Community News Update - September 25, 2020

Dear Community,

Today we have reported 409 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, and as we enter the weekend, I am repeating a familiar refrain: to please exercise caution. While we are seeing more beautiful weather, please ensure that on your trips outside you are wearing your mask and maintaining a safe distance from anybody not in your bubble.

One of the major challenges that has emerged in this second wave of cases is the inability to trace where the new cases are coming from. We all have a responsibility to do our best to minimize the community spread of COVID-19, and if you haven’t already, please make sure to download and install the COVID-19 Alert App (if you have a compatible mobile device).

As a result of the increasing case numbers, the government announced today that they are tightening regulations on bars, restaurants, and strip clubs. Bars and restaurants must now close down by midnight (except for takeout and delivery), and strip clubs have been ordered shuttered until further notice. Sadly, if we do not act quickly, we are likely to see more restrictions return to our community in the coming weeks.

Since the onset of COVID-19, small businesses across Ontario have been put in a terrible position: trying to survive while seeing their revenues evaporate because of the pandemic. Frustratingly, we have not seen the aggressive action that is necessary to support our local businesses from the Conservative government. For months now, the Ontario NDP has been pushing the Conservatives to adopt our Save Mainstreet Proposal, which we’ve updated and adapted for the second wave of COVID-19.

Key demands include a freeze of commercial evictions until the pandemic ends, a rent subsidy of 75% - up to $10,000 per month, a fund for businesses that have faced historic barriers, and more. To examine a more detailed explanation of our proposal you can click here.

In an important update from the federal side of things, today we took a step away from a federal election as the Liberals and NDP have reportedly reached a deal to secure the NDP’s votes in favour of the Throne Speech. In order to secure their support, the Liberals have accepted key NDP policies regarding paid sick leave and reworking the CERB replacement benefit to avoid cutting incomes at this critical time.

Today, I would also like to address a question that I’ve received this week about the Ford government’s proposed rent freeze for 2021. Specifically, I’ve been asked on a few occasions if this rent freeze will include above the guideline increases. To be clear, the proposal that’s been put forth will not freeze AGIs for the year, and there is even some concern among advocates that this could result in some landlords pushing extra hard for AGIs this year if this loophole is not addressed.

Finally today, I’d like to highlight Orange Shirt Day, which we mark on September 30th. Orange Shirt Day opens the door to a conversation about residential schools, their effects, and the legacy that they have left behind. To find out more about the day, and how your can participate. Please click here!

In Solidarity,

Jill Andrew

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