This Week at Queen's Park . . .

Jim McDonell, MPP
Jim McDonell, MPP

From the desk of 

MPP Jim McDonell . . .

Friday, May 7th - I am happy to report that my COVID-19 period of isolation ended this past Thursday. While I contacted the virus before my vaccination had time to provide me with its maximum protection, I do not doubt that it was responsible for my low level of symptoms. I am grateful for the many best wishes I received for my speedy recovery. Thank you very much! 

 

         Past the halfway point of the current stay-at-home order, watching the cases cut in half is encouraging. The seven-day rolling average for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region was 52.5 as of Thursday and trending downward. The EOHU's vaccination team, led by Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, is posed to maintain their rapid vaccination pace.      The federal government has announced that they expect to deliver to Ontario 3.1 million Pfizer and 388,000 Moderna doses in May. This welcome news has allowed our region on Thursday to accept appointments for those born in 1971 and earlier and to add groups of essential workers, including teachers and education staff. Other age groups will be added weekly in 10-year increments: 40-plus on May 10, 30-plus on May 17, and 18-plus on May 24. I encourage those eligible to book their appointments at www.ontario.ca/bookvaccine or by calling 1-888-999-6488 if you have a red and white OHIP card or need assistance. The pharmacy dispersal program is on hold right now as we await further shipments of AstraZeneca. Health Canada's approval of the new one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is expected soon, but deliveries are still undetermined as of yet. I want to emphasize that getting any vaccine as quickly as possible is the smart choice, as it is the fastest path back to recovery and to a more normal way of life. I know there have been some concerns over the risks of some vaccines, but we know that these risks are much less than the risks of contacting COVID-19, full stop. 

 

         Positive progress is being made but adhering to the emergency order is more important than ever due to the more dominant and contagious variants of concern. Hospitalizations are down, but they remain a concern as we have seen them rebound in other locations. While our residents are making sacrifices, we continue to see people flaunting our efforts on social media. Since February, over 5,000 positive cases have been tracked at our airports. Over 150,000 people have crossed our land borders in the past two weeks, excluding the transport industry   Our Premier continues to ask the Prime Minister to secure our borders, as over 90 percent of our cases are one of the variants of concern. He has requested that all non-essential international travel be stopped, PCR testing be instituted for all domestic travel, and loopholes are closed at our land borders. The inaction is endangering Canadians and putting unnecessary pressure on our health care system and delaying our recovery. 

 

        The education of our children continues to be one of the government's top priorities. Education Minister Stephen Lecce delivered welcome news this week, announcing the Ministry will increase funding for our four local school boards in the upcoming school year by more than $18 million for student needs. The $25.6 billion is the highest per capita spending ever and includes $80 million to support better mental health, more than four times the 2017-18 allocation. We also remain committed to protecting students and staff from COVID-19, providing $39.9 million to help local boards deliver the resources they need. 

 

         Remember to maintain personal spacing, wear a mask, and stay home, except to pick up essential items. 

Regards,       

 

 Jim McDonell     

MPP, Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry       


Individuals 18 and over in hotspots eligible to Book as of May 3rd . . .

Expanding vaccination for more people . . .

Monday, May 3rd - Due to a stable and reliable increase in vaccine supply, this week, the Ontario government will further expand booking eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination appointments across the province.

        As of Monday, May 3, 2021, at 8:00 a.m., individuals who are 18 and over in 2021 and live in one of the 114 hot spot communities will be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at a mass immunization clinic through the provincial online booking system or directly through public health units that use their own booking system. This expansion of eligibility will support the government’s strategy of allocating 50 per cent of vaccine allocations to hot spots the weeks of May 3rd and 10th.

        “With additional supply our government is increasing access to the COVID-19 vaccines in the communities hardest hit by COVID-19,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Continuing to focus on getting vaccines in the arms of those most at risk will help to stop the spread of COVID-19 in these communities, protect our hospital capacity and save lives. I continue to urge everyone to sign up to receive the vaccine as soon as it’s your turn.” 

        In addition, beginning Thursday, May 6, 2021, at 8:00 a.m. the following groups throughout the province will be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, through the provincial online booking system and call centre or directly through public health units that use their own booking system: 

    •  Individuals turning 50 and over in 2021; 

    •  Individuals with high-risk health conditions; 

    •  People who cannot work from home who fall under Group One (including remaining elementary and

            secondary school workers); 

    •  First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals in addition to the other channels previously available to

            book their appointment. 

        In addition, priority populations who have been only able to book via the provincial call centre will now also be able to book online, including individuals with the highest risk health conditions, child care workers in licenced child care settings and education workers who provide direct support to students with special education needs. 

        “With access to more vaccine supply, we are able to expand eligibility and increase the speed and scale of vaccine delivery in communities where it is needed most and will have the greatest impact,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “I urge everyone who is eligible to book their appointment, to do so as soon as possible. Every vaccine administered is a step toward reducing COVID-19 transmission and will help save lives.” 

        Ontarians who are now eligible to book their vaccine appointment are asked to be patient, as it could take time to receive their vaccination. Public health units are responsible for managing and overseeing the distribution and administration of vaccines for their entire region, and public health units may have different vaccine administration rates based on local context.


Seeking 25 more Conservation Officers . . .

- web photo . . .
- web photo . . .

Tuesday, May 4th - The Ontario government is enhancing the protection of the province’s precious natural resources and ensuring public safety by recruiting additional conservation officers. 

        “Ontario’s natural resources are world class; to maintain that standard, we promised to hire more conservation officers to protect our natural resources,” announced Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “Today, we’re making good on that commitment.” 

“We are incredibly fortunate to have a wealth of natural resources in Ontario. Our government is committed to ensuring that our children and grandchildren will see the benefits of these resources,” said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “That’s why I am delighted to announce that we are hiring more conservation officers.” 

        Recruitment is now open for 25 additional officers across Ontario. These officers will help the ministry increase focus on its sustainable resource management and public safety goals, such as promoting hunting safety, preventing illegal hunting, preventing illegal trade and commercialization of Ontario’s animal and plant species, preventing the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species. 

        “We’re looking for 25 extraordinary individuals who are passionate about the outdoors to join the team,” pointed out Mike Harris, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “Whether you’re from a small town or a big city, a long line of conservation officers, or you’re the first in your family to pursue this rewarding career, we encourage you to consider applying.” 

        “Ontario’s conservation officers serve to protect our vast natural resources, including those in our riding, patrolling the lakes, rivers, trails and backroads of Ontario,” said Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. “They work they do helps to manage these valuable resources, so we can enjoy them for years to come.” 


Engaging youth with lived experience . . .

Monday, May 3rd - The Ontario government is engaging youth with lived experience to help develop a new framework that would see youth transition out of the care of children’s aid societies when they feel ready and better prepared. Their feedback will help establish readiness indicators, such as stable housing or education, to ensure young people are set up for success once they leave care, a key pillar of the province’s plan to modernize the child welfare system. 

        “We know many young people leaving care are struggling and we want to change that,” said Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. “Our goal is to ensure youth feel confident and have the tools to thrive as independent adults. Listening and working with youth and child welfare advocates is critical as we design a new framework to better support them as they transition from care to adulthood.” 

        The Ontario Children's Advancement Coalition and Youth in Care Canada will co-lead youth consultations alongside the ministry, with mentoring and support from the Children's Aid Foundation of Canada. The engagement sessions will begin later this spring and will inform the development of the readiness indicators. The organizations will hear from youth with lived experience, service providers, advocates, partners and stakeholders on how best to support young people preparing to transition from care. 

        While work is underway to design the new framework, the province has extended the moratorium on youth aging out of their care arrangements with children’s aid societies to September 30, 2022. This moratorium will ensure youth in the child welfare system who pass the cut-off age during the COVID 19 pandemic will continue to receive supports and services. 

        “Our government is redesigning Ontario’s child welfare system to provide more opportunities for children and youth,” added Dunlop. “This new framework will promote positive outcomes and allow our young people leaving care to be set up for success and thrive as independent adults. These young people are capable and deserve the chance to flourish at every stage of their life.” 

        “Our partnership between government and non-profit organizations founded and led by first voice advocates, and our work together, is expected to transform the ‘aging out’ experience,” said Cheyanne Ratnam, founder, president and CEO of the Ontario Children’s Advancement Coalition (OCAC). “It will result in better outcomes, across lifespans, for Ontario’s children and young people in and from the child welfare system.” 

        "The partnership between Youth in Care Canada, the Ontario Children’s Advancement Coalition, and the government represents the mutual commitment of our organizations to the betterment of outcomes for young people in and leaving care,” said Conner Lowes, President of Youth in Care Canada (YICC). “We as an organization are so proud to be taking this step to help reform the child welfare system in such a fundamental way, thereby providing young people with the crucial support they need to succeed." 

        “We’ve heard first-hand from so many young people who have ‘aged out’ of the current system that this milestone has been traumatizing, leaving them feeling ill-equipped, confused and abandoned,” said Valerie McMurtry, President and CEO of Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada. “We are proud to stand alongside first voice advocates as they partner with government on this important work and are optimistic that this project will create new ways to better address the individual needs of young people, supporting them to build successful futures for themselves.” 


Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month . . .

Minister says 'More needs to be done . . .'

Monday, May 3rd - Today, Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, issued the following statement on Sexual Assault Prevention Month: 

        “Sexual assault is a stain on society and is absolutely abhorrent. Our government has zero tolerance for violence in any form and we are committed to preventing it and supporting survivors. 

        May is Sexual Assault Prevention Month. It is an opportunity to raise awareness about the devasting impact of this crime, to better understand its deep cultural and historical roots, to support victims and survivors and to work together to stop the violence. 

        It’s also an opportunity to highlight the strength and resilience of survivors, and to recognize the accomplishments of the individuals and organizations that are working to raise awareness of sexual assault, support victims and prosecute offenders. 

In Canada, one in three women and one in six men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime. Women are three times more likely to be stalked and four times more likely to be a victim of intimate partner violence. 

        Indigenous women and girls are even more likely to be victims of assault as are other racialized, minority and vulnerable communities. 

        And tragically, the prevalence of all gender-based violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault, has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

        This heartbreaking reality only serves to prove that more needs to be done within our neighbourhoods to ensure women are safe. 

        Eliminating this violence is the responsibility of each and every one of us – and I am proud of how our government is working to make this a reality through targeted investments focused on prevention and supporting survivors. We cannot stay silent on an issue that has devastating consequences to victims, survivors and their families. 

        We all have an obligation to do everything we can to raise awareness of sexual assault, support victims and survivors and hold offenders accountable. In the spirit of Sexual Assault Prevention Month, let’s continue building the conversation about sexual assault and protect the people of Ontario and their communities from this horrible crime.” 


Province stepping up vaccine delivery . . .

Accelerating rollout as supply increases . . .

Thursday, Apr. 29th - In response to an expected increase in vaccine supply from the federal government, the Ontario government is preparing to ramp up its rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to further support at-risk communities. This includes a targeted commitment to allocate 50 per cent of upcoming vaccine shipments to hot spot communities as identified by postal code, to help decrease COVID-19 transmission and hospitalizations.

        Despite an unstable vaccine supply to date, the province has built a strong foundation for its vaccine rollout, with five million doses administered, and over 4.6 million adults having received at least one dose. 

        Approximately 800,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive in Ontario per week at the start of May, ramping up to 940,000 doses per week by the end of May. This reliable increase in vaccine supply allows the province to further accelerate its vaccine rollout and get more shots into arms. 

        “Ontario’s vaccine rollout is continuing to focus on getting vaccines to those most at risk” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “With a stable and reliable supply of vaccines on the way, we will continue expanding access to the vaccine in communities across the province, especially those areas that continue to be hit hardest by COVID-19. The best vaccine remains the first one you’re offered, and I strongly encourage everyone to sign up as soon as it’s their turn.” 

        Based on the increased vaccine allocations Ontario is expecting in May, the province will increase the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to hot spot communities by over one million doses through a targeted, time-limited response designed to reduce COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in these areas. 

        During the weeks of May 3 and May 10, 50 per cent of vaccine allocations will be allocated to hot spots targeting mobile teams, pop-up clinics, mass immunization clinics, hospitals, primary care and pharmacies. 

        This approach will not take away vaccines from other public health unit regions, whose allocations will remain the same as previously planned and will increase later in May. Public health units can use local knowledge to ramp up capacity and effectively target hot spots, whether provincially identified or otherwise. 

        Due to a predictable and increased vaccine supply from the federal government, the province will be able to further expand delivery channels in the coming weeks to vaccinate more Ontarians faster. To support this, the government has developed an anticipated schedule to expand eligibility to receive the COVID-19 vaccine throughout May, with individuals aged 18 and older eligible to book through the provincial booking system as early as the week of May 24, 2021. 

        As the next step in Ontario’s vaccine rollout, effective April 30, at 8:00 a.m., individuals aged 55 and over are eligible to book a vaccine appointment. This same day, a pilot will launch through select pharmacy locations in hot spot communities to administer the Pfizer vaccine to individuals aged 55 and over. Eight stores in Peel and eight in Toronto will participate in this pilot, with each location receiving approximately 150 doses per week to help Ontario continue to grow provincewide capacity to vaccinate as many individuals as quickly as possible. This is expected to expand to additional public health units later in May following evaluation of the program and as supply allows. Pharmacies will continue to use their own booking system for appointments. 

        In addition, the first employer-operated workplace clinics are on track to begin operating this week in hot spot communities within Peel Region. Maple Lodge Farms and Maple Leaf Foods have begun vaccinating employees in partnership with Peel Public Health and Amazon preparing to do the same. All three workplace clinics will also offer access to vaccines to the local community. Ontario will continue to work with employers who have expressed an interest in hosting workplace clinics to assess if they meet the criteria and help facilitate engagement with local public health units. 

        “With the increase in vaccine supplies, workplace vaccination clinics have begun this week and we are focusing our immunization efforts in areas where COVID-19 is spreading rapidly,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “As we move closer to accessing a more stable supply of vaccines from the federal government, we must do all we can to save lives and reduce hospitalizations by staying home and following public health measures.” 


McDonell announces an over $2.3M investment . . .

Improve SDG's recreation infrastructure  . . .

Thursday, Apr. 29th - Today, Jim McDonell, Member of Provincial Parliament for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry announced that the Government of Ontario is investing over $2.3 million in six local recreational infrastructure projects through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.

        “As the weather begins to get warmer, the need for sport and recreational infrastructure becomes even greater as it provides members of the community an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle,” said MPP McDonell. “That’s why our government’s investment into local community, culture and recreation infrastructure projects like sport arenas and play structures could not have come at a better time.”

        The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program is a cost-shared, application-based infrastructure funding opportunity. Contributions to this project are as follows:

 

 

        This investment will go a long way in supporting the improvement of local community infrastructure.

        “All of these local infrastructure projects support families and communities as Ontario continues to protect people’s health and economy. Getting shovels in the ground will positively impact the lives and well-being of every resident in each of these towns for years to come,” said Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure.


Province to train more Personal Support Workers . . .

Student financial assistance available . . .

Wednesday, Apr. 28th - The Ontario government is providing $86 million to help train up to 8,000 personal support workers through private career colleges and district school boards. This investment is part of the government’s Long-Term Care Staffing Plan and is yet another way the province is collaborating with key partners to improve the care and quality of life of people living in long-term care.

        “Personal support workers are the backbone of long-term care and do vital work every day so that our loved ones receive the care they need and deserve,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. “This investment will help us deliver on our government’s Canada-leading commitment to ensure residents receive, on average, four hours of direct daily care per day and enable thousands of Ontarians to embark on new careers in the healthcare sector.” 

        Financial support will be available to new students enrolled in a PSW program at one of the participating Ontario Student Assistance Program approved private career colleges. Eligible students in private career colleges can receive up to $13,235 to cover the costs of tuition, books and other mandatory fees, as well as a stipend for a clinical work placement. To be eligible for financial support, students must start their PSW training at a participating private career college between May 1 and July 31, 2021. 

        “Ontario’s private career colleges provide world-class training for our frontline healthcare workers, including PSWs,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “We’re making it easier for more students to access personal support worker programs at private career colleges to prepare them for critical jobs caring for some of the most vulnerable people in Ontario.” 

        Financial support will also be available to students enrolled in a PSW program at an Ontario district school board. Eligible students could receive up to $7,735 for equipment, books and other mandatory fees, as well as a stipend for a guaranteed work placement. To be eligible for financial support, students must either be currently enrolled in a PSW program during the 2020-21 school year (as of September 2020) or must begin classes between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022. 

        “Through adult and continuing education programs, we are helping to train additional personal support workers to protect Ontario seniors and their families,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “We are creating opportunities and investing more so individuals can concurrently earn their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) and a PSW certification.”

        “We are not going to leave any rock unturned in our efforts to find additional ways to train more personal support workers,” said Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. “Seniors and other residents in need of care can be confident the government will be fulfilling promises to have a sufficient number of care providers so that they can have a better quality of life.” 

        Today’s announcement builds on the Province’s recent investment of $115 million to train up to 8,200 PSWs at Ontario’s publicly assisted colleges in partnership with Colleges Ontario. The Ontario government is also investing $239 million to extend temporary wage enhancements for PSWs and direct support workers in publicly funded home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services sectors.


Ontario expands COVID-19 vaccination bookings . . .

Licensed Child Care Workers across Ontario eligible to book vaccine appointments . . .

Tuesday, Apr. 27th - The Ontario government is expanding booking for COVID-19 vaccination appointments to individuals 45 and over in designated hot spot communities in 13 public health units, as identified by postal code, through its provincial booking system. Child care workers in licensed child care settings across the province will also be eligible to book their COVID-19 vaccination appointments.

        As of 8:00 a.m. today, all individuals who are 45 and over in 2021, living in one of the 114 high-risk neighbourhoods, will be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at a mass immunization clinic through the provincial online booking system and call centre or directly through public health units that use their own booking system. 

        “This is a step forward in Phase Two of our vaccine distribution plan to ensure we are protecting people and communities most at risk,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “By using every available channel to deliver vaccines, we are working to vaccinate Ontarians as quickly as possible and stop the spread in our communities. I encourage everyone who is eligible to book their appointment as soon as they can.” 

        Despite facing consistent challenges in receiving a stable and reliable supply of COVID-19 vaccines, Ontario has continued to ramp up capacity and expand its rollout to additional groups. 

        Keeping childcare open is critical to the mental health and well-being of children and in supporting working parents in Ontario. Effective Thursday, April 29, 2021, child care workers in licensed child care settings will be eligible to book an appointment through the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line number at 1-833-943-3900 or directly through public health units that use their own booking system. Eligible workers in licensed child care settings will receive a letter from their employer. This letter must be available at the point of booking and taken to the vaccination appointment. In the coming weeks, eligibility will be expanded to child care workers in unlicensed child care settings across the province. 

        “Ontario’s child care workers are making a difference and supporting working parents at this critical time,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “That’s why child care workers provincewide will be eligible to book a vaccine appointment. Our child care centres are safe and the expansion of vaccines will further protect children and staff.” 

        Ontarians who are now eligible to book their vaccine appointment are asked to be patient, as it could take time for them to receive an appointment. Vaccine administration rates are based on supply of vaccines from the federal government, local context and may differ as vaccine supply is delivered across the province. For more information on local vaccine rollout, individuals are encouraged to visit their public health unit’s website. 

        "Expanding age bands within hot spot communities is part of our targeted approach to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in neighbourhoods and communities that have been disproportionately impacted by this deadly virus,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “I am encouraging everyone to please get vaccinated when it is your turn as this is the best way to protect your health and the health of those around you.”


Ontario investing $1 billion to support province’s vaccination plan . . .

Provincial legislature passes budget bill . . .

 Tuesday, Apr. 27th - As provinces across the country continue to battle the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the introduction of more contagious variants of concern, the Ontario legislature has passed Bill 269, Protecting the People of Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2021 and enacted into law the next phase of the province’s ongoing response.

        “The 2021 Budget makes good on our government’s promise to do whatever it takes to protect people’s health and support our economy,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board, adding, “Right now, vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel. We have the infrastructure to get Ontarians vaccinated with boots on the ground to get vaccines into arms as they arrive in the province. What we need now are more supply of vaccines.” 

        In addition to historic investments in the province’s health system, the Ontario government is providing $23.3 billion to protect the economy. Ontario's COVID-19 action plan support now totals $51 billion. 

        The government’s total investments in protecting people's health have grown to $16.3 billion, including $1 billion to enable and support COVID-19 vaccinations, which has seen Ontario administer more vaccines than any other province or territory in the country.

        As soon as the province receives more vaccines from the federal government, it will be able to further accelerate its rollout to protect more people from COVID-19. 

Additional highlights of Ontario's plan include: 

    •  Making it safer to re-engage with workplaces, businesses and communities with $2.3 billion for testing and contact tracing. 

    •  Protecting frontline heroes and vulnerable people with $1.4 billion for personal protective equipment, including more than 315 million masks and more than 1.2 billion gloves. 

    •  Investing an additional $5.1 billion to support hospitals since the pandemic began, creating more than 3,100 additional hospital beds. This includes $1.8 billion in 2021-22 to continue providing care for COVID-19 patients, address surgical backlogs and keep pace with patient needs. 

        “We will continue to invest in our health care system today and for the long term, building on record investments since the start of the pandemic to create more hospital beds, build and improve hospitals, increase testing and fix long-term care,” pointed out Minister Bethlenfalvy. 

Protecting the economy: 

        The 2021 Budget provides tax relief that will help families with the cost of childcare, help workers with the cost of training and encourage regional investment and job growth.  Bill 269 includes the following three changes to the Taxation Act, 2007 that will bring direct relief to people and businesses in the midst of this crisis: 

    •  Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit: The new Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit is a temporary, refundable Personal Income Tax credit for 2021, helping workers get the training they may need for a career shift, to re-train or to sharpen their skills. The credit will provide up to $2,000 in relief for 50 per cent of eligible expenses, for a total of an estimated $260 million in support to about 230,000 people in 2021. 

    •  Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) Tax Credit: To support parents with the cost of child care and help them get back into the workforce, the government is providing a 20 per cent enhancement of the CARE tax credit for 2021. This will increase support from $1,250 to $1,500 per family, on average, providing about $75 million in additional support for the child care expenses of over 300,000 families. 

    •  Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit: To encourage business investment in certain regions of the province that have lagged in employment growth in the past, Ontario is temporarily doubling the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit rate to 20 per cent from 10 per cent, resulting in total tax credit support of about $155 million by 2022–23. 

Bill 269 also includes the following changes: 

    •  Enacting the new Securities Commission Act, 2021 to make the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) – the province’s capital markets regulator – more effective. This includes expanding the mandate of the OSC to include fostering capital formation and competition in the markets to boost economic growth and create a level playing field for all market participants, as well as other changes that reflect corporate governance best practices. 

    •  Strengthening the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario’s (FSRA) capabilities to enforce compliance with rules in the insurance sector and to move forward in the establishment of an oversight framework for financial planners and advisors. 

MPP Jim McDonell . . .
MPP Jim McDonell . . .

    •  Build capability for Invest Ontario, a new provincial agency that will promote the province as a key investment destination and act as a “one-stop shop” for businesses and investors. It will move at the speed of business and drive greater economic growth, support strategic domestic firms, and attract business from around the world to create good jobs in Ontario. 

    •  Amending the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade Act, 1990 to require that the outcomes of business support programs be accessible through an annual Ontario Investment Prospectus report. This will improve transparency and accountability and help ensure that funds are used to benefit businesses and communities across Ontario. 

        Included in the $23.3 billion in investments to protect our economy through COVID-19 and beyond is unprecedented support for families and workers, jobs and Ontario's small businesses. It also builds on a solid foundation for economic growth to help Ontario emerge from the pandemic positioned for job creation and long‑term prosperity. 

        “Our government’s primary focus is to protect public health and support our economy,” said Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. “Healthy people are essential for a healthy economy.” 

Healthy people are essential for a healthy economy. With vaccines being distributed, hope is on the horizon. Ontario's Action Plan: Protecting People's Health and Our Economy provides the resources necessary to finish the battle with COVID-19, building on the government's record investments to protect health and jobs during the global pandemic. 


Parents to receive direct support . . .

 

Monday, Apr. 26th - Stephen Lecce, Ontario’s Minister of Education, has made a statement concerning the

Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit: 

        “As we have done before, our government is again providing direct relief to families to help offset additional costs incurred as a result of the pandemic. I am pleased to confirm that payments to parents through the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit will begin tomorrow, April 26, 2021, to help working parents of students aged 0 through Grade 12, and up to age 21 for children and youth with special needs, with direct financial support during this pandemic.  

        "COVID-19 has imposed many costs on moms, dads and caregivers across the province, and we are committed to helping them through this incredible challenge. To make this easier on families, individuals who previously received the Support for Learners payments will not be required to reapply — you will automatically receive your payment. We also know affordable child care is critical to working parents, which is why our government supported the creation of 16,000 new spaces in 2019-20. 

We are also proposing to enhance the Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) tax credit by 20 per cent for 2021, which would increase support from $1,250 to $1,500, on average, providing about $75 million in additional support for the child care expenses of over 300,000 families. 

        "Ontario is committed to building an affordable child care system that is flexible and responsive to the unique needs of all families.” 

Background:

        The government is providing a new round of payments through Ontario’s COVID-19 Child Benefit. In total, Ontario will have provided families $1.8 billion since last March. The payment will be doubled to $400 per child and $500 for any child and youth up to age 21 with special needs. The government is automatically providing this round of payments to parents who received Support for Learners payments, and money will begin to flow April 26th. 

        The provincial government is automatically providing this round of payments to parents who received Support for Learners payments, and money will begin to flow April 26th. Parents who received a confirmation email but have not received their payment by May 10 should contact the call centre for further information — toll-free at 1-888-444-3770, and toll-free TTY at 1-800-268-7095. 

        Parents who did not apply for or receive the Support for Learners program can apply for the new funding starting May 3 with a deadline of May 17. Applications will be open on Monday, May 3, 2021. More information about how to apply will be available at Ontario.ca/covidchildbenefit shortly.