Huron-Bruce; I want to thank everyone in our resilient communities for stepping up to help stop the spread of COVID-19. This has changed our daily lives significantly, and this surely hasn’t been easy for anyone – especially our frontline healthcare workers, but I am confident that our united commitment and spirit to flattening the curve will continue to shine during these trying times. By continuing to practice physical distancing, we are keeping our family and friends safe.
It’s been heartwarming to see everyone come together as one to help each other and show our appreciation to our local frontline heroes with ways to say thank you across the riding. I encourage everyone to continue to show your support to our local heroes and please check on your family, friends, or neighbours and follow the directives we receive from our local Medical Officers of Health, Drs. Arra and Klassen, as well as Dr. Williams, the provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health.
To the staff in our hospitals, long-term care facilities and retirement homes, our farmers, cashiers and retail workers, our EMS, police, and fire fighters, thank you for your continued efforts to keep our loved ones and most vulnerable citizens safe. I want to sincerely express my appreciation to our essential and non-essential workers for everything you do.
Over the last month, our Government has implemented new measures to provide relief to Ontarians, such as providing emergency child care to frontline workers and expanding the list of essential workers eligible to receive free child care. During these challenging times, we will do whatever it takes to keep families safe and supported.
The provincial government has also extended the emergency electricity rate relief for time-of-use customers, including families, farms and small businesses, until May 31, 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak. The relief was initially provided for a 45-day period starting on March 24, and is intended to be in place for an additional 24 days.
We also know that small businesses are experiencing real financial pressure during this time and are struggling to pay rent as a result. Hence, Ontario is partnering with the federal government to provide urgent rent relief to small businesses and their landlords. Ontario is committing $241 million through the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program of which details will be forthcoming. We have also encouraged the federal government to address the residential rental market concerns as well.
Further, our Government has significantly increased COVID-19 testing and released a framework to reopening our province. The framework provides details of an outreach strategy, led by the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, to help inform the restart of the provincial economy.
I am honoured to have been appointed to the Jobs and Recovery Committee that will focus on getting businesses up and running and people back to work once it’s safe to do so. The committee will work together to develop a plan to stimulate economic growth and job creation in the weeks and months ahead. I look forward to reaching out to our communities and small businesses in Huron-Bruce as we develop a recovery plan. I want to reassure you all that rural and small town Ontario will have a voice at this pertinent provincial table.
Our Government will continue to work with all levels of government to protect Ontarians in our fight against and recover from COVID-19. We will only get through this if we work together, so please continue to do your part to flatten the curve by practicing physical distancing, staying indoors or two metres apart if you are in a public space, and working from home if you can. Please self-isolate if you begin to feel unwell, take the self-assessment tool available on the Ontario website, Ontario.ca/covid19,
Often the most challenging times bring out the best in people, and Huron-Bruce has been exemplary in showing what true Ontario Spirit is. I want to thank everyone across the riding for your cooperation and patience.
To close, I respectfully ask you to support our local businesses when time permits and for doing your part to keep our communities safe.