Billions Going To The Municipalities – Full COVID19 Update

Across Ontario, 119 new cases of COVID19 were reported yesterday with only one new death related to the virus. 76 of the new cases, or 64%, were in people under the age of 40. 16 of the provinces public health units had zero new cases. Of yesterday’s 119, Windsor-Essex had 40 of them with another 28 in Ottawa.

Billions Going to the Municipalities:

Premier Ford has announced $4-billion dollars in funding for municipalities struggling to cope with the financial impact of the COVID19 pandemic. The funding is being provided under the Safe Restart Agreement with the federal government. Ford says details on how the funding will be allocated will be released in the next few weeks but half is to go to transit after ridership plummeted amid the pandemic. The heads of the 11 largest municipalities in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area are calling the funding a much-needed and positive step.

Here is Premier Ford’s news conference from yesterday:

WE Scandal – Kielburger Brothers to Testify Today:

The House of Commons finance committee will continue its probe of the federal government’s handling of a multi-million dollar student-volunteer program. WE Charity founders Craig and Marc Kielburger say they are ready to testify today about the organization’s now-scrapped contract to run the Canada Student Service Grant program. The finance committee decided yesterday to have the Kielburgers testify for four hours, either all at once today, or spread evenly over two days. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his chief of staff Katie Telford are scheduled to appear on Thursday. They will face questions over the aborted deal with the organization to run a $912-million-dollar student-volunteer program. Both Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau have family ties to the organization and both are being investigated by the federal ethics commissioner.

Extension on Taxes:

Anyone who owes the federal government will now have until the end of September to pay. The Canada Revenue Agency says the payment deadline has been moved for individuals, corporations and trusts that had various deadlines through the month. Penalties and interest on owed taxes on a 2019 return will accrue if payments aren’t made by the new deadline. The Liberals extended the tax payment deadline from the end of April in a bid to keep more money in the economy during the pandemic.

Ford on Brampton Party:

Premier Ford says it’s “absolutely ridiculous” that Brampton police had to break up a house party over the weekend with 200 people in attendance. Police say numerous neighbours called to complain about the event, where organizers had arranged valet parking and put up barriers to block the sight of neighbours. Ford said yesterday that the full extent of the law needs to be thrown at the — quote — “bunch of jokers” who irresponsibly hold such events. Mayor Patrick Brown said the homeowner has been charged under the Emergency and Civil Protection Act and could face a fine of $750-dollars to $100,000 dollars if convicted.

Ontario Daycare Funding:

The Ontario Association of Day Care Operators says inconsistent funding for licensed child-care centres is holding back some facilities from re-opening or expanding. The province continued its gradual reopening of licenced centres yesterday — allowing them to boost the number of children in a room from 10 to 15. But the daycare association says some municipalities have not yet provided funding or a firm funding commitment to child care facilities so they can’t afford to re-open. Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark said the province is working to ensure the money gets flowing so facilities can re-open safely and at an expanded capacity.

The Race to Find a Vaccine:

The world’s biggest COVID19 vaccine study has begun with the first of 30,000 planned volunteers helping to test shots. U.S. President Trump was touting progress in the race to develop a vaccine while he visited development sites yesterday. There’s still no guarantee that the experimental vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna, will really protect against the virus.

Parents Unsure About Sending Kids to School:

A new survey has found that many Canadian parents are on the fence when it comes to sending their kids to school if and when classrooms are reopened. Fifty-nine per cent of respondents with children said they would send their kids to school if there is some type of classroom instruction at least a few days a week. The poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies comes as provincial governments continue to work on plans to get students back into classrooms after months of COVID19 closures.

Emergency Measures Approved by Senate:

The law extending the federal government’s emergency wage subsidy for employers hit hard by the COVID19 pandemic has passed the Senate. The package passed by the House of Commons last week also includes one-time payments for people with disabilities facing higher expenses, and extensions to legal deadlines for some court matters. Bill C-20 passed on a voice vote without changes.

Google – Work from Home:

Google will keep its employees home until at least next July due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, citing people familiar with the matter.  Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai made the decision himself last week after debate among an internal group of top executives that he chairs, according to the report.   In an email to employees, Pichai wrote: “To give employees the ability to plan ahead, we are extending our global voluntary work from home option through June 30, 2021 for roles that don’t need to be in the office.”

US National Security Advisor Tests Positive:

Donald Trump’s National Security adviser has coronavirus, the White House announced yesterday, making him the most high profile administration individual, with close proximity to the president, to test positive for it.  “National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien tested positive for COVID19,” the White House said in a statement.  “He has mild symptoms and has been self-isolating and working from a secure location off site,” it continued, adding that National Security Council operations and work continues uninterrupted.

American Numbers:

The U.S. saw a decrease in new COVID19 cases on Sunday and Florida reported its lowest single-day tally in almost three weeks.  Yesterday, Florida heath officials reported the Sunday figure at just under 8,900 — the lowest number since July 7 — which pushed the statewide total past 432,000. The state also reported 77 more deaths, almost half as many that were reported Saturday.

American COVID Relief:

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled the Republican HEALS act to address the coronavirus pandemic — including another round of $1,200 stimulus checks.  McConnell said the bill, expected to cost about $1 trillion, gives a liability shield to businesses and funds to schools. It caps at 70 percent of pre-pandemic pay a federal unemployment insurance supplement that lapsed last week.  HEALS is an acronym for health, economic assistance, liability and schools, McConnell said. He dismissed a rival Democratic proposal as a “multi-trillion-dollar socialist manifesto.”  The stimulus checks will this time include extra cash for people with adult dependents, McConnell said.  Bill text released by the Senate Finance Committee indicates every dependent — adult or child — qualifies for a $500 payment.  The legislation keeps a formula approved by Congress in March for means-testing stimulus checks.  Adults earning up to $75,000 get the full $1,200, but adults earning more would get smaller amounts. People who earn over $99,000 again would go empty-handed.  People with no income and those who receive Social Security are eligible for the full amount.

NASCAR Changes:

The upcoming NASCAR races scheduled for Dover International Speedway will be run without fans, the track announced yesterday.  Six races, including two Cup Series races, are scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 21-23 at the Delaware track.  Delaware is in the middle of a 30-day state of emergency and essentially remains in phase 2 of its reopening plan due to an uptick in COVID19 infections.  “We submitted a comprehensive plan to state officials outlining our planned procedures and protocols for keeping our fans safe throughout our August race weekend,” speedway president Mike Tatoian said in a press release.  “Unfortunately, due to the increase in COVID19 cases in recent weeks, the decision was made to not allow fans.  We understand it, and while we are disappointed, we also realize that we need to err on the side of caution and yield to the opinions of public health experts to help reduce the further spread of COVID19.”  The upcoming races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Daytona International Speedway are currently slated to have fans in attendance, while the races at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 8 and 9 will not.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Yesterday Waterloo Region Public Health announced some pretty encouraging COVID19 numbers. Over the weekend, there were only 6 new cases. 2 of those are from travel and 4 are from community spread. There were no new deaths and 16 more cases are now recovered so the number of active cases in the Region has dropped to 42. 14 are hospitalized at the moment. In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, only 3 new cases were reported yesterday.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot



Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan