Connect with your representatives: York Centre Summit goes virtual! Wednesday May 20, 2020

The three levels of government want to hear from you!
Next week, Councillor James Pasternak, MPP Roman Baber and MP Michael Levitt will be hosting a virtual York Centre Summit. The summit will cover York centre’s current state and plans during and post COVID-19.

Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Time: 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Where: www.yorkcentresummit.ca

If you have a question you wish to ask at the summit, you can submit it here: www.yorkcentresummit.ca

To see the video recording, visit the YouTube link

York Centre Summit Notes:

Guests: 

  • MP Micheal Levitt 
  • MPP Roman Baber 
  • Toronto City Councillor James Pasternak 

Questions for MP Michael Levitt 

1.Can one apply for CERB for May if until this point they have been receiving EI? I no long qualify for EI as of mid-May, the CEBR guidelines are more flexible as you know.

Answer

  • If you have stopped working due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you should apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). 
  • A portal is available to assist with the application process. You will be asked some simple questions which will help direct you to complete the application best suited to your situation. 
  • Always check the Canada government website as the CERB is constantly changing to be more flexible. 
  • We will constantly being improving these programs in order to fill the gaps to fit Canadians needs
  • https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html 
  • Also there is also the GST/HST tax credit that Canadians can apply for. 

2. Still waiting to get any information about a financial package to assist seniors. My food bills have been much larger than normal because of having to pay a company to shop for me and cant wait for special sales I would normally follow. I’ve written United Way, Red Cross, the local and provincial governments for answers and have gotten none.

Answer: 

  • The Federal Government of Canada has numerous financial packages to assist seniors through this time. 
  • We are providing a one-time tax free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for Old Age Security pension. In addition, we are providing $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). This financial package would give a total of $500 to seniors to assist them cover increased costs caused by COVID-19. 
  • The Government of Canada is temporarily extending the GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed.  We are encouraging seniors to submit their 2019 income information no later than October 1, 2020. 
    • https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions/notice-covid-19/one-time-payment.html
  • Moreover, the New Horizons for Seniors Program with an additional investment of $20-million. This will provide direct support to community organizations that will improve the quality of life for seniors. 

3. I would like to ask about guidelines for commercial rent subsidy. I am closing my company and I don’t need a facility any longer. My landlord knows about it but he pushes me to apply for subsidy knowing that it is basically scamming. Can you please comment on legal/financial consequences in such situations (I’m sure that many landlords would like to take an advantage of COVID-19 and this is not right). It is an interesting question because legal advisors (and I contacted a few) do not know what legal procedures can be applied. Thank you!

Answer

  • To ensure we support the economy, the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and non-for-profits. This is to help cover their operating costs during this time of economic uncertainty. This program is implemented by banks and credit unions, with the collaboration of Export Development Canada. Business owners can apply for CEBA through their bank or credit union. 
  • The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) will provide relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship. CERCA offers unsecured, forgivable loans eligible commercial property owners to reduce rent to small business tenants; and meet operating expenses on commercial properties. Property owners must offer a min of 75 percent rent reduction for the month of April, May and June 2020. Commercial property owners can apply. Tenants do not apply for this program. 

Questions for MPP Roman Baber

1. What is Ontario saying about wearing face masks, and if they’re effective why aren’t they mandatory? 

Answer:

  • The Province issued guidelines for face-masks as well as the Federal government. 
  • We should reserve medical face-masks (such as a N-95 mask) for health care workers on the frontlines.
  • However, it is recommended by health officials that people should wear non medical face masks and coverings when physical distancing is not possible. For instance, on public transportation; in smaller grocery stores and pharmacies; or when receiving essential services. 
  • You can find the Province of Ontario full guidelines here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/face-coverings-and-face-masks 

2. Some folks are asking why they can’t see their dentist, and when they will be able to. Can you share any information about that? Wendy wants to know why she can’t see her dentist yet, and we’ve had similar questions about radiologists. When can the people of York Centre expect to get those medical services they need?

Answer: 

  • As indicated by the Chief Medical Officer in the interim to stop the spread of COVID-19, we have stopped all non-medical procedures. 
  • However, if you have a dental emergency you can find a list on the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario who are offering emergency services. That list is the link below: 
    • https://www.rcdso.org/en-ca/rcdso-members/2019-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-dental-clinics-offices-offering-emergency-services  
  • As the economy begins to open, we have provided guidelines to hospitals to resume screenings in the near future. 

Questions for Councillor James Pasternak

1.With COVID-19 having a negative impact on the economy, how will the City ensure that more affordable housing will be accessible? 

Answer: 

  • We are addressing this in two main ways:
    • 1)When negotiating with a developer seeking an application for a large development (i.e condominium development), we seek to ensure that a percentage of the units are affordable. These affordable units will be below market value.  
    • 2) The City of Toronto launched the Housing Now initiative. This initiative targets 11 City-owned sites for development of affordable housing within mixed-income, mixed-use, transit-oriented communities. City Council launched the first phase of Housing Now in 2019. 
  • In addition, the City of Toronto has a subsidized housing program (Rent-Geared-to-income) to make rent affordable for households. 

2. If and when City parks reopen, and currently without a vaccine, how will the city ensure park amenities stay clean and sanitized.   

Answer:

  • With the help of the Province, we have opened park amenities (i.e tennis courts) in the City of Toronto that will allow for physical distancing. Playground sets remain closed to continue to stop the spread of COVID-19. 
  • We will not open our playground sets until COVID-19 are very low to ensure the safety of our children. 
  • The green space at our parks remains open. We can continue to enjoy our parks responsibly while physical distancing.  
  • We will work other levels of government on planning on reopening our park amenities.  

3. Will the TTC continue to have physical distancing measures in place, even after restrictions are lifted?

Answer:

  • The City of Toronto is currently working on a congestion management plan. 
  • 25 percent capacity on the subway will allow for physical distancing. 
  • But as mentioned previously, when capacity increases wearing a mask will help when physical distancing is not possible. 

Discussion item: How to Transform Long-Term Care Facility (LTCF) 

  • Roman Baber: 
    • Moving forward we need to learn from this. There have been systemic issues in  LTCF going back years. The premier has announced he will form an independent commission to understand what has happened, and ensure this never happens again. 
    • Thanks to the Canadian Armed Forces role in supporting LTCF. 
    • We need to re-think about how we set up these types of homes (i,e the infrastructure inside the homes). 
    • We need to support the nursing and PSW workers to successfully support seniors.   
  • Michael Levitt: 
    • There needs to be an all hands on deck approach to fixing this system. 
    • Suggests the idea of a royal commission.
    • The Federal government has the ability to build new infrastructure to help seniors. 
    • Committed to working with stakeholders and other levels of government to improve the quality of life to our seniors. 
  • James Pasternak: 
    • Approves of the Premiers promise for an investigation. 
    • States we need to fix this broken system. 
    • We need to look and reassess the staffing model of these homes. 
    • Need to ensure that these LCTF are properly funded so they can serve seniors. 
    • The City of Toronto will be there to support seniors and for LTCF to thrive.