I hope you and yours are keeping well in these unprecedented times. I'm including some resources in this update that may be useful during this time and I encourage you to reach out if you need help.
On a personal note, some of you may know that at my day job I coordinate a network of food banks across northern Toronto with North York Harvest Food Bank. The last few weeks have been especially challenging as the demand for food banks has increased because of COVID-19.
Despite these difficult times, I've seen how quickly our community can come together to support one another. It's an honour to work side by side such an incredible team every day.
If you would like to support North York Harvest Food Bank with a donation in this time of need, please click here.
Stay well and keep safe,
York South-Weston Tenants Win Ban on Evictions
We did it together, Chiara ! Thanks to thousands of people like you, Premier Ford has officially announced a halt on evictions during the COVID-19 crisis. This means no one should loose their homes during this crisis. If you are served an eviction notice or threatened with eviction, please let me know.
This was an important first step in protecting people's homes during COVID-19. Check out the op-ed I co-authored with Jessica Parish in the Toronto Star to see what else we're fighting for.
Make Noise for Frontline Workers!
Our community is full of workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 emergency. Let's help them by staying home, flattening the curve and cheering them on every night at 7:30PM as they continue to provide our community with essential services and save lives.
During this emergency, it's important that we continue to support local business. My husband Bruno and I have recently enjoyed delicious meals from Comal y Canela and Ginger Pho, craft beer from Shacklands and the Good Food Box from Foodshare all delivered right to our door. If you are a business needing support during the COVID-19 emergency, see if you qualify for the Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers from the Canadian government.
PROGRAMS & RESOURCES
I've updated my website with a resource page to help navigate what resources are available to members of our community.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
Applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit are now open. Here are some important updates to know about CERB:
- CERB replaced the previously-announced Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit.
- As of April 6, there is ONE application for both Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Benefits and the CERB. If you applied for EI or Sickness Benefits AFTER March 15, your claim will automatically be processed as the CERB.
- CERB's application process is very simple and based on people answering questions honestly. In order to get this support into the hands of people who need it quickly, all applications will be approved initially and then checked for eligibility later.
- Service Canada Offices are now closed. If you cannot apply for CERB online, you can apply over the phone: 1-800-622-6232
Employment Insurance (EI) Caregiver Benefit
If you are caring for someone who is critically ill, you may be eligible for EI Caregiver Benefits. For more information on the EI Caregiver Benefit and to apply, click here.
Support for Families with Children
If you have a child between 0-12 years old or a child with special needs between 0-21 years hold, you are eligible to receive $200/child while schools and child care centres are closed. Apply here. For more information on resources available to families with children click here.
Ontario Emergency Assistance
If you're not working and not currently receiving Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support (ODSP), you may qualify for Emergency Assistance from the government of Ontario. For more information on Ontario Emergency Assistance and how to apply, click here. If you are currently receiving OW or ODSP, ask your caseworker about the emergency benefit.
Some Relief on your Bills
The government of Ontario has eliminated mid-peak and on-peak electricity rates for 45 days, which means you should see the off-peak hydro rate on your next hydro bill. The City of Toronto has introduced a 60-day grace period for the payment of property tax, water and waste bills, so you can postpone paying those bills at a later date. The government of Canada has extended the filing due date for 2019 income tax returns until June 1, 2020. For more information on relief on utility bills, click here.
Emergency Food Support
At North York Harvest Food Bank, my colleagues and I have been working hard to keep food banks operating safely during the COVID-19 crisis. If you are in need of emergency food support please call the referral line at 416-635-7771 for information about your local food bank. For more information on food assistance available in York South-Weston, click here.