, CT scans, and other critical procedures;
        3. Adding an additional 139 critical care beds and 1,349 additional hospital beds in hospitals and alternate health facilities across the province to support more surgical procedures; and
        4. Working to initiate a centralized waitlist and a program to optimize the use of the operating rooms to improve the use of existing resources and increase the number of surgical procedures in hospitals by hundreds on average per year, and improve patient flow by leveraging available surgical capacity in each region.
      • Ontario is also preparing to respond to any potential surges of COVID-19 without interrupting the delivery of routine health care services. For this reason, the government is investing $457.5 million to increase community capacity, including home and community care, to help reduce pressure on the health care system and expand the delivery of care.
      • Ontario will continue to protect the health and wellbeing of all Ontarians and ensure they can access the routine health services they need by:
        1. Expanding access to virtual emergency department services and giving patients the option of virtual pre- and post-surgery appointments, to support surgical care transitions when appropriate to do so;
        2. Helping up to 850 alternate levels of care patients access the right level of care in a home or community setting to help add more capacity in hospitals; and
        3. Increasing home and community care service volumes by investing $100 million to add an additional 484,000 nursing and therapy visits and 1.4 million personal support worker hours.
    • Question Period:
      • You have said that the lineups for testing are because of Health Canada. We have talked to people in the lines and they say the lines are because children can’t go to school with a runny nose. Premier, “Health Canada plays a massive role in this. If we had the rapid test, we wouldn’t have the line ups.” Minister Elliott said the issue of runny noses as a symptom has been referred to the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Health table. The public health nurses will be available at schools soon and can help with evaluating symptoms.
      • Will kids be allowed to go to school with runny noses? Minister Elliott, “parents should continue to use the daily screening tool.” She also suggested that parents seek care from their family doctors.
      • Are we in a second wave? Minister Elliott, will leave that determination to the Chief Medical Officer of Health. “We are seeing a worrisome number of cases. A doubling of cases  every 10 days requires action.”
      • When did bars and restaurants become the problem? What changed? Premier, “we have to be precautionary.” He said that there have been some outbreaks in nightclubs and that Mayor Tory and other mayors have asked him for these changes.
        1. Modelling data will be released next week.
      • The Premier has said that municipalities could make these changes why is the province making them? The Premier, “the influx in cases is very concerning. I know restaurants are hurting. But, not too many people are having dinner at 12 and nightclubs have been concerning. The economy is important but the health and safety of Ontarians is more important.”
      • There was a question about the change in testing guidelines. Minister Elliott agreed that there was some confusion. She said that asymptomatic people that are essential workers should get tested at a pharmacy. People who have symptoms or have received an alert through the COVID app should go to assessment centres.
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • New Public Health Measures Implemented Provincewide to Keep Ontarians Safe – Media Release
        1. In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and other health experts, the Ontario government has amended order O. Reg 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, to tighten public health measures in response to the recent rise in cases of COVID-19.
        2. Over the past five weeks, Ontario has experienced an increase in the rate of new COVID-19 cases. Private social gatherings continue to be a significant source of transmission in many local communities, along with outbreak clusters in restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments, including strip clubs, with most cases in the 20-39 age group. To ensure the continued health and safety of Ontarians, reduce the risk of transmission, and limit future outbreaks of COVID-19, the amended order will apply province-wide effective 12:01 a.m. on Saturday September 26 and will:
          1. Apply additional measures and restrictions to restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments (including nightclubs) by prohibiting the sale of alcohol after 11 p.m., and prohibiting the consumption of alcohol on the premises after 12:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. (including employees), and requiring establishments to close by 12:00 a.m. and remain closed until 5:00 a.m. except for takeout or delivery;
          2. Close all strip clubs across the province; and
          3. Require businesses or organizations to comply with any advice, recommendations, and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening for COVID-19.
        3. In addition, the province will work with the municipal sector and other partners to encourage increased enforcement of existing businesses, facilities, workplaces, etc. to comply with all public health and workplace safety measures and restrictions in the Stage 3 regulation.
        4. It remains critically important for everyone to continue following public health advice in order to stop the transmission of COVID-19 and protect our communities This includes: staying home when ill or keeping your child home from school when ill, even with mild symptoms; practising physical distancing with those outside your household or social circle or at gatherings; protecting your circle; wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge or where it is mandatory to do so; washing your hands frequently and thoroughly; and adhering to gathering limits and rules.

Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Government of Canada introduces legislation to support Canadians through Recovery Benefits and extend access to funds for emergency measures – Media Release
      • Today, the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, and the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced the introduction of Bill C-2, to create three new temporary Recovery Benefits to support Canadians who are unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19.
      • These new Benefits are being proposed as part of the Government of Canada’s plan to support Canadians as we work to build back a stronger, more resilient economy. Since the introduction of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) in the early days of the pandemic, at a time when we asked Canadians to stay home, close to 9 million Canadians have received the Benefit to help to pay their bills and support their families.
      • Subject to this legislation receiving Royal Assent, the new Benefits would provide income support to Canadians while promoting economic recovery by introducing measures that encourage people to safely return to work. Specifically, the legislation includes:
        1. A Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI and who still require income support. This Benefit would support Canadians who have not returned to work due to COVID-19 or whose income has dropped by at least 50%. These workers must be available and looking for work, and must accept work where it is reasonable to do so;
        2. A Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) of $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19. This Benefit supports our commitment to ensure all Canadian workers have access to paid sick leave; and,
        3. A Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household, for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19 or because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine.
      • To help build a stronger workforce, the Government of Canada will also invest an additional $1.5 billion in the Workforce Development Agreements with provinces and territories to offer Canadians the skills training and employment supports they need.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Ford and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, announced today that the Ontario government is building on the largest provincial testing initiative in Canada by providing $1.07 billion to expand COVID-19 testing and case and contact management. The government is also immediately investing $30 million to prevent and manage outbreaks in priority sectors, including the province’s long-term care homes, retirement homes and schools. These investments are part of the province’s comprehensive plan to prepare the health system for a second wave of COVID-19. – Media Release
      • A critical part of Ontario’s COVID-19 fall preparedness plan is encouraging people to continue to adhere to foundational public health measures and monitor public health trends carefully. That’s why the province is investing $1.07 billion to enhance and expand efforts to test, trace and isolate new cases of COVID-19.
      • Ontario will strengthen public health measures and continue to expand testing and case and contact management through the following:
        1. More Testing Locations
        2. More Testing Options: Ontario will ensure health professionals can provide more people with timely and convenient tests by expanding the methods for COVID-19 testing. Less invasive collection methods, such as throat, nasal swabbing and saliva collection will now be used in addition to nasopharyngeal swabs to test for COVID-19. Starting this week, three Ontario hospitals are offering saliva collection, with more assessment centres offering this option in the coming weeks. The province continues to review innovative technologies, such as rapid and point of care tests, to ensure Ontarians have access to leading and faster testing options.
        3. More Testing Capacity: As a first step, the province will increase testing capacity to conduct up to 50,000 daily tests.
        4. More Case and Contact Managers: Ontario will continue to add case and contact management staff to prevent the spread of the virus.
      • Better Health Behaviour Information: Ontario will conduct health behaviour surveillance to track adherence to public health measures across Ontario and to help understand how to better communicate the importance and benefit of continuing to follow public health measures.
      • With the flu and cold season approaching and a potential second wave of COVID-19, Ontario will invest $30 million to build on its efforts to rapidly identify and contain any COVID-19 outbreaks.
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked to comment on yesterday’s throne speech. He said that he didn’t believe that the federal government should be involved in areas that are Provincial responsibilities. “If the Federal government took over health care, I think it would be an absolute disaster. We don’t need their support with conditions. Every Premier feels the same way, that the Federal government should not be involved in things that are provincial responsibilities.”
      • Why does the draft plan (the CBC have) say that the Province won’t go back to Stage 2? Premier, “if the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Health Table say we should go back to Stage 2, we will. Everything is on the table.” Minister Elliott, “we will do everything we need to do to protect every Ontarian. We don’t want to have to go back to Stage 2. But, ultimately if it is necessary to take other steps we won’t hesitate to do that.”
      • Where will all these additional tests be processed? The Premier said they are trying to use every lab that is available and has capacity. He said it comes down to the capacity of lab technicians.
      • What guidance would you give parents who have a child that has been sent home from school with the sniffles? Premier, “no one showing symptoms will be refused a test.” Minister Elliott, said that the 500 public health nurses will be able to help with symptom management at schools. “They will determine whether children need to be tested, should stay at home or simply have a case of the sniffles.”
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Ontario Updates COVID-19 Testing Guidelines – Statement
        1. Today, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health issued the following statement outlining updated COVID-19 testing guidelines for Ontario:
        2. As the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed, the province must also adapt its approach to testing. With the upcoming flu and cold season approaching, we need to ensure Ontario’s publicly-funded testing resources are available for those who need them the most, such as school children and others with symptoms of COVID-19. That’s why, in consultation with health experts and Ontario’s Testing Strategy Expert Panel, Dr. David Williams and I have recommended Ontario update testing guidelines to prioritize those who are at the greatest risk, while shifting away from untargeted asymptomatic testing.
        3. Effective immediately, Ontarians should only seek testing at assessment centres if you are:
          1. Showing COVID-19 symptoms;
          2. Have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by your public health unit or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app;
          3. A resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by your local public health unit; and
          4. Eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.
        4. Starting on September 25, you can get tested for COVID-19 at select pharmacies if you are not showing symptoms and eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.
        5. Our best defence against COVID-19 is still to follow all public health measures like practicing physical distancing, wearing face masks and staying home when ill even with mild symptoms, so we can stop the spread.

Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’sThrone Speech
      • At 6:30 p.m. The Prime Minister will deliver an address to the nation. It will be broadcast live on CTV, CBC, Global, Rogers TV, LCN, and CPAC.
      • There are two distinct needs. The first is to help Canadians in the short term, to do whatever it takes, using whatever fiscal firepower is needed to support people and businesses during the pandemic. The best way to keep the economy strong is to keep Canadians healthy. The second need is to build back better, with a sustainable approach for future generations. As the Government builds a plan for stimulus and recovery, this must be done responsibly.
      • Infrastructure
        1. To keep building strong communities, over the next two years the Government will also invest in all types of infrastructure, including public transit, energy efficient retrofits, clean energy, rural broadband, and affordable housing, particularly for Indigenous Peoples and northern communities.
      • Environment
        1. This pandemic has reminded Canadians of the importance of nature. The Government will work with municipalities as part of a new commitment to expand urban parks, so that everyone has access to green space. This will be done while protecting a quarter of Canada’s land and a quarter of Canada’s oceans in five years, and using nature-based solutions to fight climate change, including by planting two billion trees.
        2. As part of its plan, the Government will:
          1. Create thousands of jobs retrofitting homes and buildings, cutting energy costs for Canadian families and businesses;
          2. Invest in reducing the impact of climate-related disasters, like floods and wildfires, to make communities safer and more resilient;
          3. Help deliver more transit and active transit options;
          4. And make zero-emissions vehicles more affordable while investing in more charging stations across the country.
        3. The Government will launch a new fund to attract investments in making zero-emissions products and cut the corporate tax rate in half for these companies to create jobs and make Canada a world leader in clean technology.
        4. The Government will ensure Canada is the most competitive jurisdiction in the world for clean technology companies.
        5. Additionally, the Government will:
          1. Transform how we power our economy and communities by moving forward with the Clean Power Fund, including with projects like the Atlantic Loop that will connect surplus clean power to regions transitioning away from coal;
          2. And support investments in renewable energy and next-generation clean energy and technology solutions.
      • CERB
        1. With the economic restart now well underway, CERB recipients should instead be supported by the Employment Insurance system. For people who would not traditionally qualify for EI, the Government will create the transitional Canada Recovery Benefit. Over the coming months, the EI system will become the sole delivery mechanism for employment benefits, including for Canadians who did not qualify for EI before the pandemic. This pandemic has shown that Canada needs an EI system for the 21st century, including for the self-employed and those in the gig economy.
      • Businesses
        1. The Government will help businesses adapt for the future and thrive. This fall, in addition to extending the wage subsidy, the Government will take further steps to bridge vulnerable businesses to the other side of the pandemic by:
          1. Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account to help businesses with fixed costs;
          2. Improving the Business Credit Availability Program;
          3. And introducing further support for industries that have been the hardest hit, including travel and tourism, hospitality, and cultural industries like the performing arts.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today the Premier, together with Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health announced that the Province is providing people with convenient and timely access to free COVID-19 testing at pharmacies in the province. As of Friday, up to 60 pharmacies in Ontario will begin offering testing by appointment only, with further locations coming online in the coming weeks. This initiative will expand testing capacity well beyond the province’s 150 assessment centres. – Media Release
      • Pharmacies may choose to provide testing for Ontarians who have no COVID-19 symptoms. Individuals, within provincial testing guidance, will be able to visit select pharmacies by appointment only, and they will be pre-screened and then tested at no charge. When visiting a pharmacy Ontarians should continue to follow COVID-19 public health measures, including wearing a face covering, frequent handwashing, and maintaining physical distance from those outside their household or social circle.
      • The expansion of COVID-19 testing to pharmacies is part of the province’s comprehensive plan to prepare the health system for a second wave of COVID-19. Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19 will help the province quickly identify, prevent and respond to any scenario in order to protect communities.
      • In addition, Women’s College, Mount Sinai and University Health Network―Toronto Western Hospital assessment centres will be offering saliva testing this week. More assessment centres will offer this less invasive method in the coming weeks, giving Ontarians more options to access testing for COVID-19.
      • Backgrounder (includes the list of pharmacies that will do tests, none in Burlington)
    • Question Period:
      • How many people are being turned away from testing centres? The Premier, said that more tests are being done in Ontario than anywhere else in the country. He said that people with symptoms should not go to a pharmacy to get tested.
      • Is there an accurate picture of community spread? Premier, “we don’t have a crystal ball. We are ramping up testing.” Minister Elliott, “we are preparing for the worst. Our Fall plan takes this into consideration. We are following case counts on a daily basis.”
      • With 180 school related cases now in Ontario, will you consider shutting down schools? Premier, “everything is on the table. But the plan we developed is working.” He said things need to put into perspective – there are 2 million students in Ontario.
      • How many tests can pharmacies do a day? Premier, “we will monitor things. I think it will put a big dent in the numbers.” The Premier went on to say that he is waiting on Health Canada’s approval of salvia testing. He feels it will have an impact on the line ups for testing. “It is affecting the whole system. We would be able to test more people.”
      • Is the Province seeing a decline in in-class learning because of the cases? Premier said he understands parents wanting to keep their children at home. “We have the safest classrooms in the country. The larger the community spread the greater the chance COVID will get into schools and long term care homes.
      • Why did pharmacy testing take so long to come to Ontario? Premier, “ we are way ahead of Alberta, BC and Quebec. We are kicking everybody else’s butt.”
      • We are also seeing a backlog in processing, what is the Province doing about this? Premier, “we are reaching out to the private sector to help with processing. It’s all hands on deck.” Minister Elliott, “results also need to be provided in a timely manner. We are working with the private sector, universities and hospitals regarding any spare lab capacity they may have.”

Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020:

  • Burlington Launches Digital Service Squad to Help Small Businesses Adopt Online Technologies with the help of $50K Digital Main Street Ontario Grant
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Update on COVID-19 in Canada: Epidemiology and Modelling – Presentation: update-covid-19-canada-epidemiology-modelling-Sept 22 2020
      • Epidemic growth is accelerating nationally
      • Incidence rates are increasing in provinces west of the Atlantic region
      • Short term projections show there could be 155,795 cases and up to 9,300 deaths by Oct. 3
      • Incidence has remained highest among young adults (20 to 39) since late June
      • Rapid detection and response to outbreaks is key to controlling the rate and extent of COVID-19 spread
      • Hospitalizations lag behind increase in reported cases but show early signs of increase
      • COVID-19 related deaths remain low
      • If the current rate of infection is maintained, the epidemic is expected to re-surge – but if that rate increases, it is expected to surge “faster and stronger”
      • To keep transmission at low levels or a “slow burn” we need both:
        1. Public health authorities
          1. Detect cases and trace contacts
          2. Monitor case/contact isolation and quarantine
          3. Mange risk of importation
          4. Detect and respond to outbreaks
        2. Individual Canadians
          1. Wash hands frequently
          2. Maintain physical distancing
          3. Wear a mask when distancing is difficult
          4. Stay home if experiencing any symptoms, even if mild
      • Long range forecast – Canada is at a crossroads and individual action to reduce contact rates will decide our path
      • With rising case counts and activities shifting indoors, we need to be even more vigilant
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier Ford and Minister Elliott announced that the Ontario government is implementing the largest flu immunization campaign in Ontario’s history. The campaign is part of the province’s comprehensive plan to prepare the health system for a second wave of COVID-19. The plan, titled Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, sets out a series of steps to prevent, identify and respond to any outbreak scenario this fall. – Media Release
      • The Keeping Ontarians Safe plan will:
        1. Maintain strong public health measures, including continued expansion of testing and case and contact management;
        2. Quickly identify, manage and prevent COVID-19 outbreaks;
        3. Accelerate efforts to reduce health service backlogs;
        4. Prepare for surges in COVID-19 cases;
        5. Recruit, retain, train and support health care workers, while also continuing to engage families and caregivers; and
        6. Implement the largest flu immunization campaign in Ontario’s history.
      • Given the size and complexity of the Keeping Ontarians Safe plan, the province will release details over the coming days.
      • The annual spread of the flu presents an additional challenge to Ontario’s response to future waves of COVID-19. That’s why the province is investing almost $70 million to purchase flu vaccines to deliver a robust and expanded campaign this year. Ontario has implemented several measures, such as:
        1. Ordering 5.1 million flu vaccine doses in partnership with the federal government and other provinces and territories, 700,000 more than the approximated usage last year. This includes 1.3 million high-dose vaccine doses for Ontario seniors, especially those with pre-existing health conditions;
        2. Prioritizing early distribution of the flu vaccine for vulnerable populations in long-term care homes, hospitals and retirement homes;
        3. Investing an additional $26.5 million to purchase additional flu vaccine doses if required and made available through the national vaccine bulk procurement program;
        4. For the first time in Ontario’s history, improving access by allocating high-dose flu vaccines for seniors to participating pharmacies; and
        5. Launching a public education campaign to encourage getting the flu shot.
      • The flu shot will be available in the coming weeks at primary care provider offices and public health units for anyone over the age of six months, and participating pharmacies for anyone five years of age or older.
      • Both the Premier and Minister Elliott urged people to get a flu shot.
    • Question Period:
      • People are looking for more than just flu shots. The Premier said the plan is very robust. “We want to make sure people understand the plan, that’s why we are rolling it out over several days.” Flu cases backlog hospitals, so getting a flu shot is important. Minister Elliott, “flu shots are just one element of the Fall Plan. Several thousand people are hospitalized annually because of the flu. We want to take this burden away from hospitals. Our plan is very integrated and complex.”
      • With the recent spike in cases what other measures are on the table? Minister Elliott, “we have already taken measures – we have reduced unmonitored social gathering sizes and we will not be implementing any new reopening measures for two incubation cycles. Other steps may need to be taken. We are looking at different measures.”
      • The Premier was asked what he thought about private COVID-19 testing being offered for $400 a test. He said it was a free market society, but he encouraged people to go to the public testing sites.
      • Your mood has changed. What do the latest modelling numbers suggest? Premier, “I am concerned. I really am.” He was on the phone with the Deputy PM urging her to get the rapid testing approved by Health Canada. “It plays such a massive part in our testing plan.” Minister Elliott, “the Premier and I are very concerned with the rapid increase in cases. It is up to all Ontarians to do their part. Please follow the public health measures.”
      • Will there be changes at long term care homes due to the recent increase in cases? Premier, “99% of long term care homes are clear. We have one outbreak in Ottawa.” Minister Elliott, said the Province’s fall preparedness plan was developed in co-ordination with other ministries including education and long term care. Long term care home patients will be the first recipients of the flu vaccine.
      • BC has reduced the list of school screening symptoms, will Ontario consider doing the same? Minister Elliott, the Chief Medical Officer and the Public Health Table are in discussion with the Ministry of Education about the symptom list. “This will be an active conversation. The 500 public health nurses have been hired and will assist with the symptom review.”
      • What is the timeline for the flu vaccines? Minister Elliott, “we expect the first shipment of vaccines in the next week.” First recipients of the vaccine will be long term care home patients and staff, hospitals, retirement homes and other congregate living settings. The next shipment will come shortly after that. 

Monday, Sept. 21, 2020:

  • Ontario Limits the Size of Unmonitored and Private Social Gatherings across Entire Province
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Ford talked about the issues he wanted to see addressed in this week’s throne speech. He wants the federal government to immediately lay out a plan to fund provincial priorities, including responding to future waves and surges of COVID-19, strengthening health and long-term care, increasing testing and quarantine enforcement at the border, and making strategic investments in infrastructure projects to spur long-term recovery. – Media Release
      • The Premier is calling for an increase to the Canada Health Transfer to cover at least 35 per cent of provincial-territorial health spending starting this year. The funding will be used to enhance the province’s fall preparedness plan and help end hallway health care. The Ontario government is making an unprecedented investment of $67 billion in health care this year.
      • The pandemic further underscored the need for increased investment in the long-term care sector. Ontario is calling on the federal government to provide immediate and ongoing supports to long-term care residents and those who care for them, including investments for staffing, infection prevention and control, and infrastructure funding to help build new beds and redevelop existing ones to provide quality homes for vulnerable seniors. The Ontario government is investing over $4.8 billion in long-term care this year.
      • Enforcing public health rules at the border is critical to help contain and prevent the spread of COVID-19. That’s why the Ontario government is asking Ottawa to play a more active role in testing and enforcing quarantine measures in order to keep Ontarians safe. Increasing testing and screening at the border and hiring additional federal staff to enforce the quarantine rules are necessary, especially with case numbers on the rise. The province is also calling on the federal government to ensure an effective strategy is in place to expand testing and screening at the border before any restrictions are loosened.
      • The province is calling on the federal government to invest an additional $10 billion per year over 10 years in infrastructure. Ontario alone has nearly $10 billion in shovel-ready infrastructure projects over and above the approximately 750 submissions to the federal Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
      • Additionally, Ontario has four nationally significant subway projects in the Greater Toronto Area with a total value of $28.5 billion that will support over 22,000 jobs and reduce annual emissions by over one million tonnes.
    • Question Period:
      • Have any elements of the fall preparedness plan been implemented? Minister Elliott said the plan will be brought forward over several days. The province has already increased testing and will be increasing lab capacity as well.
      • Why is the fall plan taking so long to unveil? Premier Ford, “you need to understand the situation is fluid. Things are changing day by day.” Minister Elliott, “we have been working on the plan for several months. The plan is very complex and takes the flu season, and medical procedures at hospitals into consideration.” The plan also required additional funds from the Federal government and internally to fund additional testing and lab capacity. Elements of the plan have already started to be implemented. “We are looking forward to sharing the plan with the people of Ontario.
      • Should the messaging change to address the long line ups for testing? Minister Elliott, “we people who are concerned about COVID to get tested. We are looking at extended the hours at busier locations and bringing in pop up testing facilities.” Dr. Yaffe said that certain groups are a higher priority for testing – people with symptoms and people who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive. “Testing is not the be all and end all. People need to wear a mask, wash their hands, and  stay home if they are not feeling well.”
      • What actions are you looking at to further clamp down? Premier Ford, “people can’t let their guard down. People need to continue to follow the health protocols.” Dr. Yaffe, “75% of the cases are in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa, but we are seeing more cases in other regions.” They are monitoring outbreaks in different settings and looking at what should be done in specific situations.
      • The Premier was asked for his thoughts on the car rally held in Ancaster over the weekend. The Premier admitted to attending car rallies. He said that this event was not a “show and shine.” Instead this event was held at night and those in attendance were actually street racing. He said that if there wasn’t a backlog for MRIs he would have the organizers get an MRI because he doesn’t believe they have “anything in there.” “If they had brains they would be dangerous.” He said that the organizers would be tracked down. He also said the treatment of CHCH reporter Nicole Martin, was appalling. He said, “bullying a woman was weak,” and he called them cowards. “Get your acts together.”

Friday, Sept 18, 2020:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today, Premier Ford was joined by Québec Premier François Legault, the incoming chair of the Council of the Federation, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney for a news conference ahead of the federal Throne Speech next week.
      • Premier Ford and his fellow Premiers pressed the federal government on critical priorities for the people of Ontario, including strengthening frontline health care and moving shovel-ready infrastructure projects forward. – Media Release
      • The need for additional health care funding is urgent with rising case numbers across the country, a potential secondary wave of COVID-19 on the horizon, and ongoing work to modernize hospitals, long-term care homes and other health facilities. Ontario joins provincial and territorial partners in calling for a significant increase to the federal Canada Health Transfer to cover 35 per cent of provincial-territorial health costs and help meet urgent challenges, prepare for the future, and build stronger health care systems.
      • Premier Ford is also calling on Ottawa to reduce delays in federal approvals for current infrastructure projects and step up with an additional $10 billion per year over 10 years for shovel-ready projects. The province is seeking at least 40 per cent of total costs for the nationally significant $28.5 billion subway plan for the Greater Toronto Area, along with additional funding for broadband to expand and improve service to more rural, remote, and Northern communities. Supporting these projects will accelerate economic recovery by creating more jobs, providing more opportunities for local businesses, and improving the quality of life in these communities.

Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on September 17, 2020 – Statement
      • The ongoing increase in new cases being reported daily continues to give cause for concern. With continued circulation of the virus, the situation could change quickly and we could lose the ability to keep COVID-19 cases at manageable levels.
      • In the spring, Canadians acted decisively and together to help the country slow the spread of the virus. By following public health advice, cases of COVID-19 steadily declined through the late spring and early summer. This undoubtedly saved lives, protected the healthcare system from being overwhelmed, and helped many businesses, facilities and public spaces reopen in COVID-friendly ways over the summer.
      • However, the ongoing increase in daily case counts over many weeks, including outbreaks linked to private gatherings and events where public health guidelines, such as physical distancing and wearing of masks, were not followed continue to increase the risk for COVID-19 spread getting out of hand.
      • Remember, local public health authorities can’t do this alone; the actions of individual Canadians are key to keeping COVID-19 cases at manageable levels. I am asking Canadians to redouble their efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Follow the latest public health advice, including recommendations of public health authorities in your jurisdiction and local area. This includes:
        1. avoiding crowded places;
        2. ensuring your social contacts bubble is limited to the number of people recommended by your jurisdiction;
        3. washing your hands frequently, or using a Health Canada-approved hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available;
        4. keeping two-metres of physical distance apart from people outside your close contact bubble, and
        5. layering on additional precautions such as wearing a non-medical mask any time you are in closed spaces, crowded places or close contact situations and when physical distancing is difficult.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Ford announced that after consulting with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, local medical officers of health and local municipal leaders, the Ontario government has amended order O. Reg 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, setting a new limit reducing the number of people permitted to attend unmonitored social gatherings and organized public events in three regions (Ottawa, Peel and Toronto) experiencing higher rates of transmission of COVID-19. This includes functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas. – Media Release
      • To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the amended order will set a new limit on the number of people allowed to attend an unmonitored social gathering or organized public event in three specific regions to:
        1. 10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit of 50); or
        2. 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit of 100).
        3. Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be merged together. These are not accumulative and gatherings of 35 (25 outdoors and 10 indoors) are not permitted.
      • This amended order will come into effect on September 18 at 12:01am.
      • The new limits will not apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres or banquet halls, gyms, and recreational sporting or performing art events. Existing rules, including public health and workplace safety measures, for these businesses and facilities continue to be in effect.
      • To support better compliance with public health guidelines, both within these three regions and across Ontario, amendments to the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act would, if passed, create:
        1. A new offence regarding hosting or organizing a gathering in residential premises or other prescribed premises that exceeds limits under an order
        2. A minimum fine of $10,000 for organizers of these gatherings
        3. Authority for the Lieutenant Governor in Council to prescribe additional types of premises for the purpose of the new offence.
        4. Authority for a police officer, special constable or First Nations constable to order the temporary closure of a premise where there are reasonable grounds to believe that any gathering exceeding the number of people allowed is taking place and require individuals to leave the premises.
      • With a recent increase in cases of COVID-19, it remains vital for the government to continue to protect vulnerable populations. As well, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government has  extended orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA) to October 22, 2020. Orders in effect under the ROA will allow the government to maintain the flexibility it needs to address the ongoing and emerging risks as well as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
      • It remains critically important for everyone to continue following public health advice. This includes: staying home when ill, or keeping your child home from school when ill, even with mild symptoms; practising physical distancing with those outside your household or social circle, or at gatherings; protecting your circle; wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge or where it is mandatory to do so; washing your hands frequently and thoroughly; and adhering to gathering limits and rules.
    • Question Period:
      • Do the fines apply only to hosts? Hosts will be fined $10,000 and people attending the parties will be fined $750. The Premier referred to the behavior of the party organizers and attendees as reckless and not fair. He said, “I wonder: they must be a few fries short of a Happy Meal these people. They blatantly ignore the rules.”
        • Are you going to now look at capping class sizes? The Premier said this was comparing apples to oranges. These parties include, “drinking, hugging, kissing and spitting.” Minister Elliott, “we are talking about two totally different things. These parties are unmonitored events.” Dr. Williams referred to the structure that was in place for schools that includes cohorting, teacher supervision, social distancing and mask wearing. People attending these events take none of these precautions.
      • Will police be directed to enforce these new guidelines?  The Premier, will not direct police. He said that this law “will send a message to people who are recklessly not following the rules.”
      • Why aren’t wedding included in these gathering limits? The Premier said that weddings usually take place at banquet halls and restaurants where there are strict guidelines in place like temperature checks, social distancing and mask wearing. “This is very different than these parties wear people are going hog wild, swinging off trees.”
      • Why not get out ahead of things and put these new gathering limits in place in other regions? Dr. Williams, “the Public Health table is reviewing the data and is then consulting with local Chief Medical Officers of Health. We are dealing with the areas of most concern now. We may look at other areas in the near future. We are monitoring the situation and will adjust as necessary.”
      • What about the backlog in getting test results? Minister Elliott said their fall plan, which will be released soon, includes boosting lab capacity.
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Ontario Introduces Legislation to Freeze Residential Rent in 2021 – Media Release
        1. The Ontario government has introduced the Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act that would, if passed, freeze rent in 2021 for most rent-controlled and non-rent-controlled residential units. The bill would provide the vast majority of Ontario’s tenants with financial relief as the province continues down the path of renewal, growth and economic recovery.
        2. The Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act also proposes to change the Commercial Tenancies Act to extend the temporary ban on evictions for commercial tenants. The ban was initially in place from May 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020, to align with the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This temporary ban would continue to apply to businesses that are eligible for federal-provincial rent assistance through the CECRA for small businesses, but their landlord chose not to apply for the program. The ban will protect small businesses from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19.
        3. Extending the ban on commercial evictions would allow Ontario to continue to protect small businesses and help them get back on their feet, so they can create jobs and help rebuild the economy.
        4. This proposed legislation would also create a single register of voters for municipal and provincial elections, which is expected to be more accurate, could mean fewer corrections for voters at polling stations, fewer delays for people on election day, and may reduce costs for municipalities.

Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Prime Minister announces next steps for Safe Restart Agreement – Media Release
      • The Prime Minister shared the details of the investments that will be made through the Safe Restart Agreement. This will provide continued support to Canadians, as we safely restart our economy and build a more resilient Canada.
      • Through the Agreement, reached earlier this summer, the Government of Canada announced over $19 billion in federal funding to help provinces and territories safely restart the economy. Provinces and territories were asked to outline in a letter how these funds would best be allocated within their jurisdictions, based on their priorities. The premiers have now submitted the letters (Letter from Premier Ford)  and the federal funding will be transferred to the provinces and territories.
      • The Safe Restart Agreement supports measures to increase testing and contact tracing to protect Canadians from future waves of the virus. It will help support the capacity of our health care systems, including through services for people facing mental health challenges. It will also provide municipalities with funding so they can quickly deliver essential services, like public transit, that Canadians rely on every day, and secure a reliable source of personal protective equipment for essential workers.
      • The Agreement will also provide direct support to Canadian workers, including safe child care to help parents returning to work. It will also provide income support for people without paid sick leave, and takes steps to protect the most vulnerable, like Canada’s seniors.
      • Funding will support the provinces and territories in their delivery and management of COVID-related response under seven key priorities:
        1. Testing, contact tracing, and data management
        2. Health care capacity, including mental health and substance use
        3. Protecting vulnerable populations, including seniors in long-term care facilities
        4. Securing personal protective equipment
        5. Child care for returning workers
        6. Support for municipalities, including for public transit
        7. Sick leave
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board launched a new voluntary interactive screening tool to assist parents, students and staff with the daily assessment of COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors that is required before attending school. The results will let parents, students, and education staff know whether they should attend school each day or guide at-risk individuals to proper resources. This tool is another layer of prevention that the province is using to protect the health and safety of students, staff, and the communities where they live and work. – Media Release
      • The new easy-to-use tool is voluntary and available for all parents, students and staff to use to help screen for symptoms of illness every day. Users will simply respond to clinician-informed symptom and risk questions, and the tool will then immediately inform users whether it is safe to attend school that day. The tool protects privacy and does not collect any personal health information. The tool was also developed in house by the Ontario Digital Service at no additional cost to taxpayers.
      • In addition, local public health units have filled over 530 nursing positions, or 85 per cent, of the additional 625 nursing positions created to help keep students and staff safe. The nurses will be providing rapid-response support to schools and school boards in facilitating public health and preventative measures, including screening, testing, tracing and mitigation strategies. In order to ensure that schools are supported from the start of the school year, several public health units have temporarily redeployed existing nurses while recruitment activities continue.
      • As part of Ontario’s commitment for transparency, and in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Ontario Digital Service, the Ministry of Education has also launched a webpage to report COVID-19 cases in schools and child care centres.
    • Question Period:
      • Can you give a firm timeline on when people can expect to see shorter lines? Premier, said that it was positive news that people are getting tested. “We have been working out the details with the private sector. We will have thousands of locations where people can get tested.” The announcement will be coming very soon, he couldn’t provide an exact date for the announcement.
      • The Premier was asked to comment on complaints regarding increased hydro rates. “We have helped people with the office peak rates. We are speaking with the Minister of Energy.” He said the government would maintain the off peak rates for as long as possible.
      • What might you do about the gathering sizes, will there be fines? The Premier said that he is trying to meet with the mayors in Ottawa, Brampton, Mississauga and Toronto. He is also speaking with all the chief medical officers of health in those areas. “Nothing will happen until I have spoken with them.” There has been agreement on the policies and guidelines by the mayors and CMOH. He said there were going to be severe fines. The policies will be under provincial jurisdiction and will be some of the highest in the country.
      • What do the models predict for the next few weeks? Minister Elliott, said it was concerning to see the numbers going up. “We are preparing for the various scenarios that we might face.” Dr. Huyer spoke about the importance of considering the before, during and after of attending an event. Before – who will be there, how many people will be there, who are their social circles. During – wear a mask, wash your hands, clinking glasses. After – do you have symptoms, stay home if you aren’t feeling well, get tested.
      • Why does it seem like the government was caught off guard regarding testing? Premier, “we weren’t caught off guard. The numbers of cases were 100 and then it seemed like over night the cases increased. We have been working with a number of private sector partners. These things don’t happen overnight. We’re ready.” Minister Elliott, spoke up testing going up to 25,000-30,000 test per day. Mobile testing units will be used.
      • In response to questions about his own actions, i.e. going to Stan Cho’s wedding, having people over for dinner, etc. the Premier defended himself, saying he has been following all public health guidelines.
      • Have you thought about restricting testing to only people who have symptoms? The Premier said they will not be doing that now. Retail testing locations will be for people with no symptoms.

Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade announced a $2.5 million investment at Guelph-based Linamar Corp through the Ontario Together Fund to support the retooling of its assembly line to manufacture ventilator components to produce 10,000 Ontario-made e700 ventilators. – Media Release
      • O-Two Medical Technologies partnered with Linamar Corp. and other partners, including Bombardier, to produce these lifesaving devices to enhance future preparedness and help patients with severe cases of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.
      • Through the Ontario Together Fund, the government is delivering targeted investments that will increase the province’s stockpile of Ontario-made products and personal protective equipment (PPE). This new manufacturing capacity will enable the province to combat the current COVID-19 outbreak and prepare for potential challenges in the future, while supporting local businesses during the safe and gradual reopening of the province.
    • Question Period:
      • Where are you on testing in pharmacies? The Premier said that he had a discussion on this issue this morning. Pharmacies would only be doing testing on people who are asymptomatic. “We are all over this.” They are working through the details.
      • Can you say then that testing will happen in pharmacies? “I can’t say that. I don’t want to say anything until we have all the ducks lined up.” He did say to stay tuned for an announcement on this later this week.
      • The Premier and Minister Elliott were asked about parents and children lining up to get tested. Minister Elliott, “the good news is people are going to get tested, but they deserve to get tested in a timely manner. We are looking at various testing facilities that can assist us with additional testing.” She said that the government expected longer lines when schools re-opened but “not to this extent.”
      • What is the Province going to do to reign in social gatherings? The Premier said that there are things the Province can do. He said he spoke with the Mayors of Toronto, Ottawa and Brampton about the situation and discussed their suggestions. He feels it is important to consult with the mayors as “they know their communities the best.” He said the Province was going to address some concerns right away but did not specify which areas he was referring to. “Over the next day or two we’re going to be rolling out announcement for the regions that have been affected, (Toronto, Peel and Ottawa).”

Monday, Sept. 14, 2020:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier made no announcements today, just some brief remarks and then took questions.
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked what a second lockdown would look like. He said it would be regional. There are currently three/four hotspots in the Province. When he spoke with the medical officers of health in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa they said that cases were coming from people attending social gatherings. “We must continue to be vigilant.” Minister Elliott said “the most important thing people need to do is to follow the public health guidance, wear a mask, physical distance, follow proper hand hygiene and if you don’t feel well stay at home. We must continue to follow the rules.”
      • Minister Elliott was asked about the details for the second wave plan.  “We have a robust fall plan, that we will be  releasing soon.” She said the plan considers the flu season and the reduced hospital capacity because some people had to be moved from long term care homes into hospitals.
      • The Premier was asked about the long wait times for testing and recent surge in testing. “We will be increasing testing capacity. I spoke with the Deputy Prime Minister about this.” He said that the Province will also be working with the private sector to increase testing. “We are ramping up for more testing.”
      • What will trigger the roll back of measures? Minister Elliott, said the 28 day pause in any further reopenings was important. “We don’t want to have to close things up again, we will be taking a regional approach.”
      • Minister Lecce was asked about some classes being as large as 33 students. He said that some parents are still making up their minds about which route they want to take for their children. School boards are having to adjust their classes as parents adjust their decisions.
      • The Premier was asked what metrics he would use to determine when they would decide about closing things down. Minister Elliott said that decisions would be made using a combination of factors, including the number of new cases, the number of people in hospital and the number of people on ventilators. “We are watching the trends.”

Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier Ford and Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions announced that the Ontario government is providing an additional $14.75 million to increase access to mental health and addictions services across the province. This funding will help support people from all walks of life during this unprecedented time, including families, young people, children, frontline workers, and Indigenous communities. – Media Release
      • This investment was provided through the Support for People and Jobs Fund and will help community-based mental health and addictions programs meet increasing service demands. The funding is being distributed as follows:
        1. $7 million to safely expand in-person mental health and addictions services to bridge current gaps brought on by COVID-19, including community-based services, congregate living and supportive housing;
        2. $4.75 million to support culturally safe services for Indigenous communities, with a focus on children and youth; and
        3. $3 million to expand virtual and online services including addictions supports, Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) and an online peer support community for mental health.
      • The government also announced it is investing an additional $2.9 million in eight research projects that aim to support Ontario’s response to COVID-19. These projects will focus on a wide variety of areas such as supporting the mental health and well-being of families and children, assessing the long-term health effects of COVID-19, the development of an app to better manage the care of patients, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of wearing masks to block the virus.
      • These eight research projects were submitted through the Ontario Together portal. This is in addition to the 35 projects selected through the $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund.
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked if there were any plans to roll things back based on today’s number of cases. The Premier, said that 14 regions are reporting 0 cases and 14 regions are reporting 5 or less cases. “The increases are coming from large parties, not restaurants and bars. We are keeping our eye on the ball.”
      • The Premier was asked if there was any decision regarding whether they would appeal the court decision on the gas pump stickers. Minister Rickford said, “we respect the court’s decision, we don’t agree. We think Ontarians deserve to know where the additional costs are coming from.”
      • With the House resuming next week the Premier was asked what he thought the theme and tone would be like. Premier, “I think it will be collaborative. We all need to work together regardless of what political stripe you are.” He said he hoped people wouldn’t play politics.
      • Will you consider reducing the gathering sizes? Premier, “we aren’t there yet. We need put things into perspective. The spikes (in cases) are in four regions.” He committed to working with those regions. He spoke about the quarantine regulations and the fact that there were 623 violations and only 17 charges were laid. “The system is broken. I will work with the Feds on this issue.”
      • Isn’t the issue that police aren’t laying charges? The Premier explained that the police visit people who are quarantining but a Federal quarantine officer determines if a charge will be laid. Local police do not lay the charges. “This isn’t a knock against the Feds, it’s about all three levels of government working together.” He said he would be raising the issue with the Federal government.
      • The Premier was asked if families would be able to gather for Thanksgiving and whether children would be able to go out for Halloween. The Premier said that a month and a half is a long time for COVID. “Kids going door to door makes me nervous. We’ll have to see.”

Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020:

  • Burlington’s 5th Tele-Town Hall on Sept. 23 to Help Answer COVID-19 Questions Heading into the Fall Season
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today the PM, announced investments of up to nearly $221 million in partnership with Canadian financial institutions – including up to nearly $93 million from the Government of Canada over the next four years – to launch Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program. – Media Release
      • This program will help thousands of Black business owners and entrepreneurs across the country recover from this crisis and grow their businesses.
      • The program will include:
        1. up to $53 million to develop and implement a new National Ecosystem Fund to support Black-led business organizations across the country. It will help Black business owners and entrepreneurs access funding and capital, mentorship, financial planning services, and business training.
        2. up to $33.3 million in support through the new Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund that will provide loans of between $25,000 and $250,000 for Black business owners and entrepreneurs. The Government of Canada is also partnering with financial institutions, including RBC, BMO Financial Group, Scotiabank, CIBC, National Bank, TD, Vancity, and Alterna Savings, to make up to $128 million available in additional lending support.
        3. up to $6.5 million to create and sustain a new Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub that will collect data on the state of Black entrepreneurship in Canada and help identify Black entrepreneurs’ barriers to success as well as opportunities for growth. The Hub will be run by Black-led community and business organizations, in partnership with educational institutions.
      • The new program builds on the Government of Canada’s work to address systemic racism against Black Canadians. This includes taking steps to advance Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, justice reforms, modern policing structures and standards, and enhanced local community supports for young Black Canadians.
    • Question Period:
      • The PM was asked about the move to roll some measures back as some parts of the country are no longer in an emergency state. The PM said, “we are still living in an emergency and it will continue to be the case until we have a vaccine. We are not out of the woods yet. Canadians need to continue to be vigilant.” He reminded everyone to wear a mask, wash their hands and to not gather in large groups. “The last thing we want is to shutdown the economy again.” He also spoke about the CERB moving towards a more EI structure.
      • He was asked about the upcoming throne speech. He said that the government has no interest in seeing an election this fall. “We will be putting forward an ambitious and responsible plan. Making sure all Canadians have a fair chance to succeed.”
      • The PM was asked if he would meet with opposition leaders about the throne speech. “We will continue our engaged approach. We know it is better when we all work together. Our principle from the very beginning has been to be there for Canadians. We needed to be there for Canadians first.”
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Ford and Québec Premier François Legault held a joint media conference at the conclusion of their Ontario-Québec Summit. The two governments agreed to collaborate on accelerating economic recovery and job creation, working towards increasing health care funding sustainability and preparedness, and advancing other areas of mutual benefit for the people of Ontario and Québec. – Media Release
      • The Premiers and Ministers of the two governments agreed to work together to grow and strengthen the economy as it gradually and safely reopens. The provinces also agreed to press the federal government for fair, flexible, sustainable funding for other key priorities that support economic recovery and resilience, including infrastructure, transit, other sector-specific supports and broadband in order to accelerate access to high-speed Internet access for rural, remote, and Northern communities.
      • The two parties also agreed to collaborate on combatting U.S. protectionism, removing trade barriers, and promoting Ontario-made and Québec-made products to help protect and create more jobs for Ontarians and Quebeckers.
      • The governments will further work together to develop shared principles on the safe and responsible reopening of the Canada-U.S. border and ensure Ottawa has a clear plan before any restrictions are relaxed.
      • Both Premiers also spoke about the need to push the Federal government on increasing the Canada Health Transfer to all provinces and territories.
    • Question Period:
      • Premier Ford was asked if the Province was going to take ownership of reporting cases in schools. “We will be reporting cases – this is only the second day. We will be doing what we did with long-term care homes. I believe in being transparent. People will know what I know.”
      • Both Premiers were asked if BC rolling back the hours of night clubs was a sign of things to come. Premier Ford said he takes his advice from the health team and Dr. Williams regarding when we will roll things back, if we are going to roll them back. Premier Legault said the new cases in Quebec were not coming from bars, they are coming from private parties.
      • Premier Ford was asked if public gathering sizes were going to be rolled back. He said that local medical officers of health have the authority to roll back the numbers in their regions if they feel it is warranted. He will not be doing it province wide.
      • Mayor Tory has suggested that the province should mandate that bars in Ontario close earlier. Premier Ford said that Mayor Tory has the authority to do this, if this is what he wants.
      • Premier Ford was asked if the Province was to roll things back would they target specific things or would they go back to stage 2. The Premier said he “will not close the whole Province. It is not fair to the 16 regions that are not reporting any cases.” Mayors and Medical Officers of Health can adjust measures within their regions.
      • Premier Ford was asked why the Province was not reporting on outbreaks at companies. He said that he would not target individual businesses. He said the media has been reporting on these outbreaks.
      • Premier Legault was asked why Quebec was not adopting the COVID tracing app. He said that opposition parties are against the app as they are concerned it will collect personal information. He doesn’t feel that is the case, but at the moment they will not be going forward with the app in Quebec.
      • The Premiers were asked if it is realistic to expect the Federal government can increase health care transfers to the Provinces now. Premier Legault said the Federal spending on COVID has been one time expenditures and not a “recurring” expenditure.
      • Both Premiers were asked if they were sending mixed messages to people – people are following the rules set by the Province in terms of gathering size, but they are being told not to gather in large groups.  Premier Legault, “we do not want to have to close businesses down again. We want people to wear masks and social distance.” Premier Ford, “I am concerned about the people who aren’t following the rules. We have to create and environment where companies can prosper and grow.”

Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlight from Briefing:
      • Announcement from Min. Elliot about taking a pause on further reopening or loosening of public health rules:
        1. Based on advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario will take four-week pause – or two, 14-day cycles of the virus – before considering any further loosening of public health measures or reopening additional businesses, facilities and organizations.
        2. Taking a pause in further re-opening will help avoid broad-scale closures and shutdowns. And on the first day of school for many students, we need to do everything we can to limit the spread of COVID-19. The best way to keep our schools safe is to keep our communities safe.
    • Ontario Takes Extraordinary Steps to Reopen Schools Safely – Media Release
      • As students, teachers and staff return to school, the Ontario government is providing up to $1.3 billion in critical supports and has delivered more than 37 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely reopen classrooms across the province. These investments are part of Ontario’s comprehensive back to school plan which was developed in consultation with medical experts, school boards, and educators.
      • The government has taken the following steps to make schools as safe as possible:
        1. Providing more funding than any jurisdiction in the country to implement physical distancing measures, support hiring of up to 1,300 custodians and adopt enhanced cleaning protocols in schools and on school buses, and hire more teachers to reduce class sizes.
        2. Hiring up to 625 school-focused nurses to provide rapid-response support to schools and boards, and facilitate public health measures, including screening, surveillance testing, tracing and mitigation strategies.
        3. Working in collaboration with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to ensure that sufficient PPE has been delivered to all 72 school boards and 10 education authorities, including more than 19.5 million masks, 16 million gloves, 317,000 face shields, 320,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, and 218,000 containers of disinfectant, among other critical supplies; and,
        4. Providing students and families with clear and transparent standards for those that choose fully remote virtual learning, which is teacher-led, timetabled, live, synchronous, and on a regular daily schedule.
      • The following public health protocols and procedures will be implemented to help protect students, teachers, staff and visitors:
        1. Parents must screen their children and all staff must self-screen every day before attending school. Students and staff who are unwell must stay home from school.
        2. Schools must immediately report any suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the school to the local public health unit. Every day, school boards must report any staff or student absences due to confirmed cases of COVID-19 to the ministry.
        3. Students in Grades 4-12 will be required to wear face coverings (non-medical or cloth masks) indoors in school, including in hallways, entrances and during classes. Face coverings are not required but are encouraged for students up to Grade 3. The province is funding each school board to provide PPE to teachers and other school-based staff, including medical masks and eye protection (for example, face shields).
        4. Schools will teach and remind students about appropriate hand hygiene and provide breaks in schedules to allow students to wash their hands. Teachers and staff are also receiving additional health and safety training.
        5. Each student will be kept with the same group of children and teachers as much as possible throughout the school day.
        6. Schools will significantly limit visitors, including parents.
        7. Schools will keep rigorous daily class attendance records, seating charts, lists of bussed students, and approved daily visitors (e.g. supply and occasional teachers, custodians) for contact-tracing purposes.

Friday, Aug. 28, 2020:

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020:

Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020:

Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020:

  • AMO 2020 Virtual Conference: New Board Members Elected, Acclaimed for 2-Year Term
  • AMO 2020 Virtual Conference: Halton Region Delegation Meets with Ministers
  • Ontario and Municipalities Work Towards a Strong Economic Recovery — Successful AMO conference demonstrates critical partnership
  • City of Burlington has Distributed 16,500 Free, Non-Medical Masks: More Donations Welcome
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Ford, Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, and Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA) announced that the Province is one step closer to getting shovels in the ground on part of the largest subway expansion in Canadian history with the planned release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) tomorrow to advance tunnelling work on the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension. – Media Release
      • On August 20, 2020, the province will invite the selected teams from the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process to respond to an RFP that details how they plan to design and deliver the tunnelling work for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension. Upon evaluating the proposals received, Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Metrolinx expect to award this tunnelling contract in mid-2021.
      • The release of the RFP is part of the government’s continued commitment to deliver the largest subway expansion in the country’s history to commuters and businesses in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). On August 5, 2020, Ontario announced three teams of bidders per project were shortlisted to advance tunnelling work on two of the four priority transit projects, the Scarborough Subway Extension and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, included in the Subway Transit Plan for the GTA.
      • In April 2019, the province announced its historic new transportation vision, with a preliminary estimated cost of $28.5 billion. In addition to the Scarborough Subway Extension and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, this plan includes the all-new Ontario Line and the Yonge North Subway Extension. Planning is underway for all four priority projects and procurements will be staged to ensure each project is delivered successfully.
      • Once again during today’s announcement the Province called for the Federal government to come to the table with their share of the funding.
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked about the government’s progress with retrofitting school HVAC systems. The Premier said things were going full steam ahead with the retrofits. He also said that Minister Lecce has communicated with boards that the start of the school year will be staggered by 2 weeks. 60% of school boards have locked down their plans.
      • The Premier was asked about the TDSB’s mandated wearing of masks for students from K-12. Premier Ford said that this was not the advice the Province was given, “but we will support them.” He said that it maybe difficult for the younger children to keep their masks on all day.
      • Will anything be added to the plan to reassure parents, teachers, students? Premier, “we have the safest plan in the country. I understand parents’ concerns. We are pulling out all the stops. We are listening and working collaboratively with all stakeholders.”
      • Has the safe restart money come from the Federal government yet and how much will be allocated to the 10 paid sick day program? The Premier said the money has not yet come in and he didn’t have the details yet on the 10 sick day program.
      • This is the second day the Premier has asked the Federal government to come to table with funding for the transit plan. This plan was announced in 2019 has the Federal contribution not been secured yet? The Premier said that he as all the confidence in the world in that the federal government will come to the table,  “we just haven’t seen the cheque yet.” Minister Mulroney, said she was also confident that the federal government will come to the table.
      • The Premier was asked if he was so confident why did he spend the last two days asking them to come to the table? The Premier “I am confident they will come to the table. I want them to get the message loud and clear. I have confidence they will come to the table, they have been great partners.”
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Ontario Invests in Made-in-Ontario Physician Scheduling Technology in the Fight Against COVID-19 – Media Release
        1. The Ontario government is investing $149,200 from the Ontario Together Fund in MetricAid’s physician scheduling solution to help physicians link their availability and expertise with needed hospitals and clinics, while reducing administrative burden so health care providers can focus on their patients.
        2. With Ontario’s support, MetricAid will expand its cloud-based physician scheduling software solution to a larger scale, delivering scheduling services to healthcare providers and health organizations through staff planning. This technology will also help distribute shifts and hours to ensure the needs of doctors, patients, and clinics are met. The expansion of the solution will improve patient wait times and optimize shift distribution for physicians. The company will also expand its range of service to support nursing homes.
        3. MetricAid is a Northern Ontario-based healthcare technology and service provider that has delivered a full-service scheduling solution for physicians throughout Canada since 2012. The company specializes in physician self-scheduling and staffing emergency departments to ensure that the physician supply meets patient demand.

Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020:

  • City of Burlington Fall Recreation Programs Re-Launching in September
  • Minister Steve Clark’s Speech at the 2020 Association of Municipalities of Ontario Virtual Conference
  • AMO 2020 Virtual Conference: City of Burlington Delegation Meets with Ministers
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Ford and Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA) announced that the Province is on step closer to  getting shovels in the ground on part of the largest subway expansion in Canadian history with the expectation that the Request for Proposals (RFP) to advance tunnelling work on the Scarborough Subway Extension will be issued in the coming days. – Media Release
      • On August 20, 2020, the province will invite the selected teams from the Request for Qualifications process to respond to an RFP that details how they plan to design and deliver the tunnelling work for the Scarborough Subway Extension. Upon evaluating the proposals received, Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Metrolinx expect to award this tunnelling contract in mid-2021.
      • To expedite work on the Scarborough Subway Extension, tunnelling will begin first, to be followed by separate contracts for the balance of the work.
      • The release of the RFP is part of the government’s continued commitment to deliver the largest subway expansion in the country’s history to commuters and businesses in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). On August 5, 2020, Ontario announced three teams of bidders per project were shortlisted to advance tunnelling work on two of the four priority transit projects, the Scarborough Subway Extension and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, included in the Subway Transit Plan for the GTA.
      • Both the Premier and Minister Surma called for the federal government to come to the table with 40% of the funding for the Province’s $28.5 billion subway plan.
      • The Premier referred to their plan as “nation building investment for transit”
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked questions again today about the return to school plan.  Premier, “we have the best plan in the country. Dr. William’s supports this plan. We are pulling out all the stops.”
      • A survey of parents has called for the decision making about kids returning to school to be made by the Ministry of Health and not the Ministry of Education. The Premier said, “this is not the Doug Ford plan, this isn’t the Steven Lecce plan. It came from the best medical experts around the health table, which includes Minister Elliott.”
      • He was asked for his thoughts on Chrystia Freeland being named as the new Minister of Finance. “I think the world of Chrystia. One of the first phone calls, I’ll let her get settled in first, will be about our subway plan. There is no better person than Chrystia. I can’t wait to start working with her.”
      • Premier was asked to weigh in on the Federal Conservative Leadership race. He said that he would work with whoever gets elected.
      • He was asked if he was going to join in the call from the Prime Minister resignation. “I’m not getting into the Federal Politics.” He was grateful for Prime Minster Trudeau’s support.
      • What makes you confident the Scarborough subway will get built this time? Minister Surma, “we have one single, unified transit plan for Toronto and York Region. What was lacking in the past was the political will. We now have that at both the municipal and provincial levels.”
      • Phil Verster was asked when GO service will return to it’s regular schedule. He said that there has been steady increase in ridership over the last several weeks. On September 5, 8, and 12 service will be expanding on all lines. 154 new services will be added in September.
      • He was also asked about any new safety protocols. Polycarbonate screens will be installed between seats on all buses and trains to separate passengers. There are safety kiosks at stations with COVID information. All trains have a separate entrance and exit. Hand cleaning devices are at every door way on all buses and trains. He the customer response has been extremely positive.
    • Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark addressed delegates at the AMO conference this morning. Remarks
    • Highlights:
      • The Federation of Canadian Municipalities said that at least $10 billion in emergency operating funding was needed nationwide.
      • Ontario’s portion would be $4 billion dollars, and that’s exactly the deal that was struck.
      • As much as $4 billion dollars will flow to municipalities – up to $2 billion for operating pressures and up to $2 billion for transit.
      • I want to thank each and every municipality for keeping their communities safe and finding innovative, new ways to deliver the services your residents rely on each and every day.
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Ontario Drives Innovation in the Automotive Sector – Media Release
        1. The Ontario government is launching the next round of applications for the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP). An important part of the government’s Driving Prosperity auto plan, the $10-million O-AMP provides auto parts companies with funding to invest in new technologies and support innovation in Ontario’s automotive supply chains.
      • Ontario Resumes Infant Hearing Checks – Media Release
        1. The Ontario government is providing $3.8 million to support hearing checks for infants who did not receive the universal newborn hearing screen due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Over the past several months, Infant Hearing Program lead agencies suspended the newborn hearing screen commonly provided pre-discharge from hospitals and in community locations based on the advice of health officials.

Monday, Aug. 17, 2020:

  • More Rec Facilities Opening Soon, Rental Rates Reduced and Recreation Fee Assistance Increased
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Premier Ford addressed AMO delegates this morning. Here is a link to his remarks.
    • Some highlights:
      • Everywhere I go, I meet with mayors and municipal officials. I hear firsthand the challenges and the successes.
      • You are leading the charge. As the level of government closest to the people, you’ve been on the front lines each step of the way.
      • Thanks to your hard work, all of the province has now entered into Stage 3.
      • But as Premier, I can’t stop and I won’t stop until we get every community back on its feet.
      • That’s why we negotiated with our federal partners to deliver over $7 billion for Ontario. This is money for health care, for transit, for childcare, and for testing and contact tracing.
      • Up to $4 billion will support the frontline services delivered by you, our municipal partners.
      • Up to $4 billion will support shelters, food banks, public health, child care, and transit.
      • This is a great deal for Ontario and it’s a great deal for our municipalities.
      • We are delivering $1.6 billion as part of this first round to help you address immediate needs.
      • We will continue to consult with you to see how the next round can respond to the most urgent needs in our communities.
      • No community will be left behind.
      • I won’t stop until every community is back on their feet.
      • Thanks to our municipal partners, thanks to our frontline heroes, thanks to the great people of Ontario, we are in the strongest position possible to recover, rebuild and prosper.
    • QUESTION PERIOD: The Premier held a Q and A session with the media this afternoon. The bulk of the questions were related to schools and more specifically about the TDSB.
      • The Premier was asked to comment on the TDSB’s plan, which the Ministry of Education rejected. Was the TDSB being unreasonable? Premier, “they weren’t being unreasonable.” He said that the Province has responded to all the requests made by the teachers unions. “Throughout the pandemic, everyone has been flexible, except the teachers unions. Every other union has been easy to work with.” He called the teachers champions. Minister Lecce, “ we are trying to maximize the amount of time spent on in class learning, while keeping class sizes small. We are asking for flexibility.”
      • Minister Lecce was asked if he would respond to the concerns of supply teachers by putting the same measures in place as those for personal support workers (they were only allowed to work at one long term care home). Minister Lecce said that the Province’s plan includes guidelines about supply teachers being focused on one school or a small number of schools. He also spoke about the funding the Province has put in place for health and safety training for teachers and school staff.
      • The Premier was asked if there was a plan to assist parents and post-secondary students who have made housing arrangements that will no longer be needed because of the online learning that will be in place at colleges and universities.  He said he didn’t have an answer, but committed to getting one before the end of the day.
      • Will the first day of school be delayed? Minister Lecce, is comfortable with a staggered start, “by a couple of days.”
      • The Premier was asked to comment on the cancellation of the CFL season. He hopes the league comes back next season, “it’s important.”
      • The Premier was asked about his comments last week on allowing drinking in parks in Hamilton. The Premier said he did not want to “come down heavy on Mayor Eisenberger.” He said that his staff have reached out to the Mayor’s office to clarify that legislation had been passed permitting drinking in parks. The Premier aske the mayor and council to “step up and give the people a break, they need it. “ He also said that he was not going to turn this “into a big thing with Mayor Eisenberger.” He knew he was working really hard.
      • Minister Lecce was asked if the collective agreement with teachers was going to be reopened to address prep time. Minister Lecce, “what we are asking for is flexibility. Everyone has had to be flexible, this is not an unreasonable request. We will continue to work with the unions, school boards and teachers. We need teachers unions to be part of the solution.”

Friday, Aug. 14, 2020:

  • Condominiums and Apartment Buildings added to Burlington’s Temporary Mask By-law
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Ford and Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries announced that the Province, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is supporting the safe reopening of many sport, fitness and recreation facilities by applying a capacity limit on a per room basis to help more businesses reopen their doors, get more people back to work and promote the return to a healthy and active lifestyle for all Ontarians.
      • Beginning August 15, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., these facilities can have up to 50 patrons for each indoor sport or fitness room, while ensuring physical distancing of at least two metres. – Media Release
      • The revised capacity limits are on a per room basis. They will apply to the gymnasiums, health clubs, community centres, multi-purpose facilities, arenas, exercise studios, yoga and dance studios and other fitness facilities that are able to follow the new guidance. The change was enabled by amendments to the Stage 3 regulation and a new plan and guidance document to apply a per room limit for sport and recreational fitness activities at facilities with the necessary space or layout.
      • Businesses, not-for-profits, and municipalities may need or choose to take more time before implementing this change in capacity limits. Facilities may also adopt their own protocols that are more restrictive than the guidance. The government will continue to work with sport and recreation organizations across the province on their safe return to sport.
      • The government is investing $8 million through the Ontario Amateur Sport Fund to help the province’s sports organizations, from Alpine Ontario to WushuOntario and every sport in between, to continue to serve athletes of all levels.
      • The funding will help them continue delivering high-quality programming and competitions to develop athletes, coaches and officials, and to promote health and wellness in communities across the province.
      • Based on community needs, some municipalities and local medical officers of health have implemented additional restrictions or requirements, such as mandatory face coverings in commercial establishments and indoor public places. Check with your local public health unit’s or local municipality’s website.
    • Questions:
      • Will amateur sports agencies be protected from liability if someone contracts COVID? Minister MacLeod said that she is working with the Minister of Finance and the Attorney General on the indemnity piece. She knows it’s and area of concern.
      • Why isn’t the Minister of Education allowing for a more staggered start to the school year? Minister Lecce referred to a memo he sent to school boards allowing “flexibility on the start of school in the first week.” He spoke about the staggering of class times and bus schedules. He recognized that “there is more to do.”
      • Will the Minister allow more than 30 students in a classroom? Minister Lecce, “we have been clear about the 1 metre separation between students. We have provided school boards with the latitude to do what makes sense in their communities.” He spoke about the Province’s layered approach to safety practices.
      • The Premier was asked to comment on OLG top executives receiving big bonuses in light of 15,000 casino employees being off work. The Premier said this should have been thought through more carefully. He spoke about some legal ramifications of not paying out the bonuses, which were for last year. “This is just not good. People are struggling while the bigwigs, fat cats get a bonus. For all these smart guys, they aren’t too friggin’ smart.” Although they are a separate agency, the Premier said they would be getting a “tongue lashing.”
      • The Premier was asked to comment on the 369 tickets issued by Hamilton Police to people for drinking in public. He said he did not agree with someone getting a ticket for having a drink outdoors in a park during COVID. He is in favour of responsible public drinking outdoors. “No big deal, just my personal opinion.” He said that he wasn’t blaming the police, he was blaming the mayor and council. He said he was “sticking up for the people of Hamilton.” “If they aren’t gathering in large groups and just want to drink a beer they should be able to do it.”
      • Minister Lecce was asked again about the staggered start to school. He said that he is open to working “in partnership with school boards” to keep kids safe. He referred to giving them “a tad more time.”
    • Other Announcements:
      • Ontario Takes Additional Steps to Better Protect Students and Staff Media Release
        1. The Ontario government is providing more than half a billion dollars in supports to school boards to ensure schools across the province will reopen safely in September and to protect students and staff. These supports will enable school boards to provide more physical distancing in classrooms and direct funding to utilize non-school community spaces, and will allow boards to make adjustments based on their local needs.
        2. The government is allowing boards to make necessary adaptations, in consultation with their local public health unit. Adaptations could include smaller class sizes and leasing additional space. Additional measures include:
          1. Unlocking access to reserves up to $496 million, an increase of $244 million, by allowing boards to access up to 2 per cent of their operating budget from their prior year accumulated surplus. This funding can be applied to local priorities of each board, based on the immediate needs on the ground to prepare for the start of school.
          2. Providing a record-setting $50 million in one-time funding to support improved ventilation, air quality and HVAC system effectiveness in schools. School boards will continue to maximize their use of existing school renewal funding, which totals over $1.4 billion this school year. Boards will focus on improving air systems in older schools, portables, and in neighbourhoods with higher rates of community transmission.
        3. The government is also releasing a Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM)  that ensures students receive a high quality and consistent teacher-led remote learning experience. This directive will significantly strengthen minimum expectations, as well as provide a consistent approach across the province to ensure students are fully engaged in their learning, and have a predictable timetable for synchronous, live learning.
        4. In addition, the government is ensuring accountability for parents and an improved remote learning experience by investing $18 million to help school boards hire principal and administrative support to better deliver and oversee synchronous, live learning. Students will continue to have several opportunities throughout the school year to re-enter classroom learning, and boards need to provide at least one re-entry point in the fall.

Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020:

  • A Look Ahead to AMO 2020 Virtual Conference Next Week
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Direct help for bright ideas to make safer, pandemic-resilient communitiesMedia Release
      • Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, announced that a new Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will help local governments and community partners as they adapt to local economic, health and social challenges.
      • The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will provide up to $31 million in federal funding to support community-led solutions that respond to immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19 over the next two years.
      • The Initiative will fund smaller-scale local projects under three main themes: creating safe and vibrant public spaces, improving mobility options, and digital solutions. The goal is to fund projects that quickly help communities, including rural and remote communities, adapt to the new reality of COVID-19.
      • Potential projects could include: expanding outdoor seating on our main streets, remodeling a playground to allow for proper physical distancing, building multi-modal paths that would allow bikes, scooters, and personal mobility devices to share space with pedestrians and cars, or creating digital apps to allow residents to access municipal services remotely.
      • The funding under the Initiative will be provided to a non-governmental not-for-profit organization, or group of organizations, selected through an open call-for-applications process.
      • Additional details on the application process will be available soon.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s Provincial briefing:
      • From Windsor the Premier, Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA), and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development announced that the Province will be  providing $30 million to municipalities through the Connecting Links Program for 2021-22 to build, repair or replace local roads and bridges. This investment will help create jobs and keep people and goods moving as the province continues to recover from COVID-19. – Media Release
      • The Connecting Links Program provides funding to eligible municipalities of up to 90 per cent of eligible project costs, up to a maximum of $3 million for road projects. In response to municipal feedback, the province is permanently raising the maximum amount of available funding for bridge projects from $3 million to $5 million to reflect the higher costs of maintaining and repairing bridges compared to roads.
        • Eligible costs include the design, construction, renewal, rehabilitation and replacement of municipal roads and bridges that connect two ends of a provincial highway through a community or to a border crossing.
      • Ontario has 77 municipalities eligible (Burlington is not one of them) to apply for provincial funding through the Connecting Links Program for 2021-22, comprised of 352 kilometres of connecting links and 70 bridges.
    • Questions:
      • The Premier was asked to respond to optometrists sending patients to emergency rooms as an act of protest to changes to their billing. The Premier said this was “not a great practice” and “that it was not fair to overload the system” during a pandemic. He said he was happy to sit down and speak with the group. He went on to say that he thought the action was backfiring.
      • US pediatricians are recommending that children as young as 2 could be wearing masks. The Premier said that Sick Kids are not recommending masks for younger children.  He suggested that maybe young students should wear face shields. He is consulting with the health table on this.
      • He was asked about a reopening for the Windsor Casino. Premier, “it’s not feasible for the Casino to reopen with only 50 people.” He said that he had to protect the jobs at the Casino. They are discussing options for reopening.
    • Today’s other Provincial announcements
      • Ontario Launches Consultations to Strengthen Privacy Protections of Personal DataMedia Release
        1. The Province launched consultations to improve the province’s privacy protection laws. People and businesses from a wide range of sectors, including technology, financial and service, and the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, will have the opportunity to contribute to strengthening transparency and accountability concerning the collection, use and safeguarding of personal information online.
        2. Through an online survey, written submissions and web conferences, the government is collaborating with the people of Ontario to create a legislative framework for privacy in the province’s private sector.
      • Ontario government announces extra funding for schools’ COVID costsArticle
        1. The Ontario government has announced new funding for schools to cover their COVID costs, including $50 million for ventilation systems, $18 million in supports for online learning and is allowing boards to dip further into their reserves to hire extra staff.
        2. Boards will be allowed to access about two per cent of their reserves, freeing up about $500 million, with the government filling in the gaps for the handful of boards that no longer have any reserves.
        3. The province is also mandating that students who opt for online learning this fall, and those who are in designated areas where teens are studying part-time at home, 75 per cent of it must be live video conferencing or “synchronous.”

Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020:

  • Ontario Mayors and Regional Chairs Discuss Recovery with Federal and Provincial Ministers
  • City of Burlington Receiving $6M in Federal and Provincial Emergency Funding this Fall
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier Doug Ford, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA), and Jim McDonell, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced the details of a funding package for municipalities. – Media Release
      • Municipalities will be provided with up to $1.6 billion as part of the first round of emergency funding under the Safe Restart Agreement. This funding will help municipalities protect the health and well-being of the people of Ontario, while continuing to deliver critical public services, such as public transit and shelters, as the province continues down the path of renewal, growth and economic recovery.
      • Through the Safe Restart Agreement with the federal government, $695 million will help municipalities address operating pressures related to the COVID-19 pandemic through the first round of emergency funding, and over $660 million will support transit systems. The province is also providing an additional $212 million through the Social Services Relief Fund to help vulnerable people find shelter.
      • In Fall 2020, Ontario’s 444 municipalities will receive $695 million in Phase 1 funding to help address municipal operating pressures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will be allocated on a per household basis and would be shared 50/50 between upper- and lower-tier municipalities. Up to $695 million in additional funding will be available through Phase 2 to eligible municipalities after municipalities have provided the province with information on their estimated COVID-19 related financial pressures.
      • In addition to the support for municipalities, the government is providing over $660 million in the first phase of transit funding to the 110 municipalities with transit systems. The funding can be used to provide immediate relief from transit pressures, such as lower ridership, as well as for new costs due to COVID-19, such as enhanced cleaning and masks for staff. In the second phase, additional allocations will be provided based on expenses incurred to ensure the funding meets the needs of municipalities. As part of the Safe Restart Agreement with the federal government, up to $2 billion is being provided to support public transit in Ontario.
      • Burlington’s Allocation –  Municipal Funding Phase 1: $4,470,700, Transit Funding Phase 1:  $ 1,571,213  Municipal Funding Allocations
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Ontario Releases 2020-21 First Quarter FinancesMedia Release
        1. To protect the health and economic well-being of the people of Ontario, the government continues to invest and budget for further contingencies in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak, including providing support to families, businesses, workers, municipalities, long-term care homes and those on the front-lines of the pandemic. These investments bring the government’s COVID-19 response action plan to a projected $30 billion, up from $17 billion announced in Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 on March 25, 2020.
        2. Since announcing the first steps in the government’s response to the global pandemic, the government is making additional investments in the fight against COVID-19, including:
          1. An increase of $4.4 billion for a total of $7.7 billion to provide ongoing support for health care to build hospital capacity, prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care homes, ramp up testing and purchase personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies.
          2. An increase of $7.3 billion for a total of $11.0 billion to support people and jobs, which supports investments in a temporary pandemic pay for more than 375,000 eligible frontline workers totaling over $1.5 billion, $4 billion in targeted funding to help municipal partners and transit agencies to continue to deliver critical services, and temporary immediate relief for residential, farm, small business, industrial and commercial electricity consumers.
        3. The government is now projecting a deficit of $38.5 billion in 2020-21, which incorporates the most up to date economic information and additional supports for the pandemic recovery period and the safe restart framework. Private-sector forecasts, on average, project that Ontario’s real GDP will decline by 6.6 per cent in 2020, down significantly from when the March 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update was finalized. Total revenue is projected to be $150.6 billion in 2020-21, $5.7 billion lower and program expenses are projected to be $13.1 billion higher than forecast in the March 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update.

Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, Barbara Collins, President and CEO of Humber River Hospital, and John Tory, Mayor of Toronto were present for today’s announcement of a new long-term care home that will be built at Humber River Hospital’s Finch site in months, not years. – Media Release
      • The project is part of the province’s Accelerated Build Pilot Program. By working with Humber River Hospital and Infrastructure Ontario, the province intends to build up to 320 new long-term care beds at this site by the end of next year.
      • The pilot program is part of the government’s plan to create new long-term care beds across the province that include features such as air conditioning and private or semi-private rooms, beginning immediately. The pilot program was launched on July 21, 2020 in Mississauga where two new homes with up to 640 new beds will be built, and followed up with another project announced on July 28, 2020 in Ajax where 320 new beds will be built.
      • Through the use of hospital lands, and a range of accelerating measures such as modular construction and rapid procurement, the government and its partners are targeting completion of the project by the end of 2021, years faster than the traditional timeline for long-term care development. Humber River Hospital will work with Infrastructure Ontario to manage the day-to-day construction and commissioning oversight.
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked if the fact that over 97,000 children in the US had tested positive for COVID was giving him any pause about the return to school. The Premier said again “we have the best plan. We won’t spare a penny to protect children.” He said that they had met with teachers unions 120 times.
      • He was asked to comment on the petition that is calling for smaller class sizes for elementary students and whether he would consider proactive testing. Premier, “we have the smallest class sizes, we have more guidelines and protocols. We are supplying face coverings. Most importantly we have to be flexible.” He said that if schools wanted to put up a tent or had other great ideas they should “go for it.” He did say he was “anxious” about the return to school. He said that he calls the Minister of Education frequently and “is on him like an 800 pound gorilla, and he’s a small guy.” “ I am proud of our plan, but there be bumps along the way.”
      • He said while there is $30 million for school boards in large urban areas, he is willing to invest more than $30 million if needed, but didn’t say how much.
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Ontario Providing $2 Million in Urgent Financial Support to Help Those Affected by the Beirut Explosion – Media Release
        1. Today, Premier Doug Ford announced the Ontario government is providing $2 million to the Canadian Red Cross through the International Disaster Relief Program to help people and families affected by the tragic explosion that occurred in Beirut, Lebanon on August 4, 2020. This is one of the largest contributions the Ontario government has ever made towards an international humanitarian relief effort.
        2. The Ontario government’s contribution will help the Red Cross prepare for and respond to humanitarian needs as the situation continues to evolve in Lebanon, including for mobile health outreach. The Red Cross is working to coordinate emergency relief and recovery efforts, getting help to people in affected areas as quickly as possible.

Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020:

  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today the Premier together with Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues announced that the government is investing more than $6 million over the next three years to help combat crime and build safer communities. – Media Release
      • The Proceeds of Crime Front-Line Policing Grant will be made available to 16 police services across the province to implement 21 crime prevention and community safety initiatives that help fight gun and gang violence, human trafficking, and sexual violence and harassment. The grant is supported with funds forfeited to the province during criminal prosecutions.
      • Before taking questions the Premier gave a “shout out” to PSWs. He said that PSWs “are grossly underpaid and overworked. We have your back.”
    • Question Period:
      • Hospital education plan emphasizes small class sizes and physical distancing, why didn’t you take their advice? The Premier, “we have the best plan, bar none. I will always take the advice of medical experts, over union leaders. There are some politics being played right now. I want to get as small classrooms as possible within certain parameters.” Minister Lecce, “we are spending more than any other province in the country. The plan called for a multitude of actions.” Minister Lecce referred to the plan “as a living document that will be strengthened over time. We have put the investments in place and are ready to do more.”
      • How will the restart monies from the Federal government be spent and when is it coming? “Hopefully sooner rather than later.” The Premier thanked the Federal government. “As soon as we have the money it will begin to flow.”
      • There has been a call for lower class sizes for elementary classes to 15. Have you considered using gyms, libraries and other creative options? The Premier, “I hear the parents loud and clear, we have the lowest class sizes in the country. Our number one priority is to keep kids healthy.” Minister Lecce said that he is not aware of any other province that has reduced class sizes.
      • There was a lot of reaction to his comment about wanting 5 kids in a class. Don’t you have control of your plan? The Premier says the government has “ full control of the plan.” “Do we want smaller classes? 100% but I think the plan is phenomenal.”
      • There was a question about the rationale for not allowing Canada’s Wonderland to reopen. The Premier “ I find it ironic that people want Wonderland to open, but they don’t want their kids to go to school. I have to take the advice of the health experts.” Minister Elliott, “Dr. Williams and his team feel the risk is still too great.”

Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020:

  • Mayor/Councillor Joint Statement: 2100 Brant Street Development Proceeds After All Parties Settle at LPAT
  • Burlington Transit Will Begin Collecting Fares Again Sept. 1, Downtown Terminal Reopens Aug. 19
  • Burlington Library Services Resuming Now and Coming Soon
  • EPUC Child Care Centre Community-Funded Project Breaks Ground Next Week
  • City of Burlington Gypsy Moth Control Program Update
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Infrastructure program expands to support COVID-19 community resilienceMedia Release
      1. Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, is announcing new steps to help provinces and territories deal with the pressures brought on by the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.
      2. The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program is being adjusted so that provinces and territories can use federal funding to act quickly on a wider range of more pandemic-resilient infrastructure projects. Whether retrofitting schools to allow kids to go to school safely, upgrading hospitals and long-term care homes to deal with social distancing requirements, building new parks, cycling and walking paths to help Canadians get access to nature to stay healthy, active and safe, or disaster mitigation projects that protect against floods and fires, these changes will help get more projects underway faster, and support longer-term goals of sustainable, economically healthy, low-carbon, and inclusive communities.
      3. Under a new COVID-19 Resilience funding stream worth up to $3.3 billion, projects will be eligible for a significantly larger federal cost share – up to 80 per cent for provinces, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations in provinces, and raising it to 100 per cent for territorial and Indigenous projects designated under the new stream.
      4. A simplified funding application process will ensure that projects can get underway as soon as possible, and accelerated approvals will ensure that provinces and territories can address pressing needs in a timely manner.
    • Backgrounder:  Infrastructure program expands to support COVID-19 community resilience
      1. Ontario’s allocation – $1,184,648,346
      2. To be eligible for funding under the COVID-19 Resilience stream, the project’s eligible costs must be under $10 million, construction must be started no later than September 30, 2021, and it must be completed by the end of 2021 (or by the end of 2022 in the territories and in remote communities).
      3. The COVID-19 Resilience stream will fund the following types of infrastructure projects:
        1. Retrofits, repairs and upgrades for provincial, territorial, municipal and Indigenous buildings; health infrastructure; and schools;
        2. COVID-19 response infrastructure, including measures to support physical distancing;
        3. Active transportation infrastructure, including parks, trails, foot bridges, bike lanes and multi-use paths; and
        4. Disaster mitigation and adaptation projects, including natural infrastructure, flood and fire mitigation, and tree planting and related infrastructure.
      4. Eligibility criteria in the Program’s existing streams has also been expanded. For projects that can start before September 30, 2021, the following additional flexibilities are available:
        1. Public Transit stream: now allows standalone pathways and active transportation projects; as well as public sector inter-community commuter transit services; and public sector commuter ferry infrastructure that are not part of an existing transit system.
        2. Green Infrastructure stream: also allows standalone pathways and active transportation projects.
        3. Rural and Northern Infrastructure stream: mobile and cellular projects under the broadband category; and energy efficiency or reliability projects for communities on established electricity grids under the Arctic Energy Fund.
      5. Under the new COVID-19 Resilience stream, Infrastructure Canada will provide accelerated approvals to ensure that provinces and territories can address pressing needs in a timely manner. Provinces and Territories will be able to submit lists of quick-start, short-term projects to Infrastructure Canada for consideration rather than project-by-project proposals.
      6. The application process will also focus on the essential elements required for Infrastructure Canada’s review and approval like asset class, location, description, dates, and financial information.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Ford was joined by Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries to announce an investment of $83 million through the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to provide grants to help eligible non-profit organizations, including food banks, child and youth programs and Royal Canadian Legion branches, recover from COVID-19 and continue the delivery of vital programming in their communities. – Media Release
      • The OTF’s Resilient Communities Fund will provide grants of up to $150,000 to help eligible non-profit organizations rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19 with support for:
        1. Equipping board members and employees with supports to implement new approaches, prepare for change and build resiliency (e.g. organizational training and coaching, strategic planning and implementation, research & development, mental and physical health and wellbeing supports);
        2. Improving and increasing ability to access financial resources and develop new and/or alternative sources of revenues (e.g. develop fundraising plans, identify fundraising and financial technology resources, seek opportunities for public-private partnerships and social finance);
        3. Adapting or re-imagining the delivery of programs and services to meet the needs of the community, employees and volunteers (e.g. identify new health and safety processes and required personal protective equipment, technology supports, staffing and volunteer recruitment and training);
        4. Procuring equipment or renovating spaces to meet the changing needs of the organization, its programs and services, and adapt to new ways of working (e.g. equipment and/or renovations to meet changing technology health and safety, and service delivery requirements); and
        5. Creating and/or adopting new approaches for organizations to work together to meet the needs of communities (e.g. peer learning, professional development, networking, resource, knowledge and data sharing).
      • For more information, visit the Ontario Trillium Foundation website on eligibility requirements and application deadlines.
    • Question Period:
      • Today the federal government announced the procurement of millions of does of vaccine how much do you expect Ontario to receive? The Premier said he will be speaking to the Deputy PM about this and expects Ontario to receive 38% of the procurement (we have 38% of the population).
      • Regarding the return to school plan, will there be any consideration to reducing the size of elementary classes? The Premier cited the following numbers regarding Ontario class sizes – Kindergarten capped at 30 with a teacher and ECE, grades 1-3 capped at 20, grades 4-8 capped at 24, grades 9-12 capped at 23. We have the lowest co-horts, at 15 in the country. “We also have more guidelines than any other province.” His number one priority is to protect the kids. He referred to an article where BC parents said they wanted Ontario’s plan. “I personally feel we have the best plan. I’m hearing from the vast majority of parents that they want to send their kids to school.” Ontario is investing more money/student than any other province. “Is it going to be perfect? No.” He feels we are prepared.
      • Is the $310 million for schools the final amount? “Never say never, but this is in the budget right now.”
      • Will the ban on cell phones be lifted in schools, so the COVID Alert app can be used? “We’ll take a look at that.”
      • Why is the Province not providing the funding to reduce elementary classes to 15? “We have provided the school boards with funding. If they need to hire more teachers for the elementary classes. There is $80 million on the table.”
      • Will the quality of the online instruction in the fall be better that what is was? The Premier said, “nothing is better than in-class teaching. Online is only a substitute.” The quality relies on the teachers, “we have great teachers.”
      • Is the decision (about elementary classes) being made because it is too costly to hire more teachers? We are relying on the advice of experts. “There is money on the table if school boards need it.” Premier won’t hesitate to close schools if there is a second wave. “If it were up to me we would have 5 kids in a classroom.”
      • Minister MacLeod was asked about why Canada’s Wonderland hasn’t opened yet? It has not opened on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. “We are not confident to reopen theme parks such as Canada’s Wonderland.” She was asked about why Marineland was allowed to open. She did not explain. She did say they are committed to continually reassessing the situation and understand that outdoor theme parks and attractions are seasonal operations.
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Canada and Ontario invest in public transit and active transportation infrastructure for Southwestern Ontario residentsMedia Release
        1. Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; the Honourable Jeff Yurek, Ontario’s Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks and Member of Provincial Parliament for Elgin-Middlesex-London on behalf of the Honourable Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure; and his Worship Joe Preston, Mayor of the City of St. Thomas, announced funding for 11 projects that will modernize and improve transit around Southwestern Ontario.
        2. The Government of Canada is investing more than $6.7 million in these projects through the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream (PTIS) of the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan. The Government of Ontario is providing more than $5.6 million. The municipalities are contributing more than $3.9 million in total.

Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020:

  • City of Burlington Reinstating Downtown Parking Fees
  • Mayor Meed Ward Acclaimed to the Large Urban Caucus of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario
  • Free Masks Available at City Hall and Select Burlington Public Library Locations; Donations Being Accepted
  • Halton Region Launches Public Consultation Period on Regional Official Plan Review
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today the Premier and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade announced the Ontario government is providing Clean Works Medical and Pure Life Machinery with $2 million from the Ontario Together Fund to help manufacture a one-of-a-kind, sanitizing device called the Clean Flow Healthcare Mini. – Media Release
      • This Ontario-made device can decontaminate up to 800 N95 masks per hour along with other personal protective equipment.
      • With Ontario’s support, the company will scale up the production of its Clean Flow Healthcare Mini portable disinfectant device to nearly triple its current capacity. The device is a Health Canada-approved innovation based on existing technology designed to disinfect fresh produce. The technology uses UV light, hydrogen peroxide and ozone to decontaminate surfaces. The technology can destroy up to 99.99 per cent of pathogens and viruses on surfaces, making them as sterile as an operating room.
      • Ontario’s funding will support 19 new jobs and the purchase and installation of metal fabrication, equipment assembly, and facility modifications.
    • Question Period:
      • What message does the Premier have for visitors to Niagara? The Premier reminded people to practice the “golden rule” of physical distancing and to wear a face covering. “Show consideration and be respectful.”
      • Some nurses still have not received their pandemic pay. The Premier, it is “out the door” on our end. “Hospitals get your act together. It has taken way too long.” People will not lose any pay, it will be retroactive. He said that he would release the list of hospitals that haven’t issued the pandemic pay.
      • When will social circles increase beyond 10? The Premier said that this is being discussed by the Health Table. The Premier committed to raising the issue at the Health Table. “This is going on until January, until we have a vaccine. I don’t want what happened in the US to happen here.”
      • Parents are concerned that the Province’s return to school plan is not safe for elementary students. “It’s not our plan. The health experts have come up with the plan.” He understands the concerns of parents. “We won’t spare a penny to keep kids safe.”
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Windsor-Essex Remains in Stage 2Media Release
        1. In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the local medical officer of health, other health experts, and local authorities, Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will remain in Stage 2 as the province continues to monitor local transmission of COVID-19 and support efforts to contain its spread.
        2. Ontario is also implementing a three-point plan to support Windsor-Essex County Health Unit in reducing the risk of transmission on farms and throughout the community. This plan includes ongoing and expanded on-site testing, access to employment benefits and supports, and public health guidance specific to the agri-food setting. Local public health officials are assisting with the implementation of plans to ensure essential workers in the sector are able to return to work safely.
      • Ontario Improving Farm Animal Health and Agricultural ProductivityMedia Release
        1. The Ontario Government is investing $2.35 million in advanced animal research related to livestock health and well-being while also focusing on increasing productivity and competitiveness in the livestock sector. The findings will provide farmers with the latest knowledge and on-farm solutions for safely managing livestock so they can continue to be world leaders in the agriculture sector.
        2. Through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, the Province is funding livestock research projects to investigate innovative methods, practices and products that will help the sector better understand and support livestock health and welfare.

Friday, July 24, 2020:

  • Burlington Enters Stage 3 with Playgrounds Reopening and Changes to Beachway Parking
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • There was a federal briefing today with updates on COVID-19, featuring: Minister of Health Patty Hajdu; Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Medical Officer of Health; and Dr. Howard Njoo, Deputy Medical Officer of Health
    • Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu
      • Announcing new risk assessment tool on www.canada.ca/coronavirus
      • Last couple of weeks we’ve seen a concerning increase in cases across the country involving young people
      • I know we all want to get back to normal, for young people and people who live alone, it has been especially difficult
      • It can also be hard to keep track of all the regulations and safety risk associated with different activities
      • We know this virus likes the “3 Cs” – close talkers, closed spaces, crowded places
      • To help Canadians assess the risk associated with different activities, a new tool has been developed, at www.Canada.ca/coronavirus
      • Tool is available online now and will be linked to COVID-19 app later this week – tool outlines health and safety practices individuals should follow for various activities
    • Dr. Tam
      • Key numbers:
        1. There have been 112,672 cases in Canada
        2. Deaths: 8874
        3. Recovered: 87%
        4. Over the last week an average of 44,000 people testing with 1% positive.
      • We can’t reopen safely without being very focused on monitoring trends in daily case counts – look at average over the last 7 days vs. each day.
      • Most recently we are starting to see the daily case count average moving upwards
      • Latest 7-day rolling average is 487
      • Upward trend is worrisome.
      • We know we can’t eliminate cases completely but we have to keep an eye on cases to be able to trace, to keep epidemic growth in check
      • In particular younger Canadians, 20-39 years – highest incident rates in last 2 weeks.
      • You are not invincible against the virus
      • 60% of cases this past week were people under the age of 39, and one third were hospitalized.
      • For the younger adults – please, please observe the public health measures.
    • Question Period:
      • MNRA vaccine technology – US is funding companies working on this technology. Why is Canada not spending $ to do the same?
        1. – Min. Hajdu: Immunity and vaccine candidates that we put our money on are the ones that are the most promising and effective. We are examining domestic and international candidates, including MNRA technology.
      • What is the delay with the federal COVID-19 tracking app?
        1. – Min. Hajdu: “App is about notifying someone on their phone if they’ve been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. It’s being tested with a variety of users right now. We wanted to make sure the launch is as close to perfect as possible so people will not be deterred by glitches in the early days. We need a large portion of Canadians using it to make it a success. Also wanted to ensure Canadians privacy was secure. Ontario is ready to go as the pilot province, hope to have it out as soon as possible, we are very close now.”
      • Why are we considering re-opening bars and restaurants when we see the increase in cases in places like the US?
        1. – Dr. Tam: It’s an on-going conversation with the provinces. Where people are not following the guidance, it is a massive concern. We do need to do better in reaching the younger population.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing, July 24:
      • Premier Doug Ford was joined by Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities, Rhonda L. Lenton, President and Vice Chancellor of York University, Frank Scarpitti, Mayor of Markham, Wayne Emmerson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for the Regional Municipality of York, and Billy Pang, MPP for Markham—Unionville, for today’s briefing
      • Announcing a new York University campus in Markham, planned for 2023
      • Over 200 jobs
      • $350 million in economic benefits
      • Update on other regions waiting to enter Stage 3 will come on Wednesday next week (not Monday). Health officials have asked for some more time
    • Question Period:
      • Premier was asked about rise in cases among young people, at what point do you put a measure in place to curb large gatherings? – “It’s not little Johnny I’m worried about, it’s Johnny’s grandparents. Guys, just don’t go to the party. We have such a vast area in Ontario, you can’t compare large urban areas to smaller ones. I welcome local chief medical officers to use their authority and put in the protocols they need.”
      • A lot of large businesses are not able to open up yet, even in Stage 3, e.g. Cineplex – “We have been in communication with this company, I understand it does not make sense for them to have 50 people in the entire theatre complex vs. 50 people in a theatre. I am following the advice of the chief medical officer and if they say we are not ready then we’re not ready.”
      • Premier asked about complaints from Barrie and Orillia for increased fares for parking at boat launches for non-residents, is this price gouging? – “I’d say its price gouging. I will talk to the representatives from these areas and we will jump on that. I can’t stand when organizations take advantage of people in a crisis. It’s disgusting in my opinion. Be fair to everyone, people are coming to spend their money in local stores. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
      • Windsor-Essex – is it time for mandatory testing for all agricultural workers? – “I think we’re at the point now that we need to look into mandatory testing. It makes everyone feel more comfortable. But we have to check the Constitution, the lawyers, federal government. I appreciate the migrant workers, I really do – the least they could do is get a test. There’s a lot that are still refusing to get a test and that’s really what burns me up.”
      • Did you move too fast moving Windsor-Essex into Stage 2? – “No, we have to separate the farming community from the other residents. We have to support that one group. If everyone could just go get tested, we could isolate the problem and fix it. I need the cooperation of the folks who aren’t feeling well to get tested. If you have migrant workers, get them tested. Full stop. It’s frustrating when I beg and plead up here and they are just ignoring it.”
    • Other News:

Thursday, July 23, 2020:

  • Encouraging all Burlington Businesses to make the POST Promise as we head into Stage 3
  • COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing Clinic Now Open at Joseph Brant Hospital
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • Safe Restart Agreement helps Canadian communities get back on their feet. Media release
      • This morning, Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, announced that up to $2 billion in federal funding will be made available to cities and towns across Canada. The funding will support front line workers and critical municipal services
      • Provincial and territorial governments will continue to support municipalities, and will cost-match federal supports with investments made this fiscal year.
      • The Government of Canada has also agreed to match approximately $1.8 billion of provincial and territorial funding to support local public transit.
      • For Ontario this will mean an additional $1 billion in federal transit funding, Minister McKenna announced today.
    • Statement from Dr. Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer on July 22
      • “After months of being at home, everyone wants to make the most of the summer months, but this summer is not like any other. With the COVID-19 pandemic still active in Canada and worldwide, it means that how and where you choose to enjoy the summer will determine your risk for exposure to COVID-19.”
      • “To protect yourself and others, I urge everyone to avoid or strictly limit the time you spend in high-risk settings and situations.
      • “Whether you are considering patio time, BBQs, or picnics, outdoor gatherings are better than indoors, and fewer people and limiting contacts in your small social bubble is best. Camping, swimming and field/beach sports can be great outdoor activities too but we need to be mindful of exposure risks in crowded areas or shared facilities, such as change rooms, rest rooms and canteens.”
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing, July 23:
      • Ontario Building and Expanding Schools across the Province – media release
      • Premier Doug Ford was joined by Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and Patrick Brown, Mayor of Brampton, for today’s briefing in Brampton
      • $12 billion over the next ten years to build new schools and refurbish old ones, including 2 new schools in Brampton
      • Will add 30,000 new childcare spaces in these new schools
      • Minister Lecce: it is vital that we lay the foundation where everyone can succeed in a modern, safe learning environment – $500 million for this year, 30 schools and 900 new childcare spaces
      • We know parents and students are looking for clarity about the fall – we are finalizing those plans with medical officer of health and they will be shared next week.
    • Question Period:
      • Min Lecce asked about funding announcements in the short term to help with hand washing, air filtration, etc.: “Many schools require modernization and close to 90 of these updated schools will open in time for Sept. 2020. We continue to be focused on a safe, ‘new’ conventional plan for back to school that we will share next week.”
      • Min. Lecce asked about change in regulation that allows directors to be from non-teaching background: “We believe in having the best leader, with right skill set to guide hiring/promotions, right now, it is rather prescriptive. We have an opportunity to do better and reflect the communities we serve, have to expand the eligibility.”
      • Premier was asked about GTHA mayors asking for more health measures regarding bars: “I fully agree with the guidelines especially in large urban areas. Each MOH has the authority to put in place any measures they see fit.”
      • Min. Lecce asked about only 40% of daycares open right now, how confident are you that they will be at 100% by September: “when it comes to getting parents back to work, we want parents to feel confident. Last week we announced we’re scaling up the cohort from 10 – 15 to increase capacity.”
      • Min. Lecce asked about funding for short-term help for schools: “Our good work in flattening the curve has made it possible for us to look at a plan that involves 5-day school week. We are taking the time to get this right so we don’t have the same issues some other jurisdictions are experiencing after reopening.”
    • Other Announcements:
      • Ontario Government announces five new Ontario Health Teams – Media release
      • Ontario supports Indigenous business during COVID-19 – Media release

Wednesday, July 22, 2020:

  • Halton Region Moving to Stage 3 of Reopening as Mandatory Mask By-Law also comes into Effect
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing, July 22: Ontario Legislature Adjourns after Significant Sitting in Response to COVID-19 – Media release
      • Premier Doug Ford was joined by Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Paul Calandra, Government House Leader, for today’s briefing
      • Concluded a historic legislative session, passed 6 bills
      • Minister Calandra – house is now adjourned until September
    • Question Period:
      • Premier was asked about MPP from Cambridge re: is this a message that MPPs better get in line? “We have a phenomenal relationship, she never said anything to me. This legislative is absolutely critical to helping the people of Ontario. It is transparent. We cannot afford to wait 3 or 4 weeks to call back the legislature to put orders in place. I wish her all the best.”
      • Premier: “Caucus members can disagree, we’re all a part of a team. I’m not going to waiver when it comes to protecting the health and safety of the people of Ontario. You need to vote on an important piece of legislation like this. I’ll leave it at that.”
      • House Leader: “The legislature has been seized with COVID-19. Given the importance of the legislation, I liken this to a budget bill where all members are expected to support it.”
      • Will MPP from Cambridge be allowed back in caucus? House Leader: “This is a decision the full caucus will make, if she indicates she would like to return.”
      • Will you shuffle your cabinet in July and August? Premier: ”We have deep, deep talent in caucus. Right now, we have a great cabinet and I’m thankful for how they’ve been working so hard.”
      • Premier was asked about Ontario Auditor saying Bill 197 was illegal because it didn’t allow for 30 days of consultation as outlined in the Environmental Bill of Rights. Premier: “That is not correct. Consultations will continue to ensure that we keep the environment safe.”
      • Premier was asked about education and what government is doing to get kids back in class 5 days a week: “Families want certainty when they go back to work. The reason we have three options is, god forbid, we have a second wave, then you have to have a back-up plan. Our goal is to get elementary kids back in the classroom five days a week. High school kids? They can take care of themselves.”
      • Premier was asked about Halton District School Board rejecting hybrid model – Premier: “People want certainty, and I want to give them that certainty. I think everything is going to come together, I’m pretty confident. This is another hurdle we need to get over together.”
      • What about other ideas, e.g. other spaces like theatres, outdoor classrooms is the government considering to get kids back 5 days a week? Premier: “Will leave that up to the Education Minister for innovative and creative ideas. I’ve never seen so many kids itching to get back to school.”
      • Premier was asked about adjourning the legislature while the pandemic continues: “We’ve had great collaboration, but people have to get back to their ridings and start talking to their people and leave the “bubble of Queen’s Park. It is a misnomer to say that you aren’t working if you’re not sitting.”
      • Premier was asked, what are you doing to assure Ontarians these powers will not be abused – Premier: “this legislation is to protect the people of Ontario, bottom line, full stop. It’s fully transparent, any MPP can call me, I’m always available, I’ll do whatever I can to reassure them.”
    • Other Announcements:
      • Ontario Strengthens Protections for Tenants – Media release
      • Canada and Ontario invest in bridges and a road for rural communities in Southern Ontario – Media release

Tuesday, July 21, 2020:

  • Mayor Sends Letters to Condo, Apartment Associations Requesting Support With Mandatory Mask Guidelines
  • Regional Council Approves Direction to Keep Property Taxes low in 2021 Budget
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s provincial briefing:
      • Premier Doug Ford was joined by Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, Michelle DiEmanuele, President & CEO of Trillium Health Partners, and Bonnie Crombie, Mayor of Mississauga for today’s briefing, on location in riding of Mississauga Lakeshore
      • Partnership between Trillium Health and Heart Health Hospice for new 220 bed long-term care facility and hospice was announced in Dec. 2019
      • Today, announcing an accelerated new build pilot project to build the 2 new long-term care homes in Mississauga – 320 beds in each, by 2021 (in seven months) vs. typical 36 months to build a long-term care home
      • Rapid procurement, use of hospital lands, modular construction will allow for faster construction.
    • Question Period:
      • Premier Ford was asked about Ontario’s $7 billion from Safe Restart Agreement – how will money be allocated? “Working with federal government to get the details. Will be a boost for municipalities and transit.”
      • Premier Ford was asked about the extension of noise bylaws to allow for more construction, will it be rolled back? “No, we need to get these projects done.”
      • Premier asked about increase in COVID-19 cases in Ottawa, what is the strategy to combat? “What concerns me is the percentages of young people, 57% of all new cases are 39 year olds and younger. Hold off on parties. Enough. We have to keep this under control.”
      • How bad would things have to get to go back to Stage 1? “We have the brightest smartest people coming out of our colleges anywhere in the world. The percentage that are going ‘hog wild’, need to reign it in. This is no time for partying, we are in the middle of a pandemic.”
      • Premier asked about hospitals trying to deal with back log for surgeries/procedures. “Our goal is to get the back log cleaned up quickly. Will ensure resources are available to do it and also keep in mind the capacity – is it there with staffing.”
      • Premier was asked about Leamington and testing at farms. “Emergency team from Sunnybrook Hospital is currently there, all-hands on deck and will continue testing on as many farms as possible, each day, collaborating with farmers.”
      • Premier asked about strategy of education vs. enforcement for those not following physical distancing rules – why not ramp up enforcement? “People are hurting right now, they can barely pay rent. There is always the odd bad apple, but we have to keep moving forward. Most people have been incredible.”
    • Other News:
      • Minister of Health, Christine Elliott commented about today’s COVID-19 reporting of new cases on her Twitter account: Ontario is reporting 203 cases of #COVID19, a 0.5% increase. Today’s uptick is the result of localized increases: there are 43 of new cases in Ottawa, 57 in Peel and 24 more in Windsor-Essex. Looking at the age of today’s new cases, 116 of them or 57% are 39 years old or younger.
      • While one day of data, today’s increase is concerning. Ontarians of all ages need to continue to adhere to public health guidelines: maintain only one social circle of 10 people, physically distance with anyone outside of it and wear a face covering when doing so is a challenge.

Monday, July 20, 2020:

  • Mayor’s Statement on Province Adding Halton to List of Municipalities Entering Stage 3
  • Online Reservation System for Visitors to Burlington’s Lowville Park Begins July 30
  • Can Businesses Refuse Me Service if I’m Not Wearing a Mask?
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s provincial briefing:
      • Ontario Moving More Regions into Stage 3 – Media Release
      • Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance at today’s briefing.
      • As of Friday, July 24 at 12:01 a.m. – 7 more Regions will enter stage 3, including:
        1. Durham Region Health Department
        2. Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
        3. Halton Region Health Department
        4. Hamilton Public Health Services
        5. Lambton Health Unit
        6. Niagara Region Public Health Department
        7. York Region Public Health Services.
      • 1,000 more businesses will be able to open up
      • Toronto, Peel, Windsor remain in Stage 2
      • Have to stay vigilant, more important than ever to follow public health to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are watching other areas that have re-opened and if needed, we’ll make adjustment based on how things are going.
      • Implementation of a new cloud-based case and contact management system has begun as of July 17 – first users include Peel, Kingston, Grey Bruce and Halton. Other public health units expected to be on board by end of September. New system enables health units to accelerate case and contact management
      • Minister Philips said details about how the federal Safe Restart money will be divided will be available in the days ahead.
      • Ontario.ca/COVID has over 180 resources for businesses about returning to work in Stage 3.  Visit emergency information portal or call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659 Ontario.ca/COVID
      • Businesses not able to open or resume full activities due to Stage 3 restrictions, or businesses that have ideas to safely amend Stage 3 restrictions or requirements, can visit Ontario.ca/reopen to submit a reopening proposal. Government and public health officials will review proposals and contact businesses for feedback or clarifications.
    • Question Period:
      • Federal contract tracing app is expected to be released This Friday. Its launch will not be a factor in determining if the other three regions can go ahead to Stage 3
      • Premier was asked it opening of bars, is putting economy first over health? Number one priority is public health, these are the guidelines we are using. Local MOHs have authority to have put stricter measures in place if they want to.
      • School – if its part time, will there not be an enormous demand for daycare spaces? Premier supports have elementary students back in school 5 days a week. Talked to Minister yesterday, have to make sure we are ready for any scenario and taking advice of local school boards
      • COVID-19 positive tests – seems to be younger demographic. Is there a problem reaching young people? Premier: “you may feel invincible, it’s not just about yourself, it’s about your parents, grandparents, that’s who you need to think about. Do the right thing.”
      • Min. Elliott – there is a certain amount of COVID fatigue, but please remember, it is more important than ever to follow pub health measures – physical distance, masks, washing hands and ONE social circle
      • Could we expand the social bubbles, would this help younger people stay in their bubble. Premier: “Eventually we’ll get there. For now, use common sense – we’ll get back to having good times, can’t have big parties right now.”
      • Finance Minister: When will you announce the amounts for municipalities. Will the Province be matching? Took about 6 weeks to negotiate the $19 billion deal and it will take a few more days to work out how it will be distributed, it’s for municipalities, transit and others
      • 10 day paid sick leave in deal with Ottawa, will Ontario government support? Premier Ford confirmed that Ontario will abide by the 10-days paid sick leave that Ottawa demanded as part of the $19B funding deal last week. Federal government will administer it.
      • Long term care independent commission – who will lead it and when will it report back. Premier: do not have an exact date
      • Ontario truckers nervous to cross the boarder – can the province do anything to protect them? Working with trucking association to ensure they have all the PPE and protocols they need to keep them safe. Important that they stay vigilant.
      • Scarborough and north Toronto – what additional resources are these areas getting to help bring down the numbers. Premier: Pub Health is doing a lot including mobile units, drive-in testing unit off Hwy 27, multiple families in a dwelling is one of factors for these numbers. It’s been getting better but it’s not there yet.

Friday, July 17, 2020:

  • Financial Relief Comes to Municipalities with Ontario Getting $7B of Federal Government’s $19B “Safe Restart” Fund
  • COVID-19 Task Force Meeting #12 Highlights
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Other News:
      • More support for Canadians through the Safe Restart AgreementMedia Release
        1. The Prime Minister, announced a federal investment of more than $19 billion to help provinces and territories safely restart their economies and make our country more resilient to possible future waves of the virus.
        2. This investment, through the Safe Restart Agreement, will help address the key priorities, agreed upon by Canada’s First Ministers, for the safe restart of Canada’s economy over the next six to eight months.
        3. The agreement will also help get funding quickly to municipalities so they can deliver essential services that Canadians rely on every day, like public transit. In addition, it includes actions to help Canadian workers during this challenging time, such as ensuring the availability of safe child care to help parents returning to work, and providing income support for people who do not have paid sick leave so all Canadians can stay healthy.
        4. New federal funding will address seven priority areas:
          1. enhanced capacity for testing, contact tracing, and data management and information sharing to mitigate future outbreaks.
          2. investments in health care to respond to the pandemic, including support for Canadians experiencing challenges with substance use, mental health, or homelessness.
          3. support for vulnerable Canadians – including those in long-term care, home care, and palliative care – who are at risk of more severe cases of COVID-19.
          4. funding to secure a reliable source of personal protective equipment, and to recover some of the costs from previous investments made by provincial and territorial governments.
          5. support to ensure that safe and sufficient child care spaces are available to support parents’ gradual return to work.
          6. joint funding with the provinces and territories to support municipalities on the front lines of restarting the economy, including by putting in place precautions for public spaces and essential services to reduce the spread of the virus, as well as a dedicated stream of funding for public transit.
          7. a temporary income support program that will provide workers who do not have paid sick leave with access to 10 days of paid sick leave related to COVID-19.
        5. To access the funding, each province and territory will need to outline how they will invest these funds.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier Doug Ford, Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities, and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, were at Medical Innovation Xchange in Kitchener to announce a made-in-Ontario Intellectual Property Action Plan to help ensure the tremendous social and economic benefits of taxpayer-funded research and innovation stays right here in the province. In addition, the government unveiled the second round of research projects approved and supported through the $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund. Through these efforts, researchers will be working to find ways to prevent, detect and treat COVID-19. – Media release
      • Premier Ford said, “through this action plan and research fund, we want everyone in the province to benefit from this trailblazing work and ensure Ontario is recognized as the best place in the world to carry out research and develop new technology and innovative processes.”
      • The government is strengthening Ontario’s intellectual property (IP) position through the Intellectual Property Action Plan. The plan will drive the province’s long-term economic competitiveness by prioritizing IP generation, protection, and commercialization.
      • The government is also creating the Special Implementation Team on Intellectual Property (SITIP), which will be comprised of the IP experts who previously served on Ontario’s Expert Panel on Intellectual Property.
      • Together, Ontario’s SITIP and Intellectual Property Action Plan will respond to the report prepared by the Expert Panel on Intellectual Property and will:
        1. Work with postsecondary institutions and research institutes to strengthen mandates related to commercialization entities within their organizations;
        2. Strengthen Ontario’s IP literacy by developing standardized, web-based basic and advanced IP education curriculums;
        3. Create a centralized provincial resource entity that will increase access to sophisticated IP expertise; and
        4. Develop a governance framework for organizations supporting entrepreneurial and innovation activities, which incorporates IP considerations.
      • As part of its strategy to strengthen the research and innovation economy, the Ontario government is funding an additional 20 proposals that were submitted in response to the government’s $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund.
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked when municipalities would know how much of the $7 billion they would receive and will the Province be matching the contribution. The Premier said that “they were dotting all the I’s and crossing all the t’s,” but expected the funding would roll out next week. He gave a shout out to all the 440 mayor in the Provinces who stood behind him. “It’s and incredible package.” He did not comment on the Provincial matching.
      • He was asked whether Toronto will get the $1.35 billion Mayor Tory has said they need. Premier, “we will do everything we can.” He said the Toronto has been able to find efficiencies and he expects every municipality to find them. He said municipalities that were able to find efficiencies and limit tax increases should be rewarded for their efforts not punished.
      • He was asked if there was any reason that we would see service cuts in Toronto (something Mayor Tory has said would happen if Toronto did not get the money they needed). The Premier referred to Toronto “as the elephant in the room.” He said the money would be split up equally. “You have no idea how hard I worked to get the money for the municipalities.”
      • He was asked about the Halton Board of Education (the reporter did not say which board) not planning for the part time school scenario because the were not enough day care spots to allow parents to send their children to school part time and to work. The Premier said with “91% of the day care spots are open,” why would this be an issue. “Halton Region is a good Region.” He promised to look into the issue and address it.

Thursday, July 16, 2020:

  • Here’s What You Need to Know About the Temporary Mask Bylaws Approved by City, Regional Councils
  • Service Burlington Counter at City Hall to Open for In-Person Payments: Online Payments and Services also Continue to be Available
  • Province extends emergency orders to July 29
  • FEDERAL/PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Federal/Provincial News:
      • The PM and Premier, separately announced that the Federal government and the Provinces have reached a deal on the Safe Restart program
      • Over $19 billion will flow to the Province and territories. Ontario’s share is $7 billion. (The Federal government had initially committed $14 billion to this program)
      • The PM said the funding will be for 7 priorities (significantly ramping up testing and contact tracing, securing a sufficient supply of personal protective equipment, and ensuring health care systems have the capacity to manage future outbreaks. These investments will also provide support for vulnerable populations, help ensure the safety of child care centres for both children and educators, support essential municipal services, and provide paid sick leave)
      • The funding for municipalities will be for operational costs and transit. According to the PM these “investments to the municipalities will be shared equally by the Federal and Provincial governments.
      • Both the PM and the Premier referred to this an historic agreement.
      • The agreement is for 6-8 months.
      • The PM said that the Provinces will not be able to transfer funding allocated for one sector to the other. He said there was some flexibility, but did not provide details. The Provinces agreed to the conditions.
      • The PM confirmed that the border between Canada and the US would remain closed until August 21.
      • A media release on the funding agreement has not yet been issued.
    • Provincial News:
      • At his briefing today the Premier also announced additional funding for farmers.
      • The Ontario government is expanding the Risk Management Program a year earlier than planned by $50 million for a total of $150 million annually. This funding supports farmers with unforeseen challenges such as fluctuating market prices, extreme weather events like flooding or drought, and disease. – Media Release
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier said that $7 billion for Ontario is a good deal, even though he had been seeking $23 billion. He said everyone worked hard to reach this deal. “This is not a time for politics. The PM had the final say and stepped up and did a great job. I am so happy we were able to get a deal.”
      • He was asked to confirm whether the Province had reached a deal with the Blue Jays to play home games at Rogers Centre. He said that after discussions with the federal, provincial and municipal officers of health the Blue Jays were given clearance. He commented on the 150 page protocol that MLB has, “great guidelines for the players to follow.”
    • Other News:
      • Federal government to provide provinces and territories with $19B for ‘safe restart’ of economy – Article
        1. “COVID-19 isn’t just a health crisis. It’s an economic crisis, too,” Trudeau said at a press conference on Parliament Hill.
        2. “When we talk about the recovery phase, it’s not just about making sure we can detect, control and prevent future outbreaks. It’s also about helping people, businesses and entire communities adjust to our new normal.”
        3. Trudeau said the money will focus on seven priority areas, including enhanced COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) for front line workers and businesses, funding for municipalities, a national sick leave plan and child care so that parents can get back to work.
        4. “We managed to get to an agreement where the money that is designated for safe child care spaces, for example, the money that is designated for PPE, the money that is designated for testing and contact tracing, actually will get spent in those areas,” said Trudeau.
        5. Ontario Premier Doug Ford said today that his province will get around $7 billion of the total, while Premier John Horgan said that British Columbia will get nearly $2 billion. Both premiers praised the deal.
        6. Trudeau said the federal government recognizes that there may a need for more funding beyond the next six to eight months, especially given that the development of a vaccine could be far off.
        7. Trudeau previously pledged $14 billion — but many premiers said that amount was not nearly enough to cover their needs.
      • Ontario Taking Additional Steps to Support Hospitality Workers and Businesses during COVID Recovery – AGCO Media Release
        1. The Ontario government is amending liquor laws to provide consumers with more delivery options and allow boat operators with liquor sales licences to temporarily sell and serve alcohol while their boat is docked. These changes, which come into effect today, are designed to support the recovery of workers and businesses as Ontario’s hospitality sector gradually reopens.
        2. Although the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will not require liquor licensed boat operators to apply or pay a fee for these temporary physical extensions, the operators must ensure they have municipal approval and meet all other applicable requirements. These measures will be in place until January 1, 2021 at 3:00 a.m.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020:

  • LUMCO Petitions Premier, Province to Mandate Mask Bylaw for Indoor Public Spaces
  • Borrow Sports and Play Equipment Safely in Burlington to Keep Your Summer Moving
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care announced a redesigned funding model that will lead to the building of additional, modern long-term care homes providing seniors with the quality care they deserve. This new approach will help break down historic barriers and accelerate the construction of urgently needed long-term care projects, and new and redeveloped beds. Over the next five years, the government is investing $1.75 billion in long-term care homes. It is also updating design standards to include air conditioning for any new and renovated homes, beginning immediately. – Media Release
      • The new funding model will help speed up construction by:
        1. Creating four new regional categories based on geographic location, each with a targeted home size: large urban, urban, mid-size, and rural. An increase to the province’s construction funding subsidy (CFS) will be tailored to each of these four categories, enabling the government to address the barriers and needs of different communities;
        2. Providing development grants, between 10 per cent and 17 per cent depending on regional category, to cover upfront costs like development charges, land and other construction expenses;
        3. Helping small operators in rural communities navigate the high cost of development, while ensuring larger urban centres can secure the loans and real estate they need; and
        4. Increasing funding to incentivize the construction of basic accommodation and continuing top-ups for small and medium sized homes.
      • By taking these steps the government is making it more attractive for operators to build long-term care homes and bring aging homes with 3-4-person ward rooms up to modern design standards. Currently, more than 38,000 people are on the waitlist to access a long-term care space, and new long-term care home construction has not kept pace.
      • The previous “one-size-fits-all” funding model has not spurred development nor accounted for how regional differences impact land, construction and other development costs.
      • Minister Fullerton also announced new visitation guidelines for long term care homes – effectively immediately 2 people will be able to visit a patient outdoors. Visitors will be screened, but will not require a negative COVID-19 test. Masking and physical distancing is required.
      • Starting July 22 – indoor visits will resume. Two visitors at a time can visit. They will be screened and will have to provide a verbal attestation.
    • Question Period:
      • Minister Fullerton was asked whether private for profit homes would be able to access the funding for installing air conditioning in homes? She said that ownership of the homes is not an issue. They are taking a “resident centred approach”, they want to be consistent regardless of the ownership.
      • Minister Fullerton was also asked if these standards apply to retirement homes. She said the government would be assessing the standards in all types of homes.
      • On what if loosening the visitation restrictions might result in a spike in cases. Premier, we must allow visitors in a safe way. Minister Fullerton, we have been working with the sector and we recognize the importance visitors can have on the well-being of patients. “We want to ensure the homes are ready. We are working with the Medical Officer to address any “sparks” that may come up.”
      • The Premier was asked about the TDSB’s plans for September. He said, “we value the input from the TDSB.” They are getting more money to hire more teachers ($24million). “We can’t predict what will happen two months down the road.” He spoke about the drop in the number of cases and the impact that would have on the decision. “Our goal is to have kids in school five days a week.” He said that school boards need to be prepared.
      • On how parents should prepare, the Premier said “we are working on this every single day. I wish I could see into the crystal ball.” He knows parents want certainty. “We are working extremely hard on this.”
      • The Premier was asked about the fake mask exemption cards. He has heard about this. “People need to be responsible. Don’t be a scammer. Wear a mask or face covering.”
      • He was asked to provide an update on the status of the contact tracing APP. He said that it is with the feds. Ontario is ready. “We are waiting on the green light from the Federal government.” Minister Elliott said “we intend to have a vigorous advertising campaign when it is launched.” The APP is only useful if people down load it. She assured everyone that is it completely anonymous.
      • Minister Fullerton was asked how much money was allocated for the installation of air conditioning in homes. She did provide a dollar amount, but said that, “air conditioning must be considered in the context of COVID-19.”

Tuesday, July 14, 2020:

  • Province Provides More Detail on Stage 3 Reopening Strategy
  • Burlington Public Library Expands Reopening: Four branches with limited services starts today
  • Community Support Fund Provides Funding for Innovative Programs and Projects that Foster Community Connections During COVID-19: Applications now being accepted
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier Doug Ford and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade were in Cambridge today to announce $1,408,475  going to Eclipse Innovations Inc. from the Ontario Together Fund to scale up its operations to manufacture made-in-Ontario N95 masks. These masks are an essential piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) used to protect workers in healthcare and industrial settings. This investment is part of the government’s plan to increase the capacity of Ontario-made PPE, while supporting local businesses during the safe and gradual reopening of the province. – Media Release
      • Today also marked the beginning of the Premier’s tour across the Province to acknowledge and thank strong local businesses and exceptional individuals who have stepped up to help out during the outbreak of COVID-19. Over the coming months, Premier Ford will visit a number of communities to recognize those who have gone above and beyond, hear ideas from the people on how the government can help them succeed in the new environment, and support made-in-Ontario products as a key part of the province’s path to recovery.
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked again today about NBC bringing American workers to Canada to do the broadcasting of the NHL games, are they essential workers? The Premier has no control over NHL contracts. He said, that he found out late about this arrangement.
      • Why have so many businesses been allowed to reopen when there is no school reopening plan in place yet. The Premier’s preference is to see all children in school everyday (doesn’t think schools should be closed one day for cleaning). “We need a plan for all scenarios. What if there is a second wave, we need to be ready. The safety of our children is a top priority.”
      • The Premier was asked what the Province was doing to prepare the health care system for a second wave. “There will be a plan rolled out shortly. We are so much better prepared now. We can’t let our guard down. We will not spare penny to protect the people of this Province.”
      • The Premier was asked to respond to the criticism that the Province is more focused on reopening bars than schools. He said that his concern is not the reopening of bars, but about “the businesses that own the bars… we have to help the restaurants get back on their feet.”
      • The Premier was asked about Mayor Tory’s comments that without Provincial and Federal funding that there would be service cuts in Toronto. The Premier said that they have been working well with the federal government. “I’d rather make no deal than a bad deal. We are very close to making a deal.” He is hopeful that something will be in place by the end of this week.
      • He was asked to comment on the COVID surcharges some businesses have implemented. Some are as high as $20. He didn’t think they should be charging that much.

Monday, July 13, 2020:

  • Burlington City Council Unanimously Approves Temporary Mask Bylaw Indoor Spaces Open to the Public, as of July 20, 2020
  • Burlington Mayor Sends Letters to MPs, MPPs Stressing Urgent Need for COVID-19 Financial Relief
  • Adult Summer Programming to Resume at Burlington Seniors’ Centre and Central Park on July 27; City exploring more virtual celebrations
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM said that the wage subsidy program will be extended until December.
      • He and the Deputy PM have been working with the Provinces on the safe restart program – there will be an announcement later this week.
      • He spoke to President Trump this morning about a number of issues.
      • The PM said he made a mistake by not recusing himself from the discussions regarding the WE contract because of his family’s relationship with the organization. He is sorry for his actions, which have created an unnecessary delay in getting this youth volunteer program started.
      • He said it is “frustrating because young people could be serving their country now, but because of me they have to wait.”
      • “As a government we will continue to work forward on delivering good programs for Canadians.”
      • “This mistake is on me. I take responsibility for it.”
    • Question Period:
      • The PM was asked to provide details on his conversation with President Trump. He said they spoke about the proposed aluminum tariffs. “It would be shame to see tariffs come in when we are celebrating the new NAFTA.” Tariffs would only slow down the recovery for both countries.
      • He was asked about the reopening of the Canada/US border. “The situation in the US is complicated.” Discussions are ongoing as we are a week away from the end of the current ban. We will work hard to keep Canadians safe. There will be an announcement later this week.
      • The PM was asked if a closer until the end of the year would be better based on what is happening currently in the US. The PM said the situation will continue to be discussed with our US partners. He said “making long-term predictions may not be the best idea. We will continue to make short and medium term decisions to ensure Canadians are safe.”
      • Most of today’s other questions were regarding the WE contract.
      • The PM said that he knew his mother and brother had worked as professional public speakers, but he wasn’t aware of their renumeration. “I should have followed up.”
      • He deeply regrets bringing his mother into this.
      • He repeated a number of times that he was sorry and that he should have recused himself from the discussions.
      • He was asked since this was his third ethics violation, if he was familiar with the Conflict of Interest Act and also if he would step down and how long would it take him to learn his lesson.
      • “I am very sorry. Young people who should have been out volunteering will now have to wait longer, because I made a mistake. I made a mistake and I sincerely apologize.”
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today Premier Ford, who was joined by Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education announced that 24 Regions in Ontario will be able to move to Stage 3 on July 17 at 12:01 a.m. (Halton is not one of the regions moving to Stage 3 on Friday) – Media Release
      • As part of the Stage 3 reopening, Ontario will be increasing gathering limits for those regions entering the next stage to the following:
        1. Indoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people;
        2. Outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people;
        3. Gathering limits are subject to physical distancing requirements.
      • Public gathering limits apply to indoor and outdoor events, such as community events or gatherings, concerts, live shows, festivals, conferences, sports and recreational fitness activities, fundraisers, fairs, festivals or open houses. A two metre distance must still be maintained at such events.
      • Regions remaining in Stage 2 will maintain the existing gathering limit of 10. Social circles in all stages at this point will also be kept to a maximum of 10 people province-wide, regardless of stage.
      • The following, high-risk places and activities are not yet safe to open, even if a region has entered Stage 3, due to the likelihood of large crowds congregating, difficulties with physical distancing, or challenges maintaining the proper cleaning and sanitation required to prevent the spread of COVID‑19:
        1. Amusement parks and water parks;
        2. Buffet-style food services;
        3. Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements;
        4. Overnight stays at camps for children;
        5. Private karaoke rooms;
        6. Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports;
        7. Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars;
        8. Table games at casinos and gaming establishments.
      • At the beginning of each week, the province will continue to reassess local trends in public health indicators, including rates of transmission, hospital capacity, progress on testing and contact tracing, to determine if additional public health unit regions can progress to Stage 3.
      • As the province safely and gradually enters Stage 3, child care centres and home child care providers across Ontario will be able to continue to operate with strict safety and operational requirements in place. Beginning on July 27, 2020, child care centres will be permitted to operate with cohorts of 15 children, which is an increase from the current cohort cap of 10. This change will allow parents to return to work, and bring the child care sector to approximately 90 per cent of its operating capacity before the COVID-19 outbreak.
      • The government invites businesses not able to open or resume full activities due to Stage 3 restrictions to visit Ontario.ca/reopen to submit a reopening proposal.
      • For questions on restrictions that will remain in place during Stage 3, review the Stage 3 Emergency Order on the emergency information portal or call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
      • The following regions will remain in Stage 2, as additional time is required to assess and monitor any impacts and readiness to move into Stage 3:
        1. Durham Region Health Department
        2. Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
        3. Halton Region Public Health
        4. Hamilton Public Health Services
        5. Lambton Public Health
        6. Niagara Region Public Health
        7. Peel Public Health
        8. Toronto Public Health
        9. Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
        10. York Region Public Health
    • Question Period:
      • How long will we be in Stage 3? Minister Elliott “we will remain in Stage 3 depending on the number of cases.” While in Stage 3 gathering sizes will gradually expand, depending on the number of cases.
      • Regarding providing financial support to businesses that will not be able to open in Stage 3. Minister Phillips said that the government wants to hear from these businesses. Businesses should develop reopening plans that will be reviewed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health. If he is comfortable with their plans they will be allowed to reopen.
      • Minster Elliott was asked how long before the other regions will be able to move to Stage 3. She said that they need four weeks of Stage 2 data. “The next group to move to Stage 3 could hear on Monday (July 20), that they can move to Stage 3 on Friday (July 24).”
      • How are big sporting events and amusement parks expected to survive? The Premier, “if businesses like banquet halls and small amusement parks can come up with a reopening plan that gets approved by the Chief Medical Officer of Health they will be allowed to reopen, without any special orders.”
      • The Premier was asked if funding would be provided to assists businesses like gyms in reopening. The Premier said the Province could not afford to financially assist all these businesses.
      • Minister Elliott was asked why social circles were not expanded to groups of more than 10 (the groups that can touch and are not required to physically distance). “This may happen at some point but it will be gradual and safe.”
      • The Premier was asked to comment on the reopening of bars, based on what has happened in the US. He said that they are taking the advice of the Chief Medical Officer. He understands the concern, but dancing will not be permitted.
      • The Premier was asked to clarify how the 50 people indoors applied to multi-plex movie theatres. Regardless of the number of theatres at the complex currently only 50 people are permitted in the entire theatre, not counting staff. Minister Phillips, “Minister MacLeod has been working with the association on a safe reopening plan.”

Friday, July 10, 2020:

  • Looking for Ways to Cool off This Weekend? Burlington Reminds Residents to Stay Safe and Prevent COVID-19 Spread
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier Doug Ford, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Dennis Darby, President and CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, at Artistic Skylight in Vaughan, Ontario announced the government’s support of the launch of the Ontario Made program from Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME). This new program will promote the many world-class goods that are made across the province by helping consumers easily identify, access and purchase local products – Media Release
      • Funding for Ontario Made is made possible through the $50 million Ontario Together Fund launched on April 1, 2020. This funding will be used to help retailers and consumers identify local products by:
        1. Creating a new Ontario Made logo that manufacturers can use to help consumers identify their made-in-Ontario products. CME will also meet with major retailers to promote Ontario Made products in-store and increase visibility for customers;
        2. Launching a new SupportOntarioMade.ca website that will connect consumers and supply chain partners to manufacturers of made-in-Ontario products through one directory;
        3. Promoting Ontario Made through a digital newsletter to raise awareness of Ontario goods and products online and through social media.
      • The Premier said that never again will we be left at the mercy of other countries to supply us with PPE
    • Question Period:
      • Minister Lecce was asked about Toronto school boards reaching out the City of Toronto about space that could be used for classrooms in the fall. Minister Lecce said that the Province would assist school boards as they get ready. He continued to say that boards must developed plans for three scenarios. The deadline for these plans is August 4.
      • The Premier was asked whether there would be an reopening announcements on Monday. He joked and said he didn’t know if there would be something Monday, but there would be some “big announcements next week.”
      • On the Canada/US border. The Premier spoke to the Deputy PM and told her he is not in favour of the border reopening on July 21. “We will continue to be very cautious on the borders and reopening.” He doesn’t want to see what is happening in other countries happen in Ontario.
      • He was asked whether letting athletes from the US into Canada was a good idea. “The municipality, the Province and the Feds have agreed to the terms.” Players will be quarantined and will be tested regularly. He thinks people will enjoy being able to watch some baseball.
      • He was asked about the reopening of playgrounds. Playground equipment is hard to disinfect. “We will find other things for kids to do.”
      • On whether bars will be part of the Stage 3 reopening (bars have been found to contribute to the spread of the virus in other countries that have reopened them). Minister Fedeli, “we are consulting with medical experts and the business community. When Stage 3 is announced there will be complete details.”
      • The Premier was asked why his isn’t ruling out Toronto being a hub city for the NHL. He feels that the NHL’s policies are very stringent (players will be tested every day). He thinks people would also like to see some hockey.
    • Statement by Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and TradeOntario Focusses on Renewal, Growth, and Economic Recovery
      • Today’s employment numbers are an indication that Ontario’s economy is beginning to stabilize as we continue to safely and gradually reopen the province. According to Statistics Canada, employment in Ontario increased by 377,900 in June, including an increase of 66,200 manufacturing jobs. But the job numbers are much more than a statistic, they represent, families, business owners and workers back at work and contributing to Ontario’s economic recovery.
      • Earlier this week, we introduced the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act. This legislation is the first step in our made-in-Ontario plan for growth, renewal and economic recovery. If passed, this bill will help get shovels in the ground faster on key infrastructure projects, lead to the creation of more jobs and investment, and cut red tape to help businesses adapt to the new environment.
      • As we look towards Stage 3 of reopening, we know we have a solid foundation upon which to continue building our future and emerge stronger than ever.

Thursday, July 9, 2020:

  • Province extends Emergency Orders to July 22
  • Patients and Visitors Required to Wear Masks at Joseph Brant Hospital
  • Oakville Council passes motion supporting mandatory region-wide mask by-law
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today by Premier Doug Ford, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and Jamil Jivani, Ontario’s Advocate for Community Opportunities announced new changes to the education system that will help break down barriers for Black, Indigenous and racialized students and provide all students with an equal opportunity to succeed. As part of this action, the province will move forward with ending Grade 9 streaming into applied and academic courses, proposing to eliminate discretionary suspensions for students, strengthening sanctions for teachers who engage in behaviour of a racist nature, and providing teachers with additional anti-racism and anti-discrimination training. – Media Release
      • Through Bill 197, COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020, the government is proposing to eliminate discretionary suspensions for students from kindergarten up to Grade 3, beginning September 2020. Serious offences will still be subject to mandatory suspensions. The latest suspension data from 2018-19 shows that over 65,000 elementary and secondary students in Ontario were suspended during that school year.
      • Starting in September 2021, the government will begin the process of ending Grade 9 streaming into applied and academic courses. Currently, students enrolled in applied-level courses have multiple negative outcomes and limited opportunities for post-secondary advancement.
    • Question Period:
      • Minister Lecce was asked if parents should now have conversations with their employers about flexibility in the fall with respect to child care and school attendance. While not directly answering the question Minister Lecce did say that school boards were asked to be ready for three different scenarios. He said the government’s preference was for every day in class conventional learning, with heightened safety protocols. He said this decision would not be made by politicians but by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the health command table.
      • Minister Elliott was asked about the pandemic pay. She said that 375,000 people in the province would receive their pay this week. She said that their pay would not be weighted base on how much time in their day was spent specifically caring for COVID patients.
      • Premier was asked if he could provide details on what Stage 3 would look like e.g. what would be open. He said the list was at the Health Table now. He hopes to have an announcement very soon.
      • Minister Lecce was asked if he job was to provide clarity for parents regarding schools. He said his job was to prepare for every scenario. He understands that parents want a plan. Case data is moving in the right direction to support a day to day, every day conventional learning model.
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Ontario Expanding Access to the Modern Digital EconomyMedia Release
        1. The Ontario government is expanding access to reliable broadband and cellular service in underserved and unserved parts of the province. The application intake for the $150 million Improving Connectivity for Ontario program (ICON) opens today. This funding will help drive economic investment and job creation across the province, while allowing more people to work from home more efficiently, engage in online learning, and connect with family and friends.
        2. Any areas across Ontario that do not meet the national standards for broadband speeds would be eligible for provincial funding. Up to 12 per cent of households in the province – mostly in rural, remote or northern areas – don’t have adequate broadband service, according to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
        3. Telecommunication service providers, municipalities, Indigenous communities and non-profits are invited to submit innovative proposals and lend their investment, expertise and experience to improve connectivity in communities across Ontario. The preliminary application deadline for the first intake of the ICON program is August 21, 2020.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020:

  • Province Listens and Gives Councils Ability to Meet Electronically Post-COVID-19
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM shared highlights of the two day virtual cabinet retreat that was held this week. Cabinet discussed the response to the pandemic, which has been based on science and data – the only way to protect Canadians. Updated public health modeling will be released today.
      • Cabinet also developed a work plan on addressing systemic racism.
      • While the situation (pandemic) is stabilizing in Canada, we must still be careful. There are some hotspots still at long term care homes and farms.
      • We must continue to follow the health advice.
      • COVID-19 caused a health crisis and economic crisis . All sectors felt the impact, some more than other.
      • Many people lost their jobs overnight and the Federal government chose to support Canadians quickly.
      • The government went into debt so Canadians wouldn’t have to.
      • We have slowed the spread of the virus and we are now able to reopen the economy
      • The restart will see some sectors bounce back more quickly than others.
      • Now is not the time for tightening belts or austerity measures.
    • Question Period:
      • The PM was asked if federal programs would be reshaped in any way, as without child care parents will not be able to return to work. The PM said that’s what the $14 billion for the Provinces was meant to do – help ensure Provinces can provide more and safer child care.
      • He was asked if the federal aid programs were going to be extended. “People need help. Given the extremely low interest rates at the time, we decided to take on the debt so Canadians wouldn’t have to.” Canada is in a far better position than many of our allies. “Now is the time for the Federal government to step up and help Canadians and that’s what we did.” We need to create jobs and economic growth.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Ontario government is taking the first step in a made-in-Ontario plan for growth, renewal and economic recovery. Today, the province introduced the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, proposed legislation that lays the foundation to restart jobs and development, strengthen communities, and create opportunity for people in every region of the province. – Media Release
      • Details of the legislation were provided by Premier Doug Ford, Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance.
      • If passed, the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act will:
        1. Restart jobs and development to get Ontario’s economic engine roaring again by getting key infrastructure projects built faster, attracting more jobs and investment, and cutting red tape to help businesses adapt to the new environment.
        2. Strengthen communities by ensuring municipalities are equipped with the tools they need to continue to provide the critical services people rely on every day, including allowing municipalities and their local boards to continue to choose to hold meetings electronically at any time and putting in place a new community benefits charge to help municipalities pay for the infrastructure and services needed for growing communities.
        3. Create opportunity for people as they recover their lives and livelihoods by protecting consumers, modernizing services, improving the education system and removing the social and economic barriers that stand in the way of success for young people.
      • The legislation was referred to as an “omnibus bill” by the media. It includes changes on everything from environmental assessments, to education and the justice system.
    • Question Period:
      • How much money will there be for municipalities and will there be a qualifier for how they spend the money? Premier said that he is negotiating with the federal government. “I am pushing the feds. We will put money on the table.”
      • He was asked if the Province would backstop the need for municipalities. Would the Province bank roll the funding for the municipalities themselves. Premier, “ we want flexibility. We should get 38% of the $14billion, because we have 38% of the population. “We have the money – we are not asking for more than the $14 billion. It needs to be per capita.” He urged municipalities to talk to their MPs and the federal government.
      • He was asked what the sticking point was with the Federal government. “A day doesn’t go by without talking to a mayor. I am fighting for the municipalities. We want the per capita and the flexibility.”
      • He also said that the municipalities would also have the flexibility to spend the money where they need to. He did not get into the details
      • He thanked the media for the questions and raising issues that the Province can act on.
      • In response to Mayor Tory saying time is up. The Premier said he doesn’t want to “cut a bad deal for municipalities. I need to protect all regions, not just Toronto.”
      • There was a question about whether today’s new omnibus legislation related to COVID recovery was over reaching, as included changes to education and the justice system. The Premier said that all this services are related to the economic recovery. Minister Clark said that with the limited legislative calendar they wanted to get as much accomplished as they could.
      • The Premier was asked about the changes to the EA process contained in the proposed legislation. He said that we have lost employers because an EA can take up to six years. He stressed that the Greenbelt would be protected. “We aren’t going to dodge EAS, we are going to get them done faster and smarter.” Minister Clark “ EA’s need to met today’s needs.” Should an EA for large and small projects be the same?

Tuesday, July 7, 2020:

  • Burlington Councillor, Mayor Jointly Sponsor Proposed Temporary Mandatory Mask Bylaw
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • All of Ontario has now moved into Stage 2.
      • Premier ford was joined by Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones to announce the introduction of new  legislation that, if passed, would give the province the necessary flexibility to address the ongoing risks and effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. The proposed legislation is part of the government’s plan for the continued safe and gradual reopening of the province once the declaration of emergency ends. – Media Release
      • The Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 would, if passed, ensure important measures remain in place to address the threat of COVID-19 once the provincial declaration of emergency has ended. Specifically, the legislation would:
        1. Continue emergency orders in effect under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) under the new legislation for an initial 30 days.
        2. Allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to further extend these orders for up to 30 days at a time, as required to keep Ontarians safe.
        3. Allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to amend certain emergency orders continued under the EMCPA if the amendment relates to:
          1. labour redeployment or workplace and management rules;
          2. closure of places and spaces or regulation of how businesses and establishments can be open to provide goods or services in a safe manner;
          3. compliance with public health advice; or
          4. rules related to gatherings and organized public events.
          5. Not allow new emergency orders to be created.
          6. Allow emergency orders to be rescinded when it is safe to do so.
      • The ability to extend and amend orders under the new legislation would be limited to one year, unless extended by the Ontario legislature.
      • While not included in the remarks it has been reported that the  government will introduce a motion on Wednesday to extend the Provincial State of Emergency until July 24, which would ensure there is no gap between the provincial declaration and when the new bill takes effect.
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked why the emergency orders would need to be in place for 2 years. He said that it was to “protect the vulnerable people in the community.” “I am transparent.” The Solicitor General, said the “proposed legislation would allow us to extend certain orders. It gives us the ability to react and respond quickly.”
      • In response to why testing numbers were below 20,000 for two days in a row and is the Health Minister concerned. Minister Elliott commented that testing numbers are generally lower at the beginning of the week and that she is not concerned about the numbers. “Generally we are running 25,000 tests/day.”
      • Minister Elliott was asked to comment on the testing strategy moving forward. “Testing will increase to 50,000 tests /day. As we head into flu season we will increase testing volumes.”
      • The Premier was asked to comment on whether the proposed legislation could been seen as an over reach of power. He said he would disagree with this statement. He is “dead against big government. We have to help the people of Ontario.” This new legislation would help the government move quickly.
      • He was asked about striking a balance, what about democracy? Cabinet meetings are held behind closed doors. He did not respond directly to this.
      • He was asked to comment on the videos of people not wearing masks, including the woman at the hospital. He said “when you go  into a hospital you have to wear a mask. Just follow the guidelines, it helps everyone.” He also made reference to people with breathing problems who aren’t able to wear masks being called out. “They should wear a t-shirt saying they have a breathing problem.”
      • Regarding whether gathering size would increase as part of stage 3. Minister Elliott said that public health doctors are looking at increasing gathering size in phases. “The gathering size increase will happen together with moving to stage 3.” As time goes on the gathering sizes will increase.
      • Premier Ford was asked to comment on members of the PC party referring to this new legislation as a “pandemic power grab.” The Premier “we are not doing this for a power grab. I’m not in favour of big government. We are doing it to protect the people. Nothing to hide. We’re doing it for the right reasons.” He did not expect that emergency orders would be extended for another two years, which the legislation could allow. “I want to wrap this up.”
      • The Premier and Minister Elliott were asked if they would consider changing the long term care legislation to mandate air conditioning in all homes. They both said yes. “No AC in this weather is unacceptable.”
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Canada and Ontario invest in public transit and active transportation infrastructure for Windsor and Tecumseh residentsMedia Release
        1. Strategic investments in public transportation infrastructure play a key role in supporting affordable and sustainable transportation services that allow Ontarians to get to work, school and essential services on time, and safely back home at the end of the day.
        2. Today, Irek Kusmierczyk, Member of Parliament for Windsor─Tecumseh and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; Rick Nicholls, Member of Provincial Parliament for Chatham-Kent-Leamington on behalf of the Honourable Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure; and his Worship Drew Dilkens, Mayor of Windsor, announced funding for nine projects that will better connect Windsor residents to public transit, encourage active transportation, and improve the quality of the public transit system overall, as well as one multi-purpose pathway project in Tecumseh.
        3. The Government of Canada is investing more than $12.6 million through the Public Transit Infrastructure stream of the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan. The Government of Ontario is providing over $10.5 million, while the City of Windsor is contributing more than $25.1 million and the City of Tecumseh is contributing $580,314.

Monday, July 6, 2020:

  • Ontario Mayors United in Call for Immediate, Emergency Funding from Federal and Provincial Governments
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • There was no federal COVID-19 briefing held today.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s Provincial briefing:
      • Premier Ford was joined by Christine Elliott, Minister of Health, Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, and Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA)
      • The Premier announced a made-in-Ontario plan for growth, renewal and economic recovery. This plan includes measures that would make it easier and faster to build provincial highways, major transit infrastructure projects and quality, affordable housing, while ensuring there are meaningful opportunities for community consultation and input. – Media Release
      • As part of the government’s plan, the province is proposing to accelerate key provincial highway construction and priority transit projects by establishing an exemption from the Hearing of Necessity process. Provincial Hearings of Necessity occur approximately 5-10 times per year on average for provincial highway projects. Each hearing adds months of red tape and construction delays for critical provincial infrastructure, costing up to five months for transit projects and up to 12 months for provincial highway projects.
      • The government would also enter into new commercial agreements with partners to build transit-oriented communities. This would allow for the development of more housing around transit in an integrated manner and put more job opportunities within the reach of more people. The measures would also save taxpayers money by having the development industry make direct, significant contributions to the cost of building transit for the benefit of communities, all transit riders, and Ontario taxpayers.
      • Ontario will continue to collaborate with the City of Toronto and York Region under the historic joint transit partnership agreements and Transit-Oriented Communities Memorandums of Understanding.
      • The Premier also announced that Leamington and Kingsville will be moving into Stage 2 tomorrow.
    • Question Period:
      • Minister Elliott was asked if there had been enough Stage 2 data yet to decide on when to move to Stage 3. Minister Elliott “the team is actively looking at the data so we can move into Stage 3 as soon as we can.”
      • Question regarding the fact that some front line workers have not yet seen any pandemic pay. The Premier “the vast majority of the money has flowed to employers.” The Province is working with over 2,000 employers on this program. The Premier said that “the money has flowed to 80-90% of the employers.”
      • The Premier was asked if there were any risks to the fast tracking of projects they announced today. The Premier “people are tired of waiting for projects to be completed. We won’t be taking any short cuts. We will be dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s.” Associate Minister Surma, “engaging with municipalities and local partners is key.”
      • On way the Province isn’t using less invasive saliva tests, which would may be useful for when schools reopen. Minister Elliott, “the saliva tests, while less invasive are less accurate.” Anyone administering a test on children must be “very experienced.”
      • Minister Mulroney was asked about the backlog for driving tests. She said there is a phased approach for the reopening of Drive Test Centres. Commercial driver road test will be done first, followed by G1 and G2 knowledge tests. G1 and G2 road tests will come later.

Friday, July 3, 2020:

  • LaSalle Pool Opening July 4; Mountainside and Nelson Outdoor Pools Opening July 11
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM held a briefing today while visiting a food bank in Gatineau, Quebec
      • The PM said that 2.8 M Canadians are back at work thanks to the wage subsidy program
      • Minister Morneau will release his economic snapshot on July 8
      • Seniors collecting the OAS will receive an additional $300 and for people on the Guaranteed Income Supplement they will receive an additional $200 – going out next week
      • Next week the PM will be holding a two day virtual cabinet retreat – Media Release
      • During the retreat, the Prime Minister and ministers will discuss how we move forward and continue to take concrete actions needed to fight racism in Canada, prepare for a potential second wave of COVID-19, and safely restart the economy.
    • Question Period:
      • The PM was asked many questions about the WE organization cutting its ties with the Federal government to deliver summer student grant program. “The group decided to withdraw. We support their decision to withdraw. The way it unfolded is disappointing.” PM stressed that “ we will work hard to ensure youth can serve their country – but not through the WE Charity.” The Federal government will now deliver the youth grants. The government will not be able to deliver some elements of the program. “We will continue to ensure young people will have positive experiences this summer. We will need to look at how deliver better programs for youth without attracting this type of controversy.”
      • Regarding funding for Air Canada and the airline sector, the PM said, “we understood that some sectors have been hit harder than others. We will continue to work with the airline sector. We are disappointed that Air Canada has cut certain routes. We hope as the economy recovers they can restore this service.”
      • On whether the PM will follow the quarantine rules if he attends the tri-lateral summit in the US, the PM said he would follow all the rules that are in place if the decision is made to travel to the US for the summit. He said they were in discussions with the US and health officials regarding the summit.
      • He was asked whether the $14 Billion for Provinces included funding for child care. The PM said “one condition of the funding is directly focused on child care, including care for older children (6 and older).” He said Provinces need to strengthen their response to child care. “We hope the Provinces will agree to accept the money and help Canadians.”
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier acknowledged that everyone’s health and safety is a top priority as we reopen the economy.
      • Businesses have been doing the right thing and “we will do everything we can to support business”
      • The Premier and Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development announced that the Province is investing $3 million to provide free online health and safety training for the first time. These virtual courses will make it easier for job seekers and workers to get essential qualifications, while practising physical distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19. – Media Release
      • Up to 100,000 job seekers can now take free online workplace health and safety training through Employment Ontario. There are 10 courses on offer, which include topics such as infection control, conducting health and safety incident investigations, ladder safety, slips, trips and falls prevention, and preventing workplace violence and harassment.
      • Job seekers should contact an Employment Ontario service provider in their area to enroll.
      • In addition, worker and employer members of Joint Health and Safety Committees can now use video conferencing to take training in real-time with qualified instructors from training providers approved by Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer. The training includes sessions on how to establish a Health and Safety Committee, resolving health and safety issues, workplace inspections, and accident investigations.
      • Minister McNaghton stated that there are 139 sector specific guidance documents now available online
      • The Premier recognized and thanked the members of the Armed Forces for their service at long term care homes in Ontario
    • Question Period:
      • Some parts of the Province have been in Stage 2 now for almost three weeks. Why are we not yet in Stage 3? The Premier, “ we are moving cautiously. We will get there very shortly. Since it’s the last stage we want to make sure that our t’s are crossed and our I’s are dotted.”
      • He was asked about the timing and the impact this is having on some business owners who have not been able to open yet. “I don’t have a crystal ball, but you are probably close that it will be the end of July. We want to open up safely and cautiously.” He made mention of “incentives” as we move to fully restarting the economy but provided no details.
      • He was asked to comment on the reports regarding the September 1 start to the school year. The Premier said they are leaving things up to each school board/region. Kids have been out of school for 171 days. He said an earlier start may help them get reacclimate to schools sooner. “September 1, was only a suggestion. No one is going to put a gun to their heads.”
      • He was asked about Emergency Management Ontario being deployed to the Windsr -Essex area. He said that they had been along with the Red Cross and others, “I want to help them. Workers just want to work. The farmers just want to be able to run their farms and the doctors want to keep people safe.” Dr. Huyer, “It is all hands on deck, to keep the farm workers safe.”
      • The Premier apologized for saying the farm workers were hiding so they wouldn’t have to get tested. This was misinformation that he was provided.
      • Will everything that is still closed be reopened in Stage 3? “Everything, except large gatherings like baseball and hockey games and concerts.”
      • Regarding inspections that have been done since moving to Stage 2, 13,000 workplaces have been inspected by 500 inspectors.
      • The Premier was asked if he would shut down beaches. He said that he would be leaving that decision up to Chief Medical Officers of Health in each Region. Provincial beaches will not be closed. He urged people to go to beaches that were so crowded.
      • He was asked why it was taking so long to announce details on the Commission reviewing long term care homes. The Premier said it was because they wanted to make sure they had the right person leading things. “Enough talk, we want to see action.” He said he is looking forward to all the reviews.
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Canadian Armed Forces Depart Ontario Long-Term Care HomesMedia Release
        1. The Ontario government expressed its gratitude to members of the Canadian Armed Forces who went above and beyond the call of duty to temporarily support high-priority long-term care homes during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak. The final team concludes its work today.
        2. Over the course of their mission, the Canadian Armed Forces teams supported the following homes: Orchard Villa, Holland Christian Homes Grace Manor, Altamont Care Community, Eatonville Care Centre, Hawthorne Place Care Centre, Downsview Long Term Care, and Woodbridge Vista Care Community.
        3. In May, the Ontario government responded immediately to the findings of the Canadian Armed Forces report. The Ministry of Long-Term Care has been addressing issues around infection control, standards of practice/quality of care, supplies, local practices, communication, staffing and inappropriate behaviour. To-date, the following action has been taken:
          1. Each home identified at that time as high-risk has been inspected or has an inspection underway.
          2. Inspections at all the Canadian Armed Forces-supported homes have been completed and have since been expanded with inspectors remaining onsite.
          3. Temporary management has been appointed at Altamont Care Community, Camilla Care Community, Orchard Villa, Extendicare Guildwood, River Glen Haven, Downsview Long Term Care, Woodbridge Vista Care Community, Forest Heights and Hawthorne Place Care Centre.
          4. Each home identified as high-risk has been required to submit a plan to the ministry that details how they are improving care standards.
      • Ontario Supporting Restaurants as Province Safely ReopensMedia Release
        1. The Ontario government is helping restaurant and bar owners reopen and safely serve more customers by issuing a new emergency order and amending another under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which will allow municipalities to quickly pass temporary bylaws for the creation and extension of patios and allow covered outdoor dining areas to serve customers.
        2. Under the Planning Act, the process to pass temporary use bylaws to create or extend a patio could take several weeks or more. As restaurants are currently only permitted to host dine-in guests on outdoor patios under Stage 2, this exemption under the emergency order will cut red tape and reduce the process time for passing these bylaws to a matter of days.
        3. Municipalities would still be responsible for compliance activities and ensuring proper health and safety practices, like proper physical distancing.
        4. The government also amended an emergency order to clarify that outdoor dining areas can open if they have a roof, canopy, tent, awning or other covering. At least two full sides of the outdoor dining area must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked in any way. If the outdoor dining area has a retractable roof, the roof must be fully open and at least one full side must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked in any way.

Thursday, July 2, 2020:

  • Statement from Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward Regarding Mandatory Mask Order for the City
  • Burlington Hosting Another COVID-19 Tele-Town Hall July 16 Focusing on How to Make the Most of Summer, While Staying Healthy
  • Ontario Reviews Elevator Laws — Government Seeks Input to Help Improve Elevator Safety and Availability
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • There was no federal COVID-19 briefing today
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier Ford and Minister Steve Clark announced the Province is providing municipalities and urban Indigenous community partners with an additional $150 million to continue to protect vulnerable people from COVID-19 by improving homeless shelters and creating opportunities for longer-term housing- Media Release
      • Municipalities and urban Indigenous community partners will be able to use this funding for long-term, innovative housing solutions resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. They can renovate shelters or purchase new facilities that will help with physical distancing in the short term and support longer-term, more sustainable solutions to homelessness. In addition, this funding could also be used to provide vulnerable people with food, shelter and supplies.
      • With this additional funding, the government is providing municipal service managers and urban Indigenous program administrators with $350 million through the Social Services Relief Fund.
      • Premier “this is just one way to support municipalities. We need the Federal government at the table.” The Premier called himself “a champion for communities.”
    • Question Period:
      • There were several questions again today about the situation at the farms in Leamington and Kingsville. The Premier reiterated that they are trying to help the farmers and the workers. “Workers will not be sent home.”
      • He was asked why he wouldn’t name the farms. He said he didn’t want to do harm to the farmers.
      • The Premier was asked about the status of negotiations with the Federal government on the relief package. He said the negotiations are continuing, but said the issue was that the Federal government’s seven parameters “don’t work for all the Provinces. They should just cut us a cheque and give us the flexibility,” to apply the funding into the various categories. The Premier indicated that he has been the one pushing for funding for the municipalities.
      • He was asked if it was realistic for the Federal government to just cut the Provinces a cheque without any specific requirements. The Premier thought it was. “We will follow the guidelines, but we need flexibility. The Feds don’t know where the specific needs are in every Province. We will listen to the what the municipalities say they need.” “I am going to be the voice for the municipalities. All we are asking for is flexibility. Let the people decide.”
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Ontario Marks Historic Implementation of New North American Trade AgreementMedia Release
        1. Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade issued a statement today on the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).
        2. The Ontario government welcomes the implementation of this important trade agreement and looks forward to the greater certainty it provides to help businesses grow and protect jobs across the continent.
        3. Nearly one in five Ontario jobs depend on trade, and approximately $400 billion CAD in two-way trade in goods travels across the U.S. and Canadian border in Ontario every year.
        4. Our government’s top priority during the negotiations was to protect jobs for the hard-working people of Ontario. I want to thank the leaders and negotiators from all three countries who worked long hours and reached across party lines to secure this critical deal.
      • Canada and Ontario invest in roads and bridges for rural communities in Eastern OntarioMedia Release
        1. Today, the Honourable Francis Drouin, Member of Parliament for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Canada’s Minister of Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development; and the Honourable Steve Clark, Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Member of Provincial Parliament for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes on behalf of Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure, announced funding for five road and bridge projects in Eastern Ontario. They were joined by Mayor François St-Amour, The Nation Municipality; Mayor Nancy Peckford, Municipality of North Grenville; and Frank Prevost, Warden, United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.
        2. The Government of Canada is investing over $9 million in these projects through the Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan. The Government of Ontario is contributing more than $6.5 million for these important infrastructure projects in these communities while municipalities are contributing over $3 million in total towards the projects.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020:

  • Ontario Celebrating Canada Day with Free Parks Admission and Extending Free Family Fishing
  • Provincial Courts Gradually Resuming In-Person Proceedings
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE
    • No federal COVID-19 briefing today.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier Ford was joined by Jeff Yurek, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks and Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries to announce that the Ontario government is celebrating Canada Day by offering free day use at all provincial parks, and beginning on July 4, 2020, the province is offering free fishing for two weeks, double the length of last year.
      • In addition, numerous Ontario attractions have special virtual experiences and events planned for July 1, 2020 which will help showcase Ontario’s artistic and musical excellence. – Media Release
    • Question Period:
      • Why is playground equipment still closed? Minister Elliott said the equipment is difficult to disinfect. “We are looking at it for Stage 3.” No timeline yet for Stage 3. Need at least one more week of Stage 2 data to inform the decision on Stage 3.
      • The Premier was asked to comment on the decision by Peel Mayors regarding masks being mandatory in indoor spaces. Premier, “the golden rule is in large groups wear a mask and practice social distancing.” Each public health agency in the Province can mandate mask wearing. He encouraged municipalities to do this. “Each municipality is different.”
      • Regarding the Province’s appetite for creating a hub in Ontario for the CFL. Minister MacLeod is having regular discussions with all major sports leagues. She met with her Federal counterpart today. They are working to ensure that all professional teams and leagues have the necessary health measure and rigors in place. “The CFL has discussed a hub in Ontario, in the Hamilton Burlington area.”
      • The Premier was asked since 20 of the 34 regions in the Province are reporting no new cases today, why not move the northern regions to Stage 3? The Premier said that he is being lobbied by everyone, “Santa Claus is getting restless up there (in Santa’s Village), but he knows the safety of our kids is the number one priority.” Minister Elliott, “things are going well in Stage 2. We accessing the situation on a daily basis.” They are also considering whether to move to Stage 3 regionally or Province wide. Where, when and what – are all being discussed. “We want everyone in every part of the Province to be safe.”
      • The Premier was asked why testing teams would be going to Niagara farms. He said that after seeing what is happening in Leamington and Kingsville it’s “better to be safe than sorry.” He also said they want to communicate with the workers, “we don’t want them to be scared.”
      • The Premier was asked if he supported mask wearing in schools. Experts have not recommended masks for younger students, but they are okay for high school students. “Each board across the Province has the flexibility to mover forward,” with what makes sense in their area. “We want to listen to the experts.”
      • On why the funding has not yet been received by day care providers. The Premier committed to following up with the Treasury Board. “Nothing gets to me more than government taking too long to respond.”
      • The Premier was asked about the situation with the Blue Jays. Minister MacLeod responded – there is a complication with the Blue Jays – they will be travelling, which is a different model than what other major league sports groups are suggesting.
      • The Premier stated that a Provincial mask wearing order will not be issued. He supports the decisions being made locally.
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Ontario Encourages Support of Local Small Businesses – Media Release
        1. The Ontario Government is celebrating International Small Business Week with the launch of the “Shop Local! Shop Safe! Shop with Confidence!” campaign, encouraging Ontarians to support their local small businesses and to shop safely while doing so.
        2. The province’s campaign asks for mayors, local leaders and groups to support our small businesses by committing on social media to “Shop Local, Shop Safe, Shop with Confidence,” while highlighting the best practices put in place by businesses to help keep shoppers safe while ensuring that the reopening of Ontario continues to be a success. For example, the principles of the People Outside Safely Together (POST) Promise encourage small businesses to strictly follow health guidelines and reopen with appropriate measures in place, so consumers can shop safely and with confidence, including:
          1. Washing and sanitizing hands
          2. Maintaining physical distancing
          3. Staying home if unwell
          4. Practicing respiratory etiquette
          5. Cleaning and disinfecting regularly

Monday, June 29, 2020:

  • Clarifying Canada-U.S. Border Travel & the Need to Remain Vigilant
  • Joseph Brant Hospital Easing Visitor Restrictions Starting Today
  • COVID-19 Task Force Meeting 11 Highlights
  • Ontario Extends Emergency Orders to July 10
    • The Ontario government has extended all emergency orders currently in force that were made under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until July 10, 2020, while removing restrictions that were limiting access to certain sport training facilities.
    • The government has removed certain restrictions for Stage 2 indoor sports and recreational fitness activities facilities. This will enable the facilities to be used by more businesses and organizations to train amateur or professional athletes, or to run certain non-contact amateur or professional athletic competitions.
    • In all cases, facility owners would only be able to permit activities to occur in a way that meets public health requirements. These changes will also enable many sports and recreational organizations around the province to again offer sport training programming, helping more people return to sport in Ontario.
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM announced the Commercial Rent Subsidy program will be extended for another month.
      • The latest pubic health modelling will be released today. While there are some hotspots across Canada, hospitalizations and deaths are declining. “Canadians are doing their part.”
      • As we enter this new phase of the pandemic, the PM and Dr. Tam will no longer be doing daily briefings. They will be done a few times per week and as needed.
      • Daily case numbers will continue to be published.
      • New NAFTA comes into effect on Wednesday.
    • Question Period:
      • The PM was asked to comment on what is happening in the US and the impacts this will have on the Canada/US border. The PM said the safety of Canadians is a top priority. Border restrictions will  continue to be in place until July 21, “we will continue to assess the situation.” “Even as the economy reopens we must continue to be vigilant. We have to continue to be careful to ensure we don’t lose the important strides we have made.”
      • Regarding preparations for a second wave. The PM “we have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.” “The investments made in testing and contract tracing will allow us to respond quickly. We had one of the best balance sheets of any of the G7 countries going into this meant we were able to help so many businesses and families quickly.” We will have the capacity to help in the fall.  We want to ensure we have the measures in place to prevent a second wave.
      • Regarding a vaccine. When and if one becomes available people will not be forced to get vaccinated. “Canadians will do the right thing when it comes to a vaccine.”
      • On mask wearing. “Everyone will have to make their own decisions. As we relax restrictions it is really, really important that people are attentive to their individual behavior>”
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier said he is deeply concerned by the corruption in the tow truck industry. There are a small group of “bad applies” that are lighting trucks on fire and getting involved in organized crime.
      • The Premier, together with the Minister of Transport and the Solicitor General announced that the Ontario government is establishing a task force to improve provincial oversight of the towing industry.  – Media Release
      • The task force will help develop a regulatory model that will increase safety and enforcement, clarify protections for consumers, improve industry standards and consider tougher penalties for violators. The government is taking this action in response to concerns raised about incidents of criminal activity and violence in the towing industry.
      • The task force will review a number of topics related to the towing industry, which could include provincial oversight of safety, consumer protection, improved industry standards, training and background checks.
      • As part of the review, the task force may consider opportunities for increased protections for consumers against the first-to-scene unethical business practices, insurance savings through a crackdown on insurance fraud rings or improved consumer choice for payments and repairs. The province is also reviewing ways to improve our transportation system by clearing accidents more quickly which would minimize lane reductions and reduce congestion on our highways.
      • Membership of the task force will include representatives from the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of the Solicitor General, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, the Ministry of Finance and the Ontario Provincial Police. Once the task force has developed proposals for discussion and comment, it will be consulting with industry, municipalities, and public safety experts.
    • Question Period:
      • There were several questions about the numbers being reported in Windsor- Essex (the highest since the start of the pandemic). The Premier does not believe that the outbreak is contained to one farm. “A whole team” has been dispatched to the area to help. The team includes nurse practitioners and translators. “My heart breaks for the people in Leamington and Kingsville. We want to save the crops and the farms. We will get through this.”
      • The Premier was asked why the practice of farm workers moving from one from to another was not banned. Premier – we will work together to solve this issue like all the others we have dealt with.
      • The Premier was asked if there would be more supports to help the small businesses who may not survive until Stage 3. He poke about the delays in getting approvals and permits. He said he didn’t want approvals to be skipped but it shouldn’t take 4 to 6 years to get projects completed. “We have to start cutting red tape and get infrastructure project going and get people back to work.”
      • Regarding the towing task force Minister Mulroney was asked if provincial licensing was being considered. “We are looking at all options.” We will be strengthening Provincial oversight, which includes licensing.
      • She was also asked about “first on the scene” policies. “This contributes to the violence and the concerns people have about personal safety”
      • The Premier was asked to comment on the 10% cut to the Toronto Police, that is being considered. Premier “we would never step in. Each municipality is responsible for these decisions. When people call 911 they expect to have a police officer show up. The Solicitor General spoke about the minimum standards the Province has set for police response.
      • The Premier was asked about the Blue Jays playing in Toronto. He said he was on the phone over the weekend with them. They are just waiting on approval from the Federal government regarding the quarantine period. He expects that they will be starting practices on July 1.

Thursday, June 25, 2020:

  • City of Burlington now Accepting all Development Applications for Digital Review
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM spoke about the various programs that are in place to help students – Media Release
      • He announced the launch of the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG), which will support post-secondary students and recent graduates as they volunteer to serve in their communities’ COVID-19 response and gain valuable experience at the same time. The CSSG will provide these volunteers with a one-time payment of between $1,000 and $5,000 based on the number of hours they serve. To find not-for-profit organizations looking for help during the pandemic, post-secondary students and recent graduates can use the new I Want to Help platform, which also launched today.
      • The Government of Canada is also helping young Canadians find paid work placements and get the skills they need to start their careers. These activities include:
        1. Supporting an additional 20,000 job placements for post-secondary students in high demand sectors.
        2. Creating 10,000 new job placements for young people between the ages of 15 and 30 through the Canada Summer Jobs program.
        3. Creating 5,000 new internships through Mitacs for college and university students across Canada with small and medium-sized businesses. Funding of $40 million will also help develop partnerships with new industries, and offer internships to students in more areas of study.
        4. Increasing funding to the Digital Skills for Youth (DS4Y) program by $40 million to help post-secondary graduates gain professional work experience. DS4Y provides wage subsidy opportunities to help connect young people with small and medium-sized businesses and not-for-profits.
        5. Creating over 3,500 new job placements and internships through the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy.
        6. Providing $6.7 million for the Computers for Schools Plus (CFS+) program.
        7. Creating 5,000 to 10,000 more work-integrated learning opportunities through the Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER).
    • Question Period:
      • There were several questions today about the role of the Federal government in long term care homes. The PM said that we need to do better for our seniors. He said the current system, which is a Provincial responsibility has not worked. He said “the Provinces have failed to serve our seniors. We want to respect the Provincial jurisdiction. Do we need Federal standards or do the Provinces just need to increase their?” The Federal government is ready to do more through funding or guidelines. These are the issues he will be discussing again tonight on his weekly call with Premiers.
      • In response to a the Provinces asking for more health care transfers. The PM said he would not negotiate in public, but that this is something that will be discussed with the Premiers.
      • The PM was asked about Premier Legault’s decision to no longer publish daily case numbers or the number of deaths. He said that every Provinces situation is different for example PEI hasn’t seen any new cases in days, but Quebec is different and still has significant daily cases and deaths. “I hope that Premier Legault will continue to be open and transparent with the citizens of the Province.”
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier together with Jill Dunlop Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues announced the 2020 Youth Opportunities Fund recipients. – Media Release
      • The 2020 Youth Opportunities Fund will provide financial support to 43 community organizations that will benefit youth aged 12 to 25, and their families.
    • Question Period:
      • There were several questions to the Premier on Mayor Tory’s motion on “detasking” the Toronto Police of several responsibilities. The Premier feels it is an mistake to defund police. He does not believe in cutting police budgets, he feels their budgets should be increased. “Remember if you call 911 – they are already short 100 officers” “Do not cut front line officers.” We need to get more money from the federal government. He said he would like to sit down and speak with Mayors as well as the Police.
      • On calls from the tourism industry to open borders and let travelers from certain countries into Canada and doing away with the 14 day quarantine. The Premier “spoke to an expert” on this, “and what about the second wave. It will happen when we fully reopen and let people in from other countries.” States like Florida and Texas are seeing big spikes and he is not comfortable opening up the border to the US.
      • On the Quebec’s decision to no longer release daily numbers. Minister Elliott. “The Premier has committed that the people of Ontario will know what he knows.” Ontario will continue to report daily numbers. The people of the province are entitled to those numbers.
      • He was asked when kids can go back to using playgrounds. He said probably in Stage 3. Dr. Williams and the health table will provide guidance on this. Local Chief Medical Officers have the authority to decide what makes sense in their communities.
      • If there is a second wave is there a plan in place to go back to Stage 1. The Premier said “we are better prepared now than we were at the start of this. We’ve lived the experience . Everyone joined together and we got through it.”
      • He was asked to respond to comments made by the PM during his briefing today, saying that “Provinces failed seniors.” The Premier “put your money where your mouth is. I am a little shocked at his comments. We’re all in this together. We need a partnership. I’m not knocking the guy, because he’s been pretty good. But we need his help.”
    • Other announcements:
      • Businesses and Services to Reopen in Windsor-Essex, with ExceptionsMedia Release
        1. The Ontario government is allowing Windsor-Essex to move into Stage 2 of reopening on Thursday, June 25, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., with the exception of the Municipality of Leamington and the Town of Kingsville.
        2. These areas are being held back due to the higher transmission rates in the local agriculture and agri-food sector. This decision was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the local Medical Officer of Health of Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020:

  • Burlington’s Spray pads to open June 26; Redesigned summer camps and outdoor pools open July 13
  • Ontario Extends Declaration of Emergency to July 15
  • LaSalle Park Community Marina Announces Marina and Sailing Programs Closed for 2020 Summer Season
  • Burlington Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 Business Excellence Awards Go Virtual
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Prime Minister Trudeau did not hold a COVID-19 briefing today.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s  Provincial briefing:
      • The Premier announced that parts of Windsor-Essex will be able to move into  Stage 2 tomorrow, however Leamington and Kingsville will remain in Stage 1.
      • He also announced a three point plan to help address the outbreaks at farms. – Media Release
      • The three-point plan builds on the work already underway by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit and enhances the coordinated efforts of the province, federal and local authorities. The plan’s three points are as follows:
        1. Ongoing and expanded on-site testing
        2. Access to Employment Benefits and Supports
        3. New Public Health Guidance
      • Minister McNaughton spoke about the new inspections that will be starting, a joint effort between the Provincial and Federal governments. Inspections will be of the work sites and bunk house (the federal government has the authority to inspect bunk houses)
      • Migrant workers are entitled to the same rights and protections as all workers in Ontario
    • Question Period:
      • There was a question of clarity regarding the new health guidance that would allow asymptomatic workers, who tested positive to work in isolation. Dr. Williams said that Ontario was one of the first provinces to do this type of testing. Workers who have tested positive and are asymptomatic are put together in clusters. They work and live together.
      • The Premier was asked about an inappropriate comment made to him in the legislature today by an NDP MPP. He said he’s never heard any swear in the legislature before. “It’s water off a duck’s back. I forgive the guy”
      • Premier can’t wait to go Windsor-Essex to get his haircut.
      • Premier was asked why he wouldn’t name farms with outbreaks, the way they named long term care homes. “It’s comparing apples to oranges” “We need to walk a mile in the farmer’s shoes.” He spoke about how easily farmers could lose their businesses and the need to protect them and their workers who have come to Canada to make a living. “Everyone is working together.”
      • The Premier was asked to comment on the racial slurs migrant workers in Brantford have been subjected to. He said he would not tolerate this. People here are not willing to do the work the migrant workers have come to Canada to do. “They are putting the fruits and vegetables on the table that we all eat.”
      • Regarding Crystal Beach only being open to locals. Premier “beaches should be available to everyone” But he understand that there were problems last weekend.
      • He closed by saying that the money the federal government has offered is not enough. Regarding funding for municipalities he said the Province would step up and put “our money where our mouth is” to support municipalities.
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Ontario Extends Declaration of Emergency to July 15 – Media Release
        1. In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government has extended the provincial Declaration of Emergency under s.7.0.7 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to July 15, 2020. This extension, approved by the Ontario Legislature earlier today, provides Ontario with the additional time, flexibility, and the necessary tools to safely and gradually allow more places to reopen, while continuing to support frontline health care providers in the fight against COVID-19.
        2. Emergency orders in force under the Declaration of Emergency include those allowing frontline care providers to redeploy staff to areas most in need, limiting long-term care and retirement home employees to working at one home, and enabling public health units to redeploy or hire staff to support the province’s enhanced case management and contact tracing strategy.
        3. These measures continue to be needed to protect seniors and other vulnerable populations from the threat of COVID-19. The extension of the Declaration of Emergency will allow the province to make or amend emergency orders as needed as it continues to ease restrictions in support of its phased reopening.
        4. The government will also continue to review emergency orders currently in place to determine when and if it is safe to amend or lift them as more places in the province are allowed to reopen in a safe and measured way.
        5. A full list of emergency orders can be found on the e-Laws website under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and at Ontario.ca/alert.
      • Ontario Investing to Help Franco-Ontarian Communities Grow and Support RecoveryMedia Release
        1. As the province begins its economic recovery, the government is launching the 2020-21 edition of the Francophone Community Grants Program to support Ontario’s francophone businesses and community organizations, as well as those that serve French-speaking Ontarians.
        2. The Francophone Community Grants Program is a two-stream, application-based funding program. Funding provided under the Economic Development stream helps francophone entrepreneurs and businesses improve front-line services and better serve their French-speaking clients and partners. Under the Cultural and Community stream, the Program invests in local cultural and community initiatives, demonstrating the government’s ongoing commitment to protecting and promoting the French language and culture.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020:

  • City of Burlington Preparing to Partially Open Lowville Park on June 29
  • Ontario Introduces New Math Curriculum for Elementary Students
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • Prime Minister Trudeau did not hold a COVID-19 briefing today.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UDPATES:
    • Highlights from today’s Provincial briefing:
      • The Premier started his briefing today with a message to farmers urging them to co-operate. He encouraged farm workers to get tested and told them that if they did test positive and needed to self-isolate their time off of work would be covered by WSIB.
      • A plan to help farmers and move Windsor-Essex to Stage 1 will be released tomorrow.
      • The Premier and Minister Lecce announced the new math curriculum for elementary students. – Media Release
      • The curriculum was developed over two years in consultation with parents, math educators, academics and math education experts, and is designed to reverse a decade of declining math scores. It will be available to students across the province beginning in September 2020.
      • The new math curriculum for Grades 1-8 will:
        1. Build understanding of the value and use of money through mandatory financial literacy concepts;
        2. For the first time, teach coding or computer programming skills starting in Grade 1 to improve problem solving and fluency with technology, to prepare students for jobs of the future;
        3. Use relevant, current, and practical examples so students can connect math to everyday life;
        4. Put a focus on fundamental math concepts and skills, such as learning and recalling number facts.
      • The new math curriculum will be the first uploaded to the new Curriculum and Resources website, a digital space where anyone can access curriculum and learning resources. This platform will help parents, students, and teachers see connections between learning in different grades and subjects.
      • Minister Lecce also announced that for the 2020-2021 school year EQAO testing would be cancelled for grades 3 and 6.
    • Question Period:
      • On why the EQAO tests were being cancelled. Minister Lecce “we want students and teachers to focus on the new curriculum.”
      • With so much uncertainty about the coming school year is now the right time to unveil a new curriculum? Minister Lecce “we must take action now. We’ve got to do better at the foundations of math.” People asked us for this change.
      • The Premier was asked if he would get a haircut on Wednesday. He said that he would not get his haircut or visit a restaurant patio until the people of Windsor-Essex could do the same.
      • Minister Lecce was asked if it was fair to expect teachers to learn a new curriculum in the middle of a pandemic. “We will be teaching children math in September and our preference, as a government, is to move forward with a curriculum that will help children get jobs in the future.”
      • On whether the Province will make masks mandatory. Dr. Williams said that they were looking at the research on mask wearing. To date they have found that people have responded well to wearing them voluntarily. “We want everyone to do what they need to do. We have seen evidence on how people can pull together and do the right thing.”
      • The Premier said that policing mandatory mask wearing would be difficult. Minister Elliott, “ we don’t believe it is necessary to mandate people to wear masks. People are being sensible and responsible and wearing masks.”
      • The Premier was asked about restaurant owners in Hamilton being turned down for their patio requests. Premier “I’m not sure why the city is doing this.” He thinks it should be alright.
      • There were questions about the poor behavior on beaches over the weekend. The Premier’s message to young people “you can catch COVID.” He told them they need to be responsible. “If the behavior continues beaches will be shut down.”
      • The Premier was asked if his conciliatory tone today towards farmers was a result of phone calls from farmers. He did hear from farmers after yesterday’s briefing. He said the Province will support farmers. He said there was a lot of “tension” in Windsor- Essex right now and that “we need to work together.”
      • Dr. Hyer commented that the farm industry has been working closely with local health providers to ensure the best protection measures are in place for workers.  A “multi-disciplinary” health approach is being provided.

Monday, June 22, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM stated that 2.6 million Canadian have stayed in the workplace through the use of the Wage Subsidy program
      • Some industries have been hit harder than others, making it harder for people to find work
      • The PM announced funding for a Winnipeg based food plant that makes plant-based meat substitutes
      • During the federal ministers briefing it was announced that increased access to federal workplaces will begin, however many federal public servants will continue to work remotely. Access to federal worksites for the public and employees will be gradual.
    • Question Period:
      • There were several questions for the PM on temporary workers. PM said that anyone who works in Canada should be able to do so safely. “We need to do a better job ensuring that rules are being followed,” around how temporary workers are being treated. “Canada will continue to work with Mexico as we continue to receive workers to work on farms in Canada.”
      • The PM also said that rules were not followed in the cases of deaths of the three Mexican workers. “We have a quarantine period in place along with other protective measures (physical distancing).” Many facilities that employee temporary foreign workers have been following the rules. In the facilities that have not, “we are looking carefully into these cases, and there will be consequences.”
      • Canadian Airlines has asked the federal government to lift the international travel ban. “Reopening too quickly may led to a resurgence” that would mean we would have to shut things down again. If we allow visitors into Canada we do run the risk of another wave. “We are going to be very careful about when and how we reopen international borders.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier announced that as of June 24, at 12:01 a.m. Toronto and Peel Region would be moving into Stage 2 – Media Release
      • The threat of the virus is too great in Windsor- Essex so they will remain in Stage 1
      • Premier is doing everything in his power to address the situation. Mobile testing units have been sent to farms and food processing plants.
      • To ensure the region is able to move forward as soon as it is safe to do so, the province is building on the work completed by Windsor-Essex County Health Unit to date and collaborating with federal and local authorities to support the implementation of a targeted and collaborative response that includes:
        1. Continuing with proactive targeted testing for agri-food workers, including enhanced on-farm testing;
        2. Conducting more than 200 Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development on-farm inspections and investigations;
        3. Starting new joint inspections of farms with federal authorities to review current working and living conditions of temporary foreign workers with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and local public health officials;
        4. Providing $15 million through the Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection program, which provides cost-share funding to improve employee and workplace health and safety on farms and in processing facilities. The funding can be used to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE), put up physical barriers, make housing modifications, or provide alternate housing or other measures;
        5. Translating COVID-19 health and safety guidance documents into Spanish and posting them on Ontario.ca/covidsafety. Additional resources, including webinars and helpful posters, are also available, and will help farmers and other agri-food employers provide safe and healthy workplaces;
        6. Providing specific funding to Workplace Safety and Prevention Services to deliver resources and consulting services to help farmers and other agri-food businesses provide safe workplaces; and
        7. Continuing to press the federal government to provide new funding to support priority sectors impacted by COVID-19, including the agricultural sector, as the province reopens and charts a path to economic recovery.
      • Minister McNaughton spoke about the collaboration between the federal and provincial governments on new enhanced farm inspections. These will begin this week.
      • Minister Elliott “never been more important to practice physical distancing and wear a face covering.”
      • Minister Phillips said they would have more details to share on Stage 3 soon. He said that reopening was “complex.” “Trust is the most important factor of this work.” He said he is seeing businesses innovate as they reopen.
    •  Question Period:
      • The areas in Windsor-Essex without temporary workers are not seeing increases. Premier “farmers are not cooperating. They are not getting workers tested. It is not fair to the businesses. We will continue trying,” to work with them. We will go to the extreme to make sure things get done. “We will bend over backwards to help. It is frustrating. Please cooperate!”
      • Minister Elliott was asked about the efforts of hospitals in Windsor-Essex. “They have gone above and beyond.” They have set up testing units. The Province will be sending mobile testing units to farms to do testing.
      • Premier said that this situation is “totally unfair” to the rest of Windsor. “Just cooperate. It’s not fair and I feel sorry for them.”
      • Premier was asked about the situation in Halton and Chief Tanner’s comments regarding the police’s limited ability to suspend officers without pay. The Premier said he would like to speak to Police Chiefs and the Police Association about this.
      • On questions regarding pictures of groups gathering an partying at Cherry Beach in Toronto and whether Toronto should ramp up enforcement. The Premier said the pictures “looked like Floridaand we know what happened there. This fight is not over. We need to continue washing our hands and practice social distancing”
      • Premier was asked about comments made by Tim Hudak regarding the use of empty building for classrooms. School boards have been “empowered” to come up with a plan that suits their community’s needs. August 4 is the deadline for these plans. Province’s number one priority is for kids to come back to a safe environment.
      • Regarding car insurance rebates. Minister Phillips said that working with the independent insurance regulator the information on companies that did not provide rebates will be shared. Minister Phillips said that he understands the Desjardins has not provided the support other companies have.
      • On when we will move to Stage 3. Minister Elliott “We want to see Windsor-Essex move to stage 1 first.” An analysis of the impacts of moving to stage 2 needs to be done before moving to stage 3. Minister Phillips, “we need 2 to 4 weeks between stages. The priority for stage 3 is a safe experience for customers and viability of businesses.”
      • Regarding talk of a pending cabinet shuffle.  Premier “Right now we have the best cabinet .” He loves his team.
    •  Today’s other announcements:
      • Ontario Announces Members of New Indigenous Women’s Advisory CouncilMedia Release
        1. the Ontario government announced members of the new Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council. The Council includes First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and LGBTQ2S leaders on violence prevention who will provide input on issues impacting their communities such as human trafficking and child, youth and family well-being.
        2. Today’s announcement is being made for National Indigenous Peoples Day.
        3. The Council will be co-chaired by Cora-lee McGuire-Cyrette, Executive Director of the Ontario Native Women’s Association. The other co-chair will be selected at the Council’s first meeting in early July 2020.

Friday, June 19, 2020:

  • Temporary Outdoor Patios: Burlington City Council approves bylaw amendments and program changes to encourage economic recovery during COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Task Force Meeting #10 Highlights
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • There was no federal COVID-19 briefing today. The Prime Minister did take questions while on a site visit.
    • Question Period:
      • The PM was asked about the $14 billion of funding for Provinces and the fact there this is still no agreement in place. Provinces do not want strings attached to the funding. The PM said the funding is to ensure all Canadians across the country are assured of a safe restart of the economy, which includes ensuring there are adequate supplies of PPE for workers as they get back to work, there are enough safe child care spaces for children as parents return to work and that municipalities do not have to lay off staff.
      • “We want to ensure that the money will be spent on the essential items necessary to restart the economy.”
      • Regarding the money for municipalities he was asked if the provinces were being told how much to give municipalities. He did not answer that question but did say he recognizes that municipalities are under provincial jurisdiction and that they are dealing with increased expenditures as a result of the pandemic. As the provinces are responsible for municipalities his expectation is that they will also providing funding for them.
      • He was asked what the hold up was on flowing the $14 billion to Provinces. He stressed that the funds are to ensure that every Canadian feels they are properly supported and protected. And while there is some flexibility the Federal government expects that the money will go where they want it to, “the money for municipalities goes to municipalities and is matched.”
      • He hoped that there would be some news to share soon on this agreement.
    • First Ministers Meeting Readout:
      • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland held their fourteenth weekly call with Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers yesterday.
      • First Ministers continued their discussion on measures being taken to safely restart the economy, including a contribution of $14 billion the Government of Canada is putting toward a federal-provincial-territorial agreement to address critical needs across the country over the next six to eight months.
      • This will help Canada minimize the impact of future waves of COVID-19, including by significantly ramping up testing and contact tracing, securing a sufficient supply of personal protective equipment, and ensuring health care systems have the capacity to manage future outbreaks.
      • These investments will also provide support for vulnerable populations, help ensure the safety of child care centres for both children and educators, support essential municipal services, and provide paid sick leave.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier  and Minister Elliott were joined by the Minister of Education (by video).
      • Similar to the regional reopening that was taken for communities the reopening of schools will not be a blanket approach for the province. Instead the Province will empower school boards to prepare for reopening. – Media Release
      • The Ontario government released its safety plan for the resumption of class for the 2020-21 school year, outlining scenarios for how students, teachers and staff can safely return to classrooms in September.
      • The plan also provides choice to parents, enhanced online learning, and additional funding. While the decision to return to the normal school day routine will continue to be based on medical advice, boards and schools are being asked to plan for alternative scenarios that may need to be implemented in September depending on the province’s COVID-19 situation.
      • Ontario’s plan to safely reopen schools will provide options for parents – to send their children in-class or to enter online learning – with health, safety and well-being at its core. Boards will be asked to plan for the following three scenarios to be implemented in September, depending on the public health situation at the time:
        1. Normal school day routine with enhanced public health protocols – Students going to school every day, in classes that reflect standard class size regulations.
        2. Modified school day routine – Based on public health advice, an adapted delivery model has been designed to allow for physical distancing and cohorts of students. Under this model, school boards are asked to maintain a limit of 15 students in a typical classroom at one time and adopt timetabling that would allow for students to remain in contact only with their classmates and a single teacher for as much of the school day as possible. This model would require alternate day or alternate week delivery to a segment of the class at one time.
        3. At home learning – Should the school closure be extended, or some parents choose not to send their child back to school, school boards need to be prepared to offer remote education. Remote education should be delivered online to the greatest extent possible, including the establishment of minimum expectations for students to have direct contact with their teacher at the same time on a regular basis, also known as synchronous learning. Synchronous learning can be used as part of whole class instruction, in smaller groups of students, and/or in a one-on-one context.
      • The government is instructing school boards to be prepared with a plan, should it be required, that includes an adapted delivery model, which could include alternate day or alternate week attendance, staggered bell times and recess, and different transportation arrangements, among a variety of other considerations to ensure the safety of students and staff.
      • Parents have a choice, if they aren’t comfortable sending their children to school they will have the option of keeping their children at home.
    • Question Period:
      • Will there be a patchwork of health guideline throughout the province. Minister Lecce Provincial guidelines will be provided  to all school boards. As conditions in a community related to the number of cases get better schools boards can move up to a more conventional setting.
      • The cohorting approach (groups of 15) will allow kids to be kids.
      • Premier was asked about whether there would be a change in the number retail stat holidays. There will NOT. There are currently nine.
      • What about parents who have full time jobs?  Minister Lecce “We recognize the consequence of these decisions.” The province’s commitment is to keeping children safe. They was a positive, successful and safe return to school.
      • There were questions that what the province announced today did not provide clarity to parents. Minister Lecce – parents will have a choice. Schools will reopen in September. School boards have been asked to develop a plan for every scenario.
      • Minister Lecce was asked if there was a specific number of cases required before kids could move back to conventional classes. He did not specify.
      • On whether there will be enough teachers to provide instruction in this hybrid model. Minister Lecce said that teachers should be prepared to provide in class instruction in September and also to deliver on line learning. Professional development will be provided to teachers to assist them will delivering on line learning.

Thursday, June 18, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • PM spoke about Canada’s lost bid for a UN Security Council Seat.
      • He said that Canada will continue to work with its International partners on issues such as climate change, sustainable peace and women’s issues
      • He announced the release of a new national contact tracing mobile APP that will soon be tested in Ontario. Premier Ford will provide more details.
      • The APP will be completely voluntary. It will inform users if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
      • It will work best when more people use it.
      • How it works – If you have tested positive Health Canada will help you upload your status to an anonymous national network. Other users who have been in contact with you will receive a notification that someone they have been in contact with has tested positive. You will be asked to contact your local public health department who will give you advice on the next steps.
      • No location service will be used. Privacy will respected at all times.
    • Question Period:
      • On the lost bid for the seat on the UN Security Council. PM  acknowledged his disappointment. “We worked hard to deepen our friendships on important issues. We were able to strengthen our ties around the world during these turbulent times.”
      • He will be speaking to Premiers tonight about working together on systemic racism.
      • He is “disappointed that the Bloc does not acknowledge that systemic racism exists” Recognizing systemic racism exists is the first step to making change.
      • There were several questions regarding the APP. He said that we learned from what happened in other countries. Other APPS drained phone batteries. This version can be downloaded and forgotten about. “Completely anonymous. No geo tagging.”
      • He spoke about three aspects of the APP – 1. It is a national APP, that will be adjusted for each Province. 2. The data will be held in a federal data bank located in Canada. There will be anonymous codes associated with phones for those who test positive and those who have downloaded the APP. 3. Public Health departments in every Province will have a role to play assisting people who receive an alert that they have been in contact with someone who tested positive.
      • The government worked with the Privacy Commissioner on the development of this APP>
      • The more people who download the APP the more helpful it will be. “If 50% of Canadians download the APP it will be extremely helpful”
      • It will be available in early July.
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Prime Minister announces new mobile app to help notify Canadians of COVID-19 exposureMedia Release
        1. As Canada begins to ease restrictions and take steps to restart the economy, the Government of Canada is working closely with provinces and territories to keep Canadian families and communities safe and healthy.
        2. The app, originally developed by the Government of Ontario, will help Canadians and public health officials identify and isolate the spread of the virus more quickly, which is an important step toward containing the virus and safely restarting the economy.
        3. Use of the app will be voluntary.
        4. If someone tests positive for COVID-19, a health care provider will give them a unique temporary code, so they can upload their status anonymously to a national network. Other users who have downloaded the app and come in contact with that person will be notified, through the app, that they may have been exposed to the virus. The app will also provide users with information on steps they can take to keep themselves and others safe, and we are working with the provinces and territories so they can customize public health information based on their own jurisdiction.
        5. The app will be available to Canadians for free download in the coming weeks, with health authorities in Ontario being the first to distribute the unique, temporary codes to people who test positive for COVID-19.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier spoke about the province’s expanded testing and tracing efforts “If we trace we can track it”
      • He and Minister Elliott announced the province’s new Enhance Case Management and Contact Tracing Strategy – Media Release
      • The government’s enhanced strategy focuses on strengthening and standardizing case and contact management by:
        1. Ensuring that all new cases and their close contacts are identified early, contacted quickly, investigated thoroughly and are followed up with daily for up to 14 days;
        2. Supporting public health units with up to 1,700 additional staff from Statistics Canada;
        3. Improving technology tools by modernizing the integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS) through the implementation of a new custom-built COVID-19 case and contact management system; and
        4. Launching a privacy-first exposure notification app to alert Ontarians when they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
      • Ontario is providing updated case and contact management guidance for all public health units to ensure consistency across the province. To continue to ensure cases and their contacts are reached in a timely and effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, public health units will:
        1. Connect with cases, and with all individuals who have had close contact with a positive case, within 24 hours of being identified;
        2. Direct all close contacts to self-isolate for up to 14 days;
        3. Follow up with close contacts every day for the duration of their self-isolation; and
      • Advise testing of all appropriate close contacts.
      • The Premier also announced the new, “made in Ontario” exposure notification mobile APP – COVID Alert.
      • Ontario is partnering with the federal government to launch the a new privacy-first exposure notification app, within the next two weeks.
      • One of the overarching principles is ensuring the privacy and security for all users, which is why the government will leverage BlackBerry volunteer expertise to audit the security and privacy of the application, in addition to the province’s internal security reviews.
      • Users will be able to voluntarily download the app and be notified anonymously if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked how receptive he thought people would be to the APP and downloading it? “If we don’t have the co-operation of the people of Ontario it won’t work.” He assured people of their privacy. “It will protect us.”
      • He talked about there be three elements: health (PPE, wearing masks and ensuring hospitals were ready), testing and contact tracing. “I am so pleased today. Everything has come together.”
      • There were some questions about the fact that government was looking at extended the State of Emergency until July 15 and what impact that would have on the emergency orders that are in place. Even after the State of Emergency is revoked, any current emergency order can be continues in 14 day increments after. The province can’t amend those orders or create new ones.
      • Regarding the percentage of up take the APP needs to be effective. No one provided a definitive answer. Dr. Williams, “it’s a new thing. We’ll see how the public embraces it.”
      • In response to questions about the government’s position on the environment, Premier “We will never touch the Greenbelt.”
    • Today’s other announcements
      • Ontario Makes Major Investment in Mental Health and Technology to Support StudentsMedia Release
        1. Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, announced $15 million to purchase thousands of classroom computers, and $10 million to hire additional mental health workers. These new resources will help ensure students can return to school with the confidence and the tools they need to succeed. This funding represents the highest amount the Ministry of Education has ever dedicated to these two areas through the Grants for Student Needs (GSN).
        2. Through consultations with Public Health Ontario, the Hospital for Sick Children and front-line workers, the government heard about the need for enhanced mental health supports to respond to COVID-19. This new $10 million investment will provide students with unprecedented direct access to regulated mental health professionals and significantly reduce wait times.
      • Ontario Pauses Commercial EvictionsMedia Release
        1. Today, the Ontario government passed the Protecting Small Business Act, temporarily halting or reversing evictions of commercial tenants and protecting them from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19. The legislation applies to businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance for evictions from May 1, 2020 until August 31, 2020.
        2. Landlords and tenants are encouraged to participate in the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The pause on evictions does not apply to those participating in CECRA for small businesses, as the program requires landlords to enter into a rent reduction agreement with their impacted small business tenants and commits them to a moratorium on evictions for three months
      • Ontario Proposes to Further Protect Water ResourcesMedia Release
        1. The Ontario government is seeking public input on its water quantity management proposal. The proposal aims to protect the long-term sustainability of surface water and groundwater and ensure these important resources are responsibly managed and safeguarded now and into the future, as committed in the province’s Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.
        2. The proposal would also give municipalities a greater say in allowing companies to withdraw groundwater in their communities for bottled water
      • Ontario to Gradually Reopen DriveTest Centres Across Province – Media Release
        1. Ontario’s driver testing services provider, DriveTest, will begin offering limited services across the province beginning Monday, June 22, 2020, with the expectation of restoring full services by September.
        2. This gradual, staggered approach, based on customer date of birth, will ensure that strict protocols are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
        3. DriveTest centres will begin serving customers based on when they were born to reduce crowding, support new requirements for physical distancing, health checks and enhanced sanitation.
        4. People with birthdays between January to June will be allowed to visit a centre the first week of reopening, and people with birthdays between July to December will have access to DriveTest services the following week. Access to DriveTest services will continue to alternate weekly until full services are restored.
        5. Details of the DriveTest reopening plan, which outline the driver testing services available, how to access DriveTest centres, and which customers are being served each week, will be updated every Monday on DriveTest.ca.
      • Ontario Moves Forward with Infrastructure Projects that Improve Communities and Create JobsMedia Release
        1. The Ontario government continues to move forward with 37 major infrastructure projects across the province using the public-private partnership (P3) model. The projects were listed in the Spring 2020 P3 Market Update (known in the market as updates to the “P3 Pipeline”), which was released today by Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure.
        2. The P3 Market Update is a list of public projects in the pre-procurement and procurement stages for which Ontario has committed funding. The list helps potential local and global private sector partners organize their time and resources to make sure Ontario gets robust, innovative and competitive bids for its P3 infrastructure projects.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020:

  • Ontario Extends Emergency Orders to June 30
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • On July 8, Minister Morneau will release an Economic and Fiscal snapshot detailing what we know about Canada’s economy today and updating Canadians on the COVID response
      • The snapshot will include a comparison of Canada’s response to the pandemic with that of other countries
      • The PM announced $500 million of funding for researchers through a grants program to study the virus and AI
      • The Canadian Fish and Seafoods Opportunities fund will be reopening. The fund provides funding to access new markets.
      • Assistance is also available to through the Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund. This fund is for buying PPE, extra freezers to store products until a buyer can be found.
      • As of Monday Parks Canada will gradually start reopening their sites for camping.
    • Question Period:
      • There were a number of questions about the economic snapshot. The PM said the current situation is too uncertain for an economic update, which would include predictions about the future – we can’t make responsible predictions. This snapshot will show the “scale and magnitude” of the supports that have been provided. “All the measures will be pulled together.” It will have a “couple of projections” but they won’t go too many years into the future. Focus is on transparency.
      • The PM was asked if this fiscal snapshot meant all their funding announcements were made. “We will keep adjusting as we go, but this is a natural time for bundling up what we have done.” We are moving from the emergency phase to reopening. “This doesn’t mean there will not be other initiatives if there is a second wave or we have to extend certain programs. We will continue to be transparent on the decisions we make to keep Canadians safe.”
      • The discussions with Quebec and the military support in long term care homes continue. There will be announcements coming.
      • He was asked about the 14 day quarantine for NHL players and whether they could be deemed essential workers. “We will be making announcements about that at the appropriate time. We are open to making agreements” as long as the principles of keeping Canadian safe and preventing the spread of the virus are upheld. Discussions continue with the NHL and provincial and local health agencies.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • Today’s provincial update from Premier Ford — Premier Doug Ford was joined by Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, to make an announcement.
    • Question Period:
      • What is the province doing to protect migrant farm workers? Testing is onsite and testing as many as possible. Biggest area of concern is Windsor-Essex. Farmers are doing everything they can to protect the workers. Every workplace should develop a workplace safety plan to protect workers from COVID-19.
      • Is Ontario going to follow BC in stopping civil litigations related to COVID-19? Yes, this will be considered and is being discussed for Ontario
      • Is Ontario prepared to mandate face coverings for big box stores? Minister Elliot – physical distance is the best way to prevent the spread. Masks are for circumstances where this cannot be done. Retailers have the right to require customers to wear masks in their establishments. We want to work with the retailers, not mandate. It is highly recommended that everyone wear a mask when out in stores, transit and places where physical distancing is difficult. Also working with auto industry to keep work here and workers safe but can’t have too many regulations or they won’t keep their auto manufacturing in Ontario.
      • Thoughts on Markham Mayor wanting to mandate masks be worn in Markham? Premier will be speaking to him on this as he wants masks to be recommended but not dedicate bylaw enforcement to try to mandate everyone to wear them.
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Ontario Extends Emergency OrdersMedia Release
        1. The Ontario government has extended all emergency orders currently in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This extension will be in effect until June 30, 2020 to ensure the government continues to have the necessary tools to safely and gradually reopen the province, while continuing to support frontline health care workers and protect vulnerable populations from COVID-19.
        2. While current emergency orders will remain in place until the end of the month, the government will continue to review each one on an ongoing, case-by-case basis to determine when and if they can safely be adjusted or lifted, as part of the province’s framework to safely reopen the province.
      • Canada and Ontario Support Beef and Hog Farmers During COVID-19Media Release
        1. The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $10 million in emergency assistance for beef and hog farmers. The funding will help cover the increased costs of feeding market ready cattle and hogs due to COVID-19 related processing delays, while redirecting surplus pork products to help those in need. This program will help ensure the country’s food supply chain will remain strong and ready to recover as the economy gradually and safely reopens.
        2. Both the beef cattle set-aside and hog sector support programs are being offered through AgriRecovery initiatives, under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The provincial contributions are part of Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020:

  • What Does Stage 2 Mean for Burlington?
  • Restaurant Re-openings & Patio Permissions
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM announced today that CERB will be extended for an additional 8 weeks. Over the coming weeks the Federal government will look at international best practices, monitor the economy and the progression of the virus to find ways to improve the program.
      • “As the situation evolves so to must our response. Our government will continue to be there for you.”
      • The PM also announced that the closure of Canada/US border will remain in place for another 30 days – July 21. “This will protect people on both sides of the border”
    • Question Period:
      • The PM was asked about Mexico not sending any more workers to Canada until things get safer. He has spoken with the Mexican President and assured him “we are working hard to ensure the safety of all workers including foreign workers.”
      • Regarding the CERB – we want to encourage people to look for work and to take jobs when they become available. “But we know there aren’t enough jobs for everyone.” (there are approximately 2 million Canadians collecting the CERB)
      • PM was asked how much the extension of the CERB was going to cost. “We hope that as the economy reopens fewer people will need the CERB.”
      • On whether the NHL will move forward with a Canadian hub. The PM said the federal government is okay with a Canadian hub. It is a local decision and provincial/municipal health authorities must  provide the okay. The decision will be made by the NHL.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier spoke about the need to inspire confidence amongst workers and customers. People must have confidence to engage in the economy as we reopen the Province.
      • The Province released a guide for employers on how to develop a workplace safety plan – Media Release
      • The new downloadable toolkit offers tips on how to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as more people get back on the job during Stage 2 of the reopening of the province.
      • The new guide will help each employer create a safety plan that is right for their own unique workplace. It includes information on the use of face coverings, as well as applying controls in the workplace, from most important to least important. It also includes information on what personal protective equipment may be needed for workers.
      • The government’s first general workplace guide is accompanied by a template that employers can fill in to develop their own unique COVID-19 safety plan. The materials will help employers:
        1. Identify the risks for transmitting the virus;
        2. Determine what controls are needed to help mitigate risk;
        3. Create a workplace safety plan based on the identified risks and appropriate controls specific to the employer’s workplace;
        4. Implement the plan in the workplace, and review and update it as the situation evolves; and
        5. Communicate the actions being taken to workers and other people entering the workplace.
    • Question Period:
      • Premier was asked about mandating migrant workers to get tested. “We cannot force anyone to get a test.” The farmers’ priority is to keep their workers safe. “We need to get people tested. Everyone is nervous. We need the cooperation of the farmers and the workers.”
      • He said he will be speaking to the PM about this issue on their call this week.
      • Would the government mandate the wearing of face masks? Minister Elliott, “physical distancing is the most important rule to follow.” When it is not possible a face mask is recommended. Mask wearing is not legally mandatory before going into establishments, but it is recommended when physical distancing is not possible. Retailers have the right to mandate wearing masks in their stores.
      • The Premier said he would be speaking to the head of Home Depot about mask wearing.
      • The Mayor of Vaughan has asked that masks be made mandatory because of his concern that people from Toronto and Peel will come to Vaughan. The Premier “we don’t want to force anyone to do anything but, if you’re going into a store, wear a face mask. We don’t have the manpower to police 14.5 million people (on mask wearing).
      • He was asked about reports that Ford would be discontinuing one of its lines at the Oakville plant. The Premier “this is concerning. We need to give companies a reason to sell Ontario.” We have to cut red tape and regulations. “We need to create an environment to be competitive or we will lose a lot of companies.”

Monday, June 15, 2020:

  • Ontario Eases Restrictions on Wedding and Funeral Ceremonies — Attendees Will Still be Required to Practice Physical Distancing
  • Halton Among Additional Regions Moving into Stage 2 this Friday, Province announces
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM urged all employers to use the wage subsidy program.
      • Canadian Emergency Business Account – the eligibility criteria will be expanded and the new application process will open on Friday
      • A plan to expand the CERB is being worked on for people who can’t return to work because of the pandemic – more details will be available in the coming days
      • Recognized all public servants as part of National Public Service week
      • Applications will begin to be accepted for the surplus food program – farmers and producers who aren’t able to get all of the products distributed due to the pandemic will be able to apply for this program where the federal government will help relieve farmers of any unused products and get them to people in need
      • He also recognized World Elder Abuse Day
    • Question Period:
      • He was asked to provide more details on the CERB extension- “We will be there for Canadians.” The parameters of the program, along with an extension are expected.
      • Regarding the lack of up take on the commercial rent subsidy program, the PM said he has been urging provinces to put bans on commercial rent evictions.
      • Some states that have reopened (New York and Texas) have seen another spike in cases and may be looking at another lockdown. How will this impact the Canada/US border? The PM has spoken with Premiers about the border issues and there is “clear consensus” that we maintain the current measures with the US.
      • He was asked to comment on the report cases of US tourists coming in to Canada over the weekend.  “We are aware of these reports. We need to keep doing everything we can to keep Canadians safe.”
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier announced that the following seven regions will be able to move into Stage 2 on Friday June 19, at 12:01 a.m. : Durham, Hamilton, York, Halton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk and Sarnia Lambton County – Media Release
      • Three regions remain in Stage 1 – Peel, Toronto and Windsor Essex
      • Reporting lower than 200 cases again today in Ontario
      • Testing numbers have climbed — 1 Million tests have been done in Ontario.
      • Minister MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Tourism, Culture, and Sport Industries announced the investment of $13 million to explore the beauty of Ontario virtually.
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked again today about issues of a regional opening, the risk of spreading the cases from one region to the next
      • On when will Toronto move to stage 2. Minister Elliott we want to reopen in careful measured way and “we want to keep everyone in Ontario safe”
      • Is the ideal plan to have Toronto, Peel and Windsor Essex in Stage 2 by next Friday? The Premier “I would love to see that” but we’ll have to wait to see the numbers.
      • No exact date for the updated modeling numbers.
      • Asked if he received any push back from the mayors of Toronto or Mississauga about not moving them to Stage 2 this week – he did not
      • Premier commented about how long it takes to get a building permit issued. There is too much red tape and regulations. Rod Phillips on recovery plan, “what is going to take to restore confidence.” People won’t go back to restaurants or riding transit, just because it’s open. Minister MacLeod refers to the triple threat the tourism and hospitality industry will face in reopening – public health crisis, economic fallout and social/consumer behaviour. She will be travelling throughout the Province to demonstrate the safety measures that are in place. She said there will need to be some incentivization. “Building back that confidence is going to be critical.”
      • On the migrant worker outbreaks – the Premier stressed that these workers contracted the virus when they came to Ontario.
      • The Premier was asked about people from Toronto and Peel from going to the Niagara region. The Premier understands, but is supporting the decision of the Chief Medical Officer of Ontario, who spoke with the CMOs of Toronto, Peel and Windsor Essex. Two of them agreed with waiting to reopen (Toronto and Peel).
      • Premier reminded people to “be vigilant, don’t let your guard down.” He tells people to keep practicing social distancing, wear a face covering if you can’t physically distance.
      • Minister MacLeod “it has been very dark days” for the tourism sector.

Friday, June 12, 2020:

  • City of Burlington Looking at Property Tax Payment Relief Options for Extending Grace Period on Penalties, Interest
  • Burlington prepares to reopen pools, arenas, sports fields, camps when provincial orders lifted; Lowville Park to reopen
  • Haltech Regional Innovation Centre Partners to Support Small Businesses in Halton to Adapt to a More Digital World
  • Province Media Release: Ontarians Encouraged to Establish Social Circles — Creating a Close Group of up to 10 People Will Help Reduce Social Isolation
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM stated the current mission of the Canadian Armed Forces in Quebec will be extended until June 26. Red Cross staff will be replacing the military moving forward.
      • In order to restart the economy we need a coordinated country-wide approach
      • Last evening he spoke with the Premiers about the $14 Billion for the Safe Restart Agreement, that would put the necessary measures in place for Canadians to safely restart the economy including things like child care, contract tracing and testing. This agreement and details need to be negotiated.
      • The PM and the Premiers also spoke about the video that was circulating on the arrest of Chief Allan Adams. All leaders were united in the need to combat racism
      • Reforms are needed at all levels of policing.
      • The PM announced the mandatory temperature screening will be put in place for air passengers. Phase 1 – people coming into Canada. Phase 2- people leaving Canada. Phase 3 – people travelling within Canada.
      • Passengers with fevers will not be permitted to board flights.
    • Readout from the PM’s meeting the Premiers
      • First Ministers were united in denouncing racism in all its forms, and agreed to continue working together to fight discrimination and injustice. The PM also raised the issue of policing in Canada, including equipping Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers with body cameras.
      • The PM reaffirmed that the Government of Canada is ready to contribute $14 billion to help provinces and territories address their critical needs over the next six to eight months. This includes personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and businesses, testing and contact tracing, childcare, assistance for vulnerable populations, support for municipalities, and paid sick leave for workers.
    • Question Period:
      • The PM was asked why the military could not remain in long term care homes in Quebec until September. The government is working with the Red Cross to replace the military. Red Cross staff are well paid and well trained an can easily take over for the military in September.
      • “As long as there are challenges (in Quebec) the government will be there.” The help doesn’t have to be from the military it can come from the Red Cross. “We will continue to ensure that seniors are protected.”
      • The PM was asked about the video of the arrest of Chief Adams. “Everyone who has seen the video has questions about what happened. We are calling for an independent investigation into what happened.”
      • Regarding the issue of temperature screening, which originally Public Health Canada did not support, the PM was asked how people could trust him. The PM admitted that temperature screening was discussed as not being a particularly effective way of detecting COVID-19. However, it does indicate if people are ill and if they are ill they should not be travelling during a pandemic. As we reopen our economy and borders this is an additional measure.  “This is an extra layer of protection and is part of a suite of measures.”
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier said today was “an exciting day for Ontario” with the lowest number of cases since March 28 and the highest number of tests, 28,000.
      • Stage 2 of reopening starts today.
      • More people are headed back to work.
      • He encouraged people to support the businesses that are reopening – shop local.
      • There will be another update on openings on Monday – “more regions will be reopening soon”
      • He announced that public health guideline will be changing and social circles will be introduced allowing families and friends to reunite safely. – Media Release
      • Effective immediately, province wide you can touch and hug people in your social circle.
      • To form a safe social circle follow these steps:
        1. Start with you current circle: the people you live with or who regularly come into your household
        2. If your current circle is under 10 people, you can add members to your circle, including another household, family members or friends
        3. Get agreement from everyone that they will join in the circle.
        4. Keep your social circle safe. Maintain physical distancing with anyone outside your circle.
        5. Be true to your circle. No one should be part of more than one circle.
      • Rules for social gatherings of groups of 10 and social circles are different – social gatherings of 10 can be with anyone as long as you maintain physical distancing guidelines.
    • Question Period:
      • Can you hug the people in your social circle – yes!
      • You do not have to maintain physical distancing with the people in your social circle.
      • Regarding concerns that people will not adhere to the social circle agreements – Dr. Williams commented that Ontarians have in the most part been following the protocols so far and we expect that they will continue to do so. Be careful about your behavior in public settings.
      • The Premier was asked about temperature checks on GO transit. Dr. Williams said that temperature checks are just one tool, but it must be backed by other measures like physical distancing and wearing of facial coverings.
      • The question of whether facial covering should be mandatory in commercial settings. Dr. Williams said that if you are going someplace where you are not able to maintain proper physical distancing then wear a facial covering
      • Asked about clarifying who can be in your social circle. Minister Elliott said people should chose what’s best for them. “We know people want to do the right thing. This allows people to expand their groups and see more people. It also helps address some the mental health concerns we have been seeing.”
      • On enforcement of the social circles – the Premier said this would be difficult. “The social circle police will not be knocking on your door.”
    • Other Announcements:
      • Additional funding will provide food and snacks while schools are closedMedia Release
        1. The Ontario government is investing $1 million to improve access to healthy meals and snacks for school-age children and youth during the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result of the province-wide school closures, the Student Nutrition Program has had to find new ways to support families experiencing increased food insecurity.
        2. The Student Nutrition Program is delivered in partnership with local agencies, school boards and community partner organizations and supported by countless volunteers.
        3. Over the past few months, the program has been adapted to include new local approaches to meal delivery, including distributing grocery gift cards or farm vouchers, delivering food boxes, meal kits or frozen meals and supporting food banks to provide nutritious items to families with school-age children.
      • Ontario Protecting Agri-Food Workers during COVID-19 Media Release
        1. The Government of Ontario is taking additional steps to better protect workers in the agri-food sector during the COVID-19 outbreak. The province is significantly expanding the Agri-food Workplace Protection Program and committing up to $15 million to enhance health and safety measures on farms and in food processing facilities.
        2. The Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program provides cost-share funding for farmers to purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and implement workplace modifications and other measures.
        3. Today’s announcement more than triples the previous investment through this program by the governments of Canada and Ontario. Both levels of government had committed a total of up to $4.5 million for farmers and provincially licensed meat processors to enhance worker safety under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership program.
      • Ontario Lifting 30-Day Supply Limit on PrescriptionsMedia Release
        1. With the supply of many drugs and medications having stabilized in the province, the Ontario government is lifting the recommended 30-day supply limit for dispensing Ontario Drug Benefit program medications.
        2. Effective June 15, 2020, program recipients can return to filling up to 100-day supply at a time from their pharmacy or dispensing physician, when appropriate.

Thursday, June 11, 2020:

  • Burlington’s Virtual Canada Day Celebrations
  • Ontario Introduces Public Transit Safety Guidance — Measures designed to keep passengers and employees safe as more people go back to work during COVID-19
  • Provincial and Federal Governments Helping Small Businesses Go Digital — $57M Investment in Digital Main Street to Help Businesses Reopen, Regrow After COVID-19
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing question period:
      • There were several questions regarding the $14 Billion for Provinces and how it would be dispersed and whether there would be “strings attached.” The PM acknowledged there were different situations across the country in terms of the impact of the pandemic. But as the federal government they have a responsibility to ensure the money gets to the most vulnerable. “It is not a blank cheque.” “We will be negotiating the terms of the investment with the Premiers.” The $14 Billion “is to ensure Canadians across the country have a safe restart to the economy. We agreed (with the Premiers) weeks ago on the principles of a safe restart.” He said that day care centres are even more important now to Canadians. He also reiterated that the Federal government would pay for the 10 paid sick days (something apparently Premier Ford does not support).
      • On the Liberal Aid Bill that was stalled yesterday. “The Conservatives have chosen to put politics ahead of helping people with disabilities.”
      • Why not have normal proceedings of Parliament? “We had this debate weeks ago. Parliament voted and decided that we would move forward with a hybrid model focused on COVID-19 until the end of June. Because the Conservatives didn’t get their way several weeks ago they voted yesterday to block getting aid to vulnerable Canadians.”
      • Regarding the wage subsidy program. The PM said that there would changes to relax the criteria to allow more businesses to access the program. These changes were part of the Legislation that was introduced yesterday. “We couldn’t even debate the Bill because the opposition is playing politics.”
      • On systemic racism. “Systemic racism exits across Canada. It is not deliberate. It is the fact the we have systems that were built that gave certain privileges to one group over another. They are not the fault of one particular individual.” “We know there is unfairness in our systems – it’s just really hard to change.”
      • He was asked specifically about what the Federal government would be doing to support day care? He recognized it was a provincial and municipal responsibility. The federal government has invested billions of dollars in day care over the years, but “we know there is more to do.” Improving access to daycare is part of the $14 Billion package. “The reason for the strings is to ensure that all Canadians get the support they need. The money will help families. We want to ensure the services get delivered.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier acknowledged that things have been especially difficult for families with loved ones in long term care or nursing homes. “I know the toll this has taken on families. Your sacrifice will not be forgotten.”
      • He announced that there will be a cautious restart to visitation at long term care homes, nursing homes, group homes and other congregate care settings starting June 18. – Media Release
      • Family and friends will be allowed access to these settings beginning June 18, 2020. Long-term care homes will allow outdoor visits of one person per resident each week at a minimum. Retirement homes will resume indoor and outdoor visits in designated areas or resident suites when physical distancing can be maintained.
      • Other residential care settings will be able to allow outdoor visits of two people at time. Physical distancing will be required for all visits. This approach will ensure the health and safety of residents, staff and visitors.
      • Visits will resume next Thursday, one week after the release of visitor guidelines. They will be subject to strict health and safety protocols, including requiring visitors to pass active screening every time they visit, confirming with staff that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous two weeks, and complying with the infection prevention and control protocols. This includes bringing and wearing a face covering during visits.
      • Additionally, long-term care and retirement homes, as well as other residential care settings, must meet the following conditions before they welcome visitors:
        1. Homes must not be in outbreak;
        2. Homes must have an established process for communicating visitor protocol and the associated safety procedures; and
        3. Homes must maintain the highest infection prevention and control standards.
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked whether the Province would issue provincial guidelines for restaurants. He said there were very stringent guidelines on the Provincial website, but local medical officers of health can put other guidelines in place, they have the authority under Section 22 of the Health Act.
      • On being tested, the Premier said “it was out of an abundance of caution.” He said, “it didn’t hurt. My eyes watered a little.”
      • Minister Elliott was asked about a photo circulating of her shopping at an LCBO after being tested for COVID-19. Minister Elliott said that Minister Lecce’s results came back negative before she got tested. While being tested she was told that since she wasn’t in contact with anyone who had tested positive, she did not have to self-isolate after her test, which came back negative.
      • Regarding the issuance of the guidelines for child care earlier this week, when they are set to open this week, was it enough time for them to get ready. The Premier said, “if you aren’t ready, don’t open. Take your time.”
      • Why weren’t child care centres provided with the protocols sooner. Premier said the protocols are the same as the one’s used in the emergency child care, and said “it’s not an emergency if they aren’t ready to open tomorrow, they don’t have to.”
      • Minister Elliott was asked to provide clarification on the increase in the gathering size. She said that starting tomorrow 10 people can get together with physical distancing.
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Statement from the Office of Premier Ford
        1. While awaiting the results of Minister Lecce’s COVID-19 test yesterday, Premier Ford and Minister Elliott committed to getting tested as well. Both test results have come back negative. To be clear, both Premier Ford and Minister Elliott have had no known contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and as a result, there is no need for either of them to self-isolate. They will continue to follow public health guidelines.”
      • Ontario and Canada Helping Small Businesses Go Digital – Media Release / Digital Main Street
        1. The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, is helping small businesses reach more customers through the Digital Main Street platform. It is a $57-million program which will help up to 22,900 Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence and generate jobs for more than 1,400 students.
        2. Through the $57-million contribution to the Digital Main Street platform, businesses will be able to take advantage of three new programs to support their digital transformation:
          1. shopHERE powered by Google will leverage Ontario’s strengths by hiring highly skilled and trained students to build and support the launch of online stores for businesses that previously did not have the capacity to do so themselves. The core goal will be to help small businesses compete and grow, in a world that is increasingly online, and help them recover as quickly as possible following COVID-19.
          2. Digital Main Street Grant will help main street small businesses be digitally more effective. Through a $2,500 grant administered by the Ontario BIA Association, small businesses will be able to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) can apply for a Digital Service Squad grant, which will allow them to establish teams to provide personalized, one-on-one support.
          3. Future-Proofing Main Street will provide specialized and in-depth digital transformation services and support that helps existing main-street firms adapt to changes in their sector and thrive in the new economy. By leveraging teams of digital marketing professionals and talented students, these firms will be able to create new online business models, develop and implement digital and e-commerce marketing strategies, and maximize digital tools, platforms and content.
      • Ontario Introduces Public Transit Safety GuidanceMedia Release / Guidance Document for Transit Agencies and Passengers
        1. Today, Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation and Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation, released comprehensive safety guidance for public transit agencies as the province reopens and more people return to work.
        2. This guidance, developed in consultation with health and transit officials, provides transit agencies with the information they need to help protect employees and passengers during the COVID-19 outbreak.
        3. The guidance document provides transit agencies with best practices and tips to help stop the spread of COVID-19, such as maintaining physical distance between people whenever possible, highly recommending that passengers wear face coverings or non-medical masks when taking transit, practicing proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, installing physical barriers between drivers and passengers, using physical markers between seats and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects.
      • Ontario Appoints New Patient OmbudsmanMedia Release
        1. The Ontario government has appointed Cathy Fooks as Ontario’s new Patient Ombudsman to help improve the quality of care and supports people receive in hospitals, long-term care homes and in their own homes through home and community care.
        2. The Patient Ombudsman provides support for Ontarians who have voiced concerns about their health care experience.
        3. The Ombudsman also investigates unresolved complaints about public hospitals, long-term care homes and home and community care, and makes recommendations to the government to prevent the recurrence of similar issues.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020:

  • Province to Open Beaches and Campsites at Ontario Parks — People encouraged to enjoy the outdoors responsibly during COVID-19
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Prime Minister Trudeau did not hold a COVID-19 briefing today.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Statement from the Office of the Premier: “Yesterday, Minister Lecce was tested for #COVID19 after learning that he had come in contact with someone who had tested positive. As we await results out of an abundance of caution, Premier Ford and Minister Elliott will not be participating in today’s press conference. Premier Ford and Minister Elliott will be getting tested today. Both will continue to monitor for symptoms and take appropriate action as necessary. The Premier’s Office will notify the public once we receive the testing results.”
      • Just before the end of the briefing Minister Lecce issued a statement – His test results have come back negative.
      • Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano, announced a plan for the gradual and safe resumption of in-person instruction at postsecondary institutions across the province for the summer term. The plan was developed in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health. – Media Release
      • Starting in July 2020, limited in-person education and training may restart for students who were not able to graduate due to COVID-19 closures. This first phase will allow institutions to reopen to provide in-person instruction to students in essential, frontline, and high labour market demand areas, such as nursing, personal support workers, engineering, and other critical professions.
      • Thousands of students across the province could benefit from this summer’s reopening
      • In September, all students will have the opportunity to attend post-secondary education through virtual learning, in-class instruction, or hybrid formats.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020:

  • Halton Mayors, Chair Send Joint Letter to Premier Ford on Phase 2 Re-opening
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM spoke about the many businesses across the country that have been helping to produce PPE and other supplies e.g. hand sanitizer, testing supplies, etc. domestically
      • A federal online PPE supply hub will be launched today.
      • Recovery presents challenges for businesses as they prepare to reopen. Business owners can call 1-866-989-1080 to speak to an accountant or business advisor for guidance.
      • Draft legislation was shared with the opposition that includes penalties for those who knowingly and wrongfully received the CERB.
    • Question Period:
      • Many of the questions today were about the CERB. The PM said the CERB was introduced for those Canadians that had lost their jobs. As the economy restarts, people will no longer need the CERB and will move out that program into the wage subsidy program.
      • There will be changes to all the programs as the economy reopens. “We decided right from the beginning to the money out to as many people as possible.” There was purposely not to many restrictions. “We knew from the beginning that there would be some mistakes and some fraudsters.” People who have made honest mistakes and received the CERB when they shouldn’t have will have to pay it back.
      • People who purposely took advantage of the situation will be punished.
      • PM also took several questions about whether there would be a fiscal update. The opposition parties have been pushing for one. “We will continue to be transparent. We regularly take questions from the media and the opposition.” The challenge with an economic update is forecasting what will happen in the future.  “Economic activity is in suspension. To know what is going to happen when it restarts is difficult. A fiscal update with our projected revenues and expenditures would be incredibly unreliable right now.”
      • “Any fiscal update would have to include “invention and imagination” though the Parliamentary budget office reportedly projects a $260 Billion deficit.
      • “We are in an unprecedented situation.” The government chose to be there for Canadians. “ We have been absolutely transparent, every step of the way.”
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier started today’s briefing by sharing memories of his family friend Dr. Rueben Devlin who died yesterday.
      • The Premier also thanked Chief Saunders for his service to the community.
      • Starting on June 12 all child care centres in the Province can reopen, regardless of whether the region they are in has moved to Stage 2. – Media Release
      • Centres will be required to adopt specific rules, including:
        1. Cohorting ― putting children and staff in groups of 10 or less day over day;
        2. COVID-19 response plan ― all child care settings will be required to have a plan in place if a child, parent or staff member/provider is exposed to COVID-19;
        3. Screening ― all staff and children must be screened prior to entry to the child care setting.  Anyone feeling unwell must stay home;
        4. Daily attendance records ― child care settings must keep daily records of all attendees in order to support contact tracing;
        5. Cleaning ― child care settings must be thoroughly cleaned before opening and frequently thereafter;
        6. No visitors ― only essential visitors are permitted entry into the child care setting;
        7. Implementing drop-off and pick-up protocols in a way that facilitates physical distancing.
      • Effective immediately, staff can re-enter child care facilities and begin preparation for reopening. When these operators have met all the strict and stringent guidelines for reopening, they will be permitted to reopen.
      • Mobile testing unit be in Brampton tomorrow at the Gore Meadows Community Centre from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
    • Question Period:
      • Minister Lecce was asked if the Province would provide additional funding to child care operators that will be running below licensed capacity because of the Provincial rules. He said that there are several support programs already in place that are available to operators e.g. the commercial rent subsidy, the federal wage subsidy program. He also said that the existing child care funding formula will be leveraged to support enhanced cleaning costs and the health and safety requirements set out to support the reopening of child care centres, as well as the continued stabilization of the sector.
      • Asked if there would be enough spaces and would priority be given to first responders and emergency worker. (Emergency child care centres will close on June 26) Yes, this group will have first priority. The minister does not expect that all families will be sending their children back to day care and there will be spots available.
      • The Premier was asked what the logic was behind the 30% capacity for churches and only allowing 10 people at wedding and funerals. The Premier said he was told that it had to do with contact tracing – it is easier to track regular church attendees, than sporadic funeral/wedding guests.
      • There were some questions about testing of children at child care centres. Parents must provide permission before a child is tested and they can decline to have their child tested.
      • With the start of Stage 2 the Premier said we must continue to be vigilant.
      • Why is it okay to get a massage in Toronto, but not okay to get a haircut? The Premier agreed this was odd. Minister Elliott replied that it had to do with the physical proximity of the clients and service providers.
      • In response to whether the Niagara and Haldimand-Norfolk medical officers of health were consulted about Stage 2. The Premier said, “ I asked if everyone was consulted and I was told yes.” “It won’t be long – just a couple of weeks,” before the other regions move to Stage 2.
      • Regarding Niagara, the Premier said their cases “ramped up” recently. On Haldimand-Norfolk, “It wasn’t too long ago when the mayors did not want cottagers to come, now they are getting their haircut.” “These are the same two mayors who were going to fine people for visiting their cottage. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

Monday, June 8, 2020:

  • Province Permits More Businesses and Services to Reopen in the Coming Days — cap on gatherings will be increased to 10. (PLEASE HEAD TO PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES BELOW FOR A BREAKDOWN OF THE ANNOUNCEMENT)
  • Ontario Extends Emergency Orders to June 19 to Support Its Reopening Efforts — Province Extends the Suspension of Limitation Periods and Time Periods for Legal Proceedings until September
  • City of Burlington Seeks 12 Local Artists for Small Public Art Projects
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM started his briefing commenting on the various protests that have taken place.
      • He said he is listening to the demands from black Canadians and “I am ready to take action.”
      • “We as governments need to work together. We need bold measures to address racism. Things must change – but changes cannot happen overnight.”
      • The adoption of body cameras by police forces will be discussed with Premiers during this week’s call.
      • The PM announced that there will be a limited exemption in border crossings to allow Canadian citizens and permanent residents to reunited with their immediate family members. The two week quarantine policy will be in effect for anyone coming into Canada.
    • Question Period:
      • The PM was asked about the message his participation in the rally over the weekend was sending to Canadians who have been abiding by the rules and not participating/attending important events e.g. funerals. He said he took efforts to follow public health advice and encouraged protestors to do the same.
      • He was also asked about the difference in how lockdown rules have been applied in Ottawa to people prtesting (who were not fined) and people eating pizza on a restaurant patio (they were fined). PM answered by saying that we must continue to social distance, but we also have to ramp up contact tracing and testing. “We continue to encourage people to follow all public health measures.”
      • He was asked if he was concerned cases would go up after the protests? He said “people feel a deep need to stand in solidarity with racialized Canadians.” It is a delicate balance, if you can’t follow the distancing measures wear a mask and wash your hands.
      • He was asked if there was a decision on how the $14 billion would be distributed to Provinces and Territories. Premier Legault doesn’t think the per capita formula should be used. He believes that Ontario and Quebec, the two hardest hit provinces should receive more. The PM said that Ontario and Quebec will receive more because they are the biggest provinces. “Many jurisdictions that did not have as many cases still have expenses related to restarting their communities.  “Every single Canadian across the country should have the help and protection they need to restart the economy.”
      • Negotiations will need to take place with the Provinces.
      • The PM was asked again about how Canadians are being told to put off things that are important to them. Why was it okay for the PM to attend the rally? “As Prime Minister it was important for me to hear the voices of Canadians. We are being called upon to make difficult public health choices.”
      • PM believes that body cameras should be used. “Challenges have to do with logistics and economics, some technical challenges – we agree we have to move forward with body camera for RCMP officers.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The focus of today’s briefing was which services would be included in Stage 2 of the reopening and which regions would be able to move to Stage 2. – Media Release, Reopening Guide, Regional Reopening Approach
      • Effective Friday, June 12, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., the province will increase the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people across the province, regardless of whether a region has moved to Stage 2.
      • Additionally, all places of worship in Ontario will also be permitted to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers.
      • The following regions will remain in Stage 1 until it’s safe to move into Stage 2:
        1. Durham Region Health Department
        2. Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
        3. Halton Region Public Health
        4. Hamilton Public Health Services
        5. Lambton Public Health
        6. Niagara Region Public Health
        7. Peel Public Health
        8. Toronto Public Health
        9. Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
        10. York Region Public Health
      • At the beginning of each week, the Province will provide an update on which regions can move into Stage 2 at the end of the week.
      • As more people return to work, the services they rely on will need to be available regardless of the stage a region is in. The province will soon release more details on:
        1. Child care;
        2. Summer camps;
        3. Post-secondary education pilots to help people graduate;
        4. Training centres; and
        5. Public transit.
      • Businesses and services permitted to reopen with proper health and safety measures in place in regions entering Stage 2 include:
        1. Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties;
        2. Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
        3. Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;
        4. Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
        5. Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
        6. Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
        7. Camping at private campgrounds;
        8. Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
        9. Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
        10. Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
        11. Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.
      • Premier also announced that legislation temporarily banning commercial evictions would be introduced. – Media release
      • If passed, the legislation would reverse evictions that occurred on or after June 3, 2020. The government intends to bring this legislation forward as soon as possible
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked if there would be travel restrictions for residents living in the regions that have not entered stage 2. There will NOT be travel restrictions.
      • Moving from gatherings of 5 to 10 people will include physical distancing.
      • Premier was asked about the June 19 date reported in The Star for Toronto to move to Stage 2. Premier “we should know more in a few days”
      • In response to a question about whether there will be more financial support for those businesses reopening in Stages 2 and 3. Minister Phillips said that as the Province looks to the recovery phase of their plan they will be looking at ways to support all businesses.
      • Premier said that only 7,000 people signed up for the commercial rent subsidy program.
      • Regarding the reopening of the Canada/US border, not scheduled to happen until June 21. The Premier said that when the border reopens screening and testing must be ramped up and quarantines for visitors must be in place.
      • Premier was asked about what today’s announcement means to the major league baseball and the CFL. He said “we will have to sit down with MLB and the CFL” NHL is set to resume play August 1.
      • The Premier encouraged people to travel throughout Ontario and to buy local.
    • Other announcements:
      • Ontario Extending Outdoor Patios to Allow for Social Distancing During COVID-19Media Release
        1. The Ontario government will allow restaurants and bars to temporarily extend outdoor patio spaces to safely accommodate patrons and staff once licensed establishments are permitted to fully reopen for business.
        2. As a result of a regulation change, licensed establishments may create a patio adjacent to their premise or increase the size of their patio once they are permitted to welcome patrons on-site.
        3. This temporary measure will allow the public to safely enjoy service that meets social distancing requirements and other public health guidelines.
        4. These measures will be in effect until January 1, 2021 at 3:00 a.m.
        5. The province is also providing enhanced choice and flexibility to Ontario liquor manufacturers regarding the location of “tied houses”, which are the restaurants and bars located at wineries, breweries and distilleries.
        6. Effective immediately, tied houses are no longer required to be located on the manufacturing site itself, but may be located anywhere at the same municipal or property address as the manufacturing site.
      • Letter from the Attorney General, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction M-2020-6431 – Joint Letter to Heads of Council (extending restuarant patios)
        1. The Attorney General has implemented regulatory changes that give the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) the discretion to allow licensed establishments to temporarily add or increase the size of their patios once they are permitted to reopen.
        2. These opportunities will be available to all licensed establishments, whether or not they currently have a patio, and will be subject to any additional requirements set out by the AGCO and municipality (such as by-laws or other restrictions).
        3. We encourage you and your municipal council to look at the options available to support your Main Streets. A few innovative municipalities have considered extending patios onto sidewalks and into parking lots, allowing the alternative use of a section of downtown streets, or transforming public parks into food gardens. We encourage you to consider what may work in your community to support our small businesses.

Friday, June 5, 2020:

  • Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario statements on Municipal Funding and Anti-Racism
  • Council Approves Modifications to City’s Park Operations, Removal of Fencing at Beachway Park
  • Residents Invited to Attend Free Online Mental Health and Resiliency Presentation from Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe
  • COVID-19 Task Force Meeting #9 Highlights
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM announced one time funding for people with disabilities – Media Release
      • This support includes a special one-time, tax-free payment to individuals who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit as of June 1, 2020, as follows:
        1. $600 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate.
        2. $300 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension.
        3. $100 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the OAS pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
      • Last night PM Trudeau and Deputy PM held their twelfth weekly call with Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers to discuss their shared response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
      • During their meeting the PM proposed a $14billion “safe restart agreement.” This funding would be used to provide Canadians with what they need to safely restart the economy.  – Readout
      • The programs this funding would support include: PPE for health care workers and businesses, child care, supports for seniors and long term care, sick pay and funding for municipalities.
      • No details on any of the items were provided.
      • On his call with the Premiers the PM also acknowledged the thousands of Canadians peacefully protesting in recent days against anti-Black racism and systemic discrimination in Canada and around the world. The leaders discussed the real need to fight racism and injustice.
    • Question Period:
      • The PM was asked if the offer to Provinces was a targeted transfers. The funding would be “to very specific standards that need to met across the country. The federal government wants to make sure that every Canadian has what they need to restart the economy.
      • The conversation with Provinces was very positive, but they need to work through the details. “We want to get the money out to them quickly.”
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing: The premier was joined at Queen’s Park on Friday by Fedeli, as well as Ontario’s Minister of Health Christine Elliott, Minister of Finance Minister Rod Phillips.
      • Premier Ford
        1. Short term rentals including lodges, cabins, cottages, homes, condominiums and B&Bs will be allowed to resume operations in Ontario starting June 5
        2. Asking for Federal help. “There is a massive need, up to $23B”. We’re ready to work with Feds
        3. Identified up to $23B need in Ontario alone. $14B for all of Canada is not enough for any province
        4. We are making progress and ready to take next steps
        5. Early next week will share stage 2 of reopening. Stage 2 will not begin immediately
        6. Childcare reopening plan for safe and gradual opening coming soon
        7. Giving businesses a headsup to get ready so you can open quickly
        8. Next week is Armed Forces Week. Thanked everyone in the Service
      • Minister Fideli
        1. Continue to support businesses
        2. Province’s economy has stabilized
        3. We have regained 13,700 manufacturing, thousands in other sectors
        4. Ontario’s manufacturing might has been mobilized, businesses are helping each other
        5. We will get Ontario working as quickly and safely as possible
      • Minister Phillips
        1. Continue to ensure businesses are back on their feet. Must keep working together with all levels of gov’t
        2. Businesses need PPE to reopen
        3. Ensuring safe public transit is a key to opening the economy
        4. Need more support from the Feds
    • Question Period:
      • Why does Ontario need Ottawa to pay for our bills? We need our fair share of the federal transfers. This is a start of a conversation. Needs of other provinces are not the same.
      • What is your position on sick days? I don’t support it. I’d rather put the money to LTC homes, health care
      • 23B$ is needed for Ontario, have you been given a commitment to that figure? No, the PM mentioned $14B for all of Canada
      • Petition from salon owners, why can they get a massage, not a hair cut? Stage 2 may include hair salons next week. Still taking advice from health officials
      • Youth Council – why eliminate a position on anti-racism? Why collect race-based data? We haven’t collected race-base health stats as we have been asked by several groups to do so. Working with anti-racism directorate to collect data in a respectful way.
      • Will province do anything more to protect healthcare workers? PPE needs to be provided to all frontline health care worker. We have a new testing strategy – anyone can get tested at an assessment centre.
      • Inefficiencies in COVID response, why haven’t these problems been fixed? We have made great strides. Procurement of PPE has improved, testing and tracing as well. Hospitals are better than ever.
      • Back-log of surgeries for gynecology – can we allow these? A lot of procedures are behind because of COVID. We are trying to balance everything and do it safely.
      • Thoughts on the TO Chief of Police taking a knee? Always encourage safe/peaceful protest and march. That was true leadership
      • Is the province doing enough to address systemic racism? We can always do more
      • RNAO report on LTC homes: We will do whatever it takes to get it right
      • May job numbers – all provinces added jobs except for Ontario. Why? Not true. We increased 13000 manufacturing jobs. Quebec has opened childcare and manufacturing before Ontario.
      • Are we moving slower than other provinces? No, we’re moving cautiously on advice of health and science. We have a big announcement next week.

Thursday, June 4, 2020:

  • Joseph Brant Hospital President and CEO Letter to Community Leaders Announcing Reintegration of Non-Urgent Surgical and Clinical Out-Patient Services
  • Burlington Public Library Reopens Two Branches, Limited Services Resume June 16
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • New federal modelling will be released today.
      • “We are clearly slowing down the spread of the virus, but we are not out of the woods yet.”
      • “While we loosen up some measures, others, like testing, will need to be ramped up. We can’t lose the progress we have made.”
      • The PM spoke about how the pandemic has made the lives of seniors more expensive, “what makes things harder is this the new normal for them.”
      • The PM announced that seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will receive their special one-time, tax-free payment during the week of July 6.  – Media Release
      • Through this measure and others, the government is providing nearly $900 more for single seniors and more than $1,500 for senior couples, on top of their existing benefits, to help these vulnerable Canadians with extra costs during the pandemic.
      • Seniors eligible for the OAS pension will receive a payment of $300, and those also eligible for the GIS will receive an additional $200, for a total of $500. Allowance recipients will also receive $500. This $2.5 billion in financial support will help Canadian seniors cover increased costs caused by COVID-19, and give them greater financial security in this time of crisis.
      • This evening he will be meeting again with Premiers. They will be talking about the funding that was announced this week for municipalities.
    • Question Period:
      • The PM was asked about his silence the other day when asked to comment on the actions of President Trump. The PM replied that his job is to stand up for the values and interest of Canadians. “Canadians expect me to defend their interests and values. That’s what I’ve done as Prime Minister, whether with the US or other countries around the world.”
      • “Canada is not immune to discrimination. There is more work we need to do.”
      • The PM was also asked about whether the deadline for the Army being in Quebec long term care homes would be extended. “Our priority is that Seniors in Quebec get the protection and support they need. Discussions with Quebec are still underway. We are looking at how we can best help as we move forward.”
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier “this has been a  difficult year for all of us. There’s a lot of pain in Canada, the US and around the world.”
      • Today, the Ontario government announced the Premier’s Council on Equality of Opportunity, a new advisory group that will provide advice on how young people can overcome social and economic barriers and achieve success. The council will also advise government on long-term actions that can be taken to support youth during the COVID-19 outbreak. – Media Release
      • The council will have up to 20 members, including a chair and a vice-chair. Membership will be intergenerational and cross-sector, and will include youth between the ages of 18 to 29 and adults with expertise from community organizations, not-for-profit businesses, education, and government services.
      • The council will focus on the challenges facing young people today, such as completing an education, skills training, and employment. As an immediate priority, the council will identify strategies to support vulnerable and marginalized youth to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
      • Jamil Jivani, Ontario’s Advocate for Community Opportunities, will serve as chair of the council for the first year.
      • The Ontario government is further supporting Black communities to address the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 by allocating $1.5 million in funding to organizations that support Black families and youth. This funding will be used to provide urgent COVID-19 supports and address the immediate needs of children, youth and families
    • Question Period:
      • Is today’s announcement in response to what’s been happening over the last few days? Jamil Jivani, “while this council will respond to what is going on now, it is a reflection of months of work and consultation.”
      • Premier, “there is systemic racism in Ontario. Our history is different than the United States, be we have our own history of racism.” “We must acknowledge the pain that we see.”
      • Black advocates have called about defunding police services and more funding to community resources. The Premier supports funding more community resources but does not support defunding the police services.
      • Jamil Jivani, “I don’t’ believe in cutting the Police. The police have an important role to play.” Local municipalities should consider, “What is the best use of their budget.”
      • Lifting the restrictions on short term rentals is now at the table – Premier hopes to have an announcement next week.
      • How would you characterize the relationship between the police and the black community. Jamil Jivani “ there is a lot of distrust.” He calls negativity a “defeating experience” for many.
      • Premier was asked why the Province is not prepared to release the list of long term care homes that are in the “red zone.” Minister Elliott – Minister Fullerton does not want to “tip off” long term care homes that are in the red, that an inspection is coming. Inspectors want to see the actual conditions the homes are in.
      • Farms and migrant workers will be tested
      • Minister Elliott “ we are making every effort we can to gather the data we need on cases.”
      • What evidence do you have that the Province is moving in the right direction towards moving to Stage 2? The Premier, “we look at more things than just the number of cases.” Minister Elliott “we have been looking at what will open in Stage 2, not when. There are a number of criteria that we need to look at to determine when we move to Stage 2. “We need to be prepared for what will be in Stage 2 and those discussions continue.”
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Ontario Appoints Special Advisor to Develop Health Data PlatformMedia Release
        1. The Ontario government has appointed Dr. Jane Philpott as the special advisor to support the design and implementation of the new Ontario Health Data Platform (formerly known as PANTHR). This data platform will provide recognized researchers and health system partners with access to anonymized health data that will allow them to better detect, plan, and respond to COVID-19.
        2. The Ontario Health Data Platform is being developed in consultation with the Ontario Privacy Commissioner. The information gathered will help break down long-standing barriers and allow researchers to help with:
          1. Increasing detection of COVID-19;
          2. Discovering risk factors for vulnerable populations;
          3. Predicting when and where outbreaks may happen;
          4. Evaluating how preventative and treatment measures are working; and
          5. Identifying where to allocate equipment and other resources.
        3. As special advisor, Dr. Philpott will also chair the Joint Ministers’ Roundtable and provide recommendations to the Minister of Health and the President of the Treasury Board. The members of the Joint Ministers’ Roundtable include public health, research, privacy and clinical experts. Together, they will provide strong proactive leadership to ensure data is used in a privacy-protected way
      • Hospital Assumes Management of Woodbridge Vista Care Community in Vaughan Media Release
        1. The Ministry of Long-Term Care is appointing William Osler Health System as interim manager at Woodbridge Vista Care Community long-term care home in Vaughan, Ontario
        2. Despite receiving hospital support, Woodbridge Vista Care Community has been unable to contain the spread of COVID-19

Wednesday, June 3, 2020:

  • Ontario Extends Declaration of Emergency until June 30
  • Halton Representatives Call on Federal and Provincial Governments for Immediate Funding for Cities and Towns
  • Halton Mayors, Chair Support Access to Universal Broadband Internet Service
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • There was no federal COVID-19 briefing today.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s Provincial briefing:
      • the provincial government is investing $150 million in reliable broadband and cellular service. This funding will help create even more economic and educational opportunities in rural, remote and underserved areas of the province. This is part of the province’s $315 million initiative called Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan. – Media Release
      • The new Improving Connectivity in Ontario, or ICON, program, when leveraged, has the potential to result in an investment of up to $500 million in total partner funding to improve connectivity in underserved and unserved areas.
      • Applicants, including telecom companies, municipal governments, First Nation communities, and non-profits, will be invited to submit innovative proposals and lend their investment, expertise and experience to improve connectivity in communities across Ontario. The province will fund a portion of each approved project.
      • The Premier and Minister of Infrastructure, Laurie Scott both called on the Federal government “to step up and to expand the connectivity to everyone in Ontario”
      • Project intake will open this summer
    • Question Period:
      • On whether Ontario will consider the US model of having pharmacies assist with testing, the Premier stated that the Province is in discussions with large pharmacies now and there will be an announcement coming soon.
      • There were questions about the plan for reopening schools in the fall. Minister Lecce said a plan will be released before the end of June. The plan will allow for students to return to school safely in September. “The government will take every precaution to keep children safe. We will learn form other jurisdictions. “Emphasis is on the safety of learners.” They are looking at all options.
      • The Premier said again today that the extension of the state of emergency will not delay reopening. Plans for stage 2 and the regional reopening are at the health table now.
      • Premier was asked about the take up of the commercial rent subsidy program. Premier has asked and asked landlords to take advantage of the program. “the landlords are testing me. You want to play hardball we will play hardball.” “We will give it a few more days. You want to keep pushing me – you’ll get what you asked for.”
      • On the question of social bubbles. Minister Elliott said “we are considering social bubbles. We want to be able to expand gathering size. We are discussing this – it will be done in a very cautious, measured way.”
      • The Premier was asked if the outbreaks at farms would impact the regional reopening – he said “it shouldn’t slow Stage 2” down “we know where the outbreaks are happening.
      • The NHL has asked for an exemption to the 2 week quarantine for players. The Premier has been in discussions with the NHL and the Deputy PM. “We are working with the Federal government. “The quarantine falls under their jurisdiction.
    • Other Announcements:
      • Ontario Extends Declaration of Emergency until June 30Media Release
        1. The decision supports the government’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and protect the health and safety of Ontarians as the province reopens in a measured and responsible way. The extension, under s.7.0.7 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, was approved by the Ontario legislature yesterday.
        2. the Declaration will support the continued enforcement of emergency orders that give hospitals and long-term care homes the necessary flexibility to respond to COVID-19 and protect vulnerable populations and the public as the province reopens.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HIGHLIGHTS
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • There were no announcements today. The PM’s comments were on the work being done by the Federal government to secure more PPE. The PM also commented on the demonstrations taking place in Canada and the US.
      • As politicians we must listen and learn about racism and about the injustices that continue. “Being an ally means taking a look at the existing systems”
    • Question Period:
      • Many of the questions today were about what is happening in the US and the actions by President Trump. The PM was pressed to comment on the President’s actions.
      • “We all watch with horror and consternation at what is happening in the US. We need to listen and learn.” “ Black Canadians face discrimination every day.  Systemic discrimination exists in Canada. Our systems in Canada do not provide for equal treatment.”
      • “My job as Prime Minister is to stand up for Canadians, for our interests and values. Canadians need a government that will be there to defend them and protect them”
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • More innovative businesses are receiving financial support today through the Ontario Together Fund to re-tool their processes and increase their capacity to make personal protective equipment (PPE). – Media Release
      • The three new companies receiving support are:
        1. Southmedic – The province is providing $1.8 million to help the company reengineer and retool its current production, and purchase new moulding equipment. With this new equipment, the company will double its output of oxygen masks, triple its output of ETCO2 masks.
        2. Sterling Industries – The province is providing $1,023,325, which will allow the company to increase its output of face shields from 200,000 per week to more than a million per week. This increased capacity will help Sterling Industries deliver 10 million face shields to Ontario Health more quickly.
        3. SRB Technologies – The province is providing $59,889 to help the company convert a portion of its production from emergency lighting solutions for the nuclear, aerospace, construction and defence sectors to manufacturing medical-grade face shields, which will be supplied to regional hospitals and long-term care facilities.
      • The province received 25,000 online submissions from businesses.
      • Premier encouraged Ontario businesses to keep innovating
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked about the 700 case in the GTA that were not reported. Minister Elliott responded to the question and explained there was a misunderstanding between the hospitals and the lab. Notices have been sent to make sure this doesn’t happen again. The contract tracing and case management services is underway. “This will not happen again.”
      • Premier encouraged people to access the online Service Ontario services, but also said that hopefully in the next couple of weeks more Service Ontario locations will reopen.
      • When asked about protestors who were protesting in defiance of the State of Emergency, the Premier said “this is totally irresponsible. It goes against everything we’ve been working for.” He also said he was “disappointed” in MPP Randy Hillier who was part of the demonstration.
      • Premier said that extending the State of Emergency to June 30 (which happened today) will not impact the reopening of the Province.
      • He was asked about what is happening in the US. “If you want to protest something do it peacefully.” “He people of Ontario wouldn’t tolerate that.” “The difference between US and Canada is we get along. It’s like night and day compared to Canada. Thank God we’re different from the US.”
      • He encouraged people to buy Canadian products and told manufacturers to put “made in Canada on the front of the package. I guarantee you sales will go up.”
      • The Premier insists that the case numbers in Ontario are rising as a direct result of doing more testing. This does not reflect what has been happening. In May the daily case numbers increased while the testing numbers decreased.
    • Other Announcements:
      • Ontario Moves Forward with Signature Subway ProjectMedia Release
        1. Today, Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, and Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA), announced the Ontario government is moving forward with the next step in building the Ontario Line, the signature project in the largest subway expansion in the province’s history.
        2. The government is issuing the first two public-private partnership (P3) Requests for Qualifications (RFQs) to identify and qualify those who will design, build and maintain the subway line.
        3. The Ontario Line is being built under three separate P3 contracts.
        4. These first two RFQs being issued will include rolling stock systems, an operations and maintenance contract for the entire line and a design-build-finance contract for the southern portion of the Ontario Line. The RFQ for the northern civil package will be released once the successful proponent for the southern civil package is identified.
      • New Management Appointed at Kitchener Long-Term Care HomeMedia Release
        1. The Ministry of Long-Term Care has issued a Mandatory Management Order appointing St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener to temporarily manage Forest Heights long-term care home for 90 days. The order may be extended beyond the 90 days, if necessary.

Monday, June 1, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM announced that the federal gas tax funding would be accelerated this year to help communities as quickly as possible while respecting public health guidelines. – Media Release
      • This means that $2.2 billion in annual federal infrastructure funding for communities will be delivered in one payment in June.
      • Early delivery of the full funding for 2020-21 will help communities quickly move forward with infrastructure projects that will improve our quality of life and help restart local economies.
      • The PM commented “This is just a start. We know there’s more to be done to support municipalities. We’ll keep working with the provinces and territories on this.”
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Please Note: Provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health an Associate Medical Officer of Health’s Media Briefings – Starting June 1 the briefings will longer be daily. They be held on Mondays and Thursdays at 3 p.m.
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier opened today’s briefing with comments on what is happening in the US and parts of Canada, “racism and hatred” have no place in our province.
      • Premier Ford and Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, Greg Rickford announced the Province will continue to support provincial electricity consumers by providing stability and greater customer choice, while helping those struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. – Media Release
      • Initiatives include:
        1. $9 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) to support consumers struggling to pay their energy bills during the pandemic. CEAP will provide one-time payments to consumers to help pay down any electricity bill debt incurred over the COVID 19 period. Applications will be available through local utilities in the upcoming months;
        2. $8 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) to provide support to businesses struggling with bill payments as a result of the outbreak; and
        3. An extension of the Ontario Energy Board’s winter disconnection ban until July 31, 2020 to ensure no one is disconnected from their natural gas or electricity service during these uncertain times.
      • Starting November 1, 2020, customers will be able to choose a plan that best suits their household and lifestyle with the option of either TOU electricity rates or tiered pricing, which will provide a set rate for electricity up to a certain level of consumption.
      • The government will continue to subsidize electricity bills by 31.8 per cent through the Ontario Electricity Rebate.
      • Premier announced that mobile testing unit will be at 1250 Markham Road, Scarborough tomorrow
    • Question Period:
      • Why can’t restaurant and salon owners who have made the necessary changes open? Premier we are looking at a regional opening. “Like I have always no one wants to get the economy open more than me.” We will be talking about the regional opening soon, “but it is very complicated”
      • There are currently 375,000 people on pandemic pay right now.
      • What is the Province doing to speed up getting help to long term care homes? Premier “we are doing everything we can. We won’t stop until we get things fixed.” Working very hard with public on a time when people can see their loved ones in long term care homes.
      • Premier was asked about funding for municipalities. The PM has said that municipalities are the responsibility of Provinces. When can municipalities expect to see some help? The federal money is not new money. “We need new money. We need the federal government to come to the table. We need more money.”
      • Province is looking at extending the state of emergency until June 30 can Ontarians expect to see the easing of some emergency orders? “We are working very hard to reopen the economy based on our strategy. I want to get the economy going, but we have to do it safely” Minister Elliott “we need to take a careful, thoughtful approach to reopening the economy. We must continue to measure the impact of each opening – we still have a way to go.”
      • Committed to having migrant workers tested.
    • Ontario Provides Consumers with Greater Stability and Predictability with Their Electricity BillsStatement
      • Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines announced a fixed electricity price, known as the COVID-19 Recovery Rate, of 12.8 cents per kWh, which will be automatically applied to all time-of-use customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This fixed electricity price will be in place from June 1 – October 31, 2020.
      • The COVID-19 Recovery Rate is 12.8¢/kWh
    • Weekend Announcements:
      • Ontario Extending Infectious Disease Emergency Leave for Workers during COVID-19Media Release
        1. the government announced that it has enacted a new regulatory amendment that will put non-unionized employees on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave during the COVID-19 outbreak any time their hours of work are temporarily reduced by their employer due to COVID-19. This will ensure businesses aren’t forced to terminate employees after their ESA temporary layoff periods have expired.
        2. Under the new regulatory change to the Employment Standards Act, non-unionized employees who have had their hours reduced or eliminated because of the pandemic will be deemed to be on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave. Workers will remain employed with legal protections and be eligible for federal emergency income support programs.
        3. The regulatory amendment applies retroactively to March 1, 2020 and will expire six weeks after the declared emergency ends.
        4. The regulatory amendments do not include employees represented by a trade union.
      • Province Makes Regulatory Amendments in Response to PandemicMedia Release
        1. The Ontario government made amendments to the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 regulation, enabling the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) to better support seniors living in retirement homes during the COVID-19 outbreak.
        2. The regulation change increases the emergency payment the RHRA can pay to eligible retirement home residents from $2,000 to $3,500. In the event of an emergency, such as an outbreak, this funding can be used to support residents to cover costs for transportation, alternative accommodation or temporary care.
        3. The regulation change also requires retirement homes to report infectious disease outbreaks to the RHRA during COVID-19 and beyond.
        4. The government also:
          1. Amended an emergency order to allow drive-in movie theatres that were in existence before May 29, 2020  to reopen with restrictions in order to help support communities and local businesses recover from the devastating economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.
          2. The government is also allowing batting cages to open so that people can start to enjoy outdoor seasonal activities at safe physical distances. These changes will be effective on May 31, 2020.
          3. Issued an emergency order eliminating barriers to eligible frontline workers receiving pandemic pay. It will allow employers with unionized workforces to provide pandemic pay to eligible employees without the need to negotiate separate terms or conditions with their bargaining agents.
          4. Extended an emergency order to provide electricity bill relief for industrial and commercial consumers during COVID-19. The order was first introduced on May 1, 2020 to defer a portion of the Global Adjustment charges from April and May 2020. Through the extended emergency order and a related regulatory amendment, this support is now being extended through to the end of June 2020.
      • Backcountry Camping available at Ontario Parks and on Crown Lands Starting June 1 Media Release
        1. As of June 1, backcountry camping will be available at Ontario Parks, including access points, paddle and portage routes and hiking trails. Ontario Parks will also be expanding day-use activities to include picnicking and off-leash pet areas.
        2. Following current provincial restrictions, no more than five people will be allowed to occupy a backcountry campsite during their stay, unless they live in the same household.
        3. The closure of all other overnight camping and some day-use activities at provincial parks and conservation reserves has been extended to June 14 and will continue to be reassessed. All buildings and facilities including campgrounds, roofed accommodations, visitor centers, park stores, playgrounds, and beaches remain closed. Some washroom facilities may be available.

Friday, May 29, 2020:

  • FAQs about summer activities
  • COVID-19 Update: Burlington City Council Approves Virtual Statutory Public Meetings
  • COVID-19 Task Force Meeting #8 Highlights
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM spoke about yesterday’s call with premiers. – Readout
      • They  discussed the collaborative efforts by federal, provincial, and territorial partners to combat the pandemic and protect the health, safety, and economic well-being of all Canadians. They also discussed the recent reports by the Canadian Armed Forces on long-term care facilities in Ontario and Quebec, and agreed to take action to improve care for seniors.
      • First Ministers were briefed on the work being done by the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force, which will coordinate country-wide blood test surveys to tell us how widely the virus has spread in Canada and provide reliable estimates of potential immunity and vulnerabilities in Canadian populations.
      • The PM also discussed the 10 paid sick days for Canadians. “No one should have to choose between taking a day off and putting food on the table.”
      • He discussed how the federal government is working with each jurisdiction, including on border measures and a collaborative national approach to testing and contact tracing.
      • The PM talked about the importance in being able to identify and isolate the virus. Some provinces have already reached out for assistance on contract tracing.
      • The PM announced $650 million of funding to provide critical support to Indigenous families and communities during this crisis. – Media Release
      • The funding includes:
        1. $285.1 million to support the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities.
        2. $270 million to supplement the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program to address increased demand on the program,
        3. $44.8 million over five years to build 12 new shelters, which will help protect and support Indigenous women and girls experiencing and fleeing violence.
      • The PM also announced that cruise ships will not be allowed in Canadian waters until Oct. 31, 2020.
    • Question Period:
      • On the limited response to the wage subsidy program – the PM stated that this program will become more important as the economy reopens and that is why it was extended.
      • The Federal government continues to work with airlines.
      • Regarding the situation in long term care homes and keeping soldiers in long term care homes in Quebec longer – “The Federal government will be there to support the provinces as they work to regain control of long term care homes.” The armed forces are there to protect Canadians, but “soldiers in our nursing homes is not a long term solution.”
      • The PM was pressed for details on what specific actions the Federal government would take to support provinces with long term care homes. Long term care homes are under provincial  jurisdiction. The Federal government will be there to help support the provinces manage the long term care situation. “there are a range of needs/situations across Canada.” “We will be there depending on what the Province’s need, (in the immediate term, short term and the long term). The government will provide more money and more resources.
      • Members of the Liberal caucus have spoken about  national guidelines for long term care homes. Members of caucus are very concerned about the care of seniors. Important conversations need to
      • take place about the care of seniors in Canada.
      • Operational discussions are taking place about Premier Legault’s request to keep the armed forces in Quebec longer.
      • The federal government’s current focus is on the “emergency situation” that is taking place in long term care homes.
      • Regarding the 10 paid sick days. Premiers are concerned about any additional burdens on employers. “The federal government would assume the responsibility for most of the support.”
      • The PM is discussing slight exception to the US border crossing with Premiers. These exception would facilitate family reunification.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The province unveiled the details of it’s new testing strategy, which is aimed at hotspots and essential workplace – Media Release
      • Premier Doug Ford and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, released the next phase of the province’s COVID-19 testing plan, Protecting Ontarians Through Enhanced Testing, which includes three branches of testing
        1. Assessment Centre Testing: expanding who gets tested to now include asymptomatic individuals concerned about exposure and continued routine symptomatic testing at assessment centres.
        2. Targeted Campaigns: detecting and containing cases by expanding asymptomatic surveillance for vulnerable populations, including in long-term care homes and other shared living spaces like shelters and group homes, as well as targeted testing of workplaces in priority sectors which work with priority populations and where it may be difficult to physically distance.
        3. Outbreak Management: testing to ensure rapid and agile response capacity for outbreak management, including in specific neighbourhoods and regions or at hospitals, institutions and workplaces.
      • To help enable increased access to routine symptomatic testing, people will no longer need a referral to go to any of the more than 130 assessment centres across Ontario.
      • “Ramping up testing will mean more cases”
      • Now that we have a better picture of what each region is facing “I am now comfortable at looking for a regional approach in Stage 2 of the reopening”
      • Officials are now looking at a regional model for reopening. “I am not prepared on taking unnecessary risks.”
      • Minister Elliott “We have entered the post-peak phase” of the pandemic
      • The Province has 2,000 contract tracers in place
    • Question Period:
      • Premier was asked about his change of heart to regional opening. He says it is because of the increased testing.
      • Premier is supportive about the exceptions to the US/Canada border for reuniting families
      • Will a formal apology becoming for families of long term care patients? “My heart breaks.” I apologize to them every day.
      • Premier “there’s no lightbulb that goes off in my head,” says when asked why he’s changing course after saying yesterday he was not in favour of regional openings.
      • With regional opens how do you stop someone from Toronto from going to London to get a haircut? Dr. Williams says he would hope Ontarians would respect each other.
      • Dr. Williams said that a clear definition of region must be determined so the public understands. “Most cases are focused on the GTA. In other regions, no cases for 2-3 weeks in a row. So we’re looking at how to organize that.
      • How does the regional approach impact the stage 2 reopening? Minister Elliott we need to thoroughly examine the impact of reopening stage 1. The regionalization is separate issue.
    • Other announcements:
      • Ontario commercial landlords can apply for urgent rent assistance through Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businessesMedia Release
        1. All commercial landlords in Ontario can now apply for rental assistance to help their small business tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative will keep more small businesses in operation and more people employed as the province gradually and safely restarts the economy.
        2. The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, has launched the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The province is committing $241 million to the program, which will provide more than $900 million in support for small businesses across Ontario during this difficult time
        3. To find out how much rent support you may be eligible for, visit Ontario.ca/rentassistance.

Thursday, May 28, 2020:

  • Burlington Council Unanimously Approves Resolution Encouraging Participation in Ontario-Canada COVID-19 Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program
  • Council Unanimously Endorses Declaration to Ensure Viability of Transit during and after COVID-19 Pandemic
  • BURLINGTON UPDATES
    • Multi-use Path Safety and Etiquette:
      • A reminder to both pedestrians and cyclists to follow proper etiquette and safety practices when using a shared pathway.
      • Do’s:
        1. Keep right except to pass;
        2. Warn others when approaching or passing;
        3. Faster trail users yield to slower traffic;
        4. Use lights at night; and
        5. Clean-up after your pet.
      • Don’ts:
        1. Operation of motorized vehicles is prohibited, including e-bikes;
        2. Do not exceed the 15 km/h speed limit;
        3. No pets off leash; No alcoholic beverages;
        4. No littering; and
        5. No smoking.
      • Please always maintain a distance of 2m/6ft between you and others.
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • The Prime Minister did not hold a COVID-19 briefing today, he is attending a virtual UN session on financing solutions related to COVID-19.
      • United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, and the Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness, will convene world leaders and international organizations today in a joint initiative to sharpen and accelerate our global response to the significant economic and human impacts of COVID-19, and advance concrete solutions to the development emergency. – Media Release
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The focus of today’s briefing was once again long term care homes.
      • To further protect seniors and staff in long-term care homes, the Ontario government announced today that it is extending the mandate of the Incident Management System Long-Term Care Table. This table is composed of health care professionals who make immediate decisions to deal with issues related to staffing levels, infection management and resources during the COVID-19 outbreak. – Media Release
    • Question Period:
      • Premier was asked again today about why he isn’t considering a regional approach to reopening the economy. He is following the advice of the medical professionals. While, he doesn’t disagree, he will continue to follow the medical officer of health’s advice.
      • He was asked if he was considering postponing transit projects. He said no. Infrastructure funding comes up every week on the calls with the PM and he will raise it again today.
      • On the question of long term car bureaucracy and whether it needs a shakeup? “That’s going to come p and people will be held accountable. The system’s been broken for decades. There’s changes that need to be done.”
      • Unions had refused to send inspectors into long term care homes. “I’ve been taking bullets up here every day for the union.”
      • The Province used every measure and every tool available to them to provide assistance to the homes.
      • As Premier why weren’t you able to intervene when the inspectors refused to enter the homes? “We took plenty of action”, we called in the military, we asked for volunteers, the hospitals went in. “We threw everything we had at them.”
      • On moving to stage 2. Minister Elliott said, “another week at least must go by before we considering moving to Stage 2.”

Wednesday, May 27, 2020:

  • June 4 Tele-Town Hall will Focus on what Summer in Burlington will look like amid COVID-19
  • Burlington Redesigns its Services to keep City Staff and Residents safe as the Province Eases some COVID-19 Restrictions
  • Maintaining the Bonds of Friendship Across the Globe Amid COVID-19
  • Ontario Extending Emergency Orders to June 9 During COVID-19 Outbreak
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Tomorrow during his meeting with the Premiers the PM will speak about what is going on long term care homes
      • As provinces and territories reopen and workers go back to work they will no longer need the CERB. The wage subsidy will be there to help employers help pay people.
    • Question Period:
      • In Canada we need to ensure we are doing a better job caring for seniors. While this is a Provincial responsibility we are there to help, respecting their jurisdiction. We need have a conversation about the long term as well as what is happening now.
      • Is it time for a federal inquiry into long term care homes? Our responsibility is to improve things in the context of COVID we need to have conversations about how we care for elders across the country, respecting Provincial responsibilities.
      • What is  the Federal government’s immediate plan to deal with the crisis in long term care homes? The immediate plan is to send the military in to assist. The Federal government is there to support the Provincial governments in the delivery of care.
      • What specifically with the federal government going to do to support Province’s with the issues in long-term care homes?  We need to do things right now and we are, there will be a need for a bigger conversation moving forward.
      • We need to work together to care for our elders, but the situations vary across the country. Canadians expect us to do better by our elders.
      • How long will the Military be deployed in Ontario and Quebec? We will need to see improvements in the homes before the military is pulled out. Discussions with the Provinces is how we will move beyond the Military support in long term care homes. Having the military in long term care homes is not a permanent solution.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier announced that effective immediately the Province will be taking over five long term care home: Orchard Villa in Pickering, Eatonville Care in Etobicoke, Altamont Care in Scarborough, Hawthorne Place in North York and Camilla Care in Mississauga.
      • Inspectors will also be dispatched to these homes and will be on site for two weeks to ensure that the homes come to compliance
      • Rigorous inspections will begin in 13 other homes
      • Problems are isolated
      • An independent commission into long term care is being expedited and will begin in July – it will be open and transparent
      • We need the PM’s help to fix this problem, we can’t do it on our own.
    • Question Period:
      • Asked if the independent commission will have the authority to investigate the Province and call the Premier as a witness? Yes, the commission will be fully transparent and the Premier will be a witness.
      • The Premier was asked if he will fire his Minister of Long Term Care? “No, she is one of the most knowledgeable people we have down here at Queen’s Park, regardless of the party. I count my blessings that I have her and Minister Elliott as ministers.”
      • The Premier won’t hesitate to pull licenses if he has to.
    • Other announcements:
      • Ontario Extending Emergency Orders During COVID-19 OutbreakMedia Release
        1. The Province announced that all emergency set to expire on May 29 have been extended until June 9
        2. Current emergency orders include the closure of outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, public swimming pools and outdoor water facilities, as well as bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery.
        3. Additionally, there continues to be restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and staff redeployment rules remain in place for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women’s shelters

Tuesday, May 26, 2020:

  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM announced that Ontario and Quebec have both requested that the deployment of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) be extended (no date was given)
      • The CAF soldiers in Ontario have made some “disturbing observations” about what is happening in long term car homes in Ontario. Their report has been shared with Premier Ford.
      • The federal government has been actively working on obtaining PPE. 40 flights have arrived in Canada carrying more gowns, masks, etc., which has been distributed across the country.
      • The federal government has signed a contract with GM to produce 10 million face masks. This will mean jobs in the Oshawa plant.
      • The PM announced that he and Andrew Holness of Canada and Jamaica, and UN Secretary-General António Guterres will convene a special high-level meeting on May 28 to advance concrete solutions to the development emergency caused by the COVID 19 pandemic. – Media Release
    • Question Period:
      • There were several questions about the CAF report on Ontario long term care homes. The report has been shared with the Province of Ontario. The PM and Premier spoke about it this morning. It will be the focus of Premier Ford’s briefing today at 1:30 p.m. The report will be made public then. (a technical briefing on the findings of the report will take place at 12:30 p.m.)
      • The PM said the observations in the report were “deeply disturbing. We need to do a better job taking care of our seniors.” He pledged support to the Province of Ontario.
      • The situation has existed long before the pandemic.
      • CAF soldiers have been working in these five homes: Orchard Villa in Pickering, Altamont Care in Scarborough, Eatonville Care Centre in Etobicoke, Hawthorne Place in North York, Holland Christian Homes’ Grace Manor in Brampton.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today’s briefing was on the findings revealed in the Canadian Armed Forces report on the conditions in the five long term cares home they have be deployed to. – Media Release
      • The report was “heartbreaking” what it contained was “horrific”. “It is shocking that this can happen in Canada.”
      • Reading the report “was the hardest thing I have had to do as Premier”
      • “Please pray for these residents and their families”
      • The report will be made public. “As hard as it may be you need to know what I know.”
      • The CAF mission has been extended for another 30 days.
      • An investigation has begun and there may be criminal charges. There will be accountability and justice for these families
      • Since the arrival of the CAF there have been improvements in these homes
      • Independent commission into provincial long term care homes will begin in September
      • Four out of the five homes are for profit
    • Question Period:
      • Steps that have been taken since receiving the report – 1. We have stabilized the situation, 2. Must be transparent with the public and share the findings, 3. Corrective actions must be put in place immediately. Premier – “It is my job to fix a system that has been broken for decades.”
      • Why not a full public inquiry? “Not ruling anything out after reading the report”
      • Did you fail seniors? “I don’t feel our government failed seniors. We saved lives” by moving to repair the issues that came up “We are going to make sure we fix this situation – no matter what it takes”
      • Is it time for the Province to take over long term care homes and integrate them with public health? “everything is on the table. If that’s what we have to do then we will.”
      • We will fix the problem with the help of the Federal government
      • Minister Fullerton – “COVID-19 tipped the homes with issues over the edge” “Canadians cannot tolerate this – all levels of government must come together” to fix the problems
      • Premier – we cannot financially sustain a publicly funded system
      • While there were “massive issues” in these five homes, “it would be unfair to paint all homes with the same brush”
      • Why weren’t these issues identified before, during inspections? The CAF were on site 24/7 and were able to see the cracks in the system, with no fears of losing their jobs for reporting problems.
      • There are 626 long term care homes in the Province and many are providing excellent care.
      • The Premier was asked why he wasn’t revealing the public health hotspots, when he said “he wanted the public to know what he knows.” Minister Elliott – revealing the exact locations of the hotspots “would be stigmatizing for the residents and businesses in those communities. We must balance the public’s right to know with the stigmatizing effect of making the hotspots public.”

Monday, May 25, 2020:

  • Province Expands COVID-19 Testing to Include People who are Asymptomatic
  • Burlington Task Force Update – Week 7: Restaurants and Hospital Capacity Discussions
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM announced that applications are now being accepted for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. – Media Release
      • To landlords the PM said “Please apply.” To tenants – “there are programs in place to help you pay your rent.”
      • Launching a new phone line today with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (Canadian Business Resilience Network – CBRN) – the Resilience Service – 1-866-989-1080.
      • The PM also announced that the government will be working with the Provinces and Territories to provide 10 paid sick days/year. This would ensure “that workers do not have to choose between putting food on their table and going to work when they are sick.” In the very early stages, no details are available about who would pay – Federal government, provinces/territories/employers
      • This idea was raised by BC Premier Horgan to combat the expected second wave of COVID-19 in the fall.
    • Question Period:
      • There were many questions today about the Liberal Party specifically taking advantage of the wage subsidy program to pay its employees. The PM did not answer this question directly instead he said – “the program is meant to keep employees connected with their workplaces. It is available to businesses and charities.” It will help our economy come back strong.
      • The PM was asked for clarity and details about the paid sick leave program. “If someone starts to show symptoms of COVID or the Flu – they shouldn’t have to go work when they are sick.” “The mechanisms of the program won’t be easy.”
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier commended the volunteers and businesses that have stepped up to support the community. – Media Release
      • The response to the SPARK Ontario program has been great with more than 6,500 Ontarians offering to deliver food, run errands and connect with seniors and people with disabilities during COVID-19
      • Ontario’s volunteers and small businesses are rising to the challenge and helping seniors and other vulnerable people during the COVID-19 outbreak. Thousands of people are generously giving their time and resources to make and deliver food, run errands, and check in on those who are self-isolating.
      • The Province is launching a campaign to recognize businesses that have gone above and beyond in their communities – Big Hearts Campaign. No details yet.
    • Question Period:
      • Premier was asked about the gathering at Trinity Bellwoods Park over the weekend. Premier “I’m disappointed to say the least with everyone who showed up at Trinity Bellwoods Park.  Why don’t you do us all a favour and go and get tested.”
      • When asked about rolling things back – The Premier will not “punish the rest of the Province” for the reckless behavior of a group of people
      • When asked about a regional approach to reopening, he will not take a two tiered approach to reopening.
      • When asked about the increasing numbers – Minister Elliott stated that the increase is linked to Mother’s Day weekend. People didn’t respect social distancing and they gathered in groups of more than five.
      • If you have symptoms, or have been in a large group and are worried – go get tested.
      • Regarding testing – over the coming days the details of the Province’s “robust” testing plan will be announced. It will target communities that have been identified as “hotspots (parts of Peel Region, parts of Toronto, Windsor Essex)” as well as large employers
      • The Premier was asked again today if he would implement a moratorium on evictions. The commercial rent relief program starts this week. To landlords “they won’t like the consequences if they don’t sign up.” He begged landlords to sign up for the program
      • There was talk of increasing the gathering size to groups of more than five. Minister Elliot- “given the numbers of people coming down with COVID-19 and the Trinity Bellwoods gatherings, Dr. Williams is reluctant to move forward with that. We have to see the numbers come down first.”
    • Other announcements made today:
      • Hospitals Assume Management of Two Long-Term Care HomesMedia Release
        1. The Ministry of Long-Term Care has issued Mandatory Management Orders appointing local hospitals to temporarily manage two long-term care homes for 90 days. Southlake Regional Health Centre will temporarily manage River Glen Haven Nursing Home in Sutton and Humber River Hospital will temporarily manage Downsview Long Term Care in North York.
        2. Despite receiving hospital support for weeks, these homes have been unable to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Friday, May 22, 2020:

  • Street Sweeping in Burlington to Begin May 25
  • Halton Region Medical Officer of Health Issues Class Order Defining when to Self-Isolate and who is Considered a Close Contact
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • Federal News:
      • Guidelines from the Public Health Agency of Canada on non-medical masks and face coverings – Link
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM and Deputy PM held their tenth First Ministers’ call yesterday with the premiers about the COVID-19 pandemic.- Readout
      • First Ministers reiterated the importance of working collaboratively to keep Canadians safe while gradually restarting their economies.
      • They discussed an approach based on increased testing capacity, timely and complete contact tracing, and data and information sharing. This approach will help ensure that all regions of the country are testing at a sufficient level, and reinforce testing with effective contact tracing and data sharing in order to contain future outbreaks.
      • Today the PM talked about what needs to happen to safely reopen the economy.
        1. Testing capacity needs to increase
        2. Need to accelerate our ability to do contract tracing across the country
        3. Data must be shared between provinces and territories
      • “This is the next phase of our collaboration across the country.” The Federal government is prepared to support, facilitate and fund this work across the country. Provinces just need to ask for the help.
      • In order for Canadians to be able to move across the country more freely, as we reopen the economy, “we need to be able to quickly detect and isolate new cases.”
      • A new tool is available on Canada.ca/coronavirus, that will assist Canadians in identifying which support programs they may qualify for.
    • Question Period:
      • The PM was asked if contact tracing will involve the use of an APP? At this time Federally we have the ability to conduct 60,000 test daily. They have been talking to the Provinces about their needs regarding both testing and contract tracing. Currently assisting Ontario with contract using by using Federal employees and Stats Canada staff.
      • He was asked if Ottawa would impose a Federal APP that all Canadians would have to use? The Federal government is working with Apple and Google on the development of an APP. There have been issues with some APPs that when installed drain phone batteries. The Federal government will “recommend strongly to Canadians an APP.”  One APP that all Canadians use will make contract tracing across the country seamless.
  • PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today the Premier announced new programs focused on hospitality workers and apprentices – Media Release
      • As the economy gradually reopens, the Ontario government is helping people affected by COVID-19 get back to work. The province is investing in Ontario’s first Virtual Action Centre, an online counselling and training portal, to support laid off and unemployed hospitality workers, and is helping apprentices by providing grants to purchase tools, protective equipment and clothing for their trade, along with forgiving previous loans to purchase tools
      • The government is providing an Ontario Tools Grant of $2.5 million in 2020-21 and $7.5 million in 2021-22 and ongoing. This will help new eligible apprentices purchase the equipment they need to start their careers. The funding amounts will be distributed as follows:
        1. $1,000 for those in motive power sector trades;
        2. $600 for those in construction and industrial sector trades;
        3. $400 for those in service sector trades.
      • To be eligible for the new grant, apprentices must have:
        1. completed level 1 training on or after April 1, 2020;
        2. an active registered training agreement; and
        3. been registered as an apprentice for at least 12 months.
      • The government is also investing nearly $2 million to open a Virtual Action Centre in partnership with UNITE HERE Local 75.
    • Question Period:
      • Asked about the testing of children? Permission would need to be provided by parents before it happens in schools and daycare centres, but it could happen by properly trained health care workers.
      • The Premier was asked if businesses could deny access to patrons if they are not wearing masks, even though they have not been declared mandatory? Premier said “any business can refuse entry to anyone (who doesn’t wear a mask). It just protects everyone. If you have one, please wear it.”
      • Testing will be done again in long term care homes.

Thursday, May 21, 2020:

  • Burlington Moving Forward with City Service Redesign Strategy After Council Approval at Special Meeting
  • City Monitoring Gypsy Moth Populations and Tree Health
  • Regional Council Calling on Province to Postpone, not Cancel Courthouse in Halton
  • Federal Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM announced $75 million in new funding for Indigenous organizations providing services to Indigenous peoples in urban centres and off reserve. – Media Release
      • This additional funding will support more community-based projects that address the critical needs of Indigenous populations including food security, mental health support services, and sanitation and protective equipment.
      • It could also help with other needs, such as support for Elders, transportation, and educational materials for Indigenous children and youth. Funding for projects will start rolling out in the coming weeks.
      • The PM urged employers and property owners to take advantage of the support programs the government has in place – the wage subsidy program and the commercial rent subsidy program
      • When physical distancing is not possible the PM reminded Canadians of Dr. Tam’s recommendation to wear a mask.
      • “Wash your hands, stay at home and wear a mask if necessary”
    • Question Period:
      • How are we preparing for a possible second wave? The federal government has stepped up to assist Provinces and Territories with testing and contact tracing. “We must be ready to act quickly, so we don’t have to move back to confinement.”
      • We realize that the airline industry has been hard hit by the pandemic. Canadians are also out of pocket for airline tickets. The government will be having conversations with the airline industry.
      • Asked about a national testing strategy. The PM will continue to discuss scaling up testing with Premiers (especially in Ontario and Quebec). “The federal government will be there.”
      • BC Premier has called for a national policy on paid sick leave –“ had good conversations with the provinces on how they can best support people on issues like paid sick leave, child care, long term care.”
      • Will the PM insist that Canadians who paid for airline tickets get their money back? “working with all concerned parties to find a solution.”
  • Provincial Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today the Province announced the recipients of the First Phase of Research Projects to Fight COVID-19 – Media Release
      • The Ontario government is funding 15 high-quality and promising proposals that were submitted in response to a recent call for proposals for the Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund.
    • Question Period:
      • The Province continues to lag behind in testing, how can Ontarians feel safe going back to work? “I want to see truckers, taxi drivers, automotive and food processing workers tested. He also wants a long term care workers to be tested again. He is pushing the table as hard as he can. “ I will be like an 800 pound gorilla on their backs, I want to see these numbers increased.”
      • He wants to see random testing on asymptomatic people test
      • The numbers of cases have gone up over the past few days. Premier  is watching the numbers closely and is prepared to roll things back if necessary – he is relying on medical advice.
      • Premier said he wants to see Service Ontario locations open.
      • He was asked again about putting a moratorium on evictions. He wants to wait and see how landlords will respond to the commercial rent subsidy program.
      • Asked about why the numbers are going up. Too soon to link the increases to the reopening that has started. Minister Elliott said next week will be a better indicator of any correlations
      • Will student and teacher testing be part of the child care and school reopening? “Yes it will” To give people confidence in the reopening we have to do testing.  “I’m obsessed with the testing…cause I want to see the testing.”
      • What would be the criteria to revert back the opening? The criteria is: we need fewer positive test results, adequate hospital capacity, contract tracing in 90% of cases within 24 hours and testing volumes need to increase. This will help determine whether we move to stage 2, hold in stage 1 or roll back stage 1 openings.
      • Question about the direction being given to colleges and universities regarding whether to go totally online in the fall. Minister Romano – We’re hoping of the best and preparing for the worst. A hybrid model is being looked at. We want to maximize virtual course delivery. But where labs and learning in person is necessary, a proposal for how this can happen is being developed.
      • Premier was asked about weddings. The Premier said “I wouldn’t want anyone to cancel their special day. But they are just going to have to go with the program”

Wednesday, May 20, 2020:

  • Federal Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM announced that the Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program application portal will open on May 25.
      • The program offers forgivable loans to landlords to reduce rent, by 75%, paid by tenants.
      • The Federal/Provincial governments will pay 50%, landlords will pay 25% and tenant will pay 25%, Details are available at cmhc.ca
      • Resources for businesses are listed on the Canada.ca. COVID -19 page. Link
    • Question Period:
      • Is there consideration being given to making the wearing of masks mandatory in Canada? The Public Health Agency of Canada will be making an announcement on this issue later today. The best way to prevent transmission is to stay 2 metres apart, in situations where you cannot do this then wearing a mask is advisable.
      • The PM was asked about what the sitting of Parliament will look like in the coming months? Difficult to be clear at this point as things continue to change. It will also depend on what legislation needs to be considered.
      • He encouraged landlords to participate in the commercial rent subsidy program.
  • Provincial Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier said that the Province is watching trends very carefully now that Stage 1 has been launched.
      • “If things are going in the wrong direction, we are prepared to roll things back.”
      • Premier stressed that we must continue to be vigilant – stay at home, stay 2 metres apart, continue to work from home if possible.
      • Social gathering guidance remains in place,
      • People taking public transit, returning to work or going out shopping are being urged to continue to adhere to public health advice as the best line of defence against COVID-19. – Media Release
      • To assist the public, the Ministry of Health today released specific recommendations on how to choose, wear and care for appropriate face coverings used in public where physical distancing is not possible, along with additional safety measures for provincial transit agencies.
      • Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts are recommending that individuals wear a face covering where physical distancing is not possible, such as on public transit or in a small grocery store or pharmacy.
      • To assist provincial transit agencies in protecting transit staff and riders in this new environment, the Ministry of Health is also recommending the following measures be put in place:
        1. Physical distancing of at least two metres by admitting fewer passengers and using physical markers between seats;
        2. The use of face coverings, particularly when physical distancing is not feasible;
        3. Ensuring the availability of alcohol-based hand rub upon entering and exiting the vehicle;
        4. Implementing engineering controls like plexiglass windows between drivers and passengers; and
        5. Enhanced cleaning, particularly of high-touch surfaces.
      • The Province is working on clear set of guidelines for transit agencies.
    • Question Period:
      • Has a target been set when the Province might roll things back? A target has not been set, but the Premier said he “would be watching the numbers like a hawk”
      • Why is wearing a mask being recommended now? With the opening of the economy there are situations where people cannot maintain the physical distancing guidelines of being 2 metres apart.
      • Premier was asked again about funding for transit agencies? “We need the federal government’s support. We are in conversation with them now.”
      • More clarification on days camps in July and August was requested. Premier was not able to provide any specifics. “Very, very strict protocols will be in place.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2020:

  • Parking Lots and Leash-Free Dog Areas Re-Opening in Burlington
  • Following Provincial and Public Health Directives, City of Burlington to Cancel Summer Recreation Programs
  • Ontario Extends All Emergency Orders to May 29 to Keep People Safe: Some Outdoor Recreational Amenities Reopening with Restrictions
  • Provincial Government Announces Independent Commission into Long-Term Care
  • Federal Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM announced that the Canada-US border will remain closed until June 21. Travel is limited to essential workers only.
      • To date there has been a low response to the wage subsidy program.
      • The PM announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses. – Media Release
      • This extended measure will help small businesses protect the jobs that Canadians rely on.
      • The changes to the CEBA will allow more Canadian small businesses to access interest free loans that will help cover operating costs during a period when revenues have been reduced, due to the pandemic.
      • The program will now be available to more businesses that are sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll.
  • Provincial Government Update:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Premier and Minister Lecce announced that schools (public and private) will not reopen. – Media Release
      • All students will receive their report cards
      • Overnight camps will remain closed
      • Summer day camps, with strict health measures, can be open in July and August. Local medical health officials will need to provide approvals.
      • Summer learning program will be scaled up
      • New protocols and standards will be introduced for the 2020-21 school year. They will be announced before the end of June.
      • Child care centres will be part of the Stage 2 reopening
    • Question Period:
      • What plans will be looked at for the reopening of schools? Full plan will be unveiled before the end of June
      • Premier was asked why a blanket approach was taken to schools, when some communities have few cases? “I’m just not going to chance it for a few weeks.”
      • There were questions about the commercial rent subsidy program. It has been delayed. Premier urged landlords to “step up” he is “trying to avoid bringing the hammer down on landlords.”
      • His message to landlords – “Don’t force my hand.”
    • Today the Province extended all emergency orders currently in force until May 29, 2020. (Media Release) This includes:
      • the closure of bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery only,
      • restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and
      • staff redeployment rules for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women’s shelters.
      • The government is also allowing drive-in religious gatherings
      • The government is permitting the reopening of some outdoor recreational amenities, including:
        1. outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields,
        2. off-leash dog areas, and
        3. outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters in parks and recreational areas, effective as of Tuesday, May 19, 2020.
      • Outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, fitness equipment, public swimming pools, splash pads and similar outdoor water facilities will remain closed until later stages of the province’s reopening plan.
    • Other announcements:
      • Ontario Announces Independent Commission into Long-Term Care – Statement from Minister Fullerton
        1. An independent commission into Ontario’s long-term care system will begin September.
        2. Over the next several months, the Province will be finalizing details of the commission including the terms of reference, membership, leadership of the commission and reporting timelines.

Friday, May 15, 2020:

  • City of Burlington Parks, Marina and Sport Update: What’s now open and closed for public use
  • COVID-19 Task Force May 15 Meeting Highlights
  • Tyandaga Golf Course Re-opening with New Safety Precautions and Guest Expectations
  • Federal Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM announced $450 million in funding to help Canada’s academic research community. (Media Release) The investment will:
        1. Wage supports to universities and health research institutes, so they can retain research staff who are funded from industry or philanthropic sources and are unable to access some of the government’s existing COVID-19 support measures. This would apply even if their work has been temporarily suspended. The government will provide up to 75 per cent per individual, with a maximum of $847 per week.
        2. Support for universities and health research institutes to maintain essential research-related activities during the crisis, and to ramp back up to full research operations once physical distancing measures are lifted. This will cover up to 75 per cent of total eligible costs, and will support activities such as the safe storage of dangerous substances, and restarting data sets that were interrupted during the pandemic.
      • The PM also announced the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would be extended until the end of August. This program was intended to keep people connected with their jobs.
      • As plans begin to reopen the economy the PM urged employers to bring back their staff.
      • Today kicks off the start of summer job hiring – www.jobbank.gc.ca
      • The application process begins today for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit
    • Question Period:
      • The PM was asked about contact tracing and its importance to reopening the economy. He said that it was discussed at the First Ministers meeting last night. As the economy reopens and people begin to travel throughout the country it is important that “we work together.” The federal government is prepared to work with the Provinces and Territories on testing and contact tracing.
    • First Ministers Meeting – Readout
      • The PM and Deputy PM held their ninth First Ministers’ call with the premiers about the COVID-19 pandemic
      • They discussed the tremendous importance of testing and contact tracing for any successful restart of the economy, and how the federal government can support provinces and territories in this regard.
      • The PM highlighted ongoing close collaboration with the United States and committed to keeping premiers informed on border measures.
      • First Ministers agreed on the need to maintain strong public health measures at the border, in particular as economies start to gradually restart
      • The PM raised the importance of municipalities in the gradual reopening across the country.
  • Provincial Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • No new announcements were made today
      • Once again encouraged people to only buy what they need when they are shopping
    • Question Period:
      • With the reopening announced yesterday parents are concerned about no schools or child care. Minister Lecce will have an announcement on Tuesday regarding schools and child care.
      • How is it possible for services like house cleaning and baby sitting to take place and still maintain physical distancing? The Premier did not provide answer other than “do your best to social distance.”
      • When asked about mall retailers not being able to reopen next week, the Premier said “this pandemic has meant lots of unfairness”
      • He urged people to use common sense over the long weekend and maintain social distancing.
      • He was asked again today about why he has not issued a moratorium on commercial evictions. He continued to urge landlords to take advantage of the commercial rent subsidy program. “I can’t stand vicious landlords.”
      • If babysitters and house cleaners can come into people’s homes, why can’t family members? He said that when visiting family stay on the porch and maintain social distancing. There will be an announcement next week regarding the gathering size.
      • He was asked about GTA mayors’ (Crombie and Tory) concerns about reopening. He said “no one’s putting a gun to anyone’s head to open before they are ready. If the businesses don’t want to open up, don’t open.” He did also say that if businesses in Mississauga don’t open people from Mississauga will go somewhere else to shop.
      • “We got into this together and we’re going to get out of it together.” “Why don’t we all work together.”
      • Urged people to stay in their own Province.

Thursday, May 14, 2020:

  • Victoria Day Long Weekend in Burlington Amid COVID-19
  • LUMCO Mayors urge Provincial and Federal COVID-19 Relief for Municipalities
  • Ontario Announces Additional Workplaces that Can Reopen: Additional seasonal, recreational, retail and household businesses must follow public health guidelines
  • Federal Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM announced a new Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Veteran’s will be established at McMaster University. The Focus will be on research, training and education.
      • The PM also announced up to $469.4 million in new measures to support Canada’s fish harvesters, who are economically impacted by the pandemic but cannot access existing federal measures. – Media Release
      • This investment builds on the $62.5 million for the new Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund announced last month to help Canada’s fish and seafood processing sector.
      • The program will include:
        1. The Fish Harvester Benefit – will cover 75% of losses ups to $10, 000 for anyone expecting a 25% drop in income
        2. The Fish Harvester Grant – non-repayable support of up to $10,000 to self-employed fish harvesters with a valid fishing licence. Size of the non-repayable support will vary depending on the level of fish harvesters’ historic revenue.
        3. Changes to Employment Insurance (EI) that would allow self-employed fish harvesters and sharespersons to access EI benefits on the basis of insurable earnings from previous seasons (winter and summer claims).
      • On June 1 some national parks and historic sites will partially reopen – outdoor trails and greenspace where physical distancing is possible. No mention of which parks at this time.
      • Also as of June 1 new boating regulations will be in place – no pleasure craft in Northern Coastal waters.
  • Provincial Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • As soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, 2020:
        1. Golf courses will be able to open, with clubhouses open only for washrooms and restaurants open only for take-out.
        2. Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches may open for recreational use.
        3. Private parks and campgrounds may open to enable preparation for the season and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract.
        4. Businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for or ride their animal.
      • Assuming trends in key public health indicators continue to improve, Ontario’s first stage of reopening will begin on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. and will include:
        1. Retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances with measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time and booking appointments beforehand or on the spot.
        2. Seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors, including training and sport competitions conducted by a recognized national or provincial sport organization. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played while maintaining physical distancing and without spectators, such as tennis, track and field and horse racing.
        3. Animal services, specifically pet care services, such as grooming and training, and regular veterinary appointments.
        4. Indoor and outdoor household services that can follow public health guidelines, such as housekeepers, cooks, cleaning and maintenance.
        5. All construction to resume and essential workplace limits lifted
        6. Libraries for pick-up or delivery
        7. Professional and amateur sport activity for individual/single competitors, including training and competition conducted by a recognized Provincial Sport Organization, National Sport Organization, or recognized national Provincial training centres (e.g., Canadian Sport Institute Ontario) with return to play protocols in place and no spectators, except for an accompanying guardian for a person under the age of 18 years.
        8. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played under physical distancing measures. This includes:
          1. Water sports on lakes and outdoor bodies of water
          2. Racquet sports such as tennis, ping pong, badminton
          3. Animal-related sports such as dog racing, agility, horse racing
          4. Other sports such as: track and field, car and motorcycle racing, figure skating, fencing, rock climbing, gymnastics, etc.
        9. Allowing certain health and medical services to resume, such as in-person counselling and scheduled surgeries based on the ability to meet pre-specified conditions as outlined in A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic, as well as resuming professional services such as shifting Children’s Treatment Centres from virtual to in-person.
        10. Swimming pools will remain closed. As a result, water-based sports competitions are excluded if not conducted on lakes or outdoor bodies of water.
      • The government and health and safety associations have released more than 90 safety guidance documents to assist employers in multiple sectors, including construction, retail, facilities maintenance and manufacturing
      • Media Release
      • Detailed list of stage 1 openings
      • The Province is also launching a workplace PPE supplier directory to assist businesses as they reopen – Link
      • The Province will be making announcements next week on schools and gathering sizes.
    • Question Period:
      • Even through we are reopening we still need to be vigilant
      • Physical distancing guidelines remain in place
      • It was stressed that businesses should reopen only when they are ready.
      • The Premier was asked that on Tuesday it will be okay to go shopping but it’s not okay to see your family? “Just hang in there a little bit longer.” Minister Elliott also commented that the command table has been working on this issue as well as when people can gather for religious ceremonies.
      • There was a question about whether job protections, that were implemented in March, will remain in place throughout all stages of the reopening – they will.
      • Premier was asked about Dr. Williams comment earlier in the week about the Province not being ready to reopen. Premier “if the numbers change we will have to react”
      • Restaurants will have to remain closed for now.
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $2.25 million to help farmers better protect employees and ensure the continued supply of healthy food products for consumers during the COVID-19 outbreak. – Media Release
      • Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), the federal and provincial governments are launching the second intake of the Agri-food Workplace Protection Program to help farmers enhance health and safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus. The funding will be used for initiatives like purchasing personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and redesigning workstations
      • Today’s announcement is in addition to the $2.25 million investment announced last week to help provincially-licensed meat processors implement COVID-19 health and safety measures.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020:

  • Halton Mayors Write to Province After Decision to Cancel Construction of Halton Region Consolidated Courthouse
  • Federal Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The applications for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit will be accepted starting on Friday. The website is expected to go live today.
    • Question Period:
      • The PM was asked again today if the Federal government would support transit agencies. His comment was the operation of transit is a provincial and municipal responsibility. “Public transit is important in getting people back to work” He also said that many people will continue to work from home and need to physical distance. “We will work the Provinces to support them in their area of jurisdiction”
      • Regarding no Federal budget or economic statement –“Budgets project what’s happening in the next 12 months, right now we’re having trouble forecasting the next 12 weeks.” “We have been open and transparent, but our focus is on what is happening now.” “We want to put our efforts to where they are most useful.”
      • Regarding the reopening of the Canada/US border. Conversations with the US are “ongoing”, we need to be “confident we can keep Canadians safe.” The PM doesn’t want Canada to be re-exposed to the virus through international travel.
  • Provincial Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier and Minister Lecce announced today that a framework was developed and endorsed by the Ontario government, trustees’ associations, and almost all of the provincial union representatives that will allow the temporary voluntary redeployment of education sector employees, while ensuring they maintain their employment status with their school boards. – Media Release
      • Starting later this week, subject to a local agreement of the framework, eligible education sector staff who volunteer will be able to register through an online portal and to be matched with congregate settings that are facing staffing shortages.
      • Positions available may include custodial, maintenance, food preparation, children and youth service workers, social workers, and educational assistants. Training and appropriate safety equipment will be provided to redeployed staff.
      • Volunteers who are redeployed will be eligible for Ontario’s temporary pandemic premium and emergency child care.
    • Question Period:
      • After the redeployment announcement Minister Lecce was asked if we could assume this meant schools will not reopen in June. Minister Lecce said, the redeployment is voluntary and does not indicate one way or the other whether schools are going to reopen again in June.
      • Asked about reports saying that tomorrow’s announcement would be that marinas, golf courses, etc. would be reopening. Premier “we asking people to get ready, we aren’t at stage 1 quite yet.
      • After saying yesterday that we would be in Stage 1 tomorrow, the Premier back tracked today. He said that guidelines are being developed and “we are not announcing the we are in Stage 1 on Thursday, We’ll be providing details about Stage 1 on Thursday.”
      • Dr. Williams said yesterday that we have not yet met the threshold for Stage 1. Who makes the call on when we reopen things? Premier – “we listen to the advice of the Health Table”
      • He was asked about a bailout for the TTC “they will need our support and we will be there – but we need the federal government to support us. It’s too big a ticket. We will be at the table for municipalities, but we can’t do it alone.” He will be raising this issue at the First Ministers meeting this week.
      • Asked whether Ontarians would be directed to wear face masks when out in public. Minister Elliot referred to comments from Dr. Williams who said that when physical distancing is not possible, like on public transit, wearing a face mask is recommended.
      • Premier wants to keep the Canada/US border closed.
      • Update on schools will be coming early next week. Minister Lecce is consulting with the Chief Medical Officer as well as experts at Sick Kids Hospital. Next week’s announcement will include a decision for June and the plans for summer learning.
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • The Ontario government has adopted an emergency order allowing the province to issue a mandatory management order for a long-term care home struggling to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak. – Media Release
      • This order would support the use of rapid, immediate and effective management alternatives to protect residents and staff within a home.
      • The manager could be any person, including a corporation or a hospital.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020:

  • Volunteer Staff from Joseph Brant Hospital Supporting Long-Term Care Expanding care during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Province Announcement: Declaration of Emergency Extended to June 2 While Ontario Gradually Reopens the Economy: New legislation will allow for more virtual or remote transactions during COVID-19
  • Halton Region to receive funding for vulnerable populations through COVID-19 Community Response Fund, an FCM and CMAF partnership
  • Ontario Marks the First Provincial Day of Action on Litter: A Reminder that Everyone Can Play a Role in Maintaining a Cleaner, Healthier Ontario
  • Federal Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM announced a series of additional measures to help seniors and provide them with greater financial security in this time of crisis. – Media Release. These measures include:
        1. A one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). This measure would give a total of $500 to individuals who are eligible to receive both the OAS and the GIS, and will help them cover increased costs caused by COVID-19.
        2. Expanding the New Horizons for Seniors Program with an additional investment of $20 million to support organizations that offer community-based projects that reduce isolation, improve the quality of life of seniors, and help them maintain a social support network.
        3. Temporarily extending GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed. This will ensure that the most vulnerable seniors continue to receive their benefits when they need them the most. To avoid an interruption in benefits, seniors are encouraged to submit their 2019 income information as soon as possible and no later than by October 1, 2020.
      • These payments will be automatic – seniors do not have to apply.
    • Question Period:
      • The PM was asked about the reopening of the border with the US (the closure is in place until May 21). He said that we must be careful about restarting any international travel. What we have been doing is preventing the spread of the virus amongst Canadians. “We must continue to be vigilant.” Reopening the border will have an impact on our ability control the transmission and spread. He said that he would have more to say on the closure of the Canada/US border.
  • Provincial Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The provincial state of emergency was extended until June 2.
      • On Thursday there will be an announcement regarding reopening more “low risk workplaces and seasonal businesses.” We will be moving into Stage 1 (opening select workplaces that can meet current public health guidelines, allowing essential gatherings of a limited number of people, opening some outdoor spaces, continued protections for vulnerable populations) of the three reopening stages.
      • Link to the Provincial reopening framework
      • MPPs in all ridings are being asked to hold consultations that will assist with the reopening
      • Minister Phillips spoke about an outline survey the Province has posted to gather comments regarding the economic impacts that the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is having on business and the community. Survey
    • Question Period:
      • Minister Elliot was asked why the pandemic pay was not provided to all front line care providers? They are still considering adding other groups to the list. Money will flow to the hospitals once the list of employees has been confirmed.
      • The order that states that groups of no more than 5 can gather expires on May 19, has any consideration been given to expanding the number of people that can gather? Moving from 5 to 10 people is “the Chief Medical Officer’s call. We will have more to say on Thursday.”
      • The Premier was asked about dog groomers and trailer owners. No comment on dog groomers. Regarding trailer owners, the Premier has been getting calls from campers who have trailers saying that it’s not fair that cottagers can go north, but trailer owners can’t go to their trailers. “We’ll have some positive news about this shortly. It’s about fairness.”
    • Other announcements:
      • Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and Andrea Khanjin, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks released statement today regarding the first Provincial Day of Action on Litter – statement
      • Today is a day when all Ontarians can raise awareness and take action to reduce litter and waste at home and in our communities.
      • When the time is right, the government will work with communities and their partners to organize litter clean-up days across the province. “We know that Ontarians are eager to return outdoors, and this will be a great opportunity to reconnect with nature.”
      • There are actions all of us can still take to put litter in its proper place while staying at home and physically distancing. Today, and every day individuals and families can reduce, prevent or divert waste, in the following ways:
        1. Choosing products with less packaging and replace single-use food wraps with reusable storage containers.
        2. Becoming experts in what goes in the green bin and blue box.
        3. For anything that does belong in the trash, such as disposable gloves and masks, making sure garbage bags are properly tied or sealed, to keep our neighbourhoods clean and safe.

Monday, May 11, 2020:

  • Ontario Announces Provincial Parks & Conservation Reserves Open to Walking, Hiking and Biking
  • LUMCO Big City Mayors Talk Post-COVID Recovery with Federal and Provincial Ministers
  • Burlington COVID-19 Task Force Meeting #5 — Action Items & Highlights
  • Ontario Retail Stores Open for Curbside Pickup and Delivery: Health and safety guidelines in place to protect workers and customers
  • 20+ Municipalities and partners come together to form GTA economic development alliance to support economic recovery across Ontario
  • Federal Government Updates:
    • The Prime Minister, announced new measures to support businesses so they can keep their workers on the payroll and get through the pandemic. – Media release
    • The government will offer support to those businesses affected by COVID-19 based on a number of conditions. To help protect Canadian middle class jobs, and safeguard our economy, the Government of Canada will:
      • Establish a Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) to provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going. The objective of this support is to help protect Canadian jobs, help Canadian businesses weather the current economic downturn, and avoid bankruptcies of otherwise viable firms where possible.
      • Use key guiding principles in providing support through the LEEFF, including:
        1. Protection of taxpayers and workers: Companies seeking support must demonstrate how they intend to preserve employment and maintain investment activities. Recipients will need to commit to respect collective bargaining agreements and protect workers’ pensions. The LEEFF program will require strict limits to dividends, share buy-backs, and executive pay. In considering a company’s eligibility to assistance under the LEEFF program, an assessment may be made of its employment, tax, and economic activity in Canada, as well as its international organizational structure and financing arrangements. The program will not be available to companies that have been convicted of tax evasion. In addition, recipient companies would be required to commit to publish annual climate-related disclosure reports consistent with the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, including how their future operations will support environmental sustainability and national climate goals.
        2. Fairness: To ensure support across the Canadian economy, the financing is intended to be applicable to all eligible sectors in a consistent manner.
        3. Timeliness: To ensure timely support, the LEEFF program will apply a standard set of economic terms and conditions.
    • Expand the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to mid-sized companies with larger financing needs. Support for mid-market businesses will include loans of up to $60 million per company, and guarantees of up to $80 million. Through the BCAP, Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with private sector lenders to support access to capital for Canadian businesses in all sectors and regions.
    • Continue to provide financing to businesses through Farm Credit Canada, the BDC, and EDC, including through the Canada Account. This will ensure the government is able to respond to a wide range of financing needs, including for some large employers facing higher risks, with stricter terms in order to adequately protect taxpayers.
    • The funding will be available to all sectors in all provinces and territories.
    • This funding is not a fix to pre-existing insolvencies.
    • The PM urged, “ that as we look to reopening, let caution and medical advice be your guide.” “When in doubt stay home”
    • The funding announced today is to support employees not senior executives
    • The federal government “will be there to support provinces in their reopening.”
  • Provincial Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today the Premier talked about more people returning to work across the province. As of today retail stores with a street entrance can offer curbside pickup and delivery. – Media Release
      • Over the weekend, garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores began offering in-store purchasing reopened.
      • All retailers should follow available safety guidelines in order to protect staff, consumers and the general public during the COVID-19 outbreak.
      • In addition, provincial parks and conservation reserves will begin opening today with limited access (see release in weekend announcements)
      • To start, recreational activities will be restricted to walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching. People will be able to access all parks and conservation reserves for free until the end of the month.
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked about expanding family bubbles. The Premier said that on the weekend his two daughters, that do not live with him, came over without their spouses. He said that in terms of visiting family –“Use your best judgment. I get people want to see their parents. Immediate family should be okay.”
      • Regarding funding for municipalities – “We are waiting to see what comes out from the federal government. We are prepared to work shoulder to shoulder with the federal government.”
      • With businesses reopening parents need access to child care, what is being done? The Premier said there would be announcement coming next week on child care and schools.
    • Today’s releases/statements:
      • The Ontario government is providing $30 million to build a safer and more reliable transportation system that will help keep goods moving and better connect communities across the province. – Media Release
        1. The 2020-21 Connecting Links program will support 24 municipalities across the province to help them build, repair or replace municipal roads and bridges that connect two ends of a provincial highway through a community or to a border crossing.
        2. Burlington is NOT eligible for this funding.
      • Statement by Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, encouraging school boards to proceed with celebrations of student achievement subject to health and safety limitations during the COVID-19 outbreak.
        1. He is encouraging boards to reschedule graduation ceremonies based on input from local medical officers of health. In some cases, this might mean holding graduation ceremonies and proms during the summer or fall when it is safe to do so. – Statement
      • Weekend announcements:
      • The province announced provincial parks and conservation reserves would reopen with for limited day-use access. The first areas will open on Monday May 11, 2020, with the remaining areas opening on Friday May 15, 2020.  – Media release, Electronic Press Kit
        1. At this time, recreational activities will be limited to walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching. Day visitors will also be able to access all parks and conservation reserves for free until the end of the month.
      • The Ontario government approved an emergency order that would enable available school board employees to be voluntarily redeployed to congregate care settings during the COVID-19 pandemic, including hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes, and women’s shelters.  – Media Release
        1. Many of these congregate care settings are in need of staff such as custodial and maintenance workers.
      • The Province unveiled a plan that, together with federal and municipal partnership, provides supports to licensed child care providers to ensure they remain sustainable and ready to open when parents return to work. – Media Release
        1. Objectives of the plan: saving parents money by prohibiting child care providers from charging families during the closure period. And protecting child care spaces across our province, so families can re-enter the workforce with confidence that local centres will be accessible and safe.

Friday, May 8, 2020:

  • Burlington’s City-wide Burn Ban Lifted, Effective Immediately
  • Mayor’s Message: When Ontario Announces Orders for Re-opening, Burlington will be Ready
  • Halton Region: Information & FAQs about COVID-19 testing_May 7
  • Ontario Supports Job Creators as People Start Returning to Work: Government continues to prepare for the next stages of reopening the economy
  • Federal Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • PM announced an extension to the wage subsidy program beyond June. More details will be coming next week.
      • A new Industry strategy council has been formed to look at how the pandemic is impacting specific sectors and how to support them.
    • Questions Period:
      • The PM was asked about how the federal government would support transit authorities as they are important to reopening the economy. He agreed that they are an essential part of reopening the economy. He said that regarding the operations of transit – that is a provincial and municipal responsibility. He did say that the federal government is happy to be a partner.
      • Women and young people have been hit particularly hard by this crisis. The federal government has put measures in place to help but he admitted that when it comes to women “there is always more to do”
      • The government is looking at how to provide more and secure child care spaces, which is an important aspect of getting people back to work.
    • Highlights from the First Ministers meeting held yesterdayReadout
      • First Ministers discussed efforts to ensure an adequate supply of personal protective equipment for workers, and steps they are taking to gradually restart the economy, as guided by the principles, criteria, and measures identified in their joint statement on April 28.
      • In particular, First Ministers acknowledged the importance of ensuring sufficient public health capacity to test, trace, and isolate all cases of COVID-19
  • Provincial Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • Today the Premier, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, highlighted the ongoing preparations for reopening the economy, including the work of the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee. – Media Release
      • No new openings were announced.
    • Question Period:
      • Premier was asked if Toronto becomes a hub for the NHL how can he assure the community that the testing of athletes, coaches etc. will not impact the public testing? The Premier said that sports leagues (NHL, NBA) will be paying for their own tests. He did say that any players/coaches etc. coming into the province from out of the country will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
      • Now that professional sports teams’ practice facilities will be reopening what does this mean for recreational sports? He said that “he has to listen to the Chief Medical Officer of Health.” He did not provide a clear answer for this question. He was also asked about tennis and golf specifically, he said that he would take this question back for an answer.
      • Regarding the potential of cross-provincial spread. He told people to “stay in their Province.” He does not support reopening the border with the US. When it does open he wants airport screening “ramped up.”
    • Today’s other announcements:
      • Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, issued a statement in response to Ontario permitting professional sport training facilities to reopen. – Statement
      • Beginning today in Ontario, professional sport training facilities will be permitted to reopen, provided their respective sports leagues have established health and safety protocols in response to COVID-19
      • The Province announced funding for two supportive housing projects:
        1. over $2.2 million in Kingston. Ontario’s investment will go towards new supportive housing units planned for the Kingston Home Base Supportive Housing Project at Princess Street United Church on Albert Street. The existing church will be incorporated into a new fully accessible building that will include transitional housing with supports, a job skills centre, an event and performing arts facility, as well as the One Roof, Kingston Youth Services Hub.– Media Release
        2. $1.5 million in Muskoka.  The new units will be located in the Town of Bracebridge and will feature space for support service agencies that offer programs for homeless, disadvantaged youth and youth at risk of homelessness. – Media Release

Thursday, May 7, 2020:

  • Ontario Releases Plan to Resume Scheduled Surgeries and Procedures: Hospitals must continue to maintain capacity to respond to COVID-19
  • Federal Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The PM announced that all provinces and territories have confirmed, or are in the process of confirming, plans to cost share wage top-ups for their essential workers. – Media Release
      • The Government of Canada will provide up to $3 billion in support to an increase in the wages of low-income essential workers, the provinces and territories will contribute a total of $1 billion.
      • Each province or territory will determine which workers would be eligible for support, and how much support they will receive.
      • PM: “if you are risking your health to keep this country moving and you are making minimum wage – you deserve to be making more money”
  • Provincial Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier announced today that a comprehensive framework has been developed to help hospitals assess their readiness and begin planning for the gradual resumption of scheduled surgeries and procedures, while maintaining capacity to respond to COVID-19. – Media Release
      • Timelines will vary from hospital to hospital and be conditional on approval by regional oversight tables involved with planning and coordinating Ontario’s response to COVID-19.
      • The framework, A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic, contains clear criteria that must be met before hospitals can resume scheduled surgeries, including ensuring that the hospital and its region have the following:
        1. A stable number of COVID-19 cases;
        2. A stable supply of personal protective equipment;
        3. A stable supply of medications;
        4. An adequate capacity of inpatient and intensive care unit beds;
        5. An adequate capacity of health human resources; and
        6. The availability of post-acute care outside the hospital that would be required to support patients after discharge.
    • Question Period:
      • After his conversation with cottage area mayors. Premier Ford said that “if you have to go to your cottage to check on things, respect the rules.” This is not “your typical Victoria Day weekend.” “Bring your own supplies. Follow the rules.”
      • The Premier’s advice regarding Mother’s Day – “Use common sense. People over 70 should self-isolate for their own health. I’m going to leave it up to families. Twenty people over to the house isn’t a good idea at all.”
      • He was asked about the 2 week staggering of openings. How can the impacts of openings be measured if several things are opened at once. – Premier “We have to do things based on medical advice and thinking about the Province as a whole.”

Wednesday, May 6, 2020:

  • The Province announced extending the temporary emergency hydro rate relief to May 31 for families, residents, farms and small businesses who pay Time of Use (TOU) electricity rates. Burlington Hydro customers will continue to be charged the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents. Province Media Release.
  • Ontario Further Eases Restrictions on Retail Stores and Essential Construction During COVID-19: Retailers to follow health and safety guidelines
  • Provincial Government Updates:
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Premier announced that as Friday May 8, garden centres and nurseries can open. As of May 9, at 12:01 p.m., hardware and safety supply stores will be able to open. On May 11, 12:01 p.m. retail stores with a street entrance can provide curbside pickup. All public health measures remain in place – physical distancing, proper hand hygiene. – Media Release
      • Construction of multi-unit residential buildings can start as can essential demolition work.
      • Oakville based Virox technologies is the successful recipient of the Ontario Together Fund. They have retooled their operation to make disinfectant wipes.
      • The Ontario government is extending emergency electricity rate relief to families, farms and small businesses until May 31, 2020.
      • Customers who pay time-of-use electricity rates will continue to be billed at the lowest price, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day, seven days a week
      • The Province is also extending all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until May 19, 2020. The full list is  included in the media release. Here are some orders that are extended:
        1. Closure of Establishments
        2. Prohibiting Organized Public Events, Certain Gatherings
        3. Closure of Outdoor Recreational Amenities
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked about when restaurants could reopen. He said hopefully, “sooner rather than later”
      • Premier said he is not ready to put any more resources towards the redesign of the Province’s license plates.
      • Today’s testing numbers were down again.  “People expect me to push the system. It’s not personal.”
      • Quebec is now allowing visitation to long term care homes where there is no outbreak. The Premier is not prepared to consider this for Ontario at this time.
      • Some municipalities (Kingston) have asked for more autonomy regarding reopening. This will not happen. The Province will determine what opens when.
    • Other Provincial News
      • The Province will be abandoning its redesign of license plates. It will go back to issuing the white plates, with the “Yours to discover” slogan.
      • The LCBO is expanding hours the hours for 360 stores from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, from reduced hours of 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
      • The Ontario Court of Justice will not be returning to full operations on May 29, 2020.  No trials or preliminary inquiries will be conducted until July 6, 2020 at the earliest, unless a judge seized with a continuing matter orders otherwise. This applies to criminal, family and Provincial Offences Act matters. – Link
      • The Court will soon provide a detailed notice to the profession and to the public about all proceedings in the Ontario of Justice.  The Court is also working closely with its justice partners, including the Ministry of the Attorney General, to adopt technology that will increase participants’ ability to access the Court’s services using remote means, such as by the electronic filing of court material, remote scheduling processes, and remote hearings.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020:

  • Burlington Marking Netherlands Liberation Day From Home Amid COVID-19
  • Halton Region Special Council Meeting Called for May 13
  • Toronto Star article: The workplace you return to won’t be the one you left — five experts describe what post-pandemic offices, shops and restaurants will look like
  • Globe and Mail Opinion Column by Andre Picard: It is time for a new mantra: Go outside, but do not congregate
  • Federal Government Updates:
    • The Prime Minister announced $252 M in support for food and agriculture sectors:
      • $77M to food processors for worker safety and capacity expansion
      • $125M  Agri Recovery for beef and pork producers to adjust to market – cattle and hog farmers will be paid to keep their livestock on their farms longer credit line improvement for dairy producers
      • $50M surplus food purchase program – the federal government will purchase surplus production from farmers and distribute to those in need (farmers will be paid and people will be helped)
  • Provincial Government Updates:
    • Ontario Expands Virtual Mental Health Services During COVID-19 With Free Internet-Based Programs
    • Highlights from today’s briefing:
      • The Province announced that they will be expanding virtual mental health services to help thousands of Ontarians experiencing anxiety and depression, including frontline health care workers, during the COVID-19 outbreak.
      • The Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) programs were developed in partnership with MindBeacon and Morneau Shepell and will be provided at no out-of-pocket costs to Ontarians across the province. – Media Release
    • Question Period:
      • The Premier was asked again about people being able to visit their cottages. “There is no (Provincial) order and there won’t be one” telling people not to travel to their cottages. “We have to give a bit leniency, not just the hammer.” “Be prepared people will be going to their cottages on the May long weekend.”
      • He went on further to say that he believes people will bring their own food and stay at their cottages.
      • He was asked if he thought it was unfair that cottage owners would be allowed to enjoy the outdoors while apartment dwellers were told to stay indoors. He said it was unfair, and that everyone will be allowed to go outdoors during the May long weekend.
      • There has been no directive from the Province regarding online learning at colleges and universities for September.
      • There will be an announcement later this week regarding extending the hydro rate subsidy program.
      • The testing numbers show a drop today. The Premier said “there are some medical officers that aren’t performing.” “They need to start picking up their socks and do more testing” After the pandemic the Province will look at the Alberta model for Public Health, which is centralized.

Monday, May 4, 2020:

  • Team Burlington launches the Burlington Economic Recovery Network
  • Burlington Launches Emergency Preparedness Week and National Youth Week: Building Resiliency
  • Burlington COVID-19 Task Force Meeting #4 — Action Items & Highlights
  • Federal Government Updates:
    • Today’s briefing:
      • The Prime Minister, today joined other global leaders to launch the Coronavirus Global Response. This online pledging event aims to initially raise more than $8 billion (USD) to help researchers and innovators develop solutions to test, treat, and protect people, and to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
      • To date, the Federal government has announced investments of over $850 million (CAD) that support this fundraising target. – Media Release
    • Question Period:
      • The PM was asked about whether the Federal government would be tabling a budget or an economic statement. The PM said, “ normally a budget presents an projection of what’s going to happen in the coming year and the actions that we’re going to take as a government – but we’re in a period of tremendous uncertainty as to what’s going to happen in the next week.”
      • A June budget has not been ruled out.
      • He was also asked about financial aid for the airline industry. The aid packages the government has released are available to employers large and small, but some industries have been particularly hard hit, like the airline industry, tourism sector and the energy sector. The government will be making announcements regarding sectorial specific funding support in the coming days or weeks.
      • He was asked about school openings and declined to comment as this was a “provincial decision.” As a parent he said that he would want to know how physical distancing was going to be maintained in the classroom and in the school yard.
    • Weekend Announcements:
      • Families receiving the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) will get $300 extra per child in May to help them deal with the added pressures of COVID-19. The so extended the tax filing deadline for individuals to June 1, 2020. – Media Release
      • The Prime Minister, announced an investment of $240.5 million to develop, expand, and launch virtual care and mental health tools to support Canadians.
      • Working with provinces, territories, and stakeholders, this investment will be used to create digital platforms and applications, improve access to virtual mental health supports, and expand capacity to deliver health care virtually, including projects to reach vulnerable Canadians. These supports will also help ease the burden on our health care system. – Media Release
  • Provincial Government Updates:
    • Today’s briefing:
      • The Premier announced that the province’s daily testing rate has increased to 17,000 tests/day and that the province has now become a national leader in daily testing volumes per capita. – Media Release
      • The success in ramping up the testing means that “we’re getting close to opening parks and opening retail for curbside pickup”, but we can’t stop the health measures, “if we stay the course we will beat the virus.”
    • Question Period:
      • There was a question about having COVID free hospitals, that would enable the restart of elective surgeries. Minister Elliot said that this is something that was being considered and that a plan for moving forward was going to be released soon.
      • When asked about when people could begin to have small gatherings the Premier said that opportunity will come, hopefully “sooner rather than later”
      • Premier believes that “it’s unfair” that garden centres in big box stores and grocery stores can allow access to shoppers, while free standing garden centres cannot. He said there would be good news on this issue coming this week.
      • Premier was asked about cottage owners not being permitted to go to their cottages. He will be having a “heart to heart” conversation with mayors of cottage country communities this week about the issue. He said that if cottage owners are being told not to go their cottages then they ought to get a break on their property taxes. “There’s only so long I can hold the gates back from these people”
      • He also hinted that more good news would be announced before the May long weekend
      • He told retailers “to start to get ready”
      • Random community testing has started. During this week’s call with First Ministers and the PM, the Premier will be introducing a discussion on the launch of national plan for contact tracing.

Sunday, May 3, 2020:

Saturday, May 2, 2020:

Friday, May 1, 2020:

  • Questions About Drive-by Parades in Burlington? Some Guidelines from Public Health, Province and City
  • Federal Government Updates:
    • At today’s briefing the PM announced the ban of assault-style weapons. 1,500 models and variants of firearms will be banned by way of regulations. – Media Release
    • The PM and Deputy PM spoke with Premiers on Thursday evening.  – Readout
    • The PM updated premiers on the release of the recent federal modelling data. The collective measures being taken by Canadians is working, and leaders agreed that continued collaboration is needed to ensure all Canadians are safe and healthy, especially the most vulnerable.
    • First Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the joint statement on the shared public health approach to support restarting the economy. They spoke about the plans they are putting forward in each of their respective jurisdictions to restart the economy. First Ministers acknowledged the importance of doing this through a gradual and phased approach, based on the advice of public health experts.
    • All First Ministers reiterated the importance of a Team Canada effort in addressing the challenges of COVID-19.
  • Provincial Government Updates:
    • The Premier announced that this list of businesses will be permitted to begin operations on Monday, May 4 at 12:01 a.m. (Media Release):
      • Garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery only;
      • Lawn care and landscaping;
      • Additional essential construction projects that include:
        1. shipping and logistics;
        2. broadband, telecommunications, and digital infrastructure;
        3. any other project that supports the improved delivery of goods and services;
        4. municipal projects;
        5. colleges and universities;
        6. child care centres;
        7. schools; and
        8. site preparation, excavation, and servicing for institutional, commercial, industrial and residential development;
      • Automatic and self-serve car washes;
      • Auto dealerships, open by appointment only;
      • Golf courses may prepare their courses for the upcoming season, but not open to the public; and
      • Marinas may also begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water, but not open to the public. Boats and watercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.

Thursday, April 30, 2020:

  • COVID-19 Update: Support Services, Continued Closures and Reminders for Burlington
  • City of Burlington Provides Information Related to Drive-by Parades and Processions
  • Federal Government Updates:
    • The focus of today’s Federal briefing was the crash of the Canadian Forces helicopter off the coast of Greece. There were six Canadians onboard, one person is dead and five are missing.
  • Provincial Government Updates:
    • Premier Ford expressed his condolences to the families impacted by the crash of the Canadian Forces helicopter.
    • The Province is on the right path to reopening the economy, “we are flattening the curve.” The Premier remains “laser focused on reopening things”
    • The Province released a set of safety guidelines today that will provide direction to those working in manufacturing, food manufacturing and processing, restaurant and food service, and the agricultural sector.  – Media Release
    • These measures build on more than 60 guidelines developed by Ontario’s health and safety associations in response to COVID-19 for various sectors such as retail, health care, construction, transportation, police services, firefighters, and transit employees.
    • These new sector-specific guidelines feature recommended actions employers can begin to plan for as they prepare to adapt to the new reality during COVID-19, including:
      • Ways to ensure appropriate physical distancing, like eliminating pay-at-the-door options, holding team meetings outdoors, staggering shift times and using ground markings and barriers to manage traffic flow.
      • Changes to the workplace, like installing plexiglass barriers, increasing the air intake on building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to increase air flow, and using boot sanitizing trays.
      • Promoting proper workplace sanitation, providing personal protective equipment, substituting dry dusting with vacuuming, ensuring customer-facing staff are given hand sanitizer, providing a place to dispose of sanitizing wipes, and enforcing handwashing before and after breaks.
    • The backgrounder – Health and Safety Association Guidance Documents for Workplaces During the COVID-19 Outbreak contains all the links to the various guidelines that have been released
    • The Premier was asked about insurance companies not lowering their rates – he urged them “to lower their rates. People aren’t driving that much. Your risks are lower but you keep taking their cheques. Start lowering your rates.”
    • He was asked if Toronto should be separated from the rest of the Province when it comes to reopening. This topic is regularly discussed by cabinet. “There’s no border around the GTA. People will leave Toronto and the GTA and go to other parts of the province.”
    • There will be “good news coming very, very shortly for garden centres.”

Wednesday, April 29, 2020:

  • Burlington to Launch TelePALS, a Social Phone Service for Adults on May 1
  • Ontario’s Big City Mayors Join FCM in Calling for Emergency Funding for Municipalities
  • How to Spot an Email Phishing Scam
  • Burlington Keeps Current Development Charges to May 29 During COVID-19
  • Federal Government Updates:
    • The House of Commons is sitting today to vote on the $9 B student aid legislation
    • The Canadian Forces Snow Birds will be flying over communities across the country starting this weekend in Nova Scotia
    • The Prime Minister spoke with Premier Ford yesterday Readout
      • They agreed that continued collaboration between all governments will be key to defeating COVID-19 and progressively reopening the Canadian economy
      • They also agreed to continue discussions on other priorities, including manufacturing and procurement of personal protective equipment, supports for individuals, families and businesses, and investments in infrastructure.
  • Provincial Government Updates:
    • The Province is further expanding the list of essential workers eligible to receive free emergency child care during the COVID-19 outbreak. – Media Release
    • Those who will benefit include people who work in the food supply chain, retirement homes, grocery stores and pharmacies, and certain federal employees, including the military.
    • The Premier said Ontario will proceed “cautiously” on reopening the economy. “We’ll do it in trickle. We’ll have some good news in a little while.”
    • When asked if two classes of citizens was being created in the Province: public servants who keep their jobs and private sector employees who are being laid off – the Premier’s response was “It’s not like people have their feet up outside with a margarita in their hands. They’re working.”
    • When asked about people from other provinces coming to Ontario, the Premier said – “If you don’t live in Ontario – stay at home.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2020:

  • Statement from Burlington Mayor Meed Ward: Provincial Plan to Reopen Ontario
  • Burlington COVID-19 Community Resource Page Now Online
  • TEAM Burlington Gives Council Update on COVID-19 Impacts on Businesses
  • Federal Government Updates:
    • Prime Minister’s Briefing Highlights
      • PM announced that the shared principles document will be released today
      • The document will outline the conditions that must be in place before we can reopen. The shared principles have been agreed upon by the provinces, territories and the federal government.
      • Chief Medical Officers of Health collaborated on the development of the shared principles.
      • Reopening will be “gradual, careful and guided by science”
      • “Controlling transmission is key”
      • In order to reopen the economy there must be the capacity in place to trace and track
      • Equipment and measures must be in place at workplaces to keep people safe
      • The Federal government’s priority for procurement of PPE has been for front line workers. They are acquiring “massive amounts of PPE”, domestic production is beginning and will be available soon.
      • PPE supplies will need to be available for workplaces as we look at reopening the economy.
      • Federal government will be supporting Provinces and Territories with their testing capacity, another important aspect of reopening, by procuring more swabs and reagents
      • Provinces must determine what amount of testing and what protocols need to be in placed based on the particular situation they are in
      • The Pan-Canadian modelling reflects the different realities across the country.
    • Public Health Canada’s Briefing on Updated ModellingSlide deck
      • updated modelling that predicts, between 53,196 to 66,835 cases by May 5 and between 3,277 to 3,883 deaths by May 5
      • Ontario and Quebec account for over 80% of Canada’s confirmed cases
      • If each person infects fewer than one person on average, the epidemic dies out – Today, stronger controls including physical distancing and self-isolation are helping to reduce the average number of people each case infects to just above 1
      • Outbreaks in long- term care and seniors’ homes where older medically vulnerable adults reside
        1. Driving recent epidemic growth in Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia currently
        2. Responsible for the majority (79%) of deaths country-wide
      • Canada’s epidemic growth is slowing. Although previously doubling every 3 days early in the epidemic, the number of cases in Canada is now doubling every 16 days.
      • Canada is making progress to slow the spread and bring the epidemic under control, thanks to the commitment of Canadians, who are following public health advice to protect themselves and others.
      • It is critically important that we maintain our current public health measures until we have achieved epidemic control for the first wave.
      • Relaxing controls too quickly could squander our collective efforts to date and put us at risk of future epidemic waves
  • Provincial Government Updates:
    • Premier’s Briefing Highlights
      • In follow-up to the yesterday’s announcement on the decision-making framework later this week the Province will be releasing “clear, sector specific labour guidelines, based on the best medical and scientific evidence that is available”
      • The Provincial government is launching a new website – COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers to help businesses overcome the unique challenges created by the pandemic. – Media Release
      • The province is prepared to allow temporary changes to provincial rules and regulations in order to remove barriers that are hindering business and negatively impacting Ontario’s supply chain.
      • Businesses working to retool their operations to produce health-related products, or those that want to continue their operations in this new environment of physical distancing, can submit any potential roadblocks to the new website.
      • The Premier was asked about Quebec’s move to reopen schools in two weeks – “we do not want to put our kids at risk”
      • The Premier was asked about a bailout for restaurants. He talked about allowing restaurants to remain open for take out and delivery and also allowing the sale of wine and beer, along with the rent subsidy. He committed to speaking to the PM about this.

Monday, April 27, 2020:

  • Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville Form Halton Mayors Recovery Coordination Group
  • Team Burlington to Launch STAY HOME to Get Back to Business Campaign
  • Burlington COVID-19 Task Force Meeting #3 — Action Items & Highlights
  • Federal Government Updates:
    • Application process for the Canada Wage Subsidy program launched today. Almost 10,000 employers have already applied for the program.
    • Payments will begin as soon as May 7.
    • Employees can’t receive both the CERB and the wage subsidy.
    • The government has been working with the other parties to get support for the measures for students that were announced last week.
    • Parliament will sit virtually tomorrow and in person on Wednesday.
    • There were several questions to the PM regarding the shared guidelines for reopening the economy. Every province and territory has a different reality and reopening will look different across the country.
    • “It is very risky to start up regular activities too quickly.”
    • The shared guidelines would include items such as:
      • Must ensure that testing capacity is in place before reopening.
      • There must be an adequate supply of PPE in place before reopening
      • There must be medical capacity in place to handle a surge.
    • The list of shared guidelines will be released soon. “What’s in the guidelines is already informing the plans that have and will be released by the Provinces.
    • The collaboration between Ottawa and the Provinces and Territories is unprecedented
    • Provinces have the authority to reopen as they see fit, they do not need Federal approval. They “do have the responsibility to do what is right for their citizens”
    • No evidence to say that if you have had COVID-19 once you can’t get it again.
    • He was asked about funding for municipalities. “Municipalities are the responsibility of the Provinces,” but they are working with the Provinces to make sure that municipalities have the tools in place that they need.
  • Provincial Government Updates:
    • Ontario Unveils Guiding Principles to Reopen the Province — Premier and Ministers Commit to New Phased Approach for a Safe Restart and Recovery
      • Framework-for-reopening-our-province-en-2020-04-27
      • “This is roadmap, not a calendar.” The Premier also said the framework is how we will reopen NOT when we will reopen.
      • Four key guidelines that will be used to determine when to ease public health measures:
        1. Virus spread and containment – a consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases;
        2. Health system capacity – Sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment;
        3. Public Health capacity – Approximately 90 per cent of new COVID-19 contacts are being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread;
        4. Incident tracking capacity – Ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly.
      • Stage 1: For businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events. Hospitals would also begin to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries, and other health care services.
      • Stage 2: Opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.
      • Stage 3: Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.
      • The framework makes no mention of specific businesses and does not talk about schools.

Sunday, April 26, 2020:

Saturday, April 25, 2020:

Friday, April 24, 2020:

  • Burlington Increases Parking Fines During COVID-19
  • Federal Updates:
    • The PM announced that the federal government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.  Media release
      • The tenant will pay 25% of the rent, the landlord will absorb 25% of the rent and the Federal and Provincial governments will cover the remaining 50%, split 75% from the Federal government and 25% from the Province.
      • This will be for the months of April, May and June and will roll out in mid-May.
      • Businesses paying less than $50,000/month in rent are eligible.
      • Non-profits and charities are also eligible.
    • Conversations continue with the Provinces about reopening the economy, the state of long-term care homes and the topping up of pay for employees at long term care facilities
  • Provincial Updates:
    • The Premier and Minister Phillips announced the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA). A program to assist business owners with rent payment.  – Media Release, see Backgrounder  for details of the program and how to apply.
    • Next week the Province will release the framework for reopening the Province.
    • The Premier urged people who are still working and can afford to pay their rent to do so.
    • The Premier will be asking the federal government for residential rent assistance program.
    • The CBC reported that these homes would be receiving the military assistance: Orchard Villa (Pickering), Altamont Care Community (Scarborough), Eatonville (Etobicoke), Hawthorne Place (North York), Holland Christian Homes’ Grace Manor (Brampton). Staffing was the major criteria used to determine which homes received the military assistance.
    • May 4 – Fiat Chrysler will be restarting production in Canada. The Premier has “full confidence in the companies that the health and wellbeing of employees will not be jeopardized”
    • The Province announced a joint Federal Provincial initiative to help the agri-food sector expand online, providing more opportunities for producers to grow their business and offer more food choices for families who are shopping from home during the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding is being provided through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership).
      • The Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative will help food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations develop online business, providing consumers with greater access to a wide variety of food and agriculture products.
      • For More information about this targeted intake and the program guidelines can be found online at: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/cap/index.htm or by calling: 1-877-424-1300.
      • Media Release
  • Other Updates:
    • Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) – Request to the Federal Government for Emergency funding for municipalities
    • News Articles on Reopening the economy
      • Toronto Star: As Ontario gears up to reopen, experts were asked which businesses will open first – Article
      • CBC News: Ford mused about ‘loosening’ restrictions in May, but getting Ontario back to normal not that simple – Article

Thursday, April 23, 2020:

  • Mayor’s Message: We’re With You Burlington
  • Burlington Invites Minister Phillips, Chair of Ontario Jobs & Recovery Committee to Virtual Business Forum
  • Ontario Delivers Action Plan to Increase Protection for Vulnerable People and Those Who Care for Them: Additional measures will help stop the spread of COVID-19
  • Federal Updates:
    • Today the PM announced a $1.1 B National Medical and Research Strategy. It will include funding for:
      • Research on vaccines
      • Clinical Trials
      • Expanding National Testing and Modelling – COVID-19 Immunity Task Force will be established, testing over 1M Canadians is part of this strategy
    • Ontario’s request for military aid has been approved
    • “What’s happening in our long-term care homes is not acceptable”
    • Sending the military to take care of our seniors is not a long term solution
    • “We are abandoning our greatest generation who built this country”
    • “COVID-19 has highlighted the failings in our system”
    • The PM was asked about the request from FCM for funding for municipalities. He said that they will continue to work with provinces on the issue of funding for municipalities and in some cases directly with municipalities. Ensuring Canadians get the services they need is important.
  • Provincial Updates:
    • Emergency orders extended to May 6, Media Release
      • This Emergency Order extension includes the closure of outdoor amenities in parks and recreational areas, non-essential workplaces, public places and bars and restaurants, along with restrictions on social gatherings and limiting staff from working in more than one retirement home or long-term care home.
    • Premier announced a COVID-19 Action Plan for Vulnerable People – this is directed at group homes, homeless shelters, etc.
    • Minister Fullerton regarding what is being done at long-term care homes “We have used every tool available to us. And are looking for new ones.”
    • The Provincial and Federal portals were not able to provide enough resources to assist with the long-term care homes, therefore the military was called in to assist.
    • The Premier was asked about the opening of garden centres (impact on the Niagara growers), he said “ the government understands the situation these industries are in and they will be acting on it.” He said their will be an announcement in a day or two in this regard.
    • He was asked if the Province would be changing legislation to allow municipalities run a deficit – he again said that Minister Clark is working on this. The Province will be asking the Federal government for assistance for municipalities – “they have stepped up for everyone”
  • Other Updates:
    • Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced the plan to reopen Saskatchewan – Media Release
      • Phase One – Beginning May 4, 2020– reopening of medical services – dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, opticians, podiatry, occupational therapy and chiropractic treatment, as well as
        1. Low-risk outdoor recreational activities will be allowable with precautionary measures, including fishing and boat launches (May 4), golfing with physical distancing guidelines (May 15) and a fixed date (June 1) and clear guidelines for the operation of parks and campgrounds.
      • Phase Two – May 19, 2020 – re-opening of retail businesses (clothing stores, etc.) and select personal services (hair salons)
      • Phase Three  – Date To Be Determined – The third phase will be implemented following an evaluation of transmission patterns of COVID-19, and does not have a pre-determined date.  The third phase will include the re-opening of remaining personal services, along with the re-opening of restaurant-type facilities, gyms and fitness facilities, licensed establishments and childcare facilities.  Capacity limits will remain in some facilities, such as limits to 50 per cent of regular capacity for restaurants and licensed establishments.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020:

  • COVID-19’s Net Revenue Impact on Burlington to June 30 is $200K — and That’s Good News
  • Federal Updates:
    • Today’s announcement was on funding for post-secondary students and recent graduates.- $9 B. The government will be working with opposition parties to put this plan in place. Media Release
    • Funding includes:
      • Canada Emergency Student Benefit fund – $1250/Month or $1,750/month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities from May to August. This benefit is also available to student who may less than $1000/month.
      • 76,000 new summer jobs for students will be created. Details on what sectors the jobs will be in is coming.
      • For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities, the new Canada Student Service Grant will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall.
    • To help students continue their studies in the fall, the government will:
      • double the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents would also be doubled.
      • broaden eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21, in recognition that many students and families will struggle to save for school this year.
      • enhance the Canada Student Loans Program by raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.
      • increase existing distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students pursuing post-secondary education by providing an additional $75.2 million in 2020-21.
      • extend expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and supplement existing federal research grants, to support students and post-doctoral fellows, by providing $291.6 million to the federal granting councils. In addition, the government intends to enhance work opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows through the National Research Council of Canada.
    • Measures for seniors are being developed and will be announced soon
    • PM was asked about why a universal benefit has not been provided – he indicated that not everyone needs help and that the government is trying to provide “as much help as possible to the people that need it”
    • The pandemic is rolling out differently in every province and the plans to open up provincial economies will be different, however the decision to open up the Canada/US border is a national one. The Canada/US border will remain closed across the country until May 21.
  • Provincial Updates:
    • The key message today was that the Province will be requesting assistance from the Federal Government. The Feds have offered resources that could include personnel and other supports from Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces. The Ontario government will be making a formal request to access this additional aid today. Media Release
    • This support would be deployed to five priority long-term care homes as part of the Province’s Action Plan.
    • When asked to name the five homes – the only response provided was “ the aid will go to the homes in the greatest need.” Toronto was mentioned.
    • The Premier said that Minister Lecce would be making an announcement soon that would provide parents, students and teachers “with certainty moving forward”
    • Before opening the economy the Premier said they would communicate with municipalities and the federal government.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020:

  • Burlington’s 3-Month Work Plan, Financial Impacts of COVID-19 Discussed at City Council
  • Council Approves Virtual Public Delegations at Meetings
  • Federal Updates:
    • PM announced $350 m for the Emergency Community Support Fund to provide assistance to charities and non-profits that support vulnerable communities – Media release
    • The investment will flow through national organizations that have the ability to get funds quickly to local organizations that serve vulnerable populations. It will support a variety of activities, such as:
      • Increasing volunteer-based home deliveries of groceries and medications
      • Providing transportation services, like accompanying or driving seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments
      • Scaling up help lines that provide information and support
      • Helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits
      • Providing training, supplies, and other required supports to volunteers so they can continue to make their invaluable contributions to the COVID-19 response
      • Replacing in-person, one-on-one contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through phone calls, texts, teleconferences, or the Internet
    • The PM also announced that a calculator feature would be added to the CRA website that would help employers determine what they are eligible to receive through the Employer Wage Subsidy program would now – link to CRA website
    • Employers can apply for the subsidy as of Monday April 27
  • Provincial Updates:
    • The Premier announced $11 million to help deliver meals, medicines and other essentials to those in need and doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments for low income seniors
    • The province is working with the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) to launch a new Ontario Community Support Program to expand existing Meals on Wheels services to reach low-income seniors and people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions across Ontario.
    • Media Release

Monday, April 20, 2020:

  • COVID-19 Task Force Meeting #2 Highlights
  • Health Experts Say the COVID-19 Outbreak Has Likely Peaked in Ontario — Modelling shows physical distancing still needed to prevent further spread
  • COVID-19 Spring Update: Essential Services and Continued Closures in Burlington
  • Federal Updates:
    • The Prime Minister’s remarks today were focused on the shooting in Nova Scotia.
    • He asked the media not to use the name or photo of the shooter – “Do not give him the gift of infamy”
  • Provincial Updates:
    • Key highlights from the modelling update include:
      • The wave of new community spread cases of COVID-19 in Ontario appears to have peaked.
      • Outbreaks in long-term care and congregate settings continue to be a major concern. Concerted actions are underway to protect vulnerable people in these settings.Ontario is now trending toward a best case scenario rather than a worst case scenario and has significantly improved its standing as compared to March modelling.
      • The province has avoided a significant surge in cases. Total cumulative cases are forecast to be substantially lower than worst case or even moderate case scenarios projected by previous models.
      • While several hundred new cases are identified daily in Ontario, hospitals across the province have not been overwhelmed by the COVID-19 outbreak as a result of capacity planning and the public health measures currently in place. The rate of growth day-over-day is declining.
      • To further reduce the number of cases and deaths, it’s critical that Ontarians continue to adhere to public health measures, including staying home and practicing physical distancing if they must go out for essential reasons only.
      • The public health measures that have been put in place have been working.
      • Dr. Yaffi stated that the return to normal would be very gradual and must be done carefully.
      • When you reduce social distancing you will see the disease spread. We do not want to overwhelm the health care system – which we saw happen in places like Italy.
      • Data is collected by postal codes and lower income neighbourhoods are at a greater risk
      • Peak means we have suppressed the spread of the disease. T interventions are pushing down the number of infections.
      • Media Release, the slide deck from the briefing is available through the link at the bottom of the release.
    • Premier’s Briefing:
      • Premier expressed his condolences to the families in Nova Scotia.
      • The Premier referred to a framework for reopening the economy. There will be more on this in the coming days.
      • When asked about turning the economy back on, the Premier said “it would be a trickle first” with regular check-ins
      • He wants to give people hope, but we can’t jump ahead too fast.

Saturday, April 18, 2020:

  • Halton Region Public Health releases information on the number of cases and deaths within institutional settings, including long-term care homes and retirement homes.
  • Federal Updates:
    • The PM announced that the current measures regarding the Canada-US border will remain in place for another 30 days (closed to all non-essential travel).
    • $306M to help to help small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses, and to support Aboriginal Financial Institutions that offer financing to these businesses. Media Release
    • Starting Monday any air passengers who are required to travel, must wear a non-medical mask.
    • The government and opposition parties are still in negotiations about how parliament should meet
    • The House is scheduled to reconvene on Monday. Having 338 MPs and their staff get on planes and fly to Ottawa “is obviously not a good idea in the current context”
  • Provincial Updates:
    • Premier confirmed that the updated public health modelling would be released on Monday. “We will see how far we have come and how far we have to go”
    • Any discussions about reopening will be based on medical advice. “Reopening the economy will be a very difficult decision.”
    • The Ontario government is investing $20 M to advance medical research and develop tools and resources to combat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases through the Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund.
    • The government is calling on all of the province’s world-class research institutions, postsecondary institutions, and non-profit scientific partners to take action in the development of innovative solutions to track and defeat COVID-19.
    • Ontario researchers are encouraged to submit proposals through the new Ontario Together website. – Media Release
    • The Premier was asked what the Province would be doing to help cities like Toronto with their finances – “We will do whatever we can, to the best of our capacity. We don’t have a printing press, but we won’t leave a penny on the table.”
  • Municipal Updates:
    • Toronto will used a phased approach to reopen the City
      • The City of Toronto has started mapping out how to ease the restrictions and closures that are currently in place
      • It would be a phased approach once cases subside
    • Municipalities want Ottawa to put them at centre of post-pandemic recovery
      • Canadian municipalities are hoping to play a central role in the post-COVID-19 economic recovery by using an injection of federal spending to kickstart local infrastructure projects
        1. Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna has said she is seeking smaller “shovel ready” projects to access Ottawa’s $180-billion infrastructure plan — construction that, in theory, could be approved quickly and create immediate jobs.
      • A spokesperson for Minister McKenna said that Infrastructure Canada is already accelerating project funding approvals. Ahead of the summer construction season, most public infrastructure work has been deemed essential by the provinces.
      • Bill Karsten, President of FCM said municipalities need urgent “direct and predictable funding” from the federal government to cover operating losses. Some cities have already laid off workers and cancelled plans for seasonal hiring.
      • A spokesperson for McKenna said she is working on a plan for “how infrastructure can help kick-start the economy,” speaking to a variety of experts in Canada and abroad. However, she did not say whether Ottawa will offer a bailout to municipalities to cover the crisis period

Friday, April 17, 2020:

  • Burlington’s 3-month Work Plan, COVID-19 Financial Impacts to be Discussed at April 20 City Council Meeting
  • Burlington COVID-19 Wall of Inspiration — bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration
  • Province of Ontario makes it easier to reassign staff where they are needed most
  • Federal Update:
    • The PM announced several new funding programs to help more Canadians get through this difficult time —  Media Release
      • $1.7 B to clean up abandoned wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia – this will create immediate jobs in the energy sectors in these provinces and also help achieve climate action goals
      • $750 M Emission Reduction Fund to help companies reduce pollution. This fund will protect jobs, limit pollution and increase competitiveness.
      • $962 M to Regional development agencies to support smaller employers in rural area
      • $270 M to the “Futureprenor and Industrial Research Assistance Program”
      • $500 M to Heritage Canada to assist the arts, culture and sports sector
    • Parliament is supposed to reconvene on Monday. The government is currently in negotiations with the other parties about how to proceed. Conservatives want Parliament to sit four times per week in Ottawa.
    • The PM’s preference is virtual meetings. Virtual meetings would allow MPs who are not within driving distance of Ottawa to continue to “have their voices heard,” without going against the measures that have been put in place regarding physical distancing and staying at home.
    • Last night the PM and Deputy PM spoke with Premiers. Link to Readout
    • They discussed ways to financially help low-income workers who provide essential services to Canadians and First Ministers agreed to work together to make this happen.
    • There was also discussion on the federal government’s intention to introduce a Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses, and other actions being taken by all orders of government to support Canadian businesses.
    • They also agreed on the urgent need to ensure long-term care facilities have the resources they need to protect the health and well-being of their residents and workers.
    • All First Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to addressing COVID-19 through a Team Canada effort. The Government of Canada is taking a whole-of-government, comprehensive, and coordinated approach to respond to COVID-19.
    • PM said today that Premiers agreed to the principle of co-ordination and that the same principles are being applied across the country with respect to physical distancing, staying at home and using medical guidance and data to inform decisions about the loosen of restrictions.
  • Provincial Update:
    • Provincial Government Briefing Highlights
      • The Premier and Minister Lecce announced that 21,000 iPads and tablets are being distributed to children/families in need to ensure that all students have access to the Provincial Learn at Home Program
      • Premier Lecce also announced that expansion of the list of individuals who have access to free childcare – Media Release
      • Updated modelling will be available on Monday
      • When asked when schools will reopen the Premier said “health and science will determine when schools will reopen.” Focus is to make sure “kids graduate”
      • Premier was asked if municipalities will be allowed to run deficits. He said that Minister Phillips and Clark are working with municipalities and that “We will do whatever it takes to support the people of Ontario” and that he is “zeroed in on the economy”
      • The Province issued emergency orders today that allow municipalities and District Social Service Administration Boards (DSSA) with the flexibility to offer reassignments to certain staff to where there is local need during the outbreak, including child care, by-law enforcement, and public health services.
      • Municipalities or DSSAs have to comply with all other provincial orders, as well as any guidance and safety standards prescribed by the Ontario government for COVID-19. They are also responsible for ensuring that any staff reassigned to the new duties have the required training and skills.
      • Link to media release
      • Link to letter from Minister Clark
    • Electricity Disconnection Ban Expanded
      • On March 19, 2020, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) extended the ban on electricity disconnections for non-payment for residential customers to July 31, 2020.  Now low-volume and small business customers (those who pay time-of-use or tiered electricity prices) will also be protected by the ban during this period.  OEB made this change to ensure the risk of loss of electricity service, on account of arrears, would not be an added source of uncertainty at this time.
    • The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $1 million in new funding to connect workers with in-demand jobs in the agri-food sector to keep the nation’s supply chains strong and store shelves stocked during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), the federal and provincial governments will provide support that will help people connect with job opportunities in the sector quickly. This program would help primary agriculture, food processing companies and grocery retail to recruit and train workers who are important to keeping the essential food supply chain functioning. – Media Release
    • Media release regarding the distribution of iPads and tablets to Ontario students
  • Municipal Updates:
      • Oakville puts stronger penalties in place for littering of masks and gloves – Article
      • City of Toronto – Financial Impact of COVID-19 – link / Media Release

Thursday, April 16, 2020:

  • Ontario Significantly Expands Hospital Capacity to Prepare for Any COVID-19 Outbreak Scenario: Province adds more than 2,000 acute care and critical care beds and enacts pandemic staffing plans
  • Federal Update:
    • Prime Minister Trudeau participated in a virtual G7 meeting. Countries are working together to: develop a vaccine, to expand treatment and testing, and ensure critical medical supplies get to the front lines. – “We must keep working together as partners”
    • He announced that Canada Emergency Business Account has expanded its criteria to include businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019.. Since the launch of the CEBA on April 9, 2020, more than 195,000 loans have been approved by financial institutions, extending more than $7.5 billion in credit to small businesses.
    • The federal government will introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The program will provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Implementation of the program requires a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships.
    • The PM will be speaking with Premiers tonight.
    • When asked to comment on President Trump’s statement about opening up the Canada-U.S. border the PM said that Canada would not be lifting restrictions at the border with the U.S. for a significant time.
    • Media Release
  • Provincial Update:
    • Today’s briefing focused on the expansion of hospital capacity in preparation for a surge in cases as well as support to long-term care homes – Media Release
    • More than 9,000 people have been tested
    • Hospitals across the province have taken steps to make more beds available for COVID-19 patients throughout the province.
    • As a result, Ontario has a total of 20,354 acute care beds with a potential for an additional 4,205 more acute care beds by April 30, 2020.
    • Of the 3,504 critical care beds, 2,811 are now equipped with ventilators, up from 1,319 when the outbreak first started.
    • Minister Elliott referred to Joseph Brant Hospital’s Pandemic Response Unit (PRU) during her remarks.
    • Minister Fullerton recognized Personal Support Workers as “superheroes”
    • When the Premier was asked about opening the border to the US, he said the answer should be “No”
    • Premier will be speaking with the PM and cabinet about the rent relief program announced by the Federal government today
    • The Province is looking at cases on regional level and identifying “hotspots.” This data is being used to redeploy resources as well as directing communication efforts.
    • Modelling update should be available next week.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020:

  • Burlington Holds Another Successful Tele-Town Hall for Residents on COVID-19 Response & Supports
  • Joseph Brant Hospital Statement on Employee Testing in Response to Recent Media Reports
  • Federal Update:
    • The Prime Minister announced changes to the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) these people are now eligible:
      • Canadians making less than $1000/month or less;
      • Workers whose EI benefits have run out; and
      • Those who were expecting seasonal work, that won’t be available.
    • The Prime Minister will be speaking to Premiers tomorrow about a temporary top up to the pay of essential long term care workers and improving the conditions for both residents and employees in those facilities
    • Announcements regarding aid for post-secondary students and businesses worrying about commercial rents
    • The Federal government announced a new portal with mental health supports and resources available on Canada.ca and COVID-19 app (link to the Canada Self-Assessment tool and app – https://ca.thrive.health/)
    • The Prime Minister will be meeting with Premiers tomorrow.
    • The Prime Minister will also be participating in a G7 meeting tomorrow.
    • Reminded Canadians that it will still be  “weeks more” before we can begin to loosen restrictions. If we loosen restrictions too quickly we will be faced with another wave and everything we have done will have been for nothing.
    • Dr. Tam said there is some reason for cautious optimism. The number of case has gone from doubling every three days to doubling over 10 days.
  • Provincial Update:
    • Today’s briefing focused on the Province’s plan to address the needs of long term care homes
    • The Premier said the Province “is mobilizing every available resource to support long term care residents and homes” — Media Release
    • The Emergency Order regarding staff only working at one home is a temporary order and is in place for only 14 days
    • Employees who work at two homes will have to take a leave of absence from one of the homes they are working at
    • The Province will be working with the Federal government to address the wage situation for the impacted employees
    • Testing will be ramped up
    • COVID-19 “SWAT Teams” will be deployed to help homes manage outbreaks
    • The Provincial job matching portal as well as the federal site will be used to get staffing resources to the homes

Tuesday, April 14, 2020:

  • Federal Update:
    • The PM announced funding to support Northern communities – Media Release
    • More shipments of gloves and masks have come in and will be distributed to provinces and territories. Domestically made gowns and testing kits will start to be shipped next week.
    • New supports for commercial rent, students and essential workers will be announced soon
    • New measure under the Quarantine Act comes into effect at midnight tonight – Travelers returning to Canada who do not have a credible/adequate quarantine plan will be required to quarantine in a hotel
    • There were several questions regarding long term care homes and nursing homes – currently in discussions with Provinces to find ways to encourage and support workers (especially those who for financial reasons are working at more than one facility)
    • Regarding reopening the economy – “The reality is it will be weeks still”. “At one point we will be able to relax some of the measures that are in place, we will do this in co-operation with Provinces.”
    • Over 450,000 tests have been conducted in Canada
  • Provincial Update:
    • The Provincial Legislature sat today at 1 p.m.. The Premier was scheduled to do his briefing at 1:45 p.m. today.
    • The legislature will consider an omnibus bill of five pieces of legislation, affecting education, colleges and universities, municipal affairs and housing, and the ministry of the solicitor general.
    • Included in the proposed legislation is an extension to the ability for school boards to collect fees on new construction, suspend student loan payments for people borrowing money through OSAP, temporarily suspending planning decision timelines to allow municipalities to focus on public health, and allowing municipalities to extend their existing development charges policy for six months.
    • Bill 189, Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Protection Act, 2020 received Royal Assent today – a PDF of the Bill is here (Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Protection Act, 2020). I will share the media release and additional details when they become available.
    • The state of emergency has been extended to May 12.
    • The Province will be issuing an Emergency Order, that starting this evening caregivers can only work at one long-term care home at a time.
    • “Hospital-based teams” will be dispatched to long term care and nursing homes
    • Schools will NOT be reopened on May 4 – this does not mean that the school year is cancelled. Minister Lecce will be speaking on this issue in the next few days.
    • Premier was asked about financial support for municipalities. Minister Phillips “We will be working with municipalities around the implications in this phase as well as addressing recovery.”

Monday, April 13, 2020:

  • COVID-19 Turned Burlington Upside Down in 3 days
  • Ontario Secures Critical Medical Equipment and Supplies: Same-Day Deliveries Made to Protect Patients and Frontline Workers from COVID-19
  • Provincial Updates:
    • In an effort to better detect, plan and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak the Province is developing a new health data platform called the Pandemic Threat Response (PANTHR). This new platform will hold secure health data that will allow researchers to better support health system planning and responsiveness, including the immediate need to analyze the current COVID-19 outbreak.
      • The platform is being developed In consultation with the Ontario Privacy Commissioner.
      • Better access to integrated data will improve modelling and research to determine how COVID-19 is evolving and will help frontline staff prepare
      • The information will also help with:
        1. Increasing detection of COVID-19;
        2. Discovering risk factors for vulnerable populations;
        3. Predicting when and where outbreaks may happen;
        4. Evaluating how preventative and treatment measures are working; and
        5. Identifying where to allocate equipment and other resources.
      • Media Release
    • MPPS are scheduled to be back at Queen’s Park on Tuesday for a brief sitting at 1 p.m.
    • Province has secured medical supplies, and is providing same-day deliveries to hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, and other facilities to support essential workers in all settings and ensuring supplies and equipment are expedited to those most in need. Media release
    • The House will be sitting on Tuesday to extend the Emergency Act another 28 days and to pass two items from MMAH and three education/child care items. There will not be a decision about schools tomorrow.
    • Premier commented that his first concern is the economy. He understands that people are getting restless and “squirrelly” staying at home.
    • Minister Phillips indicated that we may see different sectors of the economy open up at different times. But, this will only be done when it is safe to do so, on the advice of medical officials.
    • Premier will have a date tomorrow when we will see revised modelling
    • “The Provincial numbers are looking good.” But, “we need to be cautious moving forward.”

Sunday, April 12, 2020:

  • Joseph Brant Hospital COVID-19 Outbreak on 2 Inpatient Units
  • Federal Updates:
    • The House of Commons adopted Bill C14 (the wage subsidy legislation) at all stages. It has now moved to the Senate.
  • Provincial Updates:
    • The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) provided the following information:
      • Temporary Health Care Structures for COVID-19
        1. On April 9th, an emergency order (Order under Subsection 7.0.2 (4) of the Act – Temporary Health or Residential Facilities) under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, provides relief from the Building Code to temporary health care structures being built for COVID-19 purposes.  These structures are not designed to meet the normal requirements for health care facilities (such as HVAC or oxygen gas lines).  However, they are needed as hospitals require new beds to care for those suffering from the pandemic as well as the other patients.
        2. Specificall