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Welcome to the Markham-Stouffville
Weekly Update for March 7, 2021

Ontario Ready to Rollout Phase Two of Vaccine Distribution Plan 
 
On March 5th, Ontario government announced that it is preparing to move into Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan next month, with a focus on vaccinating populations based on age and risk.

With vaccine supply stabilizing and over two million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine expected from the federal government before the end of March, the province will enter Phase Two of its vaccine rollout. Between April 2021 and July 2021, up to nine million Ontarians will be vaccinated.

During Phase Two, groups that will receive the vaccine include:
  • Older adults between 60-79 years of age;
  • Individuals with specific health conditions and some primary caregivers;
  • People who live and work in congregate settings and some primary caregivers;
  • People who live in hot spots with high rates of death, hospitalizations and transmission; and,
  • Certain workers who cannot work from home.
Starting March 15th, the province will launch an online booking system and a provincial customer service desk to answer questions and support appointment bookings at mass immunization clinics. This will initially support individuals over the age of 80 as part of Phase One, eventually extending to more groups during Phase Two.

(York Region has already launched its own appointment booking system for those over 80, click here for information).

As supply increases, Ontarians will be able to get vaccinated with Health Canada approved vaccines in several new settings. In addition to hospitals, mobile clinics and mass vaccination clinics, the province is working with the pharmacy sector and with primary care professionals to offer vaccinations in primary care settings and community locations in collaboration with public health units.

Helpful resources you can visit:
Ontario Provides $25M to York Region During COVID-19
 
On March 4th, the Ontario government announced it will provide $25,342,239 to help the Regional Municipality of York, the Town of Newmarket and the Town of Aurora address ongoing COVID-19-related operating costs. The new financial relief will help ensure the delivery of critical services during the pandemic and keep capital projects on track.
 
Allocation of regional funding:
  • Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville - $1,350,956
  • City of Markham - $8,994,111
  • The Regional Municipality of York - $21,129,902
The announcement was part of the province’s $500 million investment to help ensure the stability of Ontario’s 444 municipalities as they plan for the year ahead. The funding is being prioritized to help municipalities hardest hit by the pandemic and can be used for things like personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies and by-law enforcement.
 
Read the full announcement here:

https://www.paulcalandra.com/blog/ontario-provides-additional-support-for-york-region-during-covid-19
Apply to the Markham-Stouffville Youth Council

Applications for the second Markham-Stouffville Youth Council are now being accepted - if you are a student in Grade 9-12 living in Markham-Stouffville with a passion for community involvement and service, apply today!

To apply and for more info, visit www.paulcalandra.com/youth

Applications close on March 31, 2021.
 
Ontario Taking Action to Expand Access to Reliable Broadband

The Ontario government is introducing the Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act, 2021 which, if passed, would help connect more communities to reliable, high-speed internet sooner. This legislation proposes to reduce costs to broadband providers associated with attaching broadband wirelines to hydro utility poles, and would provide timely access to poles and to municipal rights of way to install broadband on municipal land.

These proposed measures build on the province's Up to Speed: Ontario's Broadband and Cellular Action Plan. As part of the 2020 Budget, the Ontario government announced a historic investment of almost $1 billion to improve broadband and cellular services, which is an additional $680 million on top of its previous commitment.  


Learn more: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/60549/ontario-taking-action-to-expand-access-to-reliable-broadband
Ontario Provides More Than $1 Billion In Support for Small Business

The Ontario government has to-date provided more than $1 billion through the Ontario Small Business Support Grant to help eligible business owners affected by the COVID-19 restrictions. The grant provides a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $20,000 and can be used in whatever way makes the most sense for individual businesses; from paying employee wages, to offsetting the cost of rent, to purchasing inventory.

More than 78,000 Ontario Small Business Support Grant applications from small businesses across the province have been processed representing more than $1 billion in support. Upon approval, successful applicants will receive payment within 10 days. Applications are still open until March 31, 2021 and a detailed step-by-step instructional video on the application portal is available to help guide applicants through the process.

The government is also providing eligible businesses with rebates for property tax and energy costs. Grant programs are available through a simple online application, and businesses can learn more by visiting Ontario.ca/COVIDsupport.

International Women’s Day

On Monday March 8th, the entire globe will observe International Women’s Day, and the theme for 2021 is “Choose to Challenge.”

“A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.”

Congratulations and best wishes to everyone who has worked to create an observance for this year’s IWD, celebrating achievements and challenging bias. Read more about this important international ideal here:

https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Theme

Ontario Launches Education Campaign to Help Workplaces Reopen Safely

The Ontario government is launching new health and safety education campaigns focusing on helping small businesses across the province reopen safely. The on-the-ground assistance includes a comprehensive suite of resources business owners can access at no cost to ensure they are helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

The full suite of government educational supports available includes:

  • Provincial Employment Standards Call Centre (webes@ontario.ca) and Occupational Health and Safety Contact Centre (webohs@ontario.ca) to answer small business health and safety questions.

For more information on these tools, visit covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-help-businesses-ontario.

Ontario Setting Up Apprentices and Employers for Success

On March 5th, Ontario announced it is investing $47 million in 2021-22 improve the quality of apprenticeship training and help them complete their training and certification through the new Achievement Incentive Program and the expanded Apprenticeship Capital Grant. 

Ontario's $23 million Achievement Incentive Program will provide over 11,000 employers in the construction, industrial, service and other sectors with up to $4,000 in funding per apprentice as they reach key training milestones. For example, a hair salon, restaurant, childcare centre or autobody shop could receive a $1,000 payment once their apprentice reaches a new in-class training level or receives the highest level of trade certification.

Additionally, the government is investing $24 million - a $10 million increase from last year - through the Apprenticeship Capital Grant to help colleges, unions and apprentice training providers upgrade their equipment and facilities to ensure apprentices are learning and using state-of-the-art infrastructure during their in-class training. Examples include new virtual reality training equipment and simulators, new tools or upgraded accessibility supports, all of which help apprentices acquire the skills they need to be job ready. 

Statistics show there is a shortage of skilled trade workers in Ontario. Data suggests that the need to replace retiring workers is greater for workers in the skilled trades than for other occupations. In 2016, nearly 1 in 3 journeypersons were aged 55 years or older. An average apprentice takes 3 to 5 years to complete their training to become a journeyperson – or certified skilled tradesperson.

For more detail about this announcement, visit here:

https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/60571/ontario-setting-up-apprentices-and-employers-for-success

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.

Due to the risk of COVID-19, our office is open by appointment only. 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.

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. 

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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