August 2021 Newsletter

2021 August Newsletter

Stan Cho

September 1, 2021

Happy Convenience Store Week!

This year marks the first Convenience Store Week in Ontario and I am incredibly proud and honoured to have sponsored the bill!

Watch my video here and please drop by a convenience store near you and thank the hard working men and women who continue to work around the clock to ensure their stores are safe, clean and well-stocked for people in their communities. 

I encourage you to take a couple of minutes to watch this video on mental health supports in case you or someone you know is in need of help.

Finally, as we prepare for students to return to classrooms in September, we are taking a balanced and cautious approach in order to ensure schools remain open for in-person learning for the full school year. We want our students in school and to stay in school.

These are unprecedented times and whatever decision you make for your children to have virtual or in-class learning, I sincerely hope the return to school goes smoothly and safely.

Here are some recent government announcements:

Proof of Vaccination Required in Select Settings

As of September 22, 2021, Ontarians will need to provide their proof of vaccination along with photo ID to access certain public settings and facilities. This approach focuses on higher-risk indoor public settings with large numbers of people and where face coverings cannot always be worn.

Ontarians can access a PDF COVID-19 vaccine certificate with the information needed to prove they are fully vaccinated at https://covid19.ontariohealth.ca.

Ontario will also develop and implement an enhanced vaccine certificate with a unique QR code and accompanying verification app that will allow users to verify their vaccination status securely and safely when scanned. The enhanced vaccine certificate, as well as a verification app to allow businesses to read the QR code, will be available beginning October 22.

Better Ventilation Systems in our Schools

In total, our government has allocated over $600M to improve ventilation in schools since the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. This includes the procurement of over 70,000 standalone HEPA filter units and other ventilation devices which have been purchased to keep Ontario classrooms safe.
 
As a result, improvements to ventilation have been made in all schools across all the boards in Ontario.

Under Ontario’s plan:

  • All HVAC systems have been inspected and recommissioned in 100% to optimize air quality. 
  • School boards are using higher grade filters and changing filters more frequently.
  • They are running their systems for longer – 2 hours before school and 2-3 hours after the end of the school.
  • Using additional measures, such as standalone HEPA filter units, to improve air quality and air changes.

Further Extending Temporary Wage Increase for Personal Support Workers

Our government is investing an additional $169 million to extend the temporary wage increase for personal support workers and direct support workers for the third time since its initial investment last year.
 
This increase will continue until October 31, 2021 and will help stabilize staffing levels and support our frontline health care workers to ensure the province is prepared to respond to any scenario as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. 

Additional Funding for Vulnerable People During COVID-19 Pandemic

In August, we announced that our government is providing an additional $307 million to municipalities and Indigenous program partners to respond to COVID-19 and help keep vulnerable people safe. This investment builds upon the $765 million dollars of Social Services Relief Funding (SSRF) announced in 2020- 2021, for a total support to communities of over $1 billion.

Ontario Makes Historic Investment in Safe, Innovative Festivals and Events

Tourism is a key economic driver in Ontario – in 2018, the tourism industry supported more than 390,000 jobs and generated over $36 billion of economic activity for the province.  For more than a year, the pandemic has disproportionately impacted tourism and culture – two major industries that bring people together and our communities to life. 

That’s why we recently announced that our government is investing nearly $50 million to support 439 festivals and events across Ontario through the Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster and Reconnect Festival and Event Program.

The funding will help festival and event organizers adapt to new public health measures with virtual, drive-through and other safe offerings. This ensures support is directed to events with safe, innovative experiences, while creating opportunities that encourage Ontarians to reconnect with the beauty and diversity of their community in new ways.

International Overdose Awareness Day & Recovery Month

Every year, more than one million Ontarians experience mental health or addiction challenges, and we know the COVID-19 pandemic has created new and more complex obstacles than we have ever seen before. 

September marks the first official Recovery Month in Ontario. This is a month to raise awareness around addiction, and to spread the message that people can recover, treatment works, and that stigma needs to be challenged. 

Province Launches New Modern Ontario Business Registry

A new Ontario Business Registry will be launched on October 19, making it easier, simpler, and more affordable for millions of businesses and not-for-profit corporations to interact with the government.

The new online registry will replace outdated technology, providing the more than 2.5 million businesses and non-profits with direct access to over 90 government services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for the first time ever.

Along with the launch of the Ontario Business Registry, the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010 will come into force on October 19, which will provide a modern legislative framework for Ontario’s not-for-profit corporations.

The legislation will significantly reduce the bureaucratic burden on not-for-profit corporations, moving from paper-based filings to digital services and providing them with enhanced flexibility.

Ways to get vaccinated

The virus and variants of the virus continue to remain a real threat, so please continue to follow all public health guidelines.