Dear Friends and Neighbours,
I put out a call last Friday to residents who might have supplies that they can provide to a local organization providing essential supports to the community. I would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who reached out and offered their help. This community organization is still looking for more Personal Protective Equipment. While I know that supplies are limited everywhere, if you are able to donate things like N95 masks, gloves, gowns, hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes and sprays, that would be really appreciated. Please contact my office if you are able to help.
People looking for legal information on the numerous questions arising from the COVID-19 situation can find them on a special section of CLEO’s (Community Legal Education Ontario) Steps to Justice website at https://stepstojustice.ca/covid-19. The site, updated on a daily basis, gives answers to more than 50 legal questions, including questions about emergency benefits assistance, Employment Insurance, getting evicted for non-payment of rent, and what to do about a family law matter in the midst of the closure of the courts.
In Friday’s update I mentioned that Frontlines (1844 Weston Rd) is offering a number or online programming for youth including online cooking classes as well as providing free lunches on Monday and Thursday from 11 AM-1 PM (by appointments only). The link provided to their website was incorrect, and if you are interested to learn more please visit http://frontlines.to/or call 416-244-7017 for more information.
City staff in the Emergency Operations Centre and all essential and critical services are working around-the-clock to respond to this crisis to keep us safe. Thank you for everything that you’re doing to help stop the spread and please continue to urge others to do the same.
Here's the key information you need to know today:
Physical distancing at City parks
Parks are only open for walking, cycling and running. Amenities in parks or congregating in groups is not permitted. Starting today, March 30, City staff together with the Toronto Police Service are prioritizing the patrol of hot spot parks. While education is the first line of enforcement, the fines range between $750 to a maximum of $5,000. City staff are re-installing signage, locks and caution tape at parks where these have been removed. Additionally, The City’s Parks Ambassadors have begun a downtown hot spot education blitz and electronic portable signs will display messages near some busy parks. More information is available on the City’s website.
Physical distancing and self-isolation at home
There are provincial and federal mechanisms in place related to gathering of people or self-isolation:
On March 28, 2020, the Ontario government issued a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to prohibit organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people, effective immediately.
On March 25, 2020, the federal government announced an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. They should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days. Following this Order is mandatory.
Be mindful of mental health amid closures and social isolation during COVID-19
Mental health is important. Many people are experiencing anxiety, frustration and sadness in response to the public health and social impacts of COVID-19. These are normal and healthy responses and feelings to an abnormal situation. It’s OK not to feel OK.
Whether in self-isolation or practising physical distancing, it is important to connect with friends and family over the phone or online and try to eat well and stay rested. Everyone is encouraged to check in by phone or other means that maintain physical distancing on family, friends, and colleagues who may be struggling.
Individuals looking for additional crisis supports should reach out to Crisis Services Canada or Toronto Public Health. Crisis Services Canada is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week at https://www.crisisservicescanada.ca/, by phone at 1-833-456-4566 or by text message at 45645. In an emergency, always call 911.
Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) cheque pickup
The City of Toronto’s Ontario Works caseload is 80,000. Cheques will continue to be mailed as usual however about 2 per cent of the caseload includes clients who attend TESS offices in person each month to pick up a cheque or get a replacement card.
Starting tomorrow until Wednesday, clients of Ontario Work with no fixed address will be able to pick up their cheques from one of three offices:
Metro Hall location at 214 Wellington St. W.
York Humber location at 605 Rogers Rd.
Scarborough Village location at 3660 Kingston Rd.
To manage lineups and help with physical distancing, a schedule will be in place based on the first initial of client surnames. Clients are further asked to please only go to the location during the timeslot that applies to them. Onsite, physically distancing measures will be in place and clients will be encouraged to leave the area immediately once business is completed.
More information is available at https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/affected-city-services/?accordion=employment-and-social-services.
Applications open for City of Toronto child care for essential service workers
Yesterday, the City of Toronto announced it will provide emergency child care for children of essential and critical service workers. Authorized and funded by the Province of Ontario, child care service for children from birth to age 12 will be provided at no costs to families. Service will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Centres are located across Toronto in existing City-run licensed child care facilities and staffed by City of Toronto child care workers.
The goal is to open these emergency child care centres as quickly as possible, once families have completed the application process. Find out if you and your family are eligible and access the application for emergency on the City’s website: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-social-support/covid-19-child-care-for-essential-workers/.
The safest option for families is to have children remain at home, if possible.
Data as of March 30, 2020 at 1 PM:
COVID-19 cases reported in Toronto
591 current cases
50 new cases since March 29
67 of those cases are hospitalized with 30 in intensive care
2 new deaths – 6 total for Toronto
Approx 24 per cent of cases attributed to community spread