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Toronto police not issuing tickets for driving with more than 5 people in car

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Apr 2nd, 2020

Toronto police have issued a statement clarifying some misinformation circulating on social media regarding being fined for having more than five people in a car.

The issue was raised after a social media post showed a ticket someone claimed to have recieved after police in Scarborough reportedly pulled over a car and determined that the two people in the car were not related. The post showed a photo of the ticket, which was for $880. They claimed it was was for violating the rules of social distancing under the the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

“The Toronto Police Service is reminding people that travelling, or being parked in a car, with five people or less – including individuals from different home addresses – is not against the law,” read the statement released Wednesday night.

“The government directives apply to ‘organized public events and social gatherings’ of more than five people.

Police also reminded the public that any complaints about non-compliance with social distancing should be directed to 311 and not 911.

Police forces in York, Peel, Halton and Hamilton issued similar statements along with recommendations that if there are more than two peple in a car that they be limited to family members in order to control the spread of COVID-19.

FAQ: Canada Emergency Response Benefit

DILSHAD BURMAN | posted Thursday, Apr 2nd, 2020

In response to the coronavirus pandemic and the resultant job losses and financial uncertainty for Canadians countrywide, the federal government announced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to help those affected tide over the next few months.

What is the CERB?

The CERB is a taxable government payment meant to temporarily help those grappling with job loss or other circumstances that have resulted in sudden loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It offers $2000 per month and is paid in blocks of four weeks, which amounts to $500 a week. A maximum of 16 weeks or four months of benefits can be paid.

The CERB is available from March 15 to Oct. 3, 2020. You can apply no later than Dec. 2, 2020. Your payments will be retroactive to your eligibility date.

Benefits will start within 10 days of you submitting an application. There is no waiting period.

While the benefits are taxable, tax is not deducted when it is paid to you. You must report the CERB payments as income when you file your taxes for 2020.

Who can apply for the CERB?

You can apply for the CERB if you:

  • were let go from your job, your hours have been reduced to zero and you and do not have paid leave or other income support
  • were let go from your job and are eligible for Employment Insurance – regular or sickness benefits
  • still have your job but have been temporarily laid off and asked not to come to work
  • are sick or quarantined – you do not need a medical certificate as proof
  • are taking care of someone who has contracted COVID-19
  • are a working parent who has to stay home, without pay, to care for your children or other dependents whose care facility is closed
  • are self-employed and would not otherwise qualify for employment insurance (EI)
  • are a contractor and would not otherwise qualify for EI


What are the criteria to apply for CERB?

The CERB is only available to those who have stopped working due to reasons related to COVID-19.

If you are currently looking for a job, you are not eligible for the benefit. For example: students who may have had a job last year and were planning on working this summer do not qualify.

To apply for CERB you must fulfill the following criteria:

  • You must reside in Canada and be at least 15 years old
  • You must have a valid social Insurance Number
  • You must have stopped working because of COVID-19 related reasons or are eligible for Employment Insurance – regular or sickness benefits
  • You had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of applying for CERB. This can be from employment, self-employment, maternity/paternal benefits under the EI program or a combination of those sources.
  • You expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days within the first four-week period. For the rest of the benefit periods, you expect to have no employment income
  • If you are not a citizen or a permanent resident, you may be eligible to receive the CERB if you meet other eligibility requirements – including international students and temporary foreign workers.


What documents do I need to submit?

You do not need extensive documentation immediately to apply for the CERB.

You will need to provide:

  • You personal contact information
  • Your Social Insurance Number
  • You’ll need to confirm you meet the eligibility requirements.

You could be asked to provide additional documentation to verify your eligibility at a future date.


If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, you should apply for the CERB whether you are eligible for EI or not.

On April 6, the federal government is launching a single online portal to assist with the CERB application process. Until then, if you have lost your job and are eligible for EI, you can continue to apply for it.

In addition, you should also continue to apply for other EI benefits like maternity leave, parental leave, caregiving, fishing and worksharing as applicable to your situation.

Whether you receive EI or CERB depends on when you became eligible for EI:

  • If you are already receiving EI regular benefits, you will continue to receive them until the end of your benefit period.
  • If you became eligible for EI on March 15 or later, your application will automatically be processed through CERB.
  • If your EI benefits started before March 15 and end before Oct. 3, you can then apply for the CERB if you meet the eligibility requirements.
  • After you stop receiving the CERB you can still receive EI if you are eligible. Further, the period for which you received the CERB does not affect your EI entitlement.
  • If you have applied for EI but your claim has not been processed yet, you do not need to reapply for the CERB – you will continue to receive EI benefits if you became eligible for them before March 15. If you became eligible after March 15, your claim will automatically be processed under CERB.
  • If you are receiving maternity/parental or other special benefits and you cannot return to work after you finish collecting them due to reasons related to COVID-19, you may be eligible to apply for CERB.


You cannot be paid Employment Insurance benefits and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit for the same period.


When shall I apply for the CERB?

The CRA has set up specific days for you to apply:

If you were born in the month of Apply for CERB on Your best day to apply
January, February or March Mondays April 6
April, May, or June Tuesdays April 7
July, August, or September Wednesdays April 8
October, November, or December Thursdays April 9
Any month Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

Source: Canada.ca


6 new coronavirus-related deaths, 18 outbreaks reported at Toronto long-term care homes

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Apr 2nd, 2020

The City of Toronto says there have been six more coronavirus-related deaths reported at long-term care homes in Toronto, bringing the total to 10.

The city is currently dealing with 18 outbreaks at long-term care homes.

Four new deaths were reported at Seven Oaks in Scarborough for a total of eight. The ages of the residents who died ranges from their 60s to their 90s with six over 85 years old.

At least 23 people have tested positive at the home on Neilson Road, including nine staff while another 54 residents are presumed to have COVID-19.

It is the largest outbreak at a long-term care home in Toronto

The other two new deaths were reported at Extendicare Bayview, where a resident in their 90s died, and one was at Rekai Centre long-term care home at Sherbourne Place. The resident who died there was in their 60s.

Extendicare has reported four cases, two staff and two residents. The Rekai Centre also has four confirmed cases, all residents.

Eleven of the long-term care homes have reported just one positive confirmed case, seven of which the confirmed case is a staff member.

Two other outbreaks have been reported at retirement homes in Toronto, Terrace Gardens where there are four cases and Village of Humber Heights Retirement Home with one case.

Feds to provide more details on wage subsidy program, including cost

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Apr 1st, 2020

Canadians are supposed to get more details Wednesday of the federal government’s massive emergency wage subsidy program — a day later than promised.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Small Business Minister Mary Ng were to have held a news conference Tuesday to fill in the details of the program — including the multibillion-dollar price tag — but that was cancelled.

The pair, along with Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, are expected to try again today to explain the program, aimed at saving jobs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that has shuttered businesses across the country.

A government official says the delay was simply a matter of trying to iron out all the fine print in a huge program that, in normal circumstances, would have taken months to put together.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter, acknowledged that the government is also trying to sort out whether it will need to recall Parliament again to approve legislation to authorize the wage subsidy program.

Parliament, which has been adjourned since mid-March as part of the nationwide effort to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19, was recalled briefly last week to approve a $107-billion emergency aid package.

That package included a wage subsidy of just 10 per cent.

However, the day after the package was approved, the government announced a greatly enhanced wage subsidy program that will cover 75 per cent of an employee’s wages, up to $58,700. That will amount to as much as $847 a week per employee.

Businesses, regardless of size, whose revenues have decreased by at least 30 per cent because of the COVID-19 pandemic, are eligible for the subsidy, which is to be backdated to March 15.

TD Economics has previously estimated that the enhanced subsidy would cost about $25 billion, while RBC separately estimated its value at $28 billion.

The government is also expected to provide more details today on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, a taxable benefit that is to provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the pandemic.

The benefit was included in last week’s emergency aid package. At the time, the government said it hoped to have a portal for applications opened by April 6.

Man injured in Scarborough shooting

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Apr 1st, 2020

A 22-year-old man is in hospital after a shooting Tuesday night in Scarborough.

Toronto police were called to Scarborough Golf Road and Lawrence Avenue East just after 10:30 p.m.

Police said the man was sitting in his car when a vehicle pulled up and someone began shooting.

The vehicle was struck by multiple bullets.

However, the victim suffered only a single bullet wound to his upper left side.

Police found him inside the vehicle and he was rushed to hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.

Officers are looking for a red SUV last seen fleeing eastbound on Lawrence Avenue.

Pride Weekend in Toronto cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Apr 1st, 2020

Pride Weekend in Toronto has been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The City of Toronto has cancelled all events until June 30 and Pride Weekend was to be held from June 26 to 28.

In a statement, Pride Toronto said their team is working to deliver Pride celebrations in new, creative, and unique ways that ensure safety and physical distancing.

Mayor John Tory said some parts of Pride Month in June will continue, but didn’t provide specifics.

“I spoke with representatives from Pride Toronto today and I thank them for their understanding of this decision and expressed my own enthusiasm for Pride Month, which will still proceed in June, so stay tuned.”

“Pride is essential for our communities, and it is much more than simply a series of events,” continued the statement from Pride Toronto. “The decision by public health authorities to cancel permits through the month of June is a necessary one. Any future programming will be in alignment with the recommendations of the public health authorities and the communities we serve.”

All Toronto events cancelled, including Pride Weekend, facilities to remain closed

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Apr 1st, 2020

All City of Toronto facilities and buildings will remain closed until further notice and event permits have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor John Tory announced on Tuesday.

City-led major events, festivals, conferences and cultural programs, including Pride Weekend, and permits for major events in Toronto have been cancelled through June 30.

Tory said some parts of Pride Month in June will continue, but didn’t provide specifics.

“I spoke with representatives from Pride Toronto today and I thank them for their understanding of this decision and expressed my own enthusiasm for Pride Month, which will still proceed in June, so stay tuned.”

“This is not an easy decision to make but it is necessary to protect the public and to save lives,” Tory added. “It also gives clarity to the event organizers and residents. While we treasure many of these events … protecting health and safety has to be our primary concern right now.”

With April rents looming, Tory also urged landlords to work with tenants who may have been financially affected by the pandemic.

“While the city doesn’t have the power to compel landlords to help tenants who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, I strongly urge landlords to work with their tenants to help them stay in their homes and business premises.”

Tory also addressed overcrowding on some TTC bus routes, saying buses would be diverted to busier areas to help alleviate the situation.

Enforcing social distancing

Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said the city is deploying 60 additional bylaw officers to help enforce social distancing at Toronto parks. He said authorities would first try to educate citizens before resorting to hefty $750 fines.

Pegg said since March 24, the city has received 597 complaints related to use of parks amenities and police have issued nine $750 tickets for non-compliance.

The city also fielded nearly 500 complaints about non-essential businesses remaining open, with bylaw officers issuing 23 notices and 10 warning letters.

Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa stressed the importance of social distancing to stem the spread of COVID-19.

“Some have asked: ‘Can my child play outside with other children in the neighbourhood?’ The answer is simply ‘no.’ For the safety of your child and for all others this kind of interaction must be avoided.”

“Others ask: ‘How often can I go out to get groceries or other essentials? ‘ Simply put, I’m asking people to minimize where possible the number of times each week that they go out to get groceries or other essentials. Ideally, once a week.”

De Villa said as of 1 p.m. Tuesday, there are 793 cases of COVID-19 in Toronto and so far,  eight people have died.

Most abiding by COVID-19 rules, back fines, arrests of those who aren’t: Poll

JOAN BRYDEN, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Mar 31st, 2020

OTTAWA — Most Canadians are doing what they’re told to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and would support harsher measures to punish those who aren’t, a new poll suggests.

Of the 1,590 adults surveyed between March 27 and 29, the vast majority said they were practising social distancing (97 per cent), keeping at least two metres apart from others (95 per cent), washing their hands more frequently than usual (95 per cent), going out only for necessities (94 per cent) and coughing or sneezing into their elbows (92 per cent).

As well, 86 per cent said they’ve asked family and friends to practice social distancing. However, 15 per cent said they’ve visited friends or family.

Fully 64 per cent said they’ve personally witnessed people not respecting the measures implemented to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

A whopping 92 per cent they’d agree if governments authorized police to fine such people as some jurisdictions have begun doing; 82 per cent would agree to police arresting those who disrespect the measures.

And 77 per cent said they’d agree to a complete quarantine of an entire city if necessary, allowing no one to enter or leave except for essential services.

For now, however, the poll, conducted jointly by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, suggests Canadians are broadly satisfied with the measures their governments have been taking to deal with the crisis.

Seventy per cent of respondents said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the federal government’s response, up five points from last week. Seventy-nine per cent were satisfied with their provincial government’s response, fuelled by a 92 per cent satisfaction rate in Quebec, while 67 per cent were satisfied with their municipal government’s response.

“Our sort of natural capacity as Canadians to trust government is probably what will help us get through this in better shape relative to our southern neighbours,” said Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque.

The level of satisfaction among Canadians was in stark contrast to the 1,004 Americans who were simultaneously surveyed: just 47 per cent said they were satisfied with the U.S. federal government’s response, presided over by President Donald Trump.

The poll found the proportion of Canadian respondents who weren’t taking the crisis seriously went down three percentage points over the past week — to 17 per cent who said it’s totally or partly overblown.

At the same time, the level of fear rose five points, with 62 per cent saying they were very or somewhat afraid of contracting the disease themselves and 73 per cent afraid for a member of their immediate family.

Eight per cent said they know someone who has contracted the disease — up four points from last week.

Fully 92 per cent said COVID-19 represents a major threat to Canada’s economy, 77 per cent said it’s a major threat to the health of the country’s population, 73 per cent to daily life in their community, 54 per cent to their personal financial situation and 45 per cent to their personal health.

Fifty-four per cent said the crisis had already harmed their retirement savings or other investments, 45 per cent said they’ve seen their income decrease, 41 per cent said their ability to financially assist family members has declined, 27 per cent said it’s hurt their ability to pay their bills and 22 per cent said it’s hurt their ability to pay their mortgages or rent.

Even so, 65 per cent said they think the worst is yet to come.

Respondents were randomly recruited from Leger’s online panel. The poll cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet surveys are not considered random samples.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2020.

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

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