Dear Friends and Neighbours,
As we work through the global challenge of COVID-19, I understand that the people of Markham-Thornhill are worried. Workers and businesses need support now more than ever. The situation around this pandemic is constantly evolving, as is our government’s response. These newsletters serve as a way to assure you that our government is doing everything in our power to help and protect Canadians in this difficult time.
As COVID-19 evolves, we continue to listen to the needs of all Canadians and businesses, and we respond by introducing new support programs and funding while also announcing enhancements to current programs in place to ensure we are helping those who need it. The most recent updates to our COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan include support for students, expanded the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, and reaching a principle agreement with provinces and territories to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses.
People are anxious to get back to work, and we understand that. Reopening our economy requires a coordinated approach, and we need to get this right to ensure we don’t lose all the progress we’ve made so far. That is why we’ve worked closely with the provinces and territories on an agreed common set of principles for restarting the economy. This is a Team Canada approach, and we need to continue to ensure all measures are guided by science to protect the health and safety of Canadians.
Our government continues to have your back in these unprecedented times as we roll out support measures to make sure Canadians are safe and healthy, and are able to keep food on the table and keep up with their bills. As Team Canada, we are in this together.
Please note that my Constituency Office is closed to the public at this time, but my team is still available to help members of Markham-Thornhill by email (Mary.Ng@parl.gc.ca) or by phone (905)-479-8100.
Millions of Canadians have already received their $2000 Canada Emergency Response benefit payments since applications opened April 7th. We are committed to ensuring that no measure is off the table and that’s why the Prime Minister announced the federal government is making this benefit even more flexible and generous last week;
- Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
- Extend the CERB to workers who recently exhausted their EI benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19 – including seasonal and gig workers.
While CERB is for Canadians who have lost income due to COVID-19, we also recognize the incredible work that essential workers are doing to save lives, ensure the safety and integrity of our food supply, and providing essential retail services. We are working with provinces and territories to help provide a temporary top-up to the salaries of workers deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19, that make less than $2,500 a month.
Further details will be announced soon, following further work with the provinces and territories.
REMINDER: If your income situation has not changed since your first CERB claim and you continue to require financial assistance, you must re-apply to CERB every 4 weeks. You can apply here.
Please review the infographic below for the best day to apply:
HISTORIC ACTION TO HELP SAVE CANADIAN JOBS AND BUSINESSES
I want to acknowledge the contributions of business owners and entrepreneurs in our community who are taking significant steps – like temporarily closing their doors or scaling back their operations – to help us plank the curve.
We have been listening to business owners, and we’ve created supports that were in direct response to what we’ve heard.
We’ve brought in a wide range of lending supports to help with operating expenses, deferred taxes to keep costs low, introduced direct funding supports for sole-proprietors, as well as gig and contract workers, and we’re covering 75% of employees’ wages to keep Canadian businesses together.
Over the last two weeks, to help even more businesses we expanded the payroll requirement for the Canada Emergency Business Account to $20,000, partnered with provinces and territories to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance, which will reduce rent by 75%, and we created targeted supports to help innovative start-ups and high growth companies through the Industrial Research Assistance Program and Futurpreneur Canada.
Our government will continue to ensure that workers in every sector are protected, and that Canadian families have the help they need to put food on the table, and pay the bills.
CANADA EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDY
This week, Canadian business owners across the country began to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, that will cover 75% of an employee’s wages and help employers keep their staff on payroll, rehire those previously laid off, ensure workers can access a decent income, and position themselves to rebound when the outbreak has passed.
There were more than 300,000 views of the online CEWS calculator we launched last week to help businesses prepare a claim. Since the portal opened on Monday, close to 64 000 businesses have already applied – meaning, this support is very much needed by Canadian businesses.
EMERGENCY COMMUNITY SUPPORT FUND
We are seeing organizations across the country doing incredible work, taking initiative, and establishing innovative ways to help those who need it in these difficult times. We have established the Emergency Community Support Fund to help organizations to further adjust their services to;
- Expand home deliveries of groceries or medication
- Transport seniors or people with disabilities to appointments;
- Widen the reach of helplines that give information and link people to services;
- Replace in-person, one-on-one contact with contact through phone calls, texts or the Internet; and
- Train volunteers on health and safety so that they can continue to make their invaluable contributions to the COVID-19 response.
The federal government will disburse funds through the following national partners: United Way Centraide Canada, the Canadian Red Cross, and Community Foundations of Canada. Community organizations are encouraged to visit their websites to earn more about how and when they will be able to apply.
SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS
As Canadians take action in the fight against COVID-19, we recognize that many young Canadians are facing an unprecedented challenge. 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, or pursuing a national service opportunity – our government has your back.
Loss of income & financial support
- Through the new Canada Student Emergency Benefit (CESB), our Government will ensure that students have the support they need in the face of COVID-19 – even if they are not covered by the CERB.
- This benefit would provide $1,250 per month from May through August for eligible students, and $1,750 for students with dependents or permanent disabilities.
- Our Government will help young people gain valuable work experience – even in the face of COVID-19 – by introducing the new Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG).
- This grant will provide up to $5,000 for a student’s education in the fall, for students who work in national service positions through organizations within their community.
Enhancements to Canada Student Loans and Grants Programs
To ensure that post-secondary students are confidently able to continue their studies in the fall, our Government is proposing significant measures to support their financial needs, including:
- Doubling the Canada Student Grants Program
- Broadening the eligibility for Student Financial Assistance
- Enhancing the Canada Student Loans Program
- Increasing support for Indigenous Post-Secondary Education
- And extending expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships as well as federal research grants.
Markham- Thornhill Response
Markham Cares Donation Centre
On April 14th, the City of Markham opened the doors to their new Markham Cares Donation Centre as a receiving depot for personal and corporate donations
They have been overwhelmed with the positive response from individuals, families, and local organizations in our community. The Markham Cares Donation Centre is looking for personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizer, and any other healthcare related supplies.
Those who are looking to donate can do so by dropping off supplies using the drive-thru tent 8100 Warden Avenue, north of Highway 407. The centre will be open Monday to Saturday from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.
I would like to thank the City of Markham once again for their leadership through this unprecedented time.
Creating PPE Locally
Markham—Thornhill continues to answer the call as the City of Markham has been hard at work to make personal protective equipment (PPE). Incredible work is happening across the community – from 3D printed headbands for plastic visors being produced at the Aaniin Community Centre, to sewing non-medical face masks using the machines at the library’s Creation Studio and personal machines at home.
COVID-19 requires a Team Canada response and it is action like this that shows our strength as a country. Thank you to everyone who has taken time to donate supplies, offer expertise, and volunteer their time to local initiatives in our community.
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
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