Scuttlebutt - Keeping Our Distance, but Keeping Informed

Due to the circumstances, I have substantially altered my typical Scuttlebutt update by having my political commentary abbreviated.

In this edition, I have included information regarding the new programs for individuals, families, and businesses that provide relief. As I am sure you can appreciate the circumstances and the programs are subject to constant change, however at the time of writing this, the information is accurate. I expect we will see the Prime Minister and Premier continue with their daily press conferences and latest updates at 11:15 am and 1:00 pm, respectfully.

I have and will continue to engage with and share my views with the Premier and Cabinet regarding the most effective measures and public policies to assist and provide relief to the people of Lanark–Frontenac–Kingston.

Although we have seen significant cooperation and collaboration amongst all elected members in the Ontario Parliament (which I hope will continue after the crisis), I noted in my address to Queens Park on March 25th during our emergency sitting of the legislature (you can view here). However, the attempt to take advantage of the crisis by the Prime Minister during their March 23rd emergency session of the House of Commons was in my view reprehensible and unbecoming of a democratic leader. In effect this attempt to shutter our Parliament for nearly two years can never be warranted nor justified. 

I posted a brief summary “A Tale of Two Parliaments” on my Facebook page regarding the difference between how Queens Park and Ottawa dealt with the emergency legislation. I will have more to share on the political front after the crisis has subsided.

Following are some of the new programs and/or services that are now available.

This information and more will also be available on my website here, updated as new information and services become available.

New Programs and Services

For Individuals and Families

  • Hydro Rates in Ontario are reduced to the off-peak rate, 24/7 for 45 days starting March 24th
  • Ontario E-Learning Resources can be found here
  • EI Benefits will be rolled into the Canada Emergency Response Benefit this benefit will pay $2000 a month for 4 months
  • Ontario Childcare Supports including those in private schools, a one-time $200 payment per child up to 12 years of age and a one-time $250 payment for those with special needs
  • Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payments increased to $300 per child for the 2019-20 year
  • Ontario Student Assistance (OSAP) loans, payments, and interest is deferred for six months
  • For those receiving GST credit benefits will be increased for the 2019-20 year

Find out more information to help your family here.

For Small Businesses

  • Only workplaces declared essential can be open, learn more here
  • Use your business to provide assistance in addressing the COVID-19 relief efforts find out how here
  • Employers can now defer WSIB payments for up to six months
  • The Employer Health Tax (EHT) will only be payable for payrolls exceeding $1 million.
    • This will cut taxes by $355 million for about 57,000 employers
  • All businesses may defer CRA tax balances and installments until August 31th, 2020
    • No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period
  • A five-month interest and penalty-free period for the majority of provincially administered business taxes

Find more support for businesses here.

Service Canada

Locations that are currently closed are expected to reopen March 30th

Service Ontario

Some branches are expected to reopen March 30th find if your location is open here

If you have any questions or require further clarification feel free to contact my offices at 613-267-8239, or by email [email protected]