All posts by robinthemayor

REMINDER – TONIGHT @ 7:00 SCIENCE BEHIND IMPLICIT BIAS

Ms Anna LASZLO will be delivering this workshop on the Village You Tube channel tonight. She will provide the science to help us understand how people develop implicit bias, how it impacts our relationships – both personal and business and how it seeps into public policy. Anna also delivers several suggestions, based on scientific research, of what can be done to minimize implicit bias in ourselves, colleagues and our organizations.

Ms LASZLO delivered this workshop at the ROMA conference on Tuesday this week and really hit it out of the park. I believe you will find her inspiring and her workshop riveting.

How to watch the workshop. Search You Tube on the web – you can use your computer, tablet or smart phone. Once you open the You Tube page, type Village of Westport into its search bar. The Village of Westport’s page should be the first one on the list, but it is clearly marked with out crest. Click on it and the village page will open. There will be several council meeting videos on our page (I encourage you to watch them when you have time) however you will have no difficulty finding the Science Behind Implicit Bias.

In-person learning return dates for WESTPORT (UCDSB) Students

MEDIA RELEASE

January 20, 2021 (Brockville, ON) – This school year has been about balancing our students’ academic needs and the obligation to keep them, and our staff, safe while at school. 

Schools in the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit (LGL) will reopen to all students for in-person learning on January 25.   . 

  • Elementary schools served by the Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark Health Unit will welcome students back to in-person learning on January 25. Your school principal will be sending out a welcome back letter and informing you of any changes in health practices that will be taking place at your school for the return. If a student lives in EOHU but attends school in LGL, then they can attend.    
      
  • Grade 9-12 students in the LGL health unit area will continue with remote learning until the end of Quadmester 2 (Friday, Jan. 29). This delayed re-start will allow Grades 9-12 students the opportunity to start with a new cohort of students at the beginning of Quadmester 3 on Tuesday, Feb. 2 and limit their number of contacts.    

Further items of note:  

  • As announced earlier this month, it is required that all students in Grades 1-12 will need to wear non-medical or cloth masks indoors at school, including in hallways and during class times, on school transportation and outdoors during recess where students cannot maintain physical distancing. Masking in Kindergarten is optional but encouraged. 
      
  • For Grade 9-12 students currently using non-digital resources, new packages need to be picked up on Thursday, Jan. 21 and completed packages returnedThe final package for the quadmester will need to be returned to your teacher no later than Thursday, Jan. 28 for evaluation. Please contact your teacher if you have any questions.    

While we want to see all students back in our schools, we understand the government’s decision to remain vigilant to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to keep our students and staff safe. We need to ensure that we continue with daily screening for symptoms and follow public health protocols that are in place.   

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Applications Now Open for Ontario’s Small Business Support Grant

PROVINCE PROVIDING UP TO $20,000 FOR ELIGIBLE BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY PROVINCEWIDE SHUTDOWN

NEWS RELEASE – JANUARY 15, 2021

TORONTO — The Ontario government has opened  applications for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant. The grant, first announced in December, provides a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $20,000 to eligible small businesses who have had to restrict their operations due to the Provincewide Shutdown. The tightened restrictions were put in place to help stop the alarming rise of COVID-19 cases in Ontario.

As Ontario’s employers do their part to defeat COVID-19, they are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of this global pandemic,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board. “I encourage every eligible small business owner in Ontario to visit Ontario.ca/COVIDSupport to access the support our government has made available. While we still have a lot of work ahead of us, we can all look confidently to the future as we resolve to do our parts and put COVID-19 behind us.” 

Small businesses required to close or significantly restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown will be able to apply for a one-time 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 being 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.


“Small businesses are the heart of Ontario’s economy,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “The Ontario Small Business Support Grant will help thousands of small businesses get through this difficult time, while strengthening our province’s economic recovery.”

“As the son of two small business owners, I understand what small businesses mean to the families, employees, and local communities they support,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. “Our hardworking businesses can be encouraged that the government’s new Ontario Small Business Support Grant offers yet another helping hand that will give them the boost they need to meet the challenges of today and prepare for a brighter tomorrow.”

Businesses impacted by the Provincewide Shutdown are also eligible for additional supports, including the government’s program to provide rebates to offset fixed costs such as property tax and energy bills. These rebates will continue to be available for businesses impacted by the Provincewide Shutdown and earlier restrictions.More information about the Ontario Small Business Support Grant and other rebates is available on Ontario.ca/COVIDsupport.
 

Ontario to Vaccinate up to 8.5 Million People in Phase Two

PROVINCE TO EXPAND COVID-19 IMMUNIZATION PROGRAM TO SENIORS, FRONTLINE ESSENTIAL WORKERS IN NEXT PHASE OF ROLLOUT PLAN

JANUARY 13, 2021 – NEWS RELEASE

TORONTO — The Ontario government is preparing to immunize up to 8.5 million people before the end of Phase Two of the government’s vaccine implementation plan, which aims to receive, store and administer COVID-19 vaccines to Ontarians as soon as supply is available.

Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, and General Rick Hillier (retired), Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force.   

“With Phase One of our plan well underway, we’re getting ready to expand our vaccine rollout and get more needles into arms as soon as the supply is available,” said Premier Ford. “We now have a well-oiled machine, led by General Hillier, and we are making tremendous progress. We know this second phase will be an even larger logistical undertaking than the first. That’s why we’re ramping up our capacity on the ground to ensure these vaccines are administered quickly, beginning with the people who need them most.”

As recommended by the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force and aligned with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, the province has mapped out the next steps for transitioning into Phase Two and has adopted an approach for identifying the next groups to receive the vaccination as early as March 2021. In order to vaccinate Ontarians as safely and quickly as possible, the government is expanding the list of health care providers who can administer COVID-19 vaccines.

Phase One of the vaccine implementation program is expected to see approximately 1.5 million eligible people vaccinated. Vaccination of residents, staff and essential caregivers of long-term care homes has begun in many parts of the province, with the goal of having the first dose administered in all homes no later than February 15, 2021. The vaccination of all staff and residents in long-term care homes in four areas with the highest rates of transmission, Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor Essex, is expected to be completed by January 21, 2021.

Groups eligible to receive vaccines as part of Phase Two of the Ontario immunization program will include:
– Older adults, beginning with those 80 years of age and older and decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout;
– Individuals living and working in high-risk congregate settings;
– Frontline essential workers (e.g., first responders, teachers, food processing industry); and
– Individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers.

Phase Two is expected to be completed by end of July 2021 and Phase Three for the general population could begin as early as August 2021, pending availability of vaccines. Vaccination of populations in Phase One will continue until all vaccinations are complete.

“We are prepared for the next phase in our vaccine distribution plan, but with limited supplies, our focus will be on vaccinating our seniors and frontline essential workers,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “When Ontario receives sufficient doses of vaccines, we will ensure that every person who wants to be vaccinated will receive it. Until then, everyone must continue to follow the public health guidelines and stay home, stay safe and save lives.”

In preparation for Phase Two of the vaccination distribution plan, more vaccination sites will be added. Over the coming months, those sites will include municipally run vaccination sites, hospital sites, mobile vaccination sites, pharmacies, clinics, primary care settings and community locations such as community health centres and aboriginal health access centres. The first municipally run vaccination site will be opening on January 18 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The site will be administering vaccines to Phase One priority populations, including select frontline health care workers. It will be an initial proof-of-concept for municipally run vaccination centres, with a small number of doses to start with, from which learnings will be used to inform other locations across the province.”

Ontario’s immunization program is a monumental mission, and we have laid the foundations to ensure it remains successful as more vaccines become available and as we scale our rollout to reach more people across our province,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “By expanding the immunization program to more seniors and a broader list of frontline essential workers we are ensuring Ontario is ready to protect those who need it most as we receive the vaccines.”

“As you can see, we are consumed with delivering and administering our vaccines as quickly, efficiently and equitably as possible. This is great news for the people of Ontario,” said General (Ret’d) Rick Hillier. “Despite the difficult times we find ourselves in, this proves that there is light at the end of the tunnel and, with that in mind, I’m asking everyone to stay strong, stay safe and follow the public health guidelines.”

As the vaccine supply increases, and guided by the Ethical Framework for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Ontario is also enabling more health care providers to administer the vaccine as quickly and safely as possible. This will help meet the unprecedented demand in the number of people who will be getting vaccinated. It will also increase access to the vaccine for all Ontarians, whether they reside in a remote fly-in community or a large urban centre. Health care professionals who are able to administer the vaccine can register and apply through Ontario’s Matching Portal. This could include nurse practitioners, registered nurses and registered practical nurses, along with pharmacists, pharmacy students, interns and pharmacy technicians.

Individuals interested in supporting the broader COVID-19 vaccination plan in roles such as data entry and scheduling, can also express their interest through Ontario’s Matching Portal.

As the vaccination rollout continues, it remains critically important that all Ontarians continue following public health advice to protect our communities and most vulnerable populations, and to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Ontario Declares Second Provincial Emergency to Address COVID-19 Crisis and Save Lives

JANUARY 12, 2021

PROVINCE ISSUES STAY-AT-HOME ORDER AND INTRODUCES ENHANCED ENFORCEMENT MEASURES TO REDUCE MOBILITY

The Village of Westport will provide an update after its Community Emergency Control Group meeting scheduled for Thursday, January 14.

Ontario Newsroom
 
TORONTO – In response to a doubling in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, the real and looming threat of the collapse of the province’s hospital system and alarming risks posed to long-term care homes as a result of high COVID-19 transmission rates, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is immediately declaring a second provincial emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act(EMPCA).

Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Dr. Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown, Co-Chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.

“The latest modelling data shows that Ontario is in a crisis and, with the current trends, our hospital ICUs will be overwhelmed in a few short weeks with unthinkable consequences,” said Premier Ford. “That’s why we are taking urgent and decisive action, which includes declaring a provincial emergency and imposing a stay-at-home-order. We need people to only go out only for essential trips to pick up groceries or go to medical appointments. By doing the right thing and staying home, you can stay safe and save lives.

“Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work. This order and other new and existing public health restrictions are aimed at limiting people’s mobility and reducing the number of daily contacts with those outside an immediate household. In addition to limiting outings to essential trips, all businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does work from home.

These new public health measures will help stop the spread of COVID-19 by reducing concerning levels of mobility as the province continues its vaccine rollout and ramps up to mass vaccination when the federal government is able to provide the necessary supply to do so.

Additional Public Health Restrictions
Since the implementation of the Provincewide Shutdown over two weeks ago, the latest modelling trends in key public health indicators have continued to worsen, forecasting an overwhelming of the health system unless drastic action is taken. Escalating case counts have led to increasing hospitalization rates and intensive care unit (ICU) occupancy which has resulted in cancellations of scheduled surgeries and procedures.

Provincial modelling shows growth in COVID-19 cases has accelerated, leading to increased hospitalization rates and ICU occupancy. ICU occupancy by COVID-19 patients is now over 400 beds and is projected to be as high as 1,000 beds by early February which has the potential to overwhelm Ontario’s hospitals. The number of COVID-19-related deaths continues to rise and is expected to double from 50 to 100 deaths per day between now and the end of February. Notably, data shows that mobility and contacts between people have not decreased with the current restrictions.  A new variant of COVID-19 emerged in November. If community transmission of this variant occurs, Ontario could experience much higher case counts, ICU occupancy and mortality.

In response to the alarming and exceptional circumstances at hand, and to further interrupt the deadly trend of transmission in Ontario communities, hospitals, and long-term care homes, the government will enact the following additional public health measures:
– Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions. This is consistent with the rules during the lockdown during the first wave of COVID-19 in spring 2020 and will allow individuals and families to enjoy time outdoors safely.
– Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open. Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres.  
– All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
– Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.

These measures will come into effect between Tuesday January 12, 2021 and Thursday, January 14, 2021, including the provincial declaration of emergency under the EMCPA, orders under that Act, and amendments to regulations under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020

“Despite our best efforts, COVID-19 is continuing to spread in our communities, our hospitals, our long-term care homes, and our workplaces. We are continuing to see concerning trends across the province, including a tragic number of deaths,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “We have made great strides in vaccinating tens of thousands of Ontarians, and we can’t let these efforts go to waste. Urgent action is required to break this deadly trend of transmission, ensure people stay home, and save lives.

“To help quickly identify and isolate cases of COVID-19 in workplaces and service providers permitted to remain open such as long-term care homes and schools, the province will provide up to 300,000 COVID-19 tests per week to support key sectors such as manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain and food processing, as well as additional tests for schools and long-term care homes. This volume of rapid tests would support antigen screening for up to 150,000 workers per week over the next 4-5 months in Ontario’s most critical workplaces. The province is expecting to receive 12 million Panbio tests from the federal government over the next several months and continues to pursue opportunities to purchase additional rapid tests.

“The trends in key public health indicators are continuing to deteriorate, and further action is urgently required to save lives,” said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “By strictly adhering to all public health and workplace safety measures, we can reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and keep our loved ones and our communities safe. It will take the collective efforts of us all to defeat this virus.

“The government knows that in order to keep Ontarians safe, it is important that they are not forced to leave their homes during the new state of emergency. Ontario is exploring all options available to put a temporary residential evictions moratorium in place, and will have more to say in the coming days.

The additional public health restrictions introduced expand on the existing measures put in place to keep Ontarians safe and healthy.

New Enforcement Measures
Under the declaration of a provincial emergency, the province will provide authority to all enforcement and provincial offences officers, including the Ontario Provincial Police, local police forces, bylaw officers, and provincial workplace inspectors to issue tickets to individuals who do not comply with the stay-at-home-order, or those not wearing a mask or face covering indoors as well as retail operators and companies who do not enforce. Those who decide not to abide by orders will be subject to set fines and/or prosecution under both the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, (ROA) and EMCPA.  

In addition, all enforcement personnel will have the authority to temporarily close a premise and disperse individuals who are in contravention of an order and will be able to disperse people who are gathering, regardless whether a premise has been closed or remains open such as a park or house.

“Extraordinary action is needed to protect the health and safety of Ontarians as we deal with this growing crisis,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “Our government is providing police and bylaw officers with the tools, and the authority, they need to enforce these critical restrictions and protect public health.”

Schools and Child Care Centres
Based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, schools in the following public health units (PHUs) will not return to in-person instruction until February 10, 2021:
– Windsor-Essex
– Peel Region
– Toronto
– York
– Hamilton

By January 20, 2021, the Chief Medical Officer of Health will advise the Ministry of Education on which public health units (PHUs) will be permitted to resume in-person instruction, based on the most up-to-date data and modelling. Before- and after-school programs can be offered when in-person instruction resumes. Schools in northern PHUs will continue to remain open.

To continue to keep students, staff and communities safe, the following new health and safety measures will be put in place for in-person learning:
– Masking for Grade 1-3 and requirements for mask wearing outdoors;
– Enhanced screening protocols; and
– Expanded targeted testing.

The government will also implement new health and safety measures in Ontario child care settings, such as enhanced screening to align with school requirements, voluntary participation in targeted testing and additional infection prevention and control measures to align with schools. These enhancements are in addition to the existing health and safety measures already being implemented in child care settings across the province.

Child care centres for non-school aged children will remain open, and emergency child care for school-aged children will end in approved PHU regions on January 22, 2021 as these elementary schools return to in-person learning.During this extended period of online learning, in areas where in-person elementary learning is suspended, emergency child care will continue for eligible families in regions subject to school closures, as identified by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

“At the heart of our continued efforts to protect against  the spread of COVID-19 in our communities is a firm commitment to return kids to school safely,” said Education Minister Stephen Lecce. “Protecting our students, staff and their families is our top priority, and these additional measures build on our comprehensive plan to reopen schools and keep young children in child care safe.

Workplace Safety
The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is taking additional steps to protect workers with the launch of the “Stay Safe All Day” campaign, focusing workplace inspections in areas of high transmission, including break rooms, and providing new educational materials to employers to promote safe behaviour before, during and after work.

Evidence gathered from COVID-19 related workplace inspections to date shows the vast majority of employers and workers are following COVID-19 safety requirements when working. However, when in a break room, a vehicle or not on the clock, there is a tendency to forget about the importance of wearing masks, maintaining physical distance and hand hygiene. 

As part of the “Stay Safe All Day” campaign, inspectors will use a data-driven approach to focus on workplaces with reported COVID-19 outbreaks, manufacturing businesses, warehouses, distribution centres, food processing operations, construction projects and publicly accessible workplaces deemed essential, such as grocery stores. The Ministry is also using a new data-sharing program, in conjunction with the Ministry of Long-Term Care and the Retirement Regulatory Authority, to focus onsite inspections of long-term-care homes and retirement homes. 

“We know the majority of businesses are operating safely and responsibly to protect their workers and customers. But as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, we all need to step up and take additional measures to stop the spread,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “This includes increasing our inspections to look at everything workers do both while on the job and throughout the workday.” 

In the unfortunate event that an employee becomes infected with COVID-19, they may be entitled to federally funded paid sick leave of up to $500 a week for two weeks. Workers can also access Canada’s Recovery Caregiver Benefit of up to $500 per week for up to 26 weeks if they are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care.

Over the summer, the government enacted a new regulatory amendment that put non-unionized employees on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave during the COVID-19 outbreak any time their hours of work are temporarily reduced by their employer due to COVID-19, ensuring businesses aren’t forced to terminate employees after their ESA temporary layoff periods have expired. As part of the Safe Restart Agreement, the federal government is funding a temporary income support program that allows workers to take up to 10 days of leave related to COVID-19, preventing the risk of further spread in the workplace and allowing workers to focus on their health.