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Welcome to the Markham-Stouffville
Weekly Update for February 6, 2021

York Region Students to return to school February 16th
 
Students in York Region will return to class for in-person learning on Tuesday, February 16. While other boards will return on Monday February 8th, York Region was one of three boards (others are Toronto and Peel) identified as regions which will have their return delayed until the day after Ontario’s Family Day long weekend.

In the Peel, Toronto and York Region Public Heath Units, before and after school programs will be permitted to reopen on that day and emergency child care will remain available until and including February 12, to support eligible front-line workers.

To support the safe return of in-person learning, Ontario has introduced new measures to continue to protect students and staff against COVID-19 in the classroom. These measures include:
  • Provincewide access, in consultation with the local PHU, to targeted asymptomatic testing for students and staff;
  • Mandatory masking requirement for students in Grades 1-3, and masking requirement for Grades 1-12 outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained;
  • Providing 3.5 million high quality cloth masks to schools as back-up supply for Grade 1-12 students;
  • Enhanced screening for secondary students and staff;
  • Guidance discouraging students from congregating before and after school; and,
  • Temporary certification of eligible teacher candidates who are set to graduate in 2021 to stabilize staffing levels, following high levels of absenteeism.
Read the full announcement details here:

https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/60228/enhanced-safety-measures-in-place-as-in-person-learning-resumes-across-ontario
Ontario Small Business Support Grant 

More than 42,000 applications have been received for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant.
 
Businesses that have been approved can expect to receive payment within about 10 business days. During the Provincewide Shutdown, all eligible small businesses facing challenges are being encouraged to apply for this financial support and receive at least $10,000 and up to $20,000.
 
Small businesses required to close or significantly restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown are able to apply for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant and use this funding in whatever way makes the most sense for their individual business needs. For example, some businesses could need support paying employee wages, while others could need support with their rent.
 
Eligible small businesses include those that:
  • Were required to close or significantly restrict services due to the Provincewide Shutdown imposed across the province effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26
  • Have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level
  • Have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019.
  • New businesses established since April 2019 will also be eligible if they meet the other eligibility criteria.
To apply for the grant, visit this site:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs
Support for Learners Application Deadline Fast Approaching
 
Attention Parents! There are only a few more days to apply for the Support for Learners program!  Families can receive:

$200/child up to grade 12
$250/child or youth ages 0-21 with special needs. 

Deadline is February 8th, 2021.

Apply today: https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-support-learners
Ontario Community Support Program  for Seniors and People with Disabilities extended to 2022
 
The Ontario government is extending the Ontario Community Support Program (OCSP) until 2022 to ensure that low-income seniors and people with disabilities have access to food, medicine and other essentials during COVID-19. The program was established in April 2020, and involves an innovative partnership with the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) and its large volunteer base in communities across the province. During that period nearly 800,000 deliveries have been made.

During the Fall Economic Update, the government announced plans to extend the program until March 2022, in recognition of its positive impact on vulnerable Ontarians.
  • To sign up for Meals on Wheels in your local community or get essentials such as medicine delivered, visit www.ontariocommunitysupport.ca.
  • Services can also be arranged by dialing 211 or 1-877-330-3212 (toll free). TTY service is also available by dialing 1-888-340-1001.
  • Seniors, people with disabilities, and others in need of assistance, including mental health supports can connect to essential services in their community by visiting www.211ontario.ca. Services are available 7 days a week in over 150 languages.
See here for more details:
https://www.ocsa.on.ca/
Budget Consultations now open – closing February 12
 
The Ontario government welcomes ideas from the people of Ontario on how to continue to support families, workers and business during COVID-19, while positioning the province for a strong economic recovery with the launch of the 2021 Budget consultation.  

The government's 2021 Budget will be informed by the priorities of the people of Ontario because people's priorities are the government's priorities. The 2021 Budget will be delivered by March 31, 2021.

You can visit Ontario.ca/budgetconsultation to learn how to submit your ideas by email, mail or by filling out a survey. The 2021 Budget Consultations will close on February 12, 2021. 
New Core Services for Children in the Ontario Autism Program
 
Starting in March, Ontario will begin offering core clinical services for children in the Ontario Autism Program. These services include applied behaviour analysis, speech language pathology, occupational therapy and mental health supports based on the child's individual needs.

Care coordinators will be trained to conduct and guide families through a new determination of needs process that will include:
  • Meeting with a family to identify a child's goals, strengths and support needs
  • Allocating funding to families to purchase core clinical services
  • Supporting families with next steps to access core clinical services of their choice
Approximately 600 children and youth from across the province, who represent a diverse sample of Ontario Autism Program registrants, will be invited to participate in the launch of core clinical services beginning in March.

For additional information, see this link:

https://news.ontario.ca/en/backgrounder/60221/new-core-services-for-children-in-the-ontario-autism-program
Great news for Ontario Agricultural Fairs and Fall Fairs!

The Ontario government is providing $5 million to support the province's Agricultural and Horticultural Societies impacted by the pandemic. The funding is flowing through the Agricultural and Horticultural Support and Recovery Funding Initiative.

This one-time initiative features two funding streams:
  • $1.8 million Base Support Funding will provide eligible agricultural societies with $7,000, and eligible horticultural societies with $1,140 in funding to support their continued delivery of agricultural and horticultural education across Ontario.
  • $3.2 million Hardship Funding for eligible agricultural societies, based on their reported gate receipts from 2019. This will help off-set operating losses, liabilities, and fixed overhead costs
Funding is expected to be completed before March 31, 2021. Read more at this link:

https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/60107/ontario-delivering-support-to-agricultural-and-horticultural-societies

 
Help Us Shape Ontario's Digital Future

We want your opinion on digital ID (digital identity) – a new, electronic government-issued ID that lets people and businesses prove who they are online. You can also use digital ID in person through a secure digital wallet on your mobile device.

The survey is open until 11:59 p.m. February 26, 2021.

https://www.ontario.ca/page/help-us-shape-ontarios-digital-future
 
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.

To reduce in-person visits to ServiceOntario, a number of provincially-issued documents have extended expiry dates until further notice. Please click here for further information. 

As a result of the Stay-at-Home Order, my physical office is currently closed. However, our office staff remain avaliable to respond to your inquires via email or telephone. Should you require any assistance, please email paul.calandra@pc.ola.org or call 905-642-2588. We will endeavour to respond as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,

Paul Calandra, MPP
Markham-Stouffville
Copyright © Paul Calandra, MPP, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Suite 400, 37 Sandiford Dr. Stouffville, ON L4A 3Z2

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