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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Thank you all who joined me, MP Marco Mendicino and MP Rob Oliphant for our Tele-Townhall on March 18. As always we were so inspired by the excellent questions and observations- vaccine priority groups and rollout, aging in place, the need for National Childcare Plan. We are taking back what we have heard directly to the relevant Ministers and departments. 'Sue' a proud, feisty and formidable Senior who had just received her vaccine at Sunnybrook was the star of the show. In describing her experience, she praised the organization and safety of the clinic and the friendly professionals. She also told us that she had been very disappointed in the impatience and grumpiness of her neighbors and how she had let them know!
A year later, we are so amazed at the strength and endurance of our frontline workers. We are so grateful to our nurses, doctors, teachers, bus, truck and taxi drivers, those who work in our grocery stores and other essential services, the people cleaning our institutions and our buses. We recognize their dedication and thank them all
A year later, we look back at the onset of the pandemic, we recognize the importance of having put in the supports for Canadians and Canadian businesses quickly and the ongoing need to continue to improve the supports in order to leave no-one behind.
As I reflect on this past year, I think about how much ceremony and expressions of gratitude, sorrow or hope have somehow been more important than ever. During this truly difficult time, often thought of as a year of groundhog days in which every day seemed almost the same, coming 'together while apart' in ceremony has helped us all.
Banging our pots and pans to thank our front line workers at the same time every day, Green Shirt day commemorating of the tragedy of the Humboldt Broncos, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, National Indigenous Peoples Day, Canada Day, Salsa on St. Clair, the Caribbean Festival, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day, Hannukah, Christmas, New Years, Valentines, International Women's Day… all of them commemorated or celebrated in a different but very meaningful way. As the vaccines arrive and we build back better, these special days for years to come will continue to remind us of how difficult it has been to be unable to be with our friends and families but also remind us of how the pandemic helped us to become better neighbors and friends, helped us to be better able to express our true feelings and to reach out to those who may be struggling.
Last Sunday night, Mayor John Tory asked us to light a candle in our window to commemorate the anniversary of the loss of the first Torontonian to die from Coivd-19. The ceremony at City Hall lit a candle for each of the 2753 Torontonians who lost their lives to Covid-19.
Ceremonies are important. The First Peoples held ceremonies as each season changed, in the north they celebrated the first light after months of darkness.
This week the Jewish community celebrates Passover. At the Seder table after the kiddush, the dinner begins with the recital of the famous question, Ma Nishtana - “Why is this night different from all other nights?”
As Christians celebrate Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter, as the Greek community celebrates the Bicentennial of the 1821 Revolution and War of Independence, we are all reminded that it is with ceremony that we are reminded of our history and culture. Being proud of who you are, having a secure personal cultural identity is an essential ingredient to one's resilience and wellbeing.
As we look forward to once again being able to being together… I know that the impact and almost therapeutic effect of the ceremonies of 2020-2021 will remain with us for the rest of our lives.
We are not out of the woods yet…. The variants are brutal… younger people are getting very sick… hospitalized and in the ICU. We have to be very vigilant…. wear our masks, physically distance, wash our hands and avoid gatherings.
Stay safe. Be kind. Local shop.
UPCOMING EVENTS & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Virtual Summit - April 19
Send questions prior via email [email protected]
These times are challenging and we understand the constant updates and announcements can be overwhelming. We will continue to update you every month with 'New News' - the most recent updates and things to know!
If you'd like weekly 'New News' updates, follow @ carolyn.bennett.stpauls on Instagram.
New News Updates
Supreme Court of Canada and Pollution
This week, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that pollution pricing is constitutional and critical to our response to climate change as an existential threat to human life in Canada and around the world. A national price on pollution is helping us protect our environmental and meet our climate targets, and it is a central part of our strengthened climate plan to create jobs and grow the middle class! The government's climate plan is investing in public and active transit, planting 2 billion trees, protecting land and waters, banning harmful single-use plastics and continuing to make sure pollution isn't free in Canada .
Government to Unveil 2021 Budget on April 19
Canada entered this crisis in a strong fiscal position and allowed the government to provided support to Canadians during the pandemic. As part of the processes leading to the 2021 Budget, the government consulted thousands of Canadians from across the country about how to create jobs, grow the economy, and strengthen the middle class. The government will present this plan to Canadians this month.
Biomanufacturing Revival in Canada
March marked the first-ever Made in Canada week, a week acknowledging the Canadian businesses and manufacturers who stepped up in the fight against COVID-19. Since issuing the Call to action to meet the growing demand for medical supplies and PPE, the government has worked collaboratively with over 6,500 companies big and small to produce hand sanitizers, face shields, medical gowns, and other supplies for our frontline workers. Since the outset of the pandemic, the government has contributed to over 20 biomanufacturing projects. Investing a total of nearly $ 1 billion for Canadian vaccines, therapy and biomanufacturing solutions in the fight against COVID-19.The government of Canada will continue to support and rebuild the domestic biomanufacturing capacity with new investments so that our country can once again be an international leader in this space. For more information on Made in Canada, click here.
Support Canadians & Building a Resilient Economy and Communities
This week the government announced Canada's first-ever rural transit fund for Canadians living in rural and remote areas. This investment is a part of the $ 15 billion announced last year and part of the government's plan to create one million jobs, strengthen the middle class, and rebuild a more resilient economy as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The level of uncertainty during these times can be discouraging. But we want to assure you that our government is unwavering in its commitment to protect Canadians from COVID-19 and support them during these times. As we continue to share updates, we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information with as much clarity as possible.
Vaccines Procurement and Distribution
With Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca and Janssen, Canada is set to receive 9.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of March and tens of millions more between April and June. Canada has received more than 6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to date, and every day, we get closer to having enough vaccines for every Canadian who wants one. Canada will be receiving 3.2 million vaccine doses within the first weeks of April and additional 6 million doses by the end of April. This includes 1 million doses a week from Pfizer until the end of May, 855,000 doses of Moderna in early April and 1.2 million by the end of April. Bringing us to 6 million doses of Moderna and Pfizer alone in the month of April. Canada is on track to have doses for all Canadians by the end of September.For more information on vaccine procurement and distribution, click here.
Canada's surveillance systems for vaccines is a process that is led by the top level, independent experts. This week, Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) made an update to their guidance on the AstraZeneca vaccine. Canada takes vaccine safety very seriously. To date, no cases of the events related to the pause of AstraZeneca for anyone younger than 55 years old has been reported in Canada. Health Canada will continue to collaborate with international regulators to assess incoming information before determining if additional regulatory actions are necessary.
Vaccines are a critical way to limit the spread of COVID-19 - and we know that we don't have enough to vaccinate everyone at once. As Canadians continue to be vaccinated, the National Advisory Council on Immunization will provide recommendation on who should be prioritized for vaccines and will inform provinces and territories as they work to deliver vaccines to Canadians. As we continue to work together to fight against COVID-19, vaccines are coming, but we must continue to stick to public health guidelines.
Health Care Funding
This week, the federal government introduced legislation that will provide an additional $ 7.2 billion in support for urgent health care needs across the country, the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, and for local infrastructure projects in our cities and communities. This funding includes:
The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund is a partnership between the Government of Canada, Black-led business organizations, and several financial institutions. It will provide loans up to $ 250,000 to Black business owners and entrepreneurs across the country. This page, will be update in the weeks to come.
Vaccine Community Innovation Challenge has been launched to combat vaccine hesitancy. The challenge invites you to submit community-driven information proposals for creative and innovative campaigns that engage diverse audiences. Your actions can make a difference! There will be 20 finalists who will be selected, each will receive $ 25,000 to create and implement their campaign. At the end of the campaign, one winner will receive a grand prize of $ 100,000. Applications close April 9th.
The government has extended the deadline for new Canada Emerency Business Account (CEBA). A0pplicants to June 30, 2021. This extensions will allow more businesses to pay bills, keep their door opens and works on the payroll as we continue to deal with economic scring from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
As the situation is changing daily, please check the following websites for daily updates in Toronto and across Canada:
or download the Canada COVID-19 app .
The last few months have been difficult– so our government has put in place a number of measures to support Canadians. If you need support, visit Canada.ca/coronavirusbenefits and fill out the survey for a quick and trusted way to see what programs may be available to you.
IN OUR COMMUNITY
OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Now more than ever, local businesses that make our main streets vibrant need our help. Find out what stores are open, or what restaurants are offering takeout and delivery. The following BIAs have put together lists of businesses that are still open, albeit doing things a bit differently. Let's do what we can to support our local businesses:
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
WELLNESS TOGETHER CANADA
COVID-19 has changed the daily lives of people around the world. During these difficult times, it is critical that Canadians be able to obtain credible information and access services to support their mental health and wellbeing. That's why our government launched a portal dedicated to mental wellness: Wellness Together Canada .
This portal will connect Canadians to peer support workers, social workers, psychologists and other professionals for confidential chat sessions or phone calls, and will make it easier to find credible information and help address mental health and substance use issues.
KID'S HELP PHONE
Although we're far apart physically, our young people must feel help is close. Kids Help Phone is a remote mental health service that connects youth with professional counseling, information and referrals across Canada without any face-to-face contact. Contact Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868, by texting 686868, or by going online to kidshelpphone.ca .
All Canadians are advised to:
STAY HOME AND AWAY FROM OTHERS IF YOU'RE FEELING ILL
As local governments continue to modify public health measures, you should continue to stay home and away from others if you have symptoms. If you start to develop symptoms of COVID-19, isolate yourself from others and contact your health care provider or local public health authority. Adjust your behaviors and routines based on their advice.
Wear a medical mask if you're ill and will be in close contact with others or need to go out to access medical care. If a medical mask isn't available, wear a non-medical mask or cloth face covering.
HOW TO WEAR A NON-MEDICAL FACE MASK PROPERLY
Health Canada has released a video showing how to properly wear a non-medical mask or face covering to limit the spread of COVID-19 when physical distancing is difficult. Watch it here:
The constituency office is closed to walk-in visits but my team and I are here for you and continue to serve residents of Toronto-St. Paul's. Our office is fully operational by appointment, phone and email. Call us at 416-952-3990, or email [email protected] for assistance in any federal matter.
STAY IN TOUCH
Hon. Carolyn Bennett
Member of Parliament