While these times are certainly unusual and uncertain, Iwanted to take a moment to wish all of you a Happy Easter and Happy Passover! Though our various celebrations will likely be somewhat different than normal this year, I do hope that you and your families will be able to celebrate the holidays – even if that may be through online video conferencing rather than in person gatherings.
COVID-19 April Update
During this time I hope all of you are keeping safe and taking necessary measures to implement all public health requirements – most importantly practicing strict physical distancing in order to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
My staff and I continue to work hard to respond to the needs of our community through calls and emails. For information on Canada’s response to COVID-19, please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada website. You can also download the Government of Canada’s Covid 19 Support app. This app is just one more way that we can give Canadians information that they need during this outbreak.
Additional Information on COVID-19
Here is a list of trusted sources for information about COVID-19:
- Federal Government updates: Canada.ca/Covid19
- Official BC Government News Releases
- Daily Briefings With BC Minister of Health Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry are live-streamed on Facebook
- Symptom Self-Assessment Tool: https://covid19.thrive.health/
- Non-medical questions
- Call 1-888-COVID19
- Text 604-630-0300
- Medical questions only
- Call 8-1-1 or 7-1-1 for hard of hearing
- BC 211: Call 2-1-1 or visit the BC 211 website for information and referrals regarding community, government and social services in BC
Be cautious of the information you read online, or information that is shared through multiple social media platforms. Stick to reputable sites:
Travel Advisories and Repatriated Canadians
The Government of Canada has frequent and updated travel advisories available here.
For those who are in Canada as visitors, information on visitor visa extension can be found on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) site here.
To date, we have had over 1 million Canadian citizens and permanent residents return to Canada from abroad. Global Affairs Canada and Canadian Embassies have worked tirelessly over the past few weeks, negotiating with airlines and foreign governments to repatriate Canadians in countries including Morocco, Peru, Argentina, the United States and Caribbean destinations. We are very grateful that a number of North Vancouver constituents have been repatriated, and continue to advocate on behalf of all those who have reached out to our office looking to return to Canada.
If you or someone you know is currently abroad, ensure Global Affairs Canada is notified by registering online: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration.
Currently, our government is working with Embassy officials and government officials in the Philippines, India and Bangladesh to repatriate Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents. Individuals can receive up-to-date information by registering online on the Global Affairs Canada website.
As a reminder, anyone arriving in Canada from a foreign country must self-isolate for 14 days upon their return. The B.C. government now legally requires all travellers entering B.C. from outside Canada to submit a 14-day self-isolation plan, as part of federal laws to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit
Earlier this week, we launched the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This benefit provides temporary income support to those who have stopped working or have faced employment challenges due to COVID-19. For application instructions, eligibility criteria, and a list of FAQ, please visit the following link:
To apply, sign up for a CRA My Account and register for direct deposit. After you apply with direct deposit, you can expect a payment within 3 to 5 business days, or if by mail, 10 days after you apply. Alternatively, you can call the CERB eligibility portal at 1-800-959-2019 with your Social Insurance Number (SIN) and postal code.
Canada Summer Jobs Update
On Wednesday, our government announced enhancements to support Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) employers and young workers. We have adjusted delivery of the program to support communities during this time, as an addition to the government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. The enhancements will include:
- Increase to the wage subsidy. Public and private sector employees can receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee;
- An extension end date for employment to February 28, 2021;
- Employers are able to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services; and
- Employers can hire staff on a part-time basis.
These enhancements will be pivotal in supporting employers and young workers during this difficult time. Our commitment to get youth working while keeping them and their employers safe is our government’s priority.
At this time we are asking all potential employers – non-profit and for profit – who are in need of assistance, to consider bringing on board a student or two. Certainly at this time, finding ways for young people to be employed is of particular importance.
Support for Vulnerable Canadians
The government of Canada has announced support for vulnerable Canadians. This includes:
- $7.5 million for Kids Help Phone;
- $9 million for the United Way to support seniors with grocery deliveries, medicine and wellness checks;
- $157.5 million to those experiencing homelessness;
- $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres; and
- An additional $100 million for food banks across Canada.
Provincial and Municipal Support
The Government of British Columbia has a number of provincial supports available, including information about the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers, rent relief, and BC Hydro bill deferral. Please visit the Government of BC’s website for a list of support measures in place for British Columbians.
In the City of North Vancouver, City Ambassadors will be in parks and on trails monitoring for physical distancing. All city playgrounds and outdoor park facilities are closed – including sport courts and fields for games and practices. Fields are open for casual use only, and trails and washrooms remain open. City Hall is temporarily closed to the public, but core services remain uninterrupted. In the District of North Vancouver, facilities and spaces are also temporarily closed in coordination with the City, North Vancouver Recreation and Culture Commission and Vancouver Coastal Health.
Holidays and Public Gatherings
During the month of April, many faith-based communities will be observing important religious events. We encourage members to refrain from gathering in large groups. A letter from Dr. Theresa Tam is available on my website in multiple translations. Please share this message with local faith-based communities and groups – this will protect the health and safety of the community.
National COVID-19 Volunteer Campaign
The Government of Canada is working with provincial and territorial governments to respond to COVID-19. They are seeking volunteers to help in the following areas:
- Case tracking and contact tracing;
- Health system surge capacity; and
- Case data collection and reporting.
This work will be completed from home, hours of work are flexible and schedules will be established based on needs and availability. To learn more about this opportunity and to apply, visit this link.
Support for Indigenous Communities during COVID-19
Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is working closely with First Nations partners, the Public Health Agency of Canada, other federal departments, and provincial and territorial counterparts to protect the health and safety of First Nations, and support First Nations communities in responding to the public health crisis. Our government has launched two funding tracks: $100 million for areas of federal responsibility, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis community public health needs, and $305 million for a new Indigenous Community Support Fund.
Mental Health Support
A global pandemic can be a stressful time for individuals. Below are resources available through the Canadian Mental Health Association and community organizations in North Vancouver, to support your mental health during this unprecedented time:
- Stressed due to the pandemic
- Caring for children in the COVID-19 crisis
- Resource Hub for mental health and wellness
- Foundry North and West Vancouver for youth
- North Shore Stress and Anxiety Clinic
- Family Services of the North Shore
- Kids Help Phone
- North Vancouver School District Resources for children and youth.
The best way to show our appreciation to our front-line workers is to stay home. This is a challenging time for everyone, but we can make a huge difference if we all do our part. Let’s do it for our families, our neighbours and for our community. We’ve got this, North Vancouver! If you have any questions, send an email to Jonathan.Wilkinson@parl.gc.ca or phone us at 604-775-6333.