Providing immediate assistance for seniors

I write to you in a time that is both challenging and testing. During these unprecedented times, Ontarians are coming together to defeat this ruthless virus, from unleashing our manufacturing might to awakening an incredible spirit of duty and volunteerism.

A senior resident in our area recently contacted me asking for immediate assistance in providing essential groceries such as milk bread, fruit and canned food for 120 seniors units in his Scarborough apartment. With the support of local residents and business owners, this prompted me to launch the Spread Kindness Initiative as a response to serve seniors from all walks of life and those residents of Scarborough-Rouge Park who are in need the most. If you or a senior you know may need a hand with groceries, prescription drugs, or anything else during these challenging times, please reach out to my office at or by leaving a voicemail with your name and number at 416-283-8448.

Our government introduced the Ontario Action Plan to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This included $3.3 billion for health care that began flowing to the frontlines immediately. Ontario hospitals are preparing around the clock for the incoming surge by initiating pandemic protocols. Over 10,000 volunteers ranging from retired nurses to medical students are being matched with local needs. Assessment centres are operating across the province, screening Ontarians who would otherwise be burdening hospitals. Testing capacity is on track to reach 18,900 a day by mid-April.

The health and wellness of seniors are of the utmost importance to our government. That is why Premier Doug Ford announced an investment of $5 million to protect seniors in retirement homes through increased infection control and active screening procedures. The government proposes $75 million in support for low-income seniors by doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment for six months.

The Ontario government is providing emergency child care options to enable parents who are front-line workers to do what we are all counting on them to do, such as health-care workers, police officers, firefighters and correctional officers. One of the locations in Toronto is in our riding – Malvern Early Learning & Child Care.

The Ontario government is providing one-time payments to parents to help keep children engaged by purchasing workbooks, educational apps, movies, and other tools.  These payments will be $200 for each child 12 and under, and $250 for children with special needs. To help students, the government is suspending OSAP loan repayments between March 30 and September 30, leaving more money in students’ pockets in these challenging times.

I want to reaffirm that physical distancing ensures that you do not get infected yourself, but also ensures others around you are not affected. Furthermore, I would also like to encourage you to keep washing your hands with soap often. This kills the virus, ensuring your health and safety.

I want to echo the words of Her Majesty the Queen, who during her address mentioned that no matter how challenging the times are, a day will come when this pandemic subsides from current reality to the chapters in history books. We Canadians will make it through, together. And on that day we will look back proudly how we did not abandon one another but rather offered a helping hand.