Hon. Carolyn Bennett
Member of Parliament for Toronto—St. Paul's
Covid-19 Update | May 7, 2020
May 7, 2020

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Dear Friends and Neighbours,

My Mother's Flower Shop

I never liked Mother’s Day very much. I grew up in a flower shop. Mother’s Day weekend was always a very stressful time when my sister and I were conscripted to work in the store long into our years in University. My mother’s birthday was May 10, so that weekend was double pressure. Yet, we knew that because of our parents’ business my sister and I were able to go to university. Mothers Day weekend was always a day of mixed feelings for me.

As we approach Mother’s Day 2020, things are very different. COVID-19 has made every celebration different. We have muddled through and are getting better at facetime and Zoom suppers and celebrations. Just being ‘together while apart’ has been a new experience. But somehow Mother’s Day this year has a poignancy that jumps out at us.

Carolyn (bottom) with her mother
and sister

The pictures of grown children ‘touching’ the hand of their mother through the glass window pane of the long term care facility in lock-down are heart wrenching.

It is so upsetting to hear the stories of the single mothers being chastised by strangers as they have had no option but to bring their children while grocery shopping.

Every day we are becoming aware of the difference between ‘Working from Home’ and the reality of Working at Home and trying to Work. Without childcare, productivity dwindles.

I was part of the revolution that insisted that fathers and whomever the labouring mother chose to support her would be permitted in the delivery room. It is so sad to think that women are now giving birth alone.

I am worried about all those mothers who are now locked into abusive situations, their children watching verbal and physical abuse on a daily basis. I am worried that some shelters are saying they are not full. They worry that the lock down has meant that women have been unable to flee their abusive situations. They understand that the ‘shadow pandemic’ of domestic abuse will only become evident as the restrictions are eased.

This Sunday I’ll be thinking of those who have just lost their mothers and the mothers who have lost their children to COVID-19. I’ll be thinking of the mothers and children in Nova Scotia whose grief we have shared, and the military families who lost a loved one in the tragic helicopter accident from the HMCS Fredericton.

This and every Mother’s Day, I am very conscious of those chosen ‘aunties’ who were like a mother to us, but never qualified as ‘next of kin’ in the strict enforcement of ‘family only’.

This Mother’s Day is somehow for all of them.  It must underscore the need for this pandemic to begin the process to #BuildBackBetter.

From Long Term Care, Midwives, Support for Single Moms, Military Families, Gun Control, Domestic Violence, Child care, racism, misogyny…

Mother’s Day 2020 is an opportunity for all of us to recommit to #BuildBackBetter.

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My Mother's Day Week Flowers

RESOURCES


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.

MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT

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.

Kids's Help Phone

Although we’re far apart physically, our young people must feel help is close. That is why our government announced $7.5 million in funding for Kids Help Phone. Kids Help Phone is a remote mental health service that connects youth with professional counselling, 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.


LATEST ANNOUNCEMENTS


THE CORONAVIRUS GLOBAL RESPONSE

The Government of Canada is committed to working together with our partners to end the COVID-19 pandemic, and build a safe and prosperous future for everyone. This week the Prime Minister joined other global leaders to launch the Coronavirus Global Response. This online pledging event aims to initially raise more than $8 billion (USD) to help researchers and innovators develop solutions to test, treat, and protect people, and to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. To date, the Government of Canada has announced investments of over $850 million (CAD) that support this target. This includes funding to:

  • mobilize Canadian researchers’ and life sciences companies’ coronavirus research and development of medical countermeasures;
  • support accelerated vaccine development, including through the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and other partners.
  • find a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19 through the World Health Organization (WHO) Solidarity Trial.
  • coordinate a COVID-19 viral and host genome sequencing effort across Canada
  • help provide COVID-19 diagnostic support to more than 20 partner countries; and
  • create strategies to tackle misinformation, stigma, and fear.

COVID-19 SUPPLY COUNCIL

This week our government announced the creation of the COVID-19 Supply Council which will bring together a diverse group of leaders to guide our government in building innovative and agile supply chains for goods in wide use such as masks, gloves and disinfectants. This guidance will also include production, sourcing, shipping and distribution strategies as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve.

This partnership with the private and non-profit sectors complements Canada’s whole-of-government response to COVID-19. As part of these efforts, Public Services and Procurement Canada has finalized agreements in Canada and around the world in order to provide healthcare workers with the equipment they need to protect themselves and care for Canadians.

FUNDING FOR CANADIAN FARMERS AND AGRI-BUSINESS OWNERS

Canada’s farmers and agri-business owners play an essential role in nourishing our families while growing the economy. That is why our government is committed to ensuring support for the agri-food sector as it weathers the COVID-19 crisis.

Our government announced over $252 million in direct funding to further support Canadian farmers, food businesses, and food processors, and maintain Canada’s food supply. We are also launching a Surplus Food Purchase Program starting with a 50-million-dollar fund. Our government will purchase products at risk of going to waste and redistribute them to organizations addressing food insecurities. This will help to ensure that our farmers are being compensated for their hard work and that vulnerable Canadians have access to food during this crisis.


SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITY


OPEN FOR BUSINESS

Now more than ever, local business that make our mains streets vibrant need our help. Find out what stores have moved online, 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. If you can, participate in takeout Wednesday (or Friday or Saturday)! Let's do what we can to support our local businesses:

FEED THE FRONTLINES

Feed the Frontlines TO is an extraordinary initiative supporting local businesses by feeding our frontline heroes. Amazing to see the businesses of ‎#TOStPauls pitching in. If you can, please help this great initiative: https://twitter.com/feedthefrontto

FIND ORGANIZATIONS THAT NEED VOLUNTEERS

SPARK Ontario is partnering with the Ontario government to connect volunteers with opportunities to support seniors, people with disabilities and other Ontarians requiring assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. All not-for-profit organizations supporting the response to COVID-19 can post volunteer opportunities at sparkontario.ca so potential volunteers can be put to work quickly.

WINDOW SIGNS

Every day we can make an effort to express our sincere gratitude to the heroes on the front lines. We've prepared some images you can share on-line, print and put in your windows, or make into signs for your front lawn or balcony.

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How are you showing your support for our community?  We'd love to hear your stories.


STAY HOME, STAY SAFE


In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within communities and across the country, all Canadians are advised to:

  • stay at home unless you have to go to work
  • talk to your employer about working at home if possible
  • avoid all non-essential trips in your community
  • do not gather in groups
  • limit contact with people at higher risk, such as older adults and those in poor health
  • go outside to exercise but stay close to home
  • if you leave your home, always keep a distance of at least a hockey stick length away from others

The constituency office will be closed to walk-in visits but my team and I are here for you and will continue to serve residents of  #TOStPauls.

Our office will continue to be fully operational by phone and by email. You can call us at 416-952-3990 or email [email protected] for assistance in any federal matter.

Main office - Toronto
40 Holly Street, Suite 103
Toronto, Ontario
M4S 3C3

Telephone:
416-952-3990

Fax:
416-952-3995
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Hill Office
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Telephone:
613-995-9666

Fax:
613-947-4622
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