Toronto; #JohnTory; #NonSurgicalMasks; #MamdatoryInCloseSettings
Toronto, Jun 30 (Canadian-Media): Toronto Mayor John Tory said at a news conference on Jun 30 that on the recommendation of Toronto's medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, measures are being taken to make non-medical masks and face coverings mandatory in indoor public spaces to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
John Tory. Image credit: Twitter handle
"It is about respecting and protecting each other," Tory said adding that it will be a key element to reopening the city safely
A report from Toronto's medical officer of health includes the recommendation that will go to council later today.
Tory said he expects that the council would move ahead with the policy by implementing a temporary by-law.
If the recommendation is adopted, said Tory, the rule would take effect one week from today,the same time these rules become mandatory on public transit in the city.
Both de Villa and Tory encouraged anyone who has access to a cloth mask to begin wearing one right away, with "suitable" exceptions to those who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, as well as for children under two years old.
Other jurisdictions in which residents consistently wear masks have proved to help curb the spread of COVID-19 as well as a mandatory mask rule results in higher uptake.
Toronto's policy would remain in place until at least September when the city council meeting would be held so the order could be extended if deemed necessary, Tory said.
"We know we are at a critical time in the fight against COVID-19, and that we must do everything we can to avoid the flare ups that we've seen in other places," said Tory.
#Canada; #LiberalParty; #COVID19Pandemic; #MajorityGovernment
Ottawa, Jun 26 (Canadian-Media): The support being enjoyed by Canada's Liberal Party under the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had not been seen since their post-2015 election and has boosted its chance of securing a majority government, according to the latest projections from the CBC's newly re-launched Poll Tracker, media reports said.
The Liberal Party of Canada. Image credit: Twitter handle
Although Trudeau's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has boosted the popularity of the Liberals, the global pandemic itself is one of the many reasons preventing him from scheduling a poll in the country in order to regain the majority he lost in the 2019 federal election.
According to the Poll Tracker's aggregation of all publicly available polls, the Liberals have the support of 40.3 percent of decided voters, an increase of over seven percentage points since the October vote, while the Conservatives, under outgoing leader Andrew Scheer, had taken a big hit in their support with 28.4 percent, a drop of six points.
As the Liberals have surged and the Conservatives have slipped, the other parties have held steady. The New Democrats are projected to get 15.6 percent support and the Green Party's support is projected to be at 6.1 percent.
Ontario; #ExtensionOfEmergency; #SafeRelaunchOfStage2
Ottawa, Jun 24 (Canadian-Media): In consultation with the Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government extended June 24 the provincial Declaration of Emergency under s.7.0.7 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to July 15, 2020, media reports said.
Doug Ford. Image credit: Vidoe grab
The approval for extending Ontario's Declaration of Emergency was given by Ontario Legislature on June 24.
This extension would facilitate Ontario to get additional time, more safety, as well as the necessary tools to allow more places to reopen safely while at the same time continuing to support frontline health care workers in the fight against COVID-19.
Another extension of the Declaration of Emergency is necessary to continue to see improvements in the public health trends as people try to adapt to the new environment, said Ontario Premier Doug Ford on June 24 in a news release.
33 public health unit regions have entered Stage 2 of the Framework for Reopening Ontario, as of June 24, allowing more businesses and services to open and getting more people back to work.
The Windsor-Essex County public health unit region remains in Stage 1 and there would be ongoing monitoring of the situation in the region.
The provincial Declaration of Emergency enables the government to make emergency orders, and as needed to ease restrictions in support of its phased reopening and to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians.
Emergency orders in force under the Declaration of Emergency empowers frontline care providers to redeploy staff to areas which need them most, limiting long-term care and retirement home employees to working at one home, as well as enabling public health units to
support Ontario's enhanced case management and contact tracing strategy by redeploying or hiring staff.
These measures would protect seniors and other vulnerable populations from the threat of COVID-19.
Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, will continue to monitor public health trends related to COVID-19 and assess on an ongoing basis whether the provincial Declaration of Emergency needs to be extended further.
The government will also continue to review emergency orders currently in place to determine when it is safe to amend or lift them as more places in the province begin to reopen.
#Alberta; #FreeNonSurgicalMasks; #AlbertaRelaunchStrategy
Alberta, Jun 22 (Canadian-Media): Alberta is the only Canadian province that makes free non-medical masks to help limit spread of COVID-19 and distributes free to all parts of Alberta, media reports said.
Tyler Shandro. Image credit: Twitter handle
During the first phase of its reopening, Alberta distributed more than 14 million free non-medical masks at A&W, McDonald’s Canada, and Tim Hortons drive-thrus across the province to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
Municipalities, seniors organizations, Indigenous partners, places of worship and others would share an additional six million masks to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
The success of the program has enabled distribution of free non-medical masks at the three restaurant partners to be paused paused until the second phase in July.
Albertans who have not received a mask can continue to call 211 to request a package.
Alberta, the only province in Canada to make free non-medical masks available to help limit the spread of COVID-19, will distribute another 20 million masks in July, via drive-thrus and other partners, details of which will be announced in the next couple of weeks.
Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health said that no other province in Canada has accomplished such a feat.
Thanking all partners for helping Alberta in distributing millions of non-medical masks to every corner of Alberta, Shandro added,
"A program of this scale would not have been possible without your hard work and community support. We will continue to support Albertans as we move through stage two of relaunch, and people continue to get back to work.”
This initiative is a key part of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy to safely reopen our economy while protecting Albertans from COVID-19.
In addition to the masks shared via drive-thru windows, the Alberta government provided masks directly to: Edmonton Transit, Calgary Transit, and municipalities without convenient access to a drive-thru; First Nations and Metis Settlements; Seniors organizations and independent living facilities; Long-term care and permanent supportive living facilities; Women’s shelters, homeless shelters and street outreach programs; Addiction treatment centres; Foster and kinship parents; and Albertans who contacted 211 and couldn’t access a drive-thru partner or the alternate municipal or community providers
The distribution of masks to municipalities without easy access to a drive-thru, First Nations, Metis Settlements and other local agencies will continue following the timelines set by those groups.
As of June 19, government has received 1,000 requests for masks from places of worship across the province, and more than two million masks will be provided to them in the next few days for distribution to their congregations.
Quick facts about the mask distribution
#Canada; #NDPLeaderJagmeetSingh; #racistComment
Ottawa, June 18 (Canadian-Media): NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was expelled from the House of Commons for the rest of the day by Speaker Anthony Rota for calling a Bloc Québécois MP Alain Therrien racist and then breakingthe parliamentary rule of refusing to apologize and withdraw his comments, media reports said.
Jagmeet Singh. Image credit: Twitter handle.
"I called him a racist and I believe it" said Singh during a press conference on June 16 and added, " I looked back and saw that the MP not only said no but just brushed his hands and dismissed it. In that moment I got angry."
Singh had tried to get all parties in the House of Commons to agree to a motion recognizing the existence of systemic racism in the RCMP and Therrien was the only MP in the House who refused to support the motion.
The motion also asked MPs to support a review of the RCMP's budget, to demand that the RCMP release all of its use-of-force reports and to call for a review of the RCMP's tactics for dealing with the public.
The motion points out that "several Indigenous people have died at the hands of the RCMP in recent months …"
Moments after Singh made his remarks in the House of Commons, Bloc Whip Claude DeBellefeuille stood up to express her disapproval.
The Bloc Québécois issued a statement later in the day saying that "discrimination against Indigenous communities and cultural minorities is a major issue" but the public safety committee is currently studying systemic racism in the RCMP and it should be allowed to do its work.
"We consider it inappropriate to impose findings to a committee before it has conducted its study. We respect the parliamentary process," DeBellefeuille said in French.
"The NDP leader defamed the parliamentary leader of the Bloc Québécois with an unwarranted insult … He should apologize immediately."
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is demanding an apology from Singh for calling one of his MPs a racist.
Singh's office said the NDP leader does not intend to apologize.
#Ontario; #longtermCareHomes, #RetirementHomes, #residentialCareSettings; #familyVisitsToResume; #Health&SafetyProtocols
Ottawa, Jun 13 (Canadian-Media): Details of gradual resumption of visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, and other residential care settings were provided on June 11 by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, and Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, media reports said.
Long-term Care Homes. Image credit: Wikimedia commons
Beginning June 18, 2020, family and friends will be allowed access to these settings.
Long-term care homes will allow outdoor visits of one person per resident each week at a minimum. Retirement homes will resume indoor and outdoor visits in designated areas or resident suites when physical distancing can be maintained. Other residential care settings -- comprising homes serving people with developmental disabilities, shelters for survivors of gender-based violence, and children's residential settings -- will be able to allow outdoor visits of two people at time. Physical distancing will be required for all visits. This approach will ensure the health and safety of residents, staff and visitors.
"Thanks to the hard work of our frontline workers and the collective efforts of everyone in stopping the spread, we can now allow families to reunite with their loved ones safely and in person with strict public health measures to protect residents, visitors and staff," said Premier Ford. "But I ask everyone to be cautious and act responsibly as the battle to contain COVID-19 is not over and the risk to our loved ones still remains."
Visits will resume next Thursday, one week after the release of visitor guidelines and will be subject to strict health and safety protocols, including requiring visitors to pass active screening every time they visit, confirming with staff that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous two weeks, and complying with the infection prevention and control protocols. This includes bringing and wearing a face covering during visits.
The conditions which the Long-term care and retirement homes, as well as other residential care settings must meet before they welcome visitors include: Homes must not be in outbreak; Homes must have an established process for communicating visitor protocol and the associated safety procedures; and Homes must maintain the highest infection prevention and control standards.
Visitor admissions for retirement homes, will vary from home to home depending upon their individual circumstances.
"We know the visitor restrictions have been tough on residents, as families and loved ones play an important role in providing care and emotional support to residents. We are confident these visits can occur safely," said Minister Fullerton. "With the possible spread of COVID-19 in our long-term care homes still being a real threat, people will need to follow strict health and safety protocols in order to protect our most vulnerable."
"Seniors living in retirement homes have been doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19," said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. "Our government appreciates their cooperation and we are happy they will soon be able to enjoy visits with family and friends while continuing to stay safe."
Visitors to other residential care settings will be allowed under similar rules.
"We are all looking forward to the day when we can once again see family and friends, and spend time together," said Minister Smith. "Today is an important first step in reconnecting loved ones who have been separated all spring."
As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves in Ontario, the direction on visits at long-term care homes, retirement homes and residential settings will continually be updated keeping the safety and emotional wellbeing of residents and staff at the forefront.
Visits have been restricted since mid-March, with only essential visitors permitted to enter long-term care and retirement homes.
#Ontario; #OntarioDrugBenefitProgram; 100DaySupplyOfMedications
Ottawa, Jun 12 (Canadian-Media): Stabilization of the supply of many drugs and medications in the province has enabled Ontario government to replace the recommended 30-day supply limit for dispensing Ontario Drug Benefit program medications to 100-day supply at a time from their pharmacy or dispensing physician effective June 15, 2020, media reports said.
Ontario Ministry of Health. Image credit: Twitter handle
In March 2020, to ensure an adequate supply of medications in the province during COVID-19, pharmacists and physicians were asked to dispense 30-days or less of medication at a time for Ontario Drug Benefit recipients, with some exceptions. This action by the government helped ensure Ontarians were able to access the medications they need during this unprecedented time.
But with the stabilization of drug supply, things situation has changed.
Christine Elliott, Ontario Deputy Premier and Minister of Health said, "This will be much more convenient for people, especially for our seniors and vulnerable citizens."
The province will continue to monitor the situation to ward off any disruptions to the drug supply chain in the future.
#Ontario; #ChildCareCenters; #SafeReturnOfParentsToWork; #ChildrenSafety; #HealthProtocols
Ottawa, Jun 9 (Canadian-Media): Details of the plan to reopen child care centres across the province to support the next stage of the province's reopening framework were provided June 9 by Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, media reports said.
To ensure the safety of child care staff and children, the plan to reopen Ontario was developed in consultation with Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health and medical leaders at The Hospital for Sick Children required child care operators to follow strict health protocols.
"As we prepare to reopen more businesses and services, it is critical that we ensure supports are in place so people can return to work knowing their children will be cared for in a safe and healthy environment," said Premier Ford. "Our child care plan sets out strict protocols that must be followed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We have made great progress to contain the virus, but we must be mindful that there is still a public health risk."
As the province continues to implement its Framework for Reopening the Province, child care centers and home care providers across Ontario will be able to reopen with strict safety and operational requirements in place, similar to the safety guidelines required for emergency child care centres.
Centres will be required to adopt specific rules, including:
"We know the integral role child care plays in the restart of Ontario's economy, especially when it comes to enabling parents to return to work," said Minister Lecce. "But parents must have confidence in the child care system at this very difficult time. By imposing specific public health requirements, we are signaling our firm commitment to keeping our children, staff, and our families safe."
The Ministry of Education has been working with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to develop these health and safety protocols. They will enable the safe reopening of child care centres across the province and enhance safety through effective contact tracing. This plan imposes strict requirements on operators,
including mandatory training and reporting and support from the local medical officer of health before reopening.
"Having children safely re-engage in learning, play and social activities with other children is of great benefit to their mental, emotional and behavioural development," says Dr. Ronald Cohn, President and CEO of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). "Children thrive when they are able to interact with other children. The reopening of child care centres is an important step forward for allowing children to be with their peers and enjoy activities outside of their home environment."
Based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and with strict health and safety protocols in place, the government is now enabling summer day camp programs across the province to reopen this summer. Strict health and safety guidelines were developed by the Ministry of Health in partnership with public health, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and municipalities, and distributed to local public health teams earlier this month. At this time, overnight camps are not permitted to operate in the summer of 2020.
#Ontario; #LiberalGovt; #Conservatives; #NDP; #CERB; #NewBillProposed
Ottawa, Jun 9 (Canadian-Media): Imposition of tighter rules for claiming the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB), as well as fines and jail times for fraudulent applicants is being proposed by Canada's Liberal government, media reports said.
Canada's Liberal Party. Image credit: Facebook page
The decision for this proposed bill was made due to the pressure the Liberals are facing both from the Conservatives and the National Democratic Party (NDP).
Conservatives want all fraudulent claims to be constricted and urge people to get back to work, while the NDP is in favor of extending the emergency aid and ignore Canadians who have filed ineligible claims
In a bill to be tabled in the House of Commons June 10, the government says Canadians will not be eligible to claim the benefit if they fail to go back to work when it is reasonable to do so, or when their employer wnats them to return; fail to resume self-employment when it's reasonable to do so; and if they decline a reasonable job offer when they are able to work.
The bill also lays out penalties for those whose applications include false or misleading information, those who deliberately failed to disclose sources of income or other relevant facts at the time of applying for the federal aid.
An offence could lead to a fine of up to $5,000, plus a penalty equal to double the amount of the income support claimed, or a fine plus a period of imprisonment up to six months, according to proposed legislation.
But penalty can also be reduced by the government, says the Bill in response to new facts, and can issue a warning instead of a penalty.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said June 9 the bill is meant to protect the integrity of the program to get money out the door for desperate Canadians.
Trudeau added that anyone who received money in error because of unclear rules will not be punished and simply be asked to repay the money.
But all the deliberate fraudsters who took advantage of the pandemic and collected benefits they knew they weren't eligible for will be severely dealt with by the government.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh accused the government of penalizing people who collected benefits in error, and warned that the most vulnerable Canadians would be harmed by these penalties.
"The government has said, 'It's okay, try anyways, apply in good faith, you won't get in trouble,'" he said. "Now they're saying you're going to get in trouble and that's going to impact, without a doubt, racialized people more than anyone else."
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is asking the Liberals to crack down on fraudulent claims for benefits and to revamp benefit programs to motivate workers to go back to work as soon as it's safe to do so to help the economy recover.
#Toronto; #TorontoPoliceServices; #MarkSaundersSteppingDown; #Transparency; #Accountability
Toronto, Jun 9 (Canadian-Media): Toronto Police Services (TPS)'s first black Chief Mark Saunders announced his decision to the TPS board members to step down from the TPS effective Jul 31, 2020, media reports said.
Mark Saunders. Image credit: Twitter handle
Saunders, Toronto's first Black police chief, was appointed in April of 2015 and had worked in police services for over 37 years.
It was announced by TPS board last summer about its decision to renew Saunders' appointment until April 30, 2021. In the last 40 years, it was only the second time that a Toronto police chief was allowed to serve more than a single term.
Saunders did not give a reason for resigning from his post eight months prior to his contract to expire in 2021, he said there are things he wants to do for the city of Toronto for free.
Saunders added that he is looking forward to spend more time with his family and added he would continue to serve the city from outside the TPS.
Saunders also added that his decision to step down is not heath-related.
In a statement issued June 8 afternoon, Toronto Mayor John Tory said Saunders had told him last week he planned to retire.
"On behalf of all Toronto residents, I want to thank Chief Saunders for his exemplary service...He has been a dedicated and responsible chief of police...cares deeply about the people of the city, all of its neighbourhoods, and about the men and women who serve with him," said Tory.
Saunders thanked the TPS Board, John Tory for his support of the TPS, the media personnel for delivering important and informative messages, and the members of the community.
"We have not always been perfect but have always tried to move towards excellence...My advice is to never stop, always listen and serve with compassion...Accountability and transparency are the fabric of public trust; public trust is the fabric that creates community
safety...public trust is the forefront of every word and every deal," said Saunders in the news conference.
Saunders decision to depart is at the crucial moment of a massive discussion about police reform is sweeping across North America sparked by deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Toronto resident Regis Korchinski-Paquet.
During the recent weekend protests played out peacefully in Toronto in support of the international Black Lives Matter movement, Saunders was featured taking a knee as a show of solidarity with demonstrators.
Saunders will continue to be available to media up to July 31, 2020.