Dear Friends & Neighbours,
May has been a busy month. We have been working hard to make many enhancements to our measures that will better support Canadian small businesses, workers, seniors, students, and families as we navigate the impacts of COVID-19.
In May, members of our community took the time to celebrate important observances like Shavuot and Ramadan, as well as Asian Heritage Month. This year, these celebrations were a little different than in years past due to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and physical distancing guidelines that our public health officials are urging us to follow. During this crisis, it is more important than ever to think of our loved ones and to stay connected to them – whether it is through virtual means or with a simple phone call.
As Team Canada, we are in this together. We’ve made progress, but there is still more work to do to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and with the support of our communities we will ensure that Canadians are healthy, safe, and supported through this crisis.
Even though my Constituency Office remains closed to the public at this time, my team is still available to help members of Markham-Thornhill by email (Mary.Ng@parl.gc.ca) or by phone (905)-479-8100.
The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) has expanded to include businesses that are sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll. To apply for CEBA, talk to your financial institution.
CANADA EMERGENCY COMMERCIAL RENT ASSISTANCE (CECRA)
On May 25th, the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance application portal opened. We know small business owners severely affected by COVID-19 need this support. If you’re a commercial property owner, we’re asking you to step up and take advantage of this support available to you – it makes financial sense and will help our small businesses and economy bounce back. For full program details and to apply, click here.
CANADA EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDY (CEWS)
To better support our businesses and their employees and to ensure a strong recovery, our government announced the extension of the wage subsidy by an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020. If you are an employer, you can apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy here.
We will continue to work with businesses and labour representatives from across the country to ensure this support responds to their needs as our economy restarts and places begin to safely open back up.
REGIONAL RELIEF AND RECOVERY FUND (RRRF)
Through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, we are supporting more businesses in tourism, rural communities and regional-specific sectors who might otherwise fall through the cracks. Ontario businesses can apply for this support through FedDev or FedNor.
LAUNCH OF THE BUSINESS RESILIENCE SERVICE
The Government of Canada recently launched of a four-week free hotline service called the Business Resilience Service for small business owners, entrepreneurs, not-for-profit organizations and charities who might not otherwise have access to tailored financial or accounting advice.
Business advisors on the phone are available to provide customized financial guidance to entrepreneurs to help them make the best decisions for their business as they navigate this crisis, and plan for restart and recovery.
Small businesses can call the following number 7 days a week: 1-866-989-1080.
SUPPORTING WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS
To ensure women entrepreneurs get targeted support and mentorship, our government is providing $15 million in additional funding to support women entrepreneurs through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES). This money will go directly to select organizations that are WES Ecosystem Fund recipients and will help women entrepreneurs through the COVID-19 pandemic.
FUNDING FOR 500 WOMEN’S SHELTERS AND SEXUAL ASSAULT CENTRES
Women experiencing violence at home are particularly vulnerable in instances of self-isolation, and many of the places they would find refuge in are closed or inaccessible due to COVID-19. This is why we announced $50 million in funding for organizations across Canada to continue to provide essential services every day to survivors of gender-based violence. 500 organizations across the country are now receiving this funding to support their communities – including the Women’s Shelter of York Region.
BOOSTED SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES: CANADA CHILD BENEFIT (CCB)
Families in Markham—Thornhill will see an additional increase in their Canada Child Benefit payment for the 2020-2021 benefit year starting this July. This tax-free support will help families pay for things such as food, clothes, and activities they can do together at home.
MORE SUPPORT FOR SENIORS
Our seniors are valued members of our communities and our families. This is why we announced more support to help Canadian seniors and provide them with greater financial security in this time of crisis:
- one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
- improve the quality of life of seniors by investing additional funds in the New Horizons for Seniors Program.
- temporarily extending GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed.
MORE SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS
Many young Canadians are facing an unprecedented challenge in the wake of COVID-19. Whether you’ve recently graduated and were looking forward to starting your career, or you’re still in school and counting on summer employment to pay tuition, you may be eligible for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit. Applications are now open.
If you or someone you know is a student or young Canadian, you can find out what other supports are available for you here.
INVESTING IN RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
Before and long after COVID-19, we look to research and science-based approach to guide our policy-making. This is why we are investing more than $450 million to support the academic research community in continuing their work on projects that our country relies on now and after this crisis.
SUPPORT FOR ESSENTIAL AND FRONT-LINE WORKERS
While many of us are being asked to stay home, millions of Canadians are being called on to go to work every day, and we are relying on these workers now more than ever. This is why our government is stepping up to give essential workers a raise with cost-share wage top-ups in all provinces and territories.
FUNDING INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY-LED INITIATIVES
Our government is working closely with First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples on how to provide immediate support to their communities in recognition of their unique challenges during COVID-19. We are investing $75 million in new funding for the Indigenous Community Support Fund to provide services to Indigenous peoples in urban centres and off-reserve. This builds off of our recently announced emergency support for Indigenous peoples to help community-led initiatives to limit the spread of COVID-19, support vulnerable community members, and help with food security.
Every year on May 18th, it is important for us all to support the loved ones of victims and the entire Tamil-Canadian community on the anniversary of the end of the 26-year armed conflict in Sri Lanka. The Prime Minister’s statement can be viewed here.
It is incredible to see the continued acts of kindness around our community during this difficult time. At the beginning of May, the Canadian Tamil Congress generously collected and donated refreshments to the front-line workers at Markham Stouffville Hospital. As mentioned in their note, they wanted to extend their gratitude for the healthcare workers dedication while also providing nutritious snacks to keep up their heroic work.
Every Wednesday, local Markham teacher, Danielle Zafirovski, invites her students and community members to join her on Instagram live for a free painting class. She’s using the power of art to improve people’s mental health, connect with our community, and raise money for the Markham Stouffville Hospital Covid-19 Relief Fund.
Information for Local Businesses
As well, the Canadian Business Resilience Network is a resource-abundant tool to access information, strategies, and help from over 100 business and industry associations from across the country. Currently, they are running a business-led, inclusive campaign with the goal of reducing the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and our communities by positioning Canadian business to drive Canada’s economic recovery.
The Government of Canada is working with provincial and territorial governments to respond to COVID-19. We are seeking volunteers to help in the following areas:
1. Case tracking and contact tracing;
2. Health system surge capacity;
3. Case data collection and reporting.
We are building an inventory of volunteers from which provincial and territorial governments can draw upon as needed. We welcome ALL volunteers as we are looking for a wide variety of experiences and expertise. You can register here.
Download the Canada COVID-19 Support App
Download the new Canada COVID-19 Support App for free on your mobile devices to receive the latest updates, trusted resources, and self-assess your symptoms.
Local COVID-19 Assessment Sites
In Markham—Thornhill, local resources and assessment sites are still being finalized. Local public health agencies are asking that only those showing symptoms of COVID-19 and/or have reasonable grounds to believe that they have been in contact with the virus should pursue testing.
Below, you will find the details of the closest hospitals to my constituency, as well as details regarding their assessment sites and links to their web pages for locations and protocols of COVID-19 assessments. Please review these instructions or call ahead before visiting a facility.
Mackenzie Health (Major MacKenzie Drive West between Yonge and Bathurst)
- COVID-19 Assessment Centre located in the Medical Urgent Care Clinic
- Assessments are available by appointment only
- Monday-Friday: 11:00 A.M. to 11:00 P.M.
- Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 A.M. to 08:00 P.M.
- Hours are subject to change and will be updated on the hospital web page
Markham Stouffville Hospital (Ninth Line just North of Hwy 7)
- COVID-19 Assessment Centre cannot be accessed from the main hospital facility, entrance is located on the south side of the hospital and east of the Emergency Department
- The centre is walk-in only and will not take appointments or phone calls
- Assessment Centre hours are as follows:
- 09:00 A.M. to 09:00 P.M. daily
- Hours and dates are subject to change and will be updated on the hospital web page
Once again, please check the protocols of health care facilities before visiting for assessments.
Due to the nature of COID-19, government and healthcare responses are changing at a fast pace. While my team and I are doing our best to keep up with the updates, the best sources of information are referring to the official government and public health agency websites.
If you are presenting symptoms or need more information on measures of COVID-19 please contact the following:
York Region Public Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653
Government of Canada COVID-19 information line 1-833-784-4397
TeleHealth at 1-866-797-0000
Please note York Region Public Health offices are not testing for COVID-19. Call the numbers listed above for information on testing if you are experiencing symptoms.