Reliable vaccine supply remains the greatest challenge
We are currently experiencing the third wave of COVID-19. While spring may not have been what we had hoped for, I encourage everyone to hang in there as we approach the summer. We will get through this together.
Vaccine in Scarborough
Along with your Scarborough MPPs, I have been working closely with the Scarborough Health Network to ensure Scarborough gets an adequate supply of vaccines. I realize that all levels of government are working hard to help all Ontarians. That is why we wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the ongoing delays in vaccine shipments that have been extremely disruptive to Ontarians with appointments as well as to our local partners administering vaccines. We continue to ask the federal government for a stable and reliable vaccine supply, which remains the greatest challenge facing Ontario’s vaccine rollout.
As we continue Phase Two of our vaccine rollout, the plan is to offer over 9 million Ontarians their first dose between April and June. The vaccine is now available to everyone 50+ and we will also be reaching “hot spot” communities through pop-up clinics for those 18-49.
Register for an appointment online through the provincial booking system at ontario.ca/bookvaccine or by phone at 1-888-999-6488. As the rollout keeps expanding, please check the website for the most up-to-date information.
COVID-19 Child Benefit
To help parents and guardians, our government is providing $980 million in direct payments to parents through the COVID-19 Child Benefit. The government is providing one-time funding of:
- $400 for children and youth aged 0-Grade 12.
- $500 for children and youth up to age 21 with special needs.
We will start issuing payments as of April 26. We will send payments by e-transfer, direct deposit or cheque, based on what you chose when you applied for the Support for Learners program. Payments will be made individually per child, youth or student to the account of the parent or guardian who applied for their child or secondary students who are over the age of 18 and applied on their own. If you applied for more than one child, you may not receive all payments at the same time.
If you missed applying for the Support for Learners program, you have the opportunity to apply for it through the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit. Applications will open from May 3 to May 17.
You can call 1-888-444-3770 for support and inquiries or visit ontario.ca/page/ontario-child-benefit for more information.
Scarborough Town Hall
On April 9, I was pleased to join my colleagues Raymond Cho (Scarborough North), Christina Mitas (Scarborough Centre) and Aris Babikian (Scarborough Agincourt) for a virtual town hall to answer questions from Scarborough residents regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
Thank you to everyone who took part in this event and to our special guest, Dr. Abdel Belhaj, Chief of Infection Prevention and Control from Scarborough Health Network.
Volunteer Appreciation Week
From April 19 to 24, we celebrated National Volunteer Week. I would like to extend my sincere thank you to everyone in the community who volunteers their time. Your dedication is truly admirable.
On April 22, we honoured Earth Day. While our celebrations were missing in-person events, I hope everyone had a chance to take part in a virtual celebration or get outside to explore the natural world.
Mental Health Week
From May 3 to 9, the Canadian Mental Health Association will be recognizing the 70th annual Mental Health Week. The pandemic has been a time of increased anxiety and depression for many, so it is important that we come together to recognize that mental health is health. I encourage everyone to check in on those who may be feeling lonely or isolated. If you are experiencing a crisis, reach out to the Ontario Mental Health Helpline at 1-866-531-2600.
Please reach out to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 416-283-8448.