COVID-19 Update - April 15, 2020
Dear friends,

If you are like me, I suspect that you found this past week the toughest of recent weeks. No one is finding this time easy, and some are finding it very difficult. I have spoken to residents of Don Valley West who are sick themselves, have family members in hospital, and some families grieving loved ones who have died as a result of COVID-19 in very difficult circumstances. Equally, I have talked to many who are facing incredible economic uncertainty – employees and other workers, small and medium-sized business owners, professionals and seniors who are worried about their savings on which they depend to live.

In the midst of this, we had to find new ways to navigate holiday celebrations, the long weekend, and the arrival of Spring. But we are managing this together. Thank you for practising physical distancing and choosing to connect with family and friends virtually . The sacrifices we make today will ensure the health and safety of our community and allow us to gather together sooner.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, and other officials discussed national-level data and modelling on the COVID-19 epidemic in Canada last week. The modelling shows how the epidemic might unfold over the coming months based on our knowledge of how the virus behaves and the potential impact of our best public health measures. While some of the numbers released may seem stark, Canada’s modelling demonstrates that the country still has an opportunity to control the epidemic and to save lives. Dr. Tam put it best in her statement

“We all play a role in what the future will hold for Canada’s COVID-19 trajectory. We must continue to control the epidemic using tried and true public health measures, including staying home when possible, maintaining physical distancing, meticulous handwashing, and covering our coughs. What we do together now to stop the spread of COVID-19 will reduce the impact of the pandemic and determine how soon we can readjust our public health measures in Canada.”

While not all of us know people who are sick or grieving, everyone in Don Valley West knows people suffering due to economic challenges. Job losses are extremely difficult for workers, families, and businesses, and I recognize the urgency of the situation. The federal government has taken unprecedented action to support workers and their families through this difficult time. I will outline updates to the Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan below in addition to useful resources and ways to get involved.

As always, if you ever have any questions or need support understanding measures taken by the federal government, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 416-467-7275 or [email protected]. We are not there in person, but check messages regularly as both I and my staff are working in our homes.
Please also remember that it's okay to not be okay. Feelings of fear, stress and worry are normal in a crisis. Stay informed , but take breaks from social media and news stories. More information and resources to support you are available here:

I found it somewhat therapeutic on Tuesday evening joining neighbours on Keewatin Avenue on our front porches banging pots and pans in a tribute to all those who continue to work to keep us safe, help us stay nourished, and are ready to help if we get sick. It was a good diversion from my daily work!

Keep in touch. If you missed my previous email newsletters, you can access them here .

We're in this together.

Connecting with You!
On April 7th, I hosted my first Facebook Live session to update you on the federal government’s response to COVID-19 and to answer your questions. Thank you to everyone who joined me and asked great questions. In case you missed it, you can view the video here:

I will be hosting these Facebook Live sessions weekly on Thursdays at 7:00 pm for half an hour while we get through this time. Join me to ask questions, share ideas, and even good stories about how your neighbourhood is getting through this crisis together.

I look forward to speaking with you soon!

Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
Supporting Canadians
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit application was launched last week. Canadians, including small business owners and entrepreneurs, who are no longer receiving a paycheque due to COVID-19, can apply for the CERB for $2000 per month via the CRA MyAccount . To be eligible for CERB, you must meet the following requirements:
  • Be a resident in Canada;
  • Be at least fifteen (15) years old;
  • Have involuntarily stopped working because of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Have no employment income for at least 14 consecutive days within the application period; and
  • Have earned at least $5,000.00 from employment in the past 12 months (or in 2019) from employment or self-employment (including federal or provincial maternity/paternity benefits) sources.
When you open the account, request a direct deposit . This will ensure the timely deposit of your benefits. If you are requesting a physical cheque, please remember that it may take up to 10 days for the cheque to arrive, depending on postal services. For assistance, call the  CRA’s toll-free line: 1-800-959-2019 .

The CERB is meant to help everyone who needs it, and millions of Canadians have already received the benefit. At the same time, we know there is more work to do to ensure that no one falls through the cracks. We’re working as hard as possible to make sure we get support to: 

  • Those working reduced hours, down to ten hours a week or less.
  • Those working but making less than they would with the benefit – such as home care workers or long-term-care workers
  • And students who are worried about what kind of job they will get this summer.
A one-time special GST/HST credit (GSTC) payment for low- and modest-income families was issued on April 9th.  

The average additional benefit is about $400 for single individuals and $600 for couples . There is no need to apply for this payment. If you are eligible, you should have received it automatically.
Supporting Businesses
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

Over the weekend, legislation was passed on new eligibility criteria for businesses to access the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy . The COVID-19 Emergency Response Act. No. 2 provides a more generous and flexible Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy for Canadian businesses. The subsidy will cover 75% of an employee’s wages – up to $847 per week.

This new legislation proposes that employers found eligible for a certain period would automatically qualify for the next period of the subsidy. For example, an employer with a revenue drop of more than 15% in March would qualify for the first and second periods of the program, covering remuneration paid between March 15 and May 9. Similarly, an employer with a revenue drop of 30% in April would qualify for the second and third periods of the program, covering remuneration paid between May 10 to June 6. 

Further details that were announced about the CEWS include:

Eligibility : You must have experienced a loss in revenue. For April and May, you will have to show a 30% revenue drop to qualify. For March, we know you might have experienced a smaller loss since restrictions weren’t fully in place – so you’ll have to show a 15% drop. 

Reference point for revenue loss : We made it more flexible by giving everyone the option of using January and February as reference periods to show revenue loss, or this time last year.

Type of business : Applies to all businesses of all sizes. Including charities and non-profits.

Application : The application portal will open in a few weeks, and we are working hard to get this up and running as soon as possible. Keep in mind – this will be backdated to March 15.

More details about the new legislation can be found here .

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

The new Canada Emergency Business Account provides interest-free loans for up to $40,000 to qualifying businesses and not-for-profits with $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Loans may be repaid over 2 years with no interest with an option for another three years with interest. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022, will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000). 

You can apply for the CEBA today through your bank or credit union.

Loan Guarantee and Co-Lending Program

To support the operations of small and medium-sized businesses, we have launched two programs which will help provide cash flow during this challenging time:

  1. EDC will guarantee new operating and cash flow term loans that financial institutions extend to SMEs, providing up to $6.25 million per business.
  2. BDC, together with financial institutions, will provide additional liquidity to businesses through a new Co-Lending Program providing up to $6.25 million per business.

These programs are part of our ongoing work to help businesses keep their employees, pay the bills, and weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

More information about CEBA and the Loan Guarantee is available at
Changes to the Canada Summer Jobs Program
The Canada Summer Jobs program provides opportunities for youth to develop and improve their skills within the not-for-profit, small business, and public sectors, and supports the delivery of key community services. It creates a win-win-win situation : the program supports youth, supports businesses and not-for-profits, and supports our community. This program will help create up to 70,000 jobs for youth between 15 and 30 years of age .

The Canada Summer Jobs program is being changed this year to help employers adapt to the realities of COVID-19, and support young Canadians as they begin to look for summer employment.

The temporary changes to the program for this year include: 
  • an increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee
  • an extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021
  • allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services
  • allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis.
  • Canada’s small businesses increasingly depend on the employment of young Canadians. The changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program will help small businesses hire and keep the workers they need so they can continue to deliver essential services.
  • The Canada Summer Jobs program provides opportunities for youth to develop and improve their skills within the not-for-profit, small business, and public sectors, and supports the delivery of key community services.
  • This program will help create up to 70,000 jobs for youth between 15 and 30 years of age.

Learn more about the CSJ program changes here:

Job opportunities created for youth through the Canada Summer Jobs program in Don Valley West will be announced shortly.
COVID-19 Disability Advisory Group
Our government announced the establishment of the COVID-19 Disability Advisory Group , comprised of Canadian experts from organizations right here in Don Valley West! Bill Adair from Spinal Cord Injury Canada , Maureen Haan from CCRW, and Diane Bergeron from CNIB will provide advice on the real-time lived experiences of persons with disabilities during this crisis; disability-specific issues, challenges and systemic gaps; and strategies, measures and steps to be taken.
Reaching Home Program
Our government understands that those facing homelessness and women fleeing gender-based violence are uniquely vulnerable in this challenging time. The Prime Minister announced that our government is immediately investing $207.5 million to support women’s shelters and organizations, sexual assault centres, and homeless shelters across the country to help ensure no one has to choose between being somewhere where they are unsafe, and risking getting COVID-19.  

Learn more here:
COVID-19 Scam Alert!
Scam artists and fraudsters can prey on people’s fears during times of uncertainty. As COVID-19 continues to spread globally, be on the alert for associated scams .

Here is how you can protect yourself:

Helpful Resources
COVID-19 Situational Dashboard
Check out the COVID-19 Situational Dashboard to keep up-to-date with the evolving COVID-19 situation in Canada.

Get Involved
Become a FluWatcher!
All Canadians can join Canada’s F luWatch program to help the Public Health Agency of Canada monitor influenza-like illness activity across Canada, including COVID-19 .

FluWatchers get an e-mail each week asking 2 short questions. It only takes about 15 seconds to answer. Data combined from all FluWatchers can be found on the  FluWatchers map  and in the  weekly FluWatch report .

COVID-19 Survey
In these difficult times when everyone is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, you can do something important for your community. Please participate in Statistics Canada's data collection on the impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians:
Caring Nation

In just a few weeks, life has changed for Canadians across the country. The Governor G eneral of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, wants to hear your stories of resilience, courage and kindness to create a record of our Caring Nation .

Cheer for our Healthcare and Frontline Workers!
I love hearing about how our community is cheering on our local heroes. Today, I'd like to share videos of our doctors spreading cheer in our communities.

On Leaside's Bessborough Drive , Dr. Ben Chan and his neighbours sing together daily to thank health care and frontline workers, who are risking their lives to keep us safe and healthy. Click on the image below to watch a CBC clip about this initiative:
Voices Rock Canada is an organization based in Don Valley West. One of VRC's choirs, Voices Rock Medicine, is made up entirely of female physicians , most of whom are on the front lines now.

The doctors took some time out of their very busy schedule to sing a song to share hope and joy. Click on the image below to listen to the song: 
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