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. These newsletters serve as a way to assure you that our government is working hard to help and protect Canadians during this crisis.
The last week has marked significant progress in keeping Canadians healthy and safe with a focus on support for families, essential workers, farming sectors, and a historic ban on assault-style firearms. As more measures are implemented, our COVID-19 Economic Response Plan continues to help more Canadians and businesses through this truly unprecedented time.
As we listen closely to the needs of families and organizations across the country — we continue to introduce and implement new measures while also enhancing current support programs in place. Last week, the Prime Minister announced the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will be extended beyond June for eligible employers and Minister Guilbeault announced next steps for the Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations.
This week, the Prime Minister announced additional support for mid-sized and larger companies who have experienced unprecedented losses — along with the millions of Canadians they employ — by expanding the Business Credit Availability Program and creating the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility. Just yesterday, we announced new supports for seniors who are hardest hit by COVID-19.
Our government continues to have your back 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.
HELPING SENIORS THROUGH COVID-19
Canadian seniors are facing incredible health, economic, and social challenges due to COVID-19 – and we need to be there for them.
In April, we invested $1.3 billion in a one-time special payment through the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit — with more than 4 million seniors receiving on average of $375 for single seniors and $510 for senior couples. We also invested in community organizations that provide practical services to Canadian seniors, including the delivery of groceries and medications.
But, we know that more help is needed. So, we just announced even more help for seniors through this difficult time:
- Introducing a special one-time payment for those who receive OAS (top-up of $300) and GIS (top-up of $200), representing up to $500 tax- free to seniors that receive both;
- Supporting community-based projects to improve the quality of life of seniors by mitigating social isolation through the New Horizons Program;
- And ensuring the most vulnerable seniors continue to receive benefits by temporarily extending GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed.
We will continue to be there to support all Canadians, including seniors, as we get through this together.
SUPPORT FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS
While many of us are being asked to stay home, millions of our neighbours, family, and friends are being called on to go to work every day. We rely on them and the services they provide now more than ever.
Our government has been working closely with provinces over the last month to establish plans with all provinces and territories to cost-share wage top-ups for essential workers. Our government has been working closely with provinces over the last month to establish plans with all provinces and territories to cost-share wage top-ups for essential workers. Last week, the Prime Minister announced that we will be investing up to $3 billion to give front-line essential workers a raise.
While each province or territory will determine which workers would be eligible for support, and how much support they will receive — we are continuing to work together as Team Canada and taking a collaborative approach as we finalize the details of this measure.
FAMILIES SAW BOOST IN CANADA CHILD BENEFIT THIS MONTH
Early on we promised to support families through COVID-19 by temporarily increasing Canada Child Benefit (CCB) — this month, parents have received a temporary CCB increase of $300 more per child for the month of May.
We know that this crisis has put economic and social stress on families across the country. Whether it is paying bills, putting food on the table, or ensuring their kids are keeping up with educational activities. This increase in the Canada Child Benefit serves as a way to help parents and kids through this difficult time.
SUPPORTING CANADA’S FARMERS AND OUR FOOD SUPPLY
Canada’s food supply and agricultural sectors are critical to our current perseverance through and eventual economic restart from COVID-19. We continue to work closely with farmers and agri-food businesses across the country to meet their needs to withstand the economical toll this crisis presents on their operations.
Last week, Prime Minister Trudeau announced $252 million to support farmers, food businesses, and food processors who provide essential services to Canadians every day by ensuring safe and reliable food supply. We also announced that our government intends to propose an additional $200 million in borrowing capacity for the sector.
Updates for Parliament Hill
Canadians deserve to live in a society where they can feel safe and secure from gun violence. As of May 1, Canada has banned over 1,500 models and variants of assault-style firearms. One Canadian killed by gun violence is one too many. There is no place in our communities for firearms designed to kill the most amount of people in the least amount of time. While this marks an important moment in Canadian history, we will continue doing more to ensure the safety of Canadians.
We are acting to freeze the market right now, and this is exactly the process the law provides for in classifying firearms. This is an important step forward in our broader approach to strengthen gun control that includes addressing illegal activities and violence. We will continue to do everything possible to keep Canadians safe.
The prohibition of military-style assault rifles was a promise made to Canadians during the election. We have kept our promise.
Markham- Thornhill Response
A silver-lining during this crisis is witnessing the incredible acts of kindness and united efforts of our communities. The Association of Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs has been working diligently with local businesses to keep them informed, assist with navigation of government support programs, and offer webinars on how to stay innovative during these unprecedented times.
Last week they hosted a webinar for how businesses can develop an e-commerce strategy to maintain relationships with customers and even grow their target market beyond foot traffic.
Check out their website for upcoming events and available resources: https://www.acce.ca
The Markham Peoples Community Church has been busy with various initiatives to help the community. They are in their second wave of sewing masks to donate to seniors groups across Markham, running a food drive for those in need, and are asking for community input on more ways to help others during COVID-19.
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