Dear Community Members of Thunder Bay-Rainy River,
We are living through an unprecedented time. Over the past week we have seen a number of public health measures be put in place by our federal, provincial and municipal governments that have dramatically changed how we live our lives. In a short span of time, our worlds have shrunk. Yet the challenges facing many of us have only increased.
I have been closely following the COVID-19 outbreak since early January. As a medical doctor with experience with global infectious diseases, I have advocated strongly within government for the implementation of preventative measures to reduce the spread of this virus in Canada. I believe that the public health measures that have been taken by this government are the right ones to take, and I plan to work with my colleagues to ensure that appropriate actions are taken in the future, if needed.
I also plan to make sure that the community members in our riding that have been affected by COVID-19 are getting the support they need. My staff and I have already spoken with many of you regarding the challenges you are facing. That is why I am pleased that the federal Government announced the establishment this past Wednesday of an $ 82 billion support plan to help Canadians through this difficult time. This plan includes, but is not limited to:
- Boosting the Canada Child Benefit for the 2019-2020 benefit year
- Creating the Emergency Care Benefit, which will provide up to $900 bi-weekly of income-support for up to 15 weeks for workers who must stay home and do not have access to paid sick leave
- Topping-up the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit
- Waiving the mandatory one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits
- Allowing increased flexibility to lenders to defer mortgage payments on homeowner government-insured mortgage loans
A full list of what is available can be found at this website:https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html. If you have any questions regarding these programs or any of the other announcements that have happened in the past week, you can call my offices in Thunder Bay (807-625-1160) or Fort Frances (807-274-4344), or email me at email@example.com.
I am confident we will get through this difficult period. Our nation has faced challenging times before and has come through strong and secure. Each one of us, however, will have to do our part. This means following the advice of our Public Health Agency and frequently washing our hands, avoiding all social gatherings, self-isolating as much as possible, and, if we have cold or flu symptoms, avoiding all contact with others. Remember, the virus can live up to two days on surfaces – any contact we make with surfaces touched by others can spread the virus, even days later.
I would also recommend limiting travel between communities as much as possible. Our region is relatively isolated. We can use this to our advantage.
Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any concerns. I am here to help you.
Marcus Powlowski, M.D.
MP, Thunder Bay-Rainy River