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Welcome to the Markham-Stouffville
Weekly Update for May 30, 2020

#OntarioSpirit in Markham-Stouffville

On May 25th, Ontario's Associate Minister for Small Business and Red Tape Reduction launched the Big Hearts Initiative. The program is designed to recognize Ontario businesses that have stepped up in remarkable ways to support their communities during COVID-19. 

Let’s acknowledge some of the very special businesses in Markham-Stouffville - if you know of a Small Business with a Big Heart, send the story to bighearts@ontario.ca so they can be highlighted too.

Deliveries for Seniors in Markham-Stouffville
Bag Half Full serves the sick, elderly, self-isolating, and immunocompromised with limited ability to go out for groceries. Volunteers are available to pickup and drop off groceries and prescriptions to those in need. Delivery and payment are contactless to help protect all parties and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Visit their website for more details: https://www.baghalffull.com/gta
Ontario Opens Up COVID-19 Testing Across the Province
As the province carefully and gradually reopens the economy, the Ontario government is implementing the next phase of its COVID-19 testing strategy to detect and quickly stop the spread of the virus. Testing will now be available to more people in more locations across the province.

The Premier and the Minister of Health released the next phase of the province's COVID-19 testing plan, Protecting Ontarians Through Enhanced Testing, which includes three branches of testing:

  1. Assessment Centre Testing: expanding who gets tested to now include asymptomatic individuals concerned about exposure and continued routine symptomatic testing at assessment centres.
  2. Targeted Campaigns: detecting and containing cases by expanding asymptomatic surveillance for vulnerable populations, including in long-term care homes and other shared living spaces like shelters and group homes, as well as targeted testing of workplaces in priority sectors which work with priority populations and where it may be difficult to physically distance.
  3. Outbreak Management: testing to ensure rapid and agile response capacity for outbreak management, including in specific neighbourhoods and regions or at hospitals, institutions and workplaces.
To help enable increased access to routine symptomatic testing, people will no longer need a referral to go to any of the more than 130 assessment centres across Ontario. Information about the assessment centres is now easily accessible on Ontario's dedicated COVID-19 website. Learn more. 
Support for Small Business Tenants and Landlords Now Available

All commercial landlords in Ontario can now apply for rental assistance to help their small business tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative will keep more small businesses in operation and more people employed as the province gradually and safely restarts the economy.
Updated information on this program along with a rent assistance calculator can be found here.
Applications can be submitted on the CMHC Website.
Ontario-York Region Sign Landmark Transit Agreement

As part of Ontario's commitment to build transit infrastructure quickly and efficiently, the Government signed a landmark Preliminary Agreement with York Region that will help significantly expand the subway network through the delivery of the Yonge North Subway Extension - one of the four priority projects included in Ontario's "New Subway Plan for the GTA." This plan represents the largest subway expansion in Canadian history.

Since fall 2019, the Province has been engaging with York Region to formalize the Ontario-York Region Transit Partnership. For York Region, this preliminary agreement continues to move the Yonge North Subway Extension closer to implementation, which will significantly extend the existing Yonge Subway (Line 1) north from Finch Station to serve people, communities, and jobs in major employment centres, such as Markham and Richmond Hill. It will set the framework of roles, responsibilities and potential funding mechanisms for the Province and York Region regarding the Yonge North Subway Project.

Learn more.
Paramedic Services Week
This week is Paramedic Services Week, when we pause to thank the paramedics who play an integral role on the front lines of our health care system every day, and especially during COVID-19. Thank you for your dedication, your caring and your hard work.
Constituency Office Services
My constituency office is here to serve you. We offer assistance for various provincial government services such as the renewal of Driver's Licences, Health Cards, WSIB claims, ODSP/FRO cases, and any other service under provincial jurisdiction. Please call us at 905-642-2588 or email paul.calandra@pc.ola.org and my staff and I will be happy to assist you.

Best regards,

Paul Calandra, MPP