Office of the Mayor and Council Update
Updates on COVID-19 emergency
The Town of Oakville has declared a State of Emergency. Now, more than ever, is the time we need to work together to "flatten the curve". Let's:

  • Stay home.
  • Don’t go out unless you have to.
  • Keep your distance if you do.
  • Avoid gatherings of more than 50 (the safest number is one)
  • Look for safe ways to help others.
  • Use phones, email, or video to socialize.
  • Wash your hands frequently and well.

Your Town Staff, Council and I are committed to ensuring we provide every support necessary to our community, our staff, and our regional public health officials during this very challenging time

As always, ask for help if you need it. Email me at – I will guide you to help.

Items in this update:

  • Provincial government releases $17 billion COVID-19 action plan
  • Includes deferral of $1.8 billion in property taxes
  • Oakville declares State of Emergency
  • Town joins Province, Region
  • Electricity relief announced
  • COVID-19 cases on the rise
  • Childcare fee subsidies extended
  • Unlicensed facilities not impacted by closures
  • Business tax ratios to be cut
  • At-risk businesses now closed
  • Food and drink for take out only
  • Call for more municipal support
  • Big city Mayors meet with Ministers
  • Practicing physical distancing
  • Hospitals looking to free up beds
  • Hamilton researchers aim to test COVID-19 treatment
  • Tokyo Olympics officially postponed
  • Support Oakville Hospital Foundation online
  • Positivity tips
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Provincial government releases $17 billion COVID-19 action plan
Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, released the March 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update in the Legislature today, unleashing a $17 billion COVID-19 plan.

This plan includes measures that will make available $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals to improve their cash flows over the coming months, including more than $1.8 billion by deferring the upcoming June 30 quarterly municipal remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days, which will provide municipalities the flexibility to, in turn, provide property tax deferrals to residents and businesses, while ensuring school boards continue to receive their funding.

This was requested in a meeting yesterday with Ontario's big city Mayors, as noted in an item below.

Town of Oakville declares State of Emergency
Given new statistics that are showing more than half of COVID-19 cases are now the result of locally spread transmission, the Town of Oakville is joining the Province of Ontario and Halton Region in declaring a State of Emergency to support Public Health officials’ efforts to “flatten the curve” and slow the spread of COVID-19.

The declaration states that “The outbreak of a communicable disease namely COVID-19 coronavirus constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons”.

Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, “The Head of Council may declare an emergency exists in the municipality and may take such actions and make such orders as he or she considers necessary and are not contrary to law to implement the emergency plan of the municipality and to protect property and the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the emergency area.”

Ontario providing electricity relief
The Provincial Government is providing immediate electricity rate relief for families, small businesses and farms paying time-of-use (TOU) rates.

For a 45-day period, the Provincial Government will suspend time-of-use electricity rates, holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour. This reduced price will be available 24 hours per day, seven days a week to all time-of-use customers, who make up the majority of electricity consumers in the province. By switching to a fixed off-peak rate, time-of-use customers will see rate reductions of more than 50 per cent compared to on-peak rates.

To deliver savings as quickly and conveniently as possible, this discount will be applied automatically to electricity bills without the need for customers to fill out an application form.

COVID-19 cases on the rise
As of March 25, 2020, there are  18  confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Halton region the province is reporting 6 88  confirmed positive cases in Ontario.

  • 688 confirmed cases - 100 new cases making this the largest single-day jump
  • 9 deaths
  • Of the positive cases 40% are still pending investigation by the local health unit, 60% had travelled, 20% close contact, 13% no history travel or known contact with a case – this is community spread
Childcare fee subsidies extended
Halton Region has committed to supporting fee subsidy families in licensed childcare centres. In a memo sent to the Halton early years and child care sector on March 19, 2020, the Region committed to paying fee subsidy until April 5, 2020. The Region has also advised families and operators that allowable absent days are not impacted by centre closures. 
After further discussion, the Region will be extending the same provisions to licensed home care programs so that families have a choice to have their child attend care during the COVID 19 outbreak. Correspondence to the sector confirming this will occur in the next few days. 

  • Unlicensed child care has not been impacted by any of the Ministry of Education direction – essentially this ‘informal sector’ operates outside of the legislative environment.
  • Licensed home-based child care was excluded from the provincial direction on child care closures. They have been able to continue operations. Nothing has changed there.
Tax ratios cut for industry
Today at Halton Regional Council the tax ratios for industry were cut. The ratios go from 2.3599 to 2.0907.
At-risk workplaces closed
by Provincial government
On March 23, 2020, Premier Doug Ford announced that the Provincial Government will be closing at-risk workplaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Essential businesses include, but are not limited to grocery stores and pharmacies, telecommunications and IT infrastructure service providers, and businesses that support power generation, natural gas distribution and clean drinking water. Essential businesses are being asked to put into place any and all measures to safeguard the wellbeing of their employees on the front-lines.

Restaurants and cafes only open for take out
Under the list of essential services still able to operate, restaurants and cafes are able to operate with take out or delivery services only. Please be mindful of practicing social distancing when picking up food and beverages.
Halton Police Service Board message
As Chair of the Halton Police Services Board, I want you to know the Board is monitoring and proud of the performance of the people who serve our community as the Halton Regional Police Service.

The outbreak of COVID-19 is presenting all of us with unique challenges and we want to reassure all communities in Halton Region that our officers and staff are well prepared. We continue to actively monitor the COVID-19 situation in collaboration with national and provincial health agencies, as well as local stakeholders, including hospitals and community agencies.

There are well-rehearsed plans in place to respond to events that could impact on services. We are currently taking all the necessary steps to maintain our critical functions.

Provincial emergency measures have been activated that focus on ensuring community safety and well-being during this critical time. We are all focused on preserving the well-being of all residents.

We applaud the efforts, commitment, and sacrifices of our first responders and community health workers, and those listed as essential services who are working tirelessly to serve our community during this time of need. Their dedication to our safety and well-being is recognized and greatly appreciated - they continue to have our full support.
Big city Mayors call for more municipal support
In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Doug Ford, LUMCO, Ontario's Big-City Mayors, have called for for stronger measures and fiscal support for municipalities.

"We call on the Government of Canada to step up its fiscal response to support provinces in a stronger effort to reduce circulation by the public of the virus. The Government of Canada has fiscal tools that no other level of government in Canada has. It must act decisively to financially support provincial and municipal partners.

"We also call on the Government of Ontario to map out a clear strategy to support municipalities, whose finances are being severely impacted by this unprecedented crisis."

As the rapidly changing situation progresses and decisions are being made, the letter requests the consideration of tools for municipalities so that taxes wouldn't need to be raised.
Big city Mayors meet with Ministers
Yesterday, LUMCO, Ontario's Big-City Mayors also met with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Minister of Finance.

The encouraging meeting went over what the province has already done for municipalities and confirmed that more announcements are on the way.
Encourage groups of young people
to practice physical distancing
We continue to hear reports of large groups of young people gathering. With Town parks closed they are still congregating at places such as school basketball courts.

While the Ontario Public Health Emergency Declaration allows for groups up to 50, and it is the law we are able to enforce, we are encouraging everyone to practice stricter physical distancing. The safest number is one.

It is important that our young people avoid getting the virus and risk spreading it to our more vulnerable population such as their parents, grandparents and neighbours.

With that being said, we also recognize and encourage exercise and know people need to stay strong and healthy to help them fight off the infection.

Hospitals looking to free up beds
According to a Toronto Star exclusive, hospitals are looking into putting patients into hotels as they try to free up space for the expected surge of COVID-19 cases.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says "no idea is off the table when it comes to ensuring hospitals beds are there for people when they need them."
Local researchers aim to test COVID-19 treatment
Hamilton-based researchers have designed a clinical trial to try to treat the deadly symptoms associated with COVID-19. The Population Health Research Institute group are hoping their trial is approved and started within the next four weeks.

The International Olympic Committee announced a first-of-its-kind postponement of the Summer Olympics, stating the Tokyo Games must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020, but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.

Other Olympics - 1916, 1940 and 1944 -have been cancelled because of war, but none have ever been postponed for  any other reason.

The flame will be stored and displayed in Fukushima.
Oakville Hospital Foundation
accepting online donations
Oakville Hospital Foundation has created a safe, secure portal to accept online donations directly.
Please visit:
Tips to help stay positive
An anonymous reader suggested the following tips to stay positive and up-to-date during this unprecedented time. We thank her for her suggestions and encourage you to offer your own by replying to this email.