Office of the Mayor and Council Update
Wednesday, May 20 COVID-19 emergency
There’s been a long wait for rent relief for many local businesses.

Weeks in the making, the rent program that resulted from pandemic policy making is one that has faced much confusion for landlords and tenants alike.

According to this story from Maclean’s , “Some landlords said they were confused about what was on offer. Tenants complained they qualified, but their landlords weren’t keen to sign up. And small business advocacy groups continuously sounded the alarm about a crisis of shuttered shops that might not be saved in time.”

The reports I’ve been hearing echo the confusion and frustration you can read about in the Maclean’s article and as such, today in Regional Council we unanimously supported a Resolution brought forward by Town and Regional Councillor Jeff Knoll and seconded by me to freeze commercial evictions in Ontario and update the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (OCECRA) program.
 
Councillor Knoll’s resolution calls on the Province of Ontario to freeze commercial evictions for a period up to and including 30 days following the conclusion of the Provincial order declaring an emergency.

The Resolution also calls upon the Federal and Provincial governments to resolve barriers to participate in the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (OCECRA) and launch the program immediately.

I want to thank the Premier for his remarks on this matter. They show that he is actually getting the message and that he understands that the program still has some flaws. This is in fact our third message to the province on this matter and we’ve seen our letters and resolutions from the Town get picked up and endorsed by many other municipalities. I believe that several of the changes and fixes that we’ve achieved to date have ben a result of municipal pressure.

In order to work, the OCECRA program needs to address the fact that many tenants may not quality or benefit from the program. And some landlords have indicated that they will not participate. Without changes to the announced OCECRA program, an increasingly large number of small businesses will be put in a position where they may be faced with permanent closure.

That’s why last week, in a letter to the provincial and federal Ministers of Finance, I, on behalf of my Oakville Economic Task Force, offered suggestions for changes to the program that include:

  • The suspension of evictions of commercial tenants
  • Allow tenants to make an application for the rent assistance if the property owner does not want to apply or is ineligible
  • Allow property owners to make one application all of their properties rather than individual applications
  • Lower the 70 per cent revenue decline threshold for tenants

As we begin the responsible reopening of the town, province and country, we need our local businesses to be able to open their doors to support recovery and this is just one of the steps I'm taking to ensure they can.

As a reminder of where we’ve come from in the pandemic and where we are headed, please visit the updated timeline at the end of this email.
Items in this update:


  • More park amenities to open this week
  • COVID case counts
  • Canadian's should wear masks says Tam
  • Here are the questions about the virus we still can't answer
  • Cambridge woman tests positive for COVID-19 eight times in 50 days
  • Llama antibody engineered to block coronavirus
  • Deaths per million around the globe and close to home
  • United Way calling for applications
  • Oakville Community Foundation announces funding
  • Camp Molly cancelled for 2020
  • Metrolinx announces train service changes
  • Provincial Government announcements
  • Ontarians urged to continue following public health advice
  • Day camps permitted to operate
  • Child care restrictions preventing some from going back to work
  • What you need to know about how to protect yourself from COVID-19 as Ontario starts to reopen
  • Federal Government announcements
  • Opening of program to protect jobs and help businesses
  • Support program for large employers is open for applications
  • Rolling out the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program
  • Prime Minister pleads for businesses to 'please rehire'
  • Canada’s inflation flat for first time since 2009
  • Britain to test, track, trace
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Top news:
More park amenities to open this week
The Town of Oakville is working towards opening more outdoor amenities this week while maintaining provincial orders and following public health directions.

As we do so, we must do our due diligence as many of these re-openings will require new safety protocols for users and staff. Our priority will remain the health and safety of our community.

What’s opening
The following amenities will be reopening under new provincial COVID-19 safety protocols requiring two metre distancing during use and no groups of more than five, other than members of the same household:
 
  • All town-owned leash-free dog parks and their parking lots are now open.
  • Parking lots at popular waterfront parks are also opening today. This includes:
  • Tannery and Waterworks Park
  • Gairloch Gardens
  • Coronation Park
  • South Shell Park
Residents are still encouraged to leave their cars at home and walk, bike or roll to your local neighbourhood park as much as possible.
 
  • The Busby canoe and kayak launch ramp is being prepared to open the end of this week.
  • Publically accessible multi-use sport-fields (areas not locked and enclosed with fencing) are open to individuals and for casual play.
  • Picnic tables and benches are opening this week.
  • The town is preparing tennis and pickleball courts to open by the end of this week.
  • Skateboard parks are being prepared and are scheduled to open by the end of this week.
  • Basketball courts are being prepared to open early next week.

Team sports or groups of more than five that are not part of the same household are still not permitted due to provincial emergency orders. The town is working with our sport organization partners to ensure there are plans in place to meet provincial guidelines and their sport governing body’s requirements. Members of sports organizations are encouraged to contact their local club about their plans to reopen.
 
Already open
The town has already successfully reopened park greenspaces, community gardens, town-owned cemeteries, boat storage facilities, the Bronte public boat launch ramp, and canoe and kayak launches in Bronte and Coronation Park.
 
What’s currently closed
Town amenities and spaces that remain closed at this time under provincial emergency order, include:
  • playgrounds and play structures (e.g. swings, slides, climbers)
  • outdoor exercise equipment
  • splash pads
  • public washrooms
  • town recreation centres and their parking lots – including swimming pools and skating rinks
  • sports fields for organized group sports
 
“We are committed to returning to a new normal as we move to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, but it will take some time to reopen after any provincial announcements are made. We ask the community for your patience as we review the changes the province has made to the emergency order and ensure that reopening is safe,” said Chris Mark, director of Parks and Open Space.
 
We remind residents, when out:
  • Keep two metres away from others - about the length of a hockey stick
  • Do not gather in groups of more than five
  • Move to the right on pathways to make room for others to pass safely
  • Take your garbage home whenever possible
  • When you return home, wash your hands with soap and water
Oakville & Halton:
COVID case counts
Total confirmed cases in Halton remains at  587  (including 5 pending) with  -1  new confirmed case in Oakville from 198 to  197 as 1 of the pending cases yesterday was negative.
Ontario’s regional health units are reporting another 477 COVID-19 cases and 14 new deaths since Tuesday morning. As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, the health units were reporting a total of 24,962 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, including 2,019 deaths.

The total of just 14 deaths reported in the province since Tuesday morning was well below the recent average, a sign the rate of new fatal cases in the province has turned a corner after peaking a more than 90 deaths in a day earlier this month, about two weeks after the peak in the daily case totals.
Visit https://art-bd.shinyapps.io/covid19canada/ for the U of T COVID-19 data aggregation map
Canadians should wear masks says Tam
Canada's chief public health officer says Canadians should wear a mask as an "added layer of protection" whenever physical distancing is not possible.

Dr. Theresa Tam provided the updated advice during her daily news conference in Ottawa today.

"For the spring and summer months, strict adherence to the public health basics of physical distancing, handwashing and cough etiquette must continue as the bare minimum," she said.
"In addition, where COVID-19 activity is occurring, use of non-medical masks or face coverings is recommended as an added layer of protection when physical distancing is difficult to maintain. And staying home when sick is a must, always and everywhere."

Here are the questions about the virus we still can't answer
As countries tentatively begin to relax lockdown restrictions in bids to revive their economies, many questions remain about the novel coronavirus and its effect on people.

Despite the tireless efforts of doctors, scientists, and researchers around the world, there are still lingering questions about the transmission of the virus, how it sickens individuals, and what will happen next.

Cambridge woman tests positive for COVID-19 eight times in 50 days
After testing positive for COVID-19 seven times, a Cambridge, Ont., woman was relieved to hear that her eighth test came back negative.

“I cried because I was so happy,” says Tracy Schofield. But that feeling didn’t last long.

In order to be considered recovered from the virus, patients must receive two negative results within a 24-hour period.

Schofield was swabbed for a ninth time, and once again she tested positive for COVID-19.

Llama antibody engineered to block coronavirus
The National Institutes of Health is reporting that, based on antibodies isolated from llamas, researchers engineered an antibody that prevented SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from entering cells in laboratory experiments. Follow up work is now being planned to test the antibody in animal models of the disease.

Deaths per million around the globe and close to home
United Way Halton and Hamilton calls for applications for the Emergency Community Support Fund
United Way Halton and Hamilton is pleased to announce a new funding opportunity thanks to the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF). On May 16, 2020, the Prime Minister announced $350 million in funding to the Canadian Red Cross, Community Foundations of Canada, and United Way Centraide Canada, to support community service organizations serving vulnerable populations affected by COVID-19. We are pleased to support this important investment by the Federal Government by investing $2.4 million locally, across Halton and Hamilton. 
 
Intake for these funds opens today, May 19th, and is open to all registered charitable organizations. Organizations without charitable numbers are encouraged to partner with and apply through a local organization with active registered charitable status. 
 
Please note the following:  
 
  • Requests are being coordinated and reviewed with other local funders receiving ECSF funds. Please submit ONLY one request per unique emergency project. Do not submit the same project to multiple ECSF funders. 
  • Duplicate or additional requests for the same project to multiple funders will not be accepted.
  • Applications for different projects may be submitted.
  • Applications may not exceed $75,000 in requested dollars per project.
 
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and funding decisions will be made by July 31, 2020.

Oakville Community Foundation announces funding
Burlington Foundation, Community Foundation of Halton North and Oakville Community Foundation today announced they will provide over $1,157,000 to support Halton charities responding to COVID-19 as part of a new partnership with  Community Foundations of Canada United Way Centraide Canada and the Canadian Red Cross , funded through the Government of Canada’s $350M Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF).

“The impact locally on our charitable sector has been extremely challenging. This Canadian Government program will complement the efforts of the Burlington Foundation Pandemic Response Fund to date and enable us to further support the needs of our City.” Colleen Mulholland, President and CEO, Burlington Foundation.

The Government of Canada’s $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) aims to help charities and non-profit organizations adapt and increase frontline services for vulnerable populations during COVID-19.

Together, the Canadian Red Cross, Community Foundations of Canada and United Way Centraide Canada are collaborating with the Government of Canada to flow ECSF support to those who need it most right now.

“Collaboration will be key to the effectiveness of distributing these funds. Working with my colleagues in Oakville and Burlington, and with  United Way Halton and Hamilton and the local Red Cross , together we will ensure funds are not being duplicated, rather allocated effectively.” Sue Lawrenson, Executive Director, Community Foundation of Halton North.

Starting on May 19, each of the three Halton community foundations will begin accepting applications for funding from qualified donees. Grants can be used for a variety of purposes, including to cover staffing or resource needs, purchase assistance and more. Funding will be issued on an ongoing basis through July 2020. Charities are invited to visit the three foundation websites for eligibility and application details – Oakville Community Foundation ,
Camp Molly cancelled for 2020
As a result of the current restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic the difficult decision was made to cancel this year’s Camp Molly. The health and safety of everyone involved must take priority.

Oakville Fire remains committed to the goal of providing a fire service introduction and educating young females aged 15 to 18 in the Halton Region by hosting Camp Molly 2021.
Metrolinx announces train service changes
Starting Monday, May 25 , there will be more weekday morning and afternoon rush hour trips on the Lakeshore East line to provide more options forcustomers. Schedules will also be adjusted with some departures up to 15 minutes earlier.
  • New weekday morning westbound trips will depart Oshawa GO at 6:10 a.m. and 7:10 a.m., arriving at Union Station at 7:10 a.m. and 8:10 a.m.
  • New weekday afternoon eastbound trips will depart Union Station at 3:43 p.m., 4:43 p.m., and 5:43 p.m. from platforms 25 and 26, arriving at Oshawa GO at 4:43 p.m., 5:43 p.m. and 6:43 p.m.
  • Schedules will change and departure times may be up to 15 minutes earlier on eastbound trips and up to five minutes later on westbound trips.
 
With the changes to the Lakeshore East schedule, some weekday afternoon rush hour trains will depart from different platforms at Union Station.
 
Lakeshore West
  • All afternoon rush hour trips will depart from platforms 11 and 12.
  • Some customers travelling past Union Station may need to change trains there. We encourage customers to listen to announcements on their train.
Ontario
Provincial Government announcements
Ontarians urged to continue following public health advice

As the Ontario government carefully and gradually reopens the province, those 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. 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.
Since the beginning of the outbreak, Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, has advised people to wash their hands often, stay at home if feeling ill, and practise physical distancing by staying at least two metres apart from anyone outside their household. Now that the province is reopening, the 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. In order to assist people and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health released the following face covering recommendations:
  • Wear your face covering safely and snugly to cover your nose and mouth, without any gaps. Ensure your face covering is made of at least two layers of tightly woven material and can be cleaned multiple times without losing its shape;
  • Medical masks, such as surgical and N95 masks, should be reserved for use by health care workers, those providing direct care, first responders and individuals who are ill and must leave their home for essential reasons such as seeking medical care, picking up medication or groceries;
  • Face coverings should not be placed on or used by children under the age of two; anyone who has trouble breathing; and anyone who is unable to remove it without assistance.

Day camps permitted to operate

Day camps in Ontario will be permitted to open for July and August, the premier’s office announced Tuesday, but overnight camps will not be permitted to operate.
The opening of day camps will depend on whether COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to decline. Camps will be required to follow “strict health and safety” guidelines with oversight from local public health departments and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development,  a statement from the premier’s office said .
The statement said day camps would be allowed to operate in order to support parents, who learned Tuesday that schools would not reopen until the fall.
Child care restrictions preventing some from going back to work as economy reopens
Top of mind to many parents as the province slow begins reopening is child care for their children. With a continued freeze on most services, experts are calling this a child care crisis.

What you need to know about how to protect yourself from COVID-19 as Ontario starts to reopen
The virus is only a few months old, and the science is still emerging. But this article looks at what we know so far about how and where COVID-19 is transmitted, and how to stay safer as many of us take our first steps out into the world.

Canada
Federal Government announcements
Opening of program to protect jobs and help businesses

The Prime Minister announced today that application documents and updated criteria for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses are now available, and that the program will be opened for applications beginning on May 25.

The Government of Canada is focused on safeguarding workers’ jobs as we continue to deal with this pandemic. That’s why we reached an agreement in principle last month with all provinces and territories to implement CECRA. This program will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners, who in turn will give a rent reduction of at least 75 per cent for April and May (retroactive), and June, to their small business tenants.

This program provides property owners the opportunity to do their part in helping small businesses and their employees succeed in these challenging times. We’re all in this together, and that’s why the government is stepping up to provide rent relief to businesses, while helping property owners maintain rental income through this crisis.

CECRA will provide important relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship, and is another measure that helps businesses keep Canadians on the payroll. Applications will be accepted through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation  website  beginning on May 25, and application documents can be accessed now.


Support program for large employers is open for applications

Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains, today announced the opening of the application process for the government’s Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF). The program will support Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing. LEEFF will help successful applicants keep their operations going.
The objective of this support is to help protect Canadian jobs, help Canadian businesses weather the current economic challenges, and avoid bankruptcies of otherwise viable firms where possible. This support will not be used to resolve insolvencies or restructure firms, nor will it provide financing to companies that otherwise have the capacity to manage through the crisis.

The additional liquidity provided through LEEFF will allow Canada’s largest businesses and their suppliers to remain active during this difficult time, and position them for a rapid economic recovery.

The Federal Government’s support for large employers through LEEFF will be delivered by a subsidiary of the Canada Development Investment Corporation (CDEV), in cooperation with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and the Department of Finance.

Rolling out the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program

Under the program, the Federal Government and provinces will cover 50 per cent of the rent, asking Landlords to absorb 25 per cent of the rent and the tenants to pay the remaining 25 per cent using CEBA if necessary.

In his briefing today, the Prime Minister urged eligible landlords and tenants to apply. The application portal opens May 25.

Visit CMHC.ca for application details.

Justin Trudeau pleads for businesses to ‘please rehire’
The federal government has doubled the length of time it is willing to subsidize up to 75 per cent of their wage costs. Now, the Prime Minister said, businesses should hire back workers for when COVID-19 health restrictions are lifted.

Canada’s inflation flat for first time since 2009
Statistics Canada says the annual inflation rate turned negative in April as the economy came to a standstill in the first full month of the pandemic.
The agency reports the consumer price index for April fell 0.2 per cent compared with a year ago as energy prices plunged.
It was the first year-over-year decline in the CPI since September 2009.
The reading compared with a year-over-year increase of 0.9 per cent in March when the pandemic began.
Economists on average expected a reading of -0.1 per cent for April, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.
International:
Britain to test, track, trace
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the U.K. will have a “test, track and trace” system for the coronavirus in place by June 1.

Johnson told lawmakers in Parliament the government was making “fast progress.” He says there will be 25,000 trackers in place by June 1 who will can trace the contacts of 10,000 new cases a day. The current level is 2,400 daily cases.

Keir Starmer, the leader of the main opposition Labour Party, criticized Johnson and his government for not having an effective track and trace system in place nearly 10 weeks into the coronavirus crisis. He says that has been a “huge hole” in the country’s defence against the coronavirus.
Upcoming events:
Walk to end ALS
The virtual edition of the Walk to End ALS event will take place June 21. ALS partner, Brain Canada, is offering a dollar for dollar match of up to $1 million to invest in promising ALS research.

What's on at the OPL
Tuesdays & Thursdays • 10 am
Family Storytime on Instagram Live
Get moving with stories, songs and fun during Family Storytime! Hosted virtually on Instagram Live. Follow  @oakvillelibrary on Instagram .


Tuesdays & Thursdays • 2 pm
Kids Library Club
Join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays as we explore fun activities in the fields of science, technology, art and more! Tuesday's session is all about  Storytelling  (wait list only) and Thursday will be a special  Show and Tell with Journey the Support Dog , in partnership with Halton Regional Police Services. Limited spaces.  Register


Wednesday, May 20 • 3 pm
Adult Book Club: Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline
Our Virtual Adult Book Club meets every Wednesday!
Join us on  Zoom  (Meeting ID: 925 2252 2308 | Password: 003324) or call 1-647-558-0588.  Details


Thursday, May 21 • 11 am
Let’s Talk About ... Books, Movies and More: Travel
This week, we'll discuss our favourite books, movies, podcasts, and more that relate to travel! "Let's Talk About" are weekly, virtual sessions that explore different themes in arts, culture and literature.
Join us on  Zoom  (Meeting ID: 941 1022 3092 | Password: 009506) or call 1-647-558-0588.  Details


Thursday, May 21 • 12:30 pm
Small Business Meetup
Connect with others in the Oakville small business community and share your experience with running a business during this time. 
Join us on  Zoom  (Meeting ID: 969 6022 2539) or call 1-647-374-4685.  Details


Friday, May 22 • 10 am
An informal, weekly craft meetup to share what you’re working on, and gather inspiration from fellow craft enthusiasts.
Join us on  Zoom  (Meeting ID: 940 3637 9535, Password: Hive) or call 1-647-558-0588.  Details


Fridays and Saturdays • 10 am
Family Storytime on YouTube 
Follow  OPL on YouTube  and enjoy Family Storytime, both live and pre-recorded. On Fridays, we host Live storytimes and on Saturdays, we upload new, pre-recorded stories — both at 10 am, and by OPL staff. Remember to subscribe to our YouTube page so you don't miss out!


Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Staff Book Recommendations on YouTube
Listen to over 100 short book reviews from OPL staff, uploaded weekly on  YouTube .


Tuesdays
Stories by Phone
Pre-recorded adult and children's stories now easily accessible by calling 905-815-2041.


Daily
Virtual Tech Help
Book a virtual one-on-one session for basic technology assistance. Limited sessions.  Register  
Note:  Dates and times are subject to change without notice. Visit  opl.ca/programs  for up-to-date information.
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.

Downtown Oakville Instagram live series
On Wednesday, May 6 Downtown Oakville will be launching a weekly Instagram Live Series hosted by different Downtown businesses. The live events will allow you to purchase products, participate in fitness classes, attend workshops, and more!

Follow @oakvilledowntown on Instagram to learn more and tune in. 

Schedule
May 20 at 7 p.m. - Fred Astaire Dance Studio 
May 27 at 7 p.m. - Downtown Oakville Live Auction 
June 3 at 2 p.m. - Lakeshore Yoga 
June 10 at 1 p.m. - Makers Mojo 
June 17 at 2 p.m. - Must Boutique 
June 24 at 7 p.m. - Dr. Adrienne, Naturopathic Doctor 
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