July 14 Office of the Mayor and Council Update
Halton Regional Council to discuss masks tomorrow
Tomorrow Halton Regional Council will vote on whether or not a region-wide mandatory mask by-law will be imposed.

Leading up to this meeting there has been much debate on the subject of non-medical masks and Town and Regional Councillors have been listening to residents and tuning in to what’s happening in surrounding municipalities, throughout the province, country and world.

What’s clear is that physical distancing, hand hygiene and staying home when ill remain critical measures for reducing the transmission of COVID-19. In addition, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health strongly recommends the use of a non-medical mask or other face covering as a measure that can reduce risks when maintaining physical distance is a challenge. 

This is because COVID-19 is transmitted through respiratory droplets from an infected individual. Masks can act as a barrier to help stop the spread of droplets from an individual’s nose and mouth when talking, coughing or sneezing. And, because we know that some people infected with coronavirus are asymptomatic, a mask is an extra barrier of protection against unknowingly infecting others.

Following my three Cs of COVID-caution can also help reduce the spread of coronavirus. Avoid closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings.

Scroll to the end of this email for the updated timeline of the pandemic and the recovery.
Items in this update:

  • COVID case counts
  • Canadian company begins human testing of COVID-19 vaccine
  • CCAH hosting virtual Town Hall on managing diabetes
  • HDSB releases timeline for reopening schools
  • Provincial Government announcements
  • Ontario takes further steps to ensure provincial energy system remains sustainable and reliable
  • Province supports development of made-in-Ontario N95 respirators
  • Ontario eliminating the practice of birth alerts
  • COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program applications now being accepted
  • Government of Canada announcements
  • Supporting innovation for a stronger economy
  • Government of Canada supports initiative to help Canadians with love incomes access fresh produce
  • Canada-U.S. border closure to be extended for 30 more days
  • Masks will be mandatory in all indoor public spaces in Quebec
  • Coronavirus cases in the U.S. continue to surge
  • India's coronavirus cases spike again
  • Australia tightens restrictions after new COVID-19 outbreaks
  • Hong Kong to impose strict social distancing measures after spike in cases
  • Bars, restaurants and gyms closed in California
  • In other COVID-related news
  • COVID-19 patients want more help to cope with disease's 'long-haul' effects
  • WHO slams ‘mixed messages’ from world leaders on COVID-19
  • Teachers express concerns about returning to school in September
  • Coronavirus patient recovers after nine weeks on a ventilator in Toronto hospital’s intensive care unit
  • Ontario is entering Stage 3, U.S. states are locking down again
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COVID case counts
Total confirmed cases in Halton increased by +4 from 794 to 798 with +1 new confirmed case in Oakville from 263 to 264. Oakville has 13 confirmed cases.

There is currently 1 COVID-19 patient being cared for at OTMH.

There was +1 reported recovery in Oakville, total remains from 274 to 275 and +3 recoveries in Halton Region from 809 to 812
There are 111 new cases in Ontario today with one death and 122 newly resolved cases. There have been 36,950 total cases, 32,785 of which are resolved with 2,723 deaths. Currently there are 137 COVID patients hospitalized, 30 of whom are in ICU and 21 on a ventilator.

As of today Canada had 108,377 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 72,079 of those as recovered or resolved.
Visit https://art-bd.shinyapps.io/covid19canada/ for the U of T COVID-19 data aggregation map
COVID-19 deaths per million
Canadian company begins human testing of COVID-19 vaccine
A Quebec City biopharmaceutical company began clinical trials on humans on Monday for a plant-derived COVID-19 vaccine.

Medicago is the first Canadian company to administer doses of a potential vaccine to volunteers, 180 men and women aged 18 to 55 who will receive two doses 21 days apart. The company expects to have safety and efficacy results for the two doses in October.

Oakville and Halton
CCAH hosting virtual Town Hall on managing diabetes
Join the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton (CCAH), the Oakville Hospital Foundation, and the Halton Diabetes Program for a virtual town hall about steps that can be taken to delay and/or manage diabetes during COVID-19 and beyond.

The Town Hall will take place Thursday, July 16 at 7 p.m. and will include an announcement about how CCAH is supporting this important program.

Halton District School Board releases timeline for reopening schools
A face-to-face learning model or an at-home learning model.

These are the choices that Halton District School Board parents face as the Board announced the creation of a reopening  Reopening Schools webpage  that will provide students and families with information and a timeline for reopening our schools in the fall.

Provincial Government announcements
The Ontario government is modernizing the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) in order to strengthen trust and transparency of Ontario's energy sector and improve regulatory processes for the benefit of provincial ratepayers. As part of this process, the province is recommending the appointment of a new leadership team which includes Susanna Zagar as the OEB's new Chief Executive Officer and Lynne Anderson as the OEB's new Chief Commissioner. This new governance structure would come into effect upon proclamation of the amendments under Schedule 2 of the Fixing the Hydro Mess Act, 2019 in Fall 2020.

"I look forward to working together with these experienced leaders as we renew and modernize the OEB," said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. "Strong leadership will help the OEB better serve individuals and families, allow the provincial regulator to operate more effectively and efficiently, and help ensure that Ontario's energy system remains sustainable and reliable, as was envisioned in the OEB Review Panel."

The restructuring of the OEB is a part of the government's ongoing commitment to improve energy sector regulation for the benefit of Ontario ratepayers. This includes pursuing greater efficiencies, reducing regulatory burden, and enhancing transparency and accountability.
Ms. Zagar spent 10 years as the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board's Chief Strategy, Analytics & People Officer. An experienced public servant, Ms. Zagar has also held executive-level roles at the Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure and the Ontario Ministry of Labour. If her appointment as Chief Executive Officer is approved, Ms. Zagar would provide leadership over the OEB's operations and policy work.

Ms. Anderson has extensive experience at the OEB and was most recently a full-time OEB Board Member. She also served as the OEB's Vice President of Applications for nearly seven years. Ms. Anderson previously served as Hydro Ottawa's Chief Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations Officer. If her appointment as Chief Commissioner is approved, Ms. Anderson would be responsible for the OEB's adjudicative function and will establish panels of Commissioners to preside over rate, facility, utility consolidation and other applications and enforcement matters.

The government also intends to make the following initial appointments to the OEB under the new governance structure:
  • John Knubley (Board of Directors) - Current president of InnovAction Advisory Services Inc. and a former Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
  • Gerald Moncrief (Board of Directors) - Previous owner and president/vice president of Moncrief Construction Limited.
  • Glenn O'Farrell (Board of Directors) - Currently the CEO at the Ombudservice for Life & Health Insurance. Previously, he served as CEO at Groupe Média TFO, Canadian Association of Broadcasters and Global Television Network Québec.
  • Marie Oswald (Board of Directors) - Previously served as Director and Chair of the Board at Oakville Enterprises Corporation and Oakville Hydro Electricity Distribution Inc., following a career in legal and compliance leadership in the financial services industry.
  • Allison Duff (Commissioner) - A former OEB Member with previous experience as a business consultant.

Finally, the government has reappointed a number of current OEB Members who will become Commissioners once the new governance structure comes into effect.
The Ontario government is providing Cambridge-based Eclipse Innovations Inc. with $1,408,475 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.

Today also marked the beginning of the Premier's tour to acknowledge and thank strong local businesses and exceptional individuals across the province 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.

With Ontario's support, Eclipse Innovations will create the capacity to manufacture made-in-Ontario N95 respirators, enabling it to bring a qualified, domestically produced N95 respirator to market. N95 respirators filter 95 per cent of airborne particles, making it highly effective in protecting the wearer from airborne pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria that could damage the respiratory tract. By adding this new capacity, Eclipse Innovations will be able to make one million N95 respirators per week, which will help serve domestic market demand to ensure a safe reopening of the economy and combat COVID-19 safely and effectively.

When the outbreak of COVID-19 hit, Eclipse quickly pivoted its business and collaborated with global players IREMA and Harmontronics to create a solution to design, produce and distribute N95 respirators for the domestic market. This investment will also allow Eclipse to develop a range of different mask sizes and styles, such as horizontal and vertical fold, providing multiple options for an optimal fit. This is important because, for a N95 respirator to work effectively, it must properly fit the face of the wearer.
Eclipse also has a partnership with Conestoga College for the development of a N95 predictive fit testing software using facial scanning technology.
Today, Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues, announced the province is eliminating the practice of birth alerts. Birth alerts are notifications sent by children's aid societies to hospitals when they believe a newborn may be in need of protection. This new approach will improve pre- and post-natal services by promoting collaboration between children's aid societies, hospitals, service providers, Indigenous partners and community-based service providers.

"Ending the use of birth alerts is an important step as we shift our focus to prevention, early intervention and improve outcomes for families and their children," said Minister Dunlop. "This change is part of our government's effort to build a child welfare system that is better coordinated and focused on community-based prevention services that are high quality, culturally appropriate and truly responsive to the needs of children, youth and families."

It has been reported the practice of birth alerts disproportionately affects racialized and marginalized mothers and families. Expectant mothers can be deterred from seeking prenatal care or parenting supports while pregnant due to fears of having a birth alert issued.
Birth alerts have never been required under provincial legislation and have been used inconsistently by children's aid societies across the province. Going forward, the government is directing children's aid societies to end the practice of using birth alerts by October 15, 2020. This means working with families, community partners and service providers to create a pre- and post-natal plan that supports the parents of newborns, to ensure more families stay together.

"By ending the use of birth alerts and encouraging collaborative alternatives for children's aid societies and other health care providers, expectant parents will be better supported in accessing community resources before the birth of their child," said Jamil Jivani, Ontario's Advocate for Community Opportunities. "This is a step in the right direction in helping racialized and marginalized communities across Ontario."
COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program applications now being accepted
On June 1, 2020, the Government of Ontario confirmed it was making $9 million available for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP), to support residential customers struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. 

CEAP provides a one time, on-bill credit to eligible residential electricity and natural gas customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments. The program is being delivered by electricity distributors, gas distributors and unit sub-meter providers (USMPs), in accordance with rules laid out by the OEB.

Applications are now being accepted through utilities and sub-meter providers.

Government of Canada announcements
Supporting innovation for a stronger economy
It is with the support of new technologies that entrepreneurs succeed in developing new products, improving production methods, deploying new marketing strategies and implementing new business processes. Businesses and organizations in all sectors need innovative solutions to stand out from the competition, improve their productivity and ensure sustainable growth.

As one of the largest tech and research hubs in Canada, the Ottawa region is harnessing the transformative power of digital technology to support industries across the Canadian economy. These technologies support skilled jobs and economic growth, and allow the region to be more resilient in the face of COVID-19.

Today, Karen McCrimmon, Member of Parliament for Kanata–Carleton, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for  FedDev Ontario , announced a total FedDev Ontario investment of nearly $11.2 million to support the scale-up and growth of three leading tech firms in the region:  Lytica Inc.  (Lytica),  Solace Corp.  (Solace) and  You.i TV .

Government of Canada supports initiative to help Canadians with low incomes access fresh produce
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including healthy eating, plays an important role in the well-being and quality of life of Canadians and helps prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Unfortunately, there are some Canadians who do not fully enjoy the benefits of continued good health. Canadians with low incomes can face barriers that may limit their ability to access and enjoy the benefits of nutritious foods.

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced $1.5 million in funding to support Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC) to expand its  Market Greens  initiative to approximately 30 locations across Canada. This initiative aims to support healthy eating and increase food access among Canadians in low-income neighbourhoods. It will do so by establishing and increasing access to low-cost fresh produce markets and offering fruit and vegetable vouchers that can be used at participating local affordable markets.

The  Market Greens  initiative will support local organizations to create year-round community markets that will offer low-cost, fresh produce for Canadians in low-income neighbourhoods. These produce markets may also offer activities such as food demonstrations and tips and recipes from  Canada’s Food Guide   to help participants eat healthy on a budget. The new Canada’s Food Guide provides advice on how to plan and prepare healthy meals and snacks to help you eat healthy and save money.

The CFCC will also pilot a cost-saving voucher program for groups at higher risk of experiencing food insecurity such as newcomers to Canada, Indigenous peoples, those at risk of some chronic diseases and households with young children. The vouchers will work as an incentive that will allow participants to purchase fruits and vegetables at participating local markets at a reduced cost, thereby providing increased access to nutritious foods. The initiative will also promote community resources like cooking programs, community meals and garden workshops.

In addition, the CFCC will pilot an innovative program where physicians at select community health centres will issue prescriptions for fruits and vegetables, primarily to low-income people living on low incomes who are also managing chronic diseases including Type 2 diabetes. The prescriptions can be redeemed at participating local community markets to help patients easily access nutritious foods.
Canada-U.S. border closure to be extended for another 30 days, say officials
CBC News has confirmed that the agreement to restrict travel across the Canada-U.S. border will be extended into August. 

Senior government officials confirm the arrangement limiting border access to essential travel only will be rolled over for another 30 days. 

Masks will be mandatory in all indoor public spaces in Quebec as of Saturday, Premier Legault announces
Quebec will make the wearing of masks mandatory in all public indoor spaces in the province as of Saturday, Premier Francois Legault announced Monday.

The province is leaving it up to merchants and owners of other indoor public spaces to enforce the wearing of masks in their establishments; those who don’t apply it could face fines ranging from $400 to $6,000.

International news
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. continue to surge, reaching nearly one out of every 100 Americans
The surge in coronavirus continues to rage uncontrolled across the United States as cases are rising in 35 states, including record numbers in Florida.

India’s coronavirus cases spike again, bringing total closer to one million 
India has largely lifted its nationwide lockdown, and the virus has been spreading at a significant rate, prompting several big cities to impose partial lockdowns.

Australia tightens restrictions after new COVID-19 outbreaks
With growing fears of a second coronavirus wave nationally, two states extended border restrictions and Australia's most populous state imposed limits on the number of people allowed in large pubs.

Hong Kong to impose strict social distancing measures after spike in COVID-19 cases
The Chinese-ruled city recorded 52 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, including 41 that were locally transmitted, health authorities said.

Bars, restaurants and gyms closed in California as U.S. sees surge in COVID-19 cases
The order is part of the state's new strategy to control the spread of the virus by focusing on limiting indoor activities to reflect public health officials' evolving understanding of how the virus spreads.

In other COVID-related news:
COVID-19 patients want more help to cope with disease's 'long-haul' effects
In early April, Lorraine Graves thought she was slowly recovering from the COVID-19 illness, which she remembers felt like having her lungs filled with egg whites rather than air.
But more than 100 days later, she's still sick, and among the self-styled "COVID-19 long haulers," experiencing symptoms long after their initial illness caused by the novel coronavirus. 

WHO slams ‘mixed messages’ from world leaders on COVID-19
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus did not call out specific politicians for criticism but said ``too many countries are headed in the wrong direction'' with the pandemic and some were not taking the proper steps to curb infections.
Teachers express concerns about returning to school in September
Nearly 18,000 teachers voiced their concerns by responding to a Canadian Teachers’ Federation survey, whose findings were made public on July 10. Eighty-three per cent of respondents said they had questions or concerns about returning to school buildings.

St. Catharines, Burlington make wearing masks indoors mandatory
Both cities voted in approval of making mask-wearing in public, indoor spaces mandatory.

How deadly is COVID-19 for children? Here's what we know
As it becomes clear that COVID-19 will remain a serious concern when the new school year starts in September, parents have a lot of questions.
How likely is it that a child will get the disease? What happens if they do? What are the symptoms to look out for? How many children who contract the novel coronavirus end up in hospital, or dead?
While there are still many unknowns about children and the novel coronavirus, the answer to that last question, at least, seems clear – and perhaps even reassuring.

Richmond Hill firm develops rapid COVID-19 test to get results in less than 5 minutes
As the federal and provincial governments ramp up COVID-19 testing, a Richmond Hill company is breaking new ground in rapid testing. 
‘None of us expected him to survive’: Coronavirus patient recovers after nine weeks on a ventilator in Toronto hospital’s intensive care unit
Ontario is entering Stage 3, U.S. states are locking down again: 4 charts that pinpoint where we are in COVID-19 battle
Upcoming events:
Halton Environmental Network is launching Pop-up Clean-ups! The socially distanced clean-ups are a safe and fun way to enjoy the outdoors while making a difference in your community. Not only will you be cleaning up litter, but you’ll be tracking the waste you find. The collected data will empower our community to make informed decisions on how to protect our environment.
You can either lead a clean-up or take part in one! Students also have the opportunity to gain volunteer hours for school credit with each clean-up they do. If you are interested, please register   here .  
Food Banks experiencing record demand
Oakville's food banks are in record-breaking demand. If you can donate anything, please do. Your help is needed.

Fareshare Food Bank Oakville: 905-847-3988 or email  oakvillefoodbank@gmail.com

Kerr Street Mission: 905-845-7485 or donate online at kerrstreet.com

The Salvation Army Oakville: Donate online https://salvationarmy.ca/
Oakville Meals on Wheels continues to operate

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakville Meals on Wheels continues to operate under increased safety measures. I f you know or are aware of someone who is struggling, call 211 and get help to navigate the network of health, community and social service programs. This service is offered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and has interpretation for over 150 languages. And, if you are able, please consider supporting the Meals on Wheels effort by making a donation.

Testing in Oakville
Call the COVID-19 hotline
For the duration of the pandemic, if a member of the public wishes to report an incident of non-compliance with the emergency orders, they may contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722

It is critical that our residents use 911 for emergencies only.
Coronavirus timeline