I understand that members of Markham-Thornhill are worried and that many businesses need support as we work through this evolving global challenge of COVID-19. I want to assure you that our government has your back – we are taking precautions and putting measures in place to reduce the impact of the virus on our communities, healthcare systems, and businesses.
This week, the Prime Minister and my fellow members of Cabinet announced measures to protect the health and safety of Canadians. From investments in research of the virus, border and travel measures, to stimulus packages in order to sustain our economy through this pandemic. I have included a more detailed outline of our plan below.
Following the advice of Health Canada, it is strongly advised that Canadians are self-aware during this outbreak. If you or anyone you may know is showing symptoms of COVID-19, we strongly recommend reaching out to your family physician and/or the York Region Public Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or the Government of Canada COVID-19 information line at 1-833-784-4397.
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. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We will continue to provide you with updates as we receive them, and we hope to work with you to further mitigate the situation.
Advice from Public Health Professionals
They help Canadians make informed decisions and take action to protect our health and communities. Our government knows our public health agencies are essential to navigating COVID-19 and that’s why we are providing $50 million for communications and public education efforts.
Additionally, we are providing $500 million to provinces and territories for critical health care system needs and to support mitigation efforts as needed.
Travel and Canadian Border
Border measures: Travellers arriving at all major Canadian airports and land border crossings should review the information and, if coming from high-risk areas, prepare to be screened so next steps can be determined to protect their health and that of others. All travellers are advised to monitor themselves for symptoms and to contact the local public health authority in their province or territory if they feel sick.
Travel advice: Global Affairs Canada is continually updating its guidance to travellers through travel health notices to inform Canadians of countries where the level of risk to health associated with COVID-19 is elevated.
Ministers Blair, Hajdu, and Garneau also announced that Canada has advised Canadians to avoid non-essential international travel, that the cruise season is suspended until July.
Consular assistance: Global Affairs Canada is providing 24/7 consular support to Canadians affected by COVID-19 through the Emergency Watch and Response Centre and through consular staff at its network of missions abroad.
Assisted departures: The Government of Canada has supported the repatriation of Canadians from high-risk areas, including Wuhan, China, the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was docked in Yokohoma, Japan, and the Grand Princess cruise ship docked in San Francisco, USA.
You can find more details here: https://www.canada.ca/en/
No Canadian should have to worry about paying rent, buying groceries, or additional childcare because of #COVIDー19. That is why our government is committed to giving Canadians the economic support they need.
Earlier this week we announced our enhancement to Employment Insurance sickness benefits by waving the mandatory one-week waiting period for those in quarantine.
We have also introduced enhancements to the Work-Sharing program to help support employers and their workers who are experiencing a downturn in business due to COVID-19.
Equipment and Supplies
Since February 4, 2020, the Government of Canada has deployed approximately 16 tonnes of personal protective equipment to China, to support its ongoing response to the outbreak and reduce the spread of the virus internationally.
As well, this week’s announcements included $50 million to the Public Health Agency of Canada to go towards personal protective equipment for provinces and territories, as well as to address federal needs.
We have invested in an evidence-based approach to COVID-19 response measures by seeking the guidance of Canada’s scientists and healthcare experts. In order to support further understanding of the virus, enhance best practices, and develop new measures, we are supporting 47 research teams across Canada by providing $275 million in funding.
As well, we are supporting federal public health measures such as enhanced surveillance, increased testing at the National Microbiology Laboratory, and ongoing support for preparedness in First Nations and Inuit communities, by providing $100 million.
Support for business
This week the Ministry of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade launched a new webpage that serves as a one-stop-shop for Canadian businesses – focusing on the following four considerations: supporting your employees, financial implications and business preparedness, business travel and events, and doing business in international markets. On this webpage, you will find a link to a comprehensive pandemic preparedness guide created by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
Minister Morneau announced we are making $10 billion available to Canadian businesses through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank of Canada, in addition to the Bank of Canada Governor cutting the interest rate to 0.75% and the Superintendent of Financial Institutions announcing an additional $300 billion in lending capacity by the major banks.
Canada’s strong fiscal position means we are well-positioned to respond to any challenges, and our approach includes measures to prepare for the possible broader impacts on our people, our economy, and our small businesses. With the situation remaining very dynamic, more information about the timing of Budget 2020 will come in due time.
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
COVID-19 Assessment Centres are coming to York Region. The focus now is on getting them open and operational quickly. Details will be provided once the sites are ready.
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.
Member of Parliament