Dear Colleagues, 

Today, we submitted the Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force Response to the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy consultations. The Ontario government has extended the deadline for submission to 30 April 2020.  We encourage partners to continue to submit their comments as individuals and/or organizations. 

FOOD SUPPORTS 

  • Thanks to Jacob Morris-Wheeler for starting us off on our Pet Resource List. We heard back from many Food Banks that they don’t carry pet food on a regular basis but if they do get requests they can work with a local pet store or if they receive donations they will pass them along to the community. 
  • We continue to update the Grey Bruce Community Food List (16 Apr 2020) and the Grey Bruce Grocery List (17 Apr 2020).  Please continue to send us updates. 

COMMUNICATION SUPPORTS

  • Wifi has been turned on in many public buildings and the public being informed. Arran-Elderslie opened up 3 community centres’ wifi and shared the password.
  • Communication boards and store fronts are educating people on the streets about social distancing.  Safe ‘N Sound has a good message on their storefront window (see above).
  • The Ontario government has partnered with Rogers Communications and Apple to help meet the educational needs of students and families during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Over 1,200 iPads are being purchased and distributed by Ontario school boards to the homes of families in need; the iPads are pre-equipped with free Rogers LTE wireless data until the end of June;
  • Rogers is working with Ontario school boards to provide high-speed, low-cost internet to subsidized tenants and members of housing partners across Ontario and allowing eligible households to sign up for high-speed Internet at $9.99 a month with no overage fees.
  • Apple is providing:on-going support and resources, including videos, apps and books, in French and English for teachers, parents and students; and free one-to-one virtual coaching by Apple Professional Learning Specialists, for teachers.
  • The Province has accelerated the delivery of broadband internet access, and expects it to be in every high school and elementary school in Ontario by September 2020 and September 2021 respectively.

INCOME SUPPORTS

  • MCSS have provided information on the interaction of CERB and Social Assistance and MCCSS COVID-19 response webpage at:  https://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/
  • Ontario Works and ODSP recipients can access emergency benefits by calling their caseworker. Emergency benefits for COVID-19 related expenses are the same for both programs: up to $100 for single individuals and up to $200 for families.
  • Based on preliminary information discussed there has been a significant amount of work to determine an approach that aims to help protect our most vulnerable populations and mitigate financial impact for clients who are receiving social assistance as well as CERB.
  • For existing Ontario Works (granted prior to March 1st, 2020) and all ODSP applicants/recipients CERB payments will qualify for a partial exemption: the first $200, and 50%of each additional dollar received in a month will be exempt.
  • For new and recent Ontario Works applicants – those granted on or after March 1st, 2020–CERB payments will be deducted dollar-for-dollar when determining eligibility for social assistance.
  • Note:Ontario Works and ODSP recipients who qualify for the CERB partial exemption but become financially ineligible will not lose access to health benefits. These recipients will remain on social assistance, at a nominal amount, to ensure continued access to benefits and case management supports.
  • Changes are effective 1 March 2020. 
  • For detailed questions related to individual client circumstances clients are encouraged to contact their caseworker directly.  

 HOUSING SUPPORTS 

  • To enhance protections for residents and staff in long-term care homes, last week Ontario launched the COVID-19 Action Plan: Long-Term Care Homes. This action plan will ensure the implementation of critical new measures to prevent further outbreaks and deaths from COVID-19 in long-term care homes. These measures include enhancing and expanding testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic contacts of confirmed cases; providing public health and infection control expertise; and redeploying staff from hospitals and home and community care to support the long-term care home workforce.  

GREY BRUCE PUBLIC HEALTH COVID-19 RESOURCES/INFOThe Grey Bruce Public Health sends out COVID-19 relation information and resources to many of our organizations. I select relevant information and resources for this community update. Additional information is on their website.

Stay well,  Jill

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