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Emergency Response Fund for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Individuals Working in the Arts

The Canada Council for the Arts, the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, the Indigenous Screen Office, and the Inuit Art Foundation  announced today the creation of Community Cares: Emergency Response Fund for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Individuals Working in the Arts, a new time-limited emergency response fund to support First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals working in the arts and culture sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. Indigenous communities have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a special fund devised to provide immediate support to Indigenous artists and cultural workers adversely affected by the pandemic. First Nations, Inuit or Métis artists and cultural workers who have lost income due to COVID -19 may apply to the fund. Loss of income may be due to self-isolation, postponement or cancellation of travel, events or market access, reduced sales of work, or due to caring for family members or children, as well as other disruptions caused by the pandemic. This fund will be open to any individuals who are First Nations, Inuit or Métis, working in the arts and culture sector, whose practice has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Support in the amount of $1,000 will be distributed to successful applicants. Applicants will be able to apply online through the websites of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, the Indigenous Screen Office, and the Inuit Art Foundation. Funds will be distributed by the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective. The Canada Council for the Arts has committed $250,000 to support this initiative. QUOTES: “The Council seeks to help support First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists and arts and cultural organizations through this challenging time. We are grateful to our partners for delivering this fund that will further Indigenous creation, which is essential to the renewal of relationships between Indigenous artists and Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences.” - Simon Brault, CEO and Director, Canada Council for the Arts. “This fund represents a truly community led initiative to support Indigenous artists in this tumultuous time. The Canada Council for the Arts is proud to partner with the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, the Indigenous Screen Office, and the Inuit Art Foundation to respond to our community’s needs and the challenges our artists and cultural workers face.” - Steven Loft, Director, Creating, Knowing and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, Canada Council for the Arts. “For many of us at the ACC-CCA, our artists, curators, and cultural workers are where we find our community, our family, our worldviews, our sense of self and how we belong in the world. This community is in pain right now. To truly survive this crisis, we need to care for cultural health as well as our bodily health; we must come together in spirit if not in physicality to ensure our whole community is supported since we cannot thrive in isolation. We hope that this fund can offer some care and support to our community because we need you.” - John Hampton, Director of Programs, Mackenzie Art Gallery, and Co-Chair, Aboriginal Curatorial Collective. “The Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance is honoured to be part of this unique program to support Indigenous performing artists in this unprecedented time. The Canada Council shows great leadership in providing funding on this scale through Indigenous community partners, in getting funds into the Indigenous performers who truly need it.” - Cynthia Lickers-Sage, Executive Director of the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance. “With productions shut down across the country since March, we know that our community of Indigenous screen-based creators will benefit from this initiative. We would like to thank the Canada Council for taking this unique, community-based approach that will allow us to reach Indigenous artists and creators across all areas of practice.” - Kerry Swanson, Managing Director, Indigenous Screen Office. “As the President of the Board of the Inuit Art Foundation, I wish to express our gratitude for this support. Inuit artists of all genres are struggling right now because of cancelled exhibitions, shows, speaking engagements and sales. We welcome the opportunity to ensure that this assistance reaches Inuit and Inuvialuit across the North and South who need this support. I’d like to thank the Canada Council for the Arts, Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, Indigenous Screen Office and Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance for coming together and supporting the Indigenous art community when it’s needed most. Nakummek!” - Dr. Heather Igloliorte, Board President, Inuit Art Foundation. To reduce barriers to access and distribute funding quickly, applicants will be able to apply online, by video submission, or by telephone if they do not have internet access. The Canada Council for the Arts, the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, the Indigenous Screen Office, and the Inuit Art Foundation will release further information in once the initiative is open for applications next week Quick Facts: Community Cares is in addition to funding available through Canada Council’s existing funding program: Creating, Knowing and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples which supports Indigenous individuals, groups, Indigenous-led arts organizations and arts/cultural sector development organizations that foster a vital and resilient Indigenous arts ecosystem. As part of the 2016-21 Strategic Plan, the Council committed to tripling its support to Indigenous creation, as well as furthering truth and reconciliation, and decolonization and, fostering a shared future. The Council’s overall funding to Indigenous artists, groups and arts organizations totaled $17.8M in 2018-19; Council is on track to increase its investment from $6.3M in 2015-16 to $18.9M in 2020-21. Community Cares is one of four special emergency funding initiatives offered by the Canada Council in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indigenous artists, groups and organizations were also able to benefit from funds offered to eligible arts organizations experiencing a significant financial impact, and the micro innovation grants that support digital creation and dissemination. Deadline – anytime until 15 September 2020 or until the funding envelope has been allocated. Amount – $1 000 Notification of results – we will do our best to respond within 2 weeks of submission, depending on the volume of applications received. Application limits – You can only apply once to this fund Applications to this fund do not count towards the maximum number of applications that can be submitted to the Canada Council each year (from 1 March – 28/29 February). Applicants – Who can apply? Only individuals may apply. This fund is not available to groups, collectives or organizations. I want to apply – What else do I need to know? This fund is open to individuals who are First Nations, Inuit or Métis, working in the arts and culture sector, whose practice has been negatively impacted by COVID-19.  Applicants must be over 18 years of age and be Canadian citizens or eligible for citizenship. All you need to do is submit the information below by email, video or telephone. If you have any barriers to completing the online application, including language or technology barriers, please contact us at 1-647-427-8074 ext. 103 or for accommodation options. For services in Inuktitut, please call 1-647-498-7717. If you have questions about this fund please email Please note these funds are limited. Please be mindful of applying if you have access to other financial opportunities or resources. Source

Ontario Provides Additional Funding to Support Municipalities & Urban Indigenous Community Partners

New Investment Will Be Used to Develop Long-Term, Innovative Housing Solutions The Ontario government is providing municipalities and urban Indigenous community partners with an additional $150 million to continue to protect vulnerable people from COVID-19 by improving homeless shelters and creating opportunities for longer-term housing. This investment more than doubles the funding currently flowing to local municipal service managers and urban Indigenous program administrators through the Social Services Relief Fund. Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford and Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. "We are standing shoulder to shoulder with our municipal and Indigenous community partners to ensure our most vulnerable citizens are protected during these difficult times," said Premier Ford. "Today's investment builds on our collective efforts to help people get back on their feet quickly and recover from this global crisis. We will continue to be a champion for our municipal partners with the federal government to ensure a strong recovery for communities across the province." Municipalities and urban Indigenous community partners will be able to use this funding for long-term, innovative housing solutions resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. They can renovate shelters or purchase new facilities that will help with physical distancing in the short term and support longer-term, more sustainable solutions to homelessness. In addition, this funding could also be used to provide vulnerable people with food, shelter and supplies. The funding is another way that Ontario is coming to the table to support municipalities as it continues to work with provincial partners and the federal government on municipal supports through the federal government's proposed Safe Restart Framework. "We know that municipal and Indigenous partners are facing extraordinary challenges due to this global pandemic," said Minister Clark. "That's why we continue to step up to provide financial support and other measures to help our local partners. This investment is another step our government is taking to protect our most vulnerable, but we know more needs to be done. We continue to work closely with our federal and municipal partners to ensure communities across Ontario have the support they need." With this additional funding, the government is providing municipal service managers and urban Indigenous program administrators with $350 million through the Social Services Relief Fund. This builds on the support being delivered as part of the COVID-19 Action Plan to Protect Vulnerable Ontarians. The action plan provides enhanced screening and testing in high-risk settings such as shelters and homes, including for those with developmental disabilities, and provides personal protective equipment and training so staff will know what to do in the event of an outbreak. "The Government's Social Services Relief Fund was an immediate response to COVID-19 related municipal costs when it was announced in March. The initial $148 million literally saved lives in communities across Ontario," said Jamie McGarvey, President of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. "The additional $150 million announced today will help offset the added costs of addressing homelessness and protecting the most vulnerable from COVID-19." Quick Facts In March, Ontario announced an initial investment of $148 million to support municipalities, food banks, homeless shelters and individuals. This funding is already helping individuals and families in financial crisis. Another $52 million expanded the Emergency Assistance program administered through Ontario Works for people in emergency situations and made more support available to vulnerable social assistance recipients to meet a broad range of needs. Additional Resources Learn more about Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. Learn more about COVID-19 Action Plan to Protect Vulnerable Ontarians. Find your local Service Manager to see what housing supports are available in your community. Source

Indigenous Services Canada: Travel Guidance to First Nations for Health Professionals

Guidance for health professionals considering travel to First Nations Communities to provide services Target Audience: Community leadership, employers of health professionals, and health professionals. Health professionals include, but are not limited to, nurses, environmental public health officers, mental wellness workers, dentists, and oral health care workers. Background: The COVID-19 global pandemic is an unprecedented situation that continues to evolve. First Nations and Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is faced with numerous challenges in the safe delivery of health services in First Nations communities. ISC is committed to working continuously with communities, staff and service delivery partners to ensure access to needed health services for community members, while minimizing risks. Many First Nations communities are vulnerable to infectious disease outbreaks, a result of social, environmental and economic factors such as inadequate housing, food insecurity, and pre-existing health conditions. The remoteness and isolation of some communities may serve as a barrier to prevent importation of the COVID-19 virus. However, if introduction of the virus occurs, a serious outbreak can quickly develop. The threats from an outbreak in a remote community can be disproportionate to the size of the community. Many First Nations communities have adopted strategies to prevent the introduction of COVID-19, e.g., by restricting all non-essential travel in and out of the community. The risks to a community from health professionals travelling into the community to provide services may vary depending on: the nature of the service; client vulnerability; ability to implement risk mitigation strategies (e.g. infection prevention and control practices); and the incidence of COVID-19 in the area where the health professional comes from. These risks should be weighed against the risk of clients being exposed to the virus during travel out of community or at their final destination to receive these services. FNIHB has implemented Directives for Nurses and Environmental Public Health Officers employed by ISC. However, First Nation communities, particularly those that are remote and isolated, often receive health services from other local, regional, provincial or private health organizations that have historically provided in-person services. Purpose: This guidance is intended to provide general advice to First Nation communities, employers of health professionals, and health professionals travelling into First Nations communities, to help minimize risks of COVID-19 transmission. This guidance is not intended to address all situations and communities are encouraged to assess and consider all potential risks and factors unique to their needs and circumstances. Procedures: The community and health professionals should use alternate service delivery approaches whenever possible, before considering in-person delivery. See ANNEX A: Guidance for Communities and Health Professionals Considering Travel to Communities to Provide Services – Decision Tree. Decisions should be risk informed. Please refer to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Risk-informed decision-making guidelines for workplaces and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic Decisions should be based on current public health situations and community specific considerations, as advised by local public health authorities. All health professionals and their employers are responsible for: Ensuring occupational health and safety practices are followed and ensuring infection prevention and control practices within their workplace/context align with local public health authority recommendations; Being familiar with, and abiding by, the applicable Federal/Provincial/Territorial and professional college/regulatory body requirements and any additional community requirements governing service provision. In addition, health professionals should always self-screen before going into communities. This includes prior to travel and during their visit in First Nations communities. If they have symptoms, they should not go into First Nations communities. ISC has shared the following Directives with ISC and First Nations Health Authority Directors of Nursing: UPDATED Healthcare Professional Self- Screening of COVID-19 Symptoms and Exposure During Assignment in First Nations Communities. UPDATED Self-Screening for COVID-19 All Healthcare Professionals Prior to Assignment intro First Nation Communities If not provided along with guidance, the above Directives are available through the Regional Nursing offices. While in the community and in the workplace, all health professionals should limit their contact with community members and others (e.g., contractors and other health providers) and maintain physical distancing of 2 meters (6 feet). Where physical distancing is not practicable, a non-medical mask must be worn. While in the workplace, continue to use appropriate PPE for the task being conducted. Carry an adequate supply of PPE. ANNEX A: Guidance for health professionals considering travel to First Nations Communities to provide services – DECISION TREE IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS: Air travel: A person who cannot self-isolate for 14 days prior to travel CANNOT use the ISC Collaborative Air Response Endeavour (ISC CARE) regularly scheduled charters for essential service providers. Guidance in this regard is available through ISC CARE. Sickness while in community: Health professionals should establish a self-isolation plan with communities in case they become ill while in the community. Download PDF

EDU Update regarding COVID-19, Memorandum: To Principals of First Nation/Federally Operated Schools

Memorandum to: Principals of Private Schools Principals of First Nation/Federally Operated Schools From: Jeff Butler Assistant Deputy Minister Student Support and Field Services Branch & Denise Dwyer Assistant Deputy Minister Indigenous Education and Well-Being Division We are committed to keeping you informed during the COVID-19 outbreak. As you are aware, the Government of Ontario has issued orders under the authority of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that require all private schools as defined in the Education Act, including First Nation/federally funded schools, to be closed. These orders have been extended to July 10, 2020. Note that the orders permit the provision of services online, by telephone or other remote means. The government of Ontario is following the orders of Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health and the experts at the COVID-19 Command Table to keep everyone safe. We will continue to act on the advice of Dr. Williams as the situation evolves. Private schools and First Nation/federally funded schools with specific questions about the applicability of the order to their operations or circumstances should consult with their legal counsel. Where access is considered, schools should discuss with their local public health unit regarding doing so in such a way that will minimize chance of exposure and comply with physical distancing and self-isolation requirements. We know the actions we are taking are affecting the lives and livelihoods of people across the province, but these are extraordinary times and we need to do whatever we can to keep individuals and families safe and stop the spread of this terrible virus. We recognize that you will have many additional questions and we are committed to providing additional information on an ongoing basis. For questions related to private schools, please contact For questions related to First Nation/federally funded schools, please contact Learn about how the government is supporting people, businesses and families during COVID-19 by visiting Thank you for your ongoing commitment to Ontario students and children.

Ontario Helping Youth Pursue New Opportunities

Province Investing in Projects that Will Make a Positive Difference in People’s Lives The Ontario government is investing more than $13 million to support community- driven and youth-led projects to improve the well-being of children, youth, and families facing economic and social barriers. The funding will flow through the 2020 Youth Opportunities Fund, a province-wide initiative that creates opportunities for young people and empowers and supports parents, guardians and caregivers. Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues. "It is our responsibility as government to support our young people and help them find a path to lifelong success," said Premier Ford. "This funding will enable youth across the province to develop the skills they need to be better engaged in school, empower girls and young women to lead, address racism and discrimination, and give young people access to the programs that will help them become the next generation of leaders and community builders." The 2020 Youth Opportunities Fund will provide financial support to 43 community organizations that will benefit youth aged 12 to 25, and their families. Projects receiving funding this year include: Black Moms Connection ― focusing on economic empowerment for Black mothers across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Immigrants francophones d'Afrique pour l'intégration et le développement (IFAPID)― to support newcomers from Francophone African nations to navigate financial systems in Canada. Earthling Art Collective ― to provide development and mentorship opportunities for youth leaving care and the justice system in Thunder Bay. Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment & Training ― to help Indigenous youth in the GTA access employment and training opportunities in the skilled trades. "The Youth Opportunities Fund is a way for our government to form partnerships with grassroots projects and community leaders who are creating change. Together, we can build an Ontario that gives everybody an equal chance to succeed," said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. "By believing in our youth and supporting them today, we can help develop the knowledge and skills they need to reach their full potential," said Minister Dunlop. "I truly believe this initiative will go a long way towards developing our next generation of leaders. The projects selected for this year's Youth Opportunities Fund grants are wonderful examples of how community-led initiatives can make a positive difference in young people's lives." The Youth Opportunities Fund provides funding through the following three granting streams: Youth Innovations ― Provides youth facing multiple barriers with the resources they need to design and deliver new and inspiring solutions to issues that matter to them and their communities. Family Innovations ― Invests in local, community-driven groups delivering culturally relevant projects that empower and support parents, guardians and caregivers who face barriers and challenges to child and family wellbeing. System Innovations ― Supports organizations that are strengthening the quality and responsiveness of systems so that they may work better for young people facing multiple barriers. "By increasing financial literacy for Black mothers and their families, it can change where they live, how they raise their kids, where they work and more. The impact will have a positive ripple effect for generations to come," said Tanya Hayles, Founder, Black Moms Connection. "Earthling Art Collective is pleased to receive a Youth Opportunities grant so we can continue to engage youth in a meaningful capacity through one-on-one mentorship and workshop facilitation. We look forward to continuing our mission of establishing a web of young creatives supported by our programming and extensive network of partners and collaborators," said Benjamin Murray, Director, Earthling Art Collective. Quick Facts Youth Opportunities Fund grants are administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Applications for the 2021 Youth Opportunities Fund grants will open in fall 2020. Additional Resources Learn more about the Youth Opportunities Fund Full list of community organizations receiving funding through the 2020 Youth Opportunities Fund Source

Temporary Pandemic Pay for MCCSS funded frontline workers

Memorandum from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services on the Temporary Pandemic Pay - Allocations, Guidelines, and FAQs Download Memorandum Guidelines for the Administration of Pandemic Pay for Eligible Frontline Workers The temporary pandemic pay is aimed at those workers who are critically important to the province’s response to the crisis, caring for the most vulnerable, and are at a heightened risk of exposure to COVID-19 because of their work on the frontline. The goals of this temporary pandemic pay are to provide additional support and relief to frontline workers; encourage staff to continue working and attract prospective workers; and to help maintain safe staffing levels and the operation of critical frontline services. Within the MCCSS-funded sectors, this is limited to frontline workers within residential/congregate care settings or those who are working directly with vulnerable populations, in home or community care settings where maintaining physical distancing is difficult or not possible, as outlined in these Guidelines. Download full Guidelines Instructions for the Administration of Pandemic Pay for Eligible Frontline Workers Your organization might include MCCSS-funded positions eligible to receive pandemic pay. While most service providers will receive payments based on the ministry’s latest agency staffing data, in your instance we do not have the latest staffing data and require your assistance to help us determine your payment amount. As per the instructions in the letter attached, we ask that you please review the attached guidelines and submit the attached Eligible Workers Template no later than June 30, 2020 to help us process your payment quickly. Download full instruction document Eligible Workers Template Cost estimate template for eligible workers Download Excel Template If you have any questions, please contact Rob Lawson at or Durga Thiru at and they would be pleased to discuss these details with you.

First Nations & Indigenous Health Centres in Northern Ontario – Accessing PPE & Critical Supplies

First Nations and Indigenous Health Centres in Northern Ontario can access Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as gloves, masks and isolation gowns, and Critical Supplies, such as swabs and disinfectant wipes, through the Ontario Health North Regional PPE & Critical Supplies Table, which is supported by the Northern Supply Chain. First Nations and Indigenous Health Centres will not be charged for accessing these supplies needed in the containment of the COVID-19 Pandemic. How it works: Communities and organizations should use their usual purchasing processes in addition to looking for alternative supply sources before contacting the table with an escalation request. If a community’s PPE or critical supplies fall below 14 days worth of supplies, please escalate this need to the Regional PPE Table/ Northern Supply Chain’s attention through this online Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Intake Form Information on how to use this form and other resources can be found here: Any questions about this process or vendors you are dealing with can email: Two Co-leads supporting this Regional Table and can be contacted for more information: Michael Giardetti, Director, Northern Supply Chain, ( Matthew Saj, Regional Manager, Northern Supply Chain ( ) Download PDF

Sioux Lookout Airport: Information for passengers travelling to northern communities amid COVID-19

Information for Passengers This information is for passengers at the Sioux Lookout Airport who: Are attempting to return to a northern community AND Cannot board their flight because they failed the screening process defined by Transport Canada Please call the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) for more information: 1-866-468-2240 Monday to Friday: 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM After hours: 1-866-475-6505 If NWHU instructs you to self-isolate: Contact your Community Leadership or Health Director to determine what you should do prior to returning home. Contact Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) Hostel at (807) 737-3850 to see if you are eligible to stay for the duration of your isolation. If you don’t have anywhere to self-isolate in Sioux Lookout, contact the Out of the Cold Isolation Shelter (ages 16+). Let staff know that you’re showing symptoms and have been told to self-isolate. o Out of the Cold Isolation Shelter
25 Fair Street, Sioux Lookout, ON (807) 737-7499 If you need a ride to the Isolation Shelter, call and request the isolation van from: SLFNHA Hostel Transport at (807) 737-6166 Monday-Friday: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM Saturday-Sunday: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM If you do not have access to a phone, ask an airline agent to direct you.

Thunder Bay Airport: Information for passengers travelling to northern communities amid COVID-19

This information is for passengers at the Thunder Bay International Airport who: Are attempting to return to a northern community, AND Cannot board their flight because they failed the screening process defined by Transport Canada Please call the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) for more information: (807) 625-5900 OR 1-888-294-6630 (toll free) Monday to Thursday: 8:30am – 7:00pm Friday: 8:30am – 4:30pm Saturday to Sunday: 9:00am – 1:00pm After hours: call the Thunder Bay Answering Service at (807) 624-1280 If Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) instructs you to self-isolate and: You are a Non-Insured Health Benefits client currently on medical travel: Contact Wequedong Lodge at (807) 623-1432 for a place to stay. If you do not have access to a phone, ask an airline agent to direct you to the Wequedong direct line. You are traveling for non-medical reasons: Contact your Community Leadership or Health Director to determine what you should do prior to returning home. If you don’t have anywhere to self-isolate in Thunder Bay, you may be able to stay at a hotel or access emergency shelter. See reverse for more information. Hotels: Some hotels are accepting guests who need to self-isolate. Make sure to call ahead and let them know that you’re showing symptoms and have been told to self-isolate. Valhalla Inn 1 Valhalla Inn Rd Thunder Bay, ON (807) 577-1121 *Offering reduced rate Comfort Inn 660 W Arthur St Thunder Bay, ON (807) 475-315 Emergency Shelter: Emergency shelter is available for people who have no other place to self-isolate. More information about how to access emergency shelter will be provided when you call the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (see front for contact information).

Prime Minister announces new mobile app to help notify Canadians of COVID-19 exposure

As Canada begins to ease restrictions and take steps to restart the economy, the Government of Canada is working closely with provinces and territories to keep Canadian families and communities safe and healthy. The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced the upcoming launch of a new nation-wide mobile app to provide notifications of exposure to COVID-19 across Canada, with beta testing to begin in Ontario. The app, originally developed by the Government of Ontario, will help Canadians and public health officials identify and isolate the spread of the virus more quickly, which is an important step toward containing the virus and safely restarting the economy. Use of the app will be voluntary. If someone tests positive for COVID-19, a health care provider will give them a unique temporary code, so they can upload their status anonymously to a national network. Other users who have downloaded the app and come in contact with that person will be notified, through the app, that they may have been exposed to the virus. The app will also provide users with information on steps they can take to keep themselves and others safe, and we are working with the provinces and territories so they can customize public health information based on their own jurisdiction. The Canadian Digital Service is leading the development of the app, in collaboration with the Ontario Digital Service and building upon technology developed by Shopify volunteers. The app will undergo a security review by BlackBerry. It incorporates Bluetooth technology provided by Apple and Google to anonymously record instances where users have come into close contact. To protect confidentiality and privacy, the app will not disclose the identity of users. This information will never be shared with any other entity, will not be stored by the app, and will never leave the user’s phone. No personal information is collected by the app, and it does not track the user’s location to ensure the privacy of all Canadians. The app will be available to Canadians for free download in the coming weeks, with health authorities in Ontario being the first to distribute the unique, temporary codes to people who test positive for COVID-19. We are working with the other provinces and territories to make it available in their jurisdictions as well. We anticipate other provinces and territories will come on board in the coming weeks and months. The Government of Canada and provincial and territorial governments will continue to work together to restart our economy through a gradual and phased approach, while protecting the health of all Canadians. Quotes “As we move forward with restarting the economy, we must keep working together to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. This new mobile app will put the privacy of Canadians first, and act as an extra measure of safety to help protect our families and communities from the virus.”
The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada “This app is another way for Canadians to keep each other safe by protecting themselves and their loved ones. It will complement other public health measures to limit outbreaks of COVID-19, including testing and contact tracing.” 
The Hon. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health “The exposure notification app is a secure and easy to use digital tool that will help protect the health and safety of Canadians. Today’s announcement shows the unprecedented collaboration happening across Canada during this crisis. It is an example of what we can deliver for Canadians when we work in the open, together, across jurisdictions and sectors. I ask all Canadians to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by downloading this app.”
The Hon. Joyce Murray, Minister of Digital Government “Federal, provincial, and territorial governments agree on the value of innovative solutions to assist in reopening the economy, supporting individuals’ risk management, and further flattening the curve. The advisory council will help bring together some of Canada's best and brightest minds to ensure that the application upholds the highest standards of trust for the benefit of Canadians.”
The Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Quick Facts The app will be available for Ontarians to download for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in the coming weeks. The technology will be owned and operated by the Government of Canada, and published under an open source licence. The protection of Canadians’ privacy is a priority for the Government of Canada. The app will undergo a thorough privacy assessment, and all data provided to the app will be securely stored and protected. The federal government will not store personal health information. The government is engaging with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to ensure that the app complies with federal privacy requirements in its design and deployment. The Government of Canada will establish an external advisory council that includes regional representation, to provide guidance during the roll-out of the app with a view to ensuring it operates in a transparent way and in the public interest. Source

Webinar: Traditional Indigenous Approaches to Mental Health and Well-Being of Health Care Providers

The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, in partnership with Chiefs of Ontairo, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, CAMH: Shkaabe Makwa, Indigenous Services Canada is hosting the Traditional Indigenous Approaches to Mental Health and Well Being of Health Care Providers Supporting First Nations During the COVID-19 Pandemic Webinar. Join us for this free, informative webinar for nurses and other health When: June 24, 2020 Time: 6:00 - 7:00 (CDT) 7:00 - 8:00 (EDT) Guest Speaker: Kahontakwas Diane Longboat, M.Ed. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Elder and Senior Project Manager Guiding Directions Implementation Understand the importance of positive mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic; Discuss the different emotions health care providers may experience and self reflect; Understand self-care strategies that health care providers can employ to support their positive mental health and well-being (i.e. using Indigenous and Non-Indigenous practices); and Share tools and resources for health care providers to support their own mental health and well-being To register or for more info visit: Download PDF

Federal Funding Opportunity: Local Food Infrastructure Fund

Step 1. What this program offers The Local Food Infrastructure Fund (LFIF) is a five-year, $50 million initiative ending March 31, 2024. The program is part of the Government of Canada’s Food Policy which is Canada’s roadmap for a healthier and more sustainable food system in Canada. The LFIF objective is to strengthen food systems and to facilitate access to safe and nutritious food for at-risk populations. The LFIF's objectives are to: improve access to safe, healthy and culturally-diverse food while promoting community development support local economies improve health outcomes for Canadians most at-risk promote environmentally sustainable food systems The fund supports community-based, not-for-profit organizations to improve their food systems through investments in infrastructure that are directly related to addressing food insecurities and increasing the accessibility of healthy, nutritious, and ideally, local foods within their community Step 2. Who is eligible Eligible applicants Eligible applicants are not-for-profit organizations that have been in operation for at least two years as a legal entity capable of entering into a legally-binding agreement. Furthermore, applicants must be able to demonstrate the ability to maintain the proposed operations beyond the funding period. Eligible applicants consist of: community or charitable organizations Indigenous groups not-for-profit co-operatives Eligible projects Projects should be mostly infrastructure specific, community-driven and dedicated to improving access to safe and healthy foods for Canadians at risk of food insecurity. The risk factors and prevalence of food insecurity vary from community to community and can impact Canadians in both rural and urban environments through a lack of access to affordable and nutritious food choices. For the purpose of this fund, Canadians at risk of food insecurities are part of one of the following groups: Indigenous Persons who are homeless or street-involved Low-income households Isolated and rural communities Persons with disabilities Other groups with social or employment barriers including literacy and numeracy Newcomers to Canada (including refugees) Visible minorities Women Youth Seniors LGBTQ2 community Official language minority communities Other (please specify) Eligible projects can range from simpler infrastructure requests such as purchasing a refrigerator for a food bank to more complex requests that strengthen local food systems, such as projects that integrate multiple areas of the value chain through the creation of partnerships. The applicant must demonstrate how their project will be integrated into and strengthen the local food system and how it will impact the well-being of community members. Step 3. How to apply Before you apply, please read the applicant guide for detailed information on eligibility criteria, support and funding available, and the application process. 1. Complete the application form and required documents A complete application package consists of: a completed Project application form (PDF) (required) Signature of Applicant Authorized Representative (PDF) confirmation of legal entity and/or not-for-profit status letters of Financial Support, and if applicable, Project Endorsement Letters 2. Submit your completed application form and documents To apply online, download, complete and submit the Project application form (PDF). You can apply by email to Contact the program to apply by mail or fax and submit a complete application package. Step 4. After you apply Once your application has been submitted, an acknowledgment notice will be sent to you. Note: Applicants should not consider an application as submitted to the program until an acknowledgment notice is received. After your application has been received, AAFC verifies that all required forms and declarations have been completed and there is sufficient detail in the application for a full assessment. When the application has been deemed complete and ready for assessment, notice will be provided to you. Service standards for assessments begin only once the application is deemed to be complete. Please note that even if a project meets all eligibility criteria, the submission of an application creates no obligation on the part of the Minister or of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada officials to provide funding for the proposed project. The Minister retains discretion to determine, based on other public policy and public interest considerations, whether an application that meets the criteria identified in this guide will ultimately receive funding. Link to applicant guide

Beaches and Campsites to Open at Ontario Parks

People encouraged to enjoy the outdoors responsibly during COVID-19 As part of the Ontario government's Stage 2 reopening plan, more facilities and services will be available at provincial parks in certain regions beginning on June 12, 2020. Gradually over the next several weeks, Ontario Parks will start opening campgrounds, providing more washrooms and drinking water, along with roofed accommodations, park store and rental operations, visitor centres, and sports fields. It's important to check what facilities and services are available before visiting a provincial park. "Due to the tremendous progress we have made to contain the spread of COVID-19, more services and activities will soon be available at our provincial parks," said Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. "While this is encouraging, it is not business as usual. I encourage everyone to be responsible and continue to follow public health advice, including physical distancing, when enjoying our outdoor amenities." The following is a list of recreational activities and facilities that will be opening soon at provincial parks in regions entering Stage 2: On June 12, beaches at Ontario Parks will begin opening to the public as maintenance and water testing are completed. On June 15, campers enrolled in this year's Ontario Parks' Seasonal Campsite Program will now have access to their campsites at the majority of participating provincial parks. Those who were preselected in 2019 for the program will be contacted by Ontario Parks directly regarding the status of their reservation. Beginning the week of June 22, all other campgrounds in regions entering Stage 2 will gradually open at provincial parks, along with washrooms, water taps and trailer sanitation stations. Roofed accommodations (e.g., yurts, cabins and lodges, where available), park store and rental operations, visitor centers, and sports fields will be phased in over the next several weeks. Facilities such as showers, laundry, group camping, picnic shelter rentals and swimming pools will remain closed for the rest of the 2020 season. Visitors should check to see what facilities and services are available before visiting a provincial park. To help protect visitors and staff, Ontario Parks will be implementing measures to address overcrowding and promote physical distancing in park spaces and buildings during busy visitation times, by limiting occupancy for day-use and camping in select provincial parks. This may include limiting the number of daily vehicle permits sold or the number of campsites available for reservations. Ministry officers will be present in provincial parks to provide information, assist with emergencies and enforce provincial park rules and regulations. Additionally, these areas may be patrolled by local police or other enforcement agencies. Quick Facts Any reservations for campgrounds (and select backcountry campsites that currently remain closed) up to and into the week of June 22 will be automatically cancelled and you will receive a full refund with no penalty. To ensure the safety of visitors and staff, Ontario Parks will continue to be guided by public health advice and will continually assess and adjust operational and safety protocols as required. Ontario Parks manages 340 provincial parks and 295 conservation reserves, covering over nine million hectares of land in the province. Ontario Parks operates almost 19,000 campground campsites throughout the province. Additional Resources Visit Ontario Parks for up to date information about your local park Find a provincial park or conservation reserve near you Learn more about the first phase of Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19

Chiefs of Ontario - MEMORANDUM: Emergency Measures Update

TO: First Nation Leadership FROM: Tracy Antone, Chief Operating Officer DATE: June 10, 2020 RE: COVID-19 – Emergency Measures Update – Chiefs of Ontario With the ever-changing updates and concerns of COVID-19; this memorandum will serve to advise that the Chiefs of Ontario office in Toronto will now be closed until September 1, 2020. We have within our office, established a Health and Safety Committee to begin discussions on our re-opening in phases during the last few weeks. We have recently received a news report that Mayor John Tory requests Employers to consider not opening until September based on the information coming out regarding the pandemic and the numbers of people with the virus currently in Toronto. Toronto is considered the epi-centre of the pandemic. With this in mind, we met with the Chiefs of Ontario Board of Directors on June 4, 2020 to request that the Chiefs of Ontario continue to stay closed and to ensure the health and safety of our staff. The Board has accepted this recommendation and therefore we will continue to operate as we have been with staff working from home during this time. Staff will be working from home and following up on all queries from Leadership. Below are the Directors names and emails should you wish to contact them: Tracy Antone, Chief Operating Officer: Kathleen Padulo, Director of Environment: Denise Lofstrom, Director of Education: Scott Cavan, Director of Communications and Federal Affairs: Barret Dokis, Director of Policy and Provincial Affairs: Carmen Jones, Director of Health: Ruby Miller, Director of Social: We of course will be re-evaluating the situation over the summer months. Thank you.

Indigenous Grad 2020

Calling all Indigenous Graduates, Parents, Aunties and Uncles, Leaders, Friends, Teachers, Coaches, and Fans! Recognize the Indigenous graduates in your family and community from kindergarten to high school to college to university, and everything in between! 

Share images, videos, reflections on your favourite app (FB, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Vimeo) using the hashtag #IndigenousGrad2020.

We know it takes a community so let's be a community and let our graduates know we are proud of their accomplishments. We see you. We love you. We honour you. #IndigenousGrad2020

Indigenous Education Group: Virtual Speaker Series

Durham District School Board is offering an amazing line up of speakers that is open to everyone! June is National Indigenous History Month June 21- National Indigenous Peoples Day Throughout June, we continue to highlight and honour the outstanding contributions of Indigenous peoples while recognizing the histories and vitality of present-day Indigenous communities. It is a month for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to reflect upon the histories, contributions and resilience of Inuit, First Nations and Métis people. Learning accurate histories and recognizing the contributions and strength of Indigenous Peoples is one of the many steps on our journey of reconciliation. The Indigenous Education Department is pleased to offer a series of virtual guest speaker events entitled In Conversation With. These sessions will be open to all DDSB staff, families and Indigenous community members. This series will include: Nyle Johnston- June 4 @ 1:00- 2:00 Dr. Niigaan Sinclair- June 9 @ 1:00- 2:00 Dr. Karyn Recollect- June 11 @ 1:00- 2:00 Beedahbin Pelltier- June 16 @ 1:00- 2:00 Matt Stevens and Nimkii Osawamick- June 18 @ 1:00- 2:00 Dr. Pam Palmater- June 23 @ 1:00-2:00 Christ Belcourt- June 25 @ 1:00-2:30 For registration details, please refer to the poster attached or register for the session you wish to attend though this link

Stage 2 opening of Ontario, Summary of Provincial and Federal Accouncements

June 8 saw a number of announcements at the provincial and federal levels that reflect the changing nature of the pandemic. While the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is slowing down in many parts of our country and province, our leaders are still urging everyone to follow public health measures of physical distancing and wearing masks in our daily lives and while participating in public protests. Premier Ford announced the regions of the province and the businesses and services located there that will be permitted to reopen this Friday as part of Stage 2. He also announced an increase from five to 10 people who can socially gather, the opening of places of worship and a temporary ban on commercial evictions. At the national level, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that immediate family members will be able to enter Canada through the US border as well as some actions his government is taking in response to violence against Black Canadians and Indigenous people. Please find below more details about these announcements. At the end of this note, is an overview of COVID-19 trends in Ontario as reported by Dr. Williams and Dr. Yaffe as well as cases in Canada. Provincial Developments Ontario Permits More Businesses and Services to Reopen in the Coming Days: Today, Premier Ford announced that the Ontario government is moving forward with a regional approach to Stage 2 of reopening the province which will entail the following: Effective Friday, June 12, 2020 for all regions of Ontario the province will: increase the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people; allow all places of worship to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30% of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers; and soon release more details on child-care, summer camps, post-secondary education pilots to help people graduate, training centres, and public transit. Effective Friday, June 12, all Public Health Unit regions except those listed below will be allowed to move into Stage 2. At the beginning of each week, the government will provide an update on the ongoing assessment of these regions, and whether they are ready to move into Stage 2 by the end of the week. Those that will remain in Stage 1 include: Durham Region Health Department, Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit, Halton Region Public Health, Hamilton Public Health Services, Lambton Public Health, Niagara Region Public Health, Peel Public Health, Toronto Public Health, Windsor-Essex County Health Unit and York Region Public Health. Businesses and services permitted to reopen with proper health and safety measures in place in regions entering Stage 2 include: Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties; Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barbershops, hair salons and beauty salons; Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only; Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries; Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools; Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks; Camping at private campgrounds; Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing; Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations; Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people. Ontario Proposing Temporary Ban on Commercial Evictions: The Ontario government announced today that it intends to take action to protect commercial tenants from being locked out or having their assets seized by their landlords due to the negative impacts of COVID-19. The proposed changes to the Commercial Tenancies Act would, if passed, temporarily halt evictions of businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance. If passed, the legislation would reverse evictions that occurred on or after June 3, 2020 and until August 31, 2020. Ontario's commitment to Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) In partnership with the federal government, Ontario is committing $241 million to the CECRA for small businesses which is providing more than $900 million in support. CECRA for small businesses provides forgivable loans to eligible commercial landlords to help cover 50% of commercial rent for tenants for the months of April, May and June 2020. The tenant will be responsible for covering up to 25% of the rent, so that up to 75% of the rent is covered. Tenants and landlords can learn how much they may be eligible for here. Premier Ford said that only 7,000 landlords have taken the federal and provincial governments up on the rent abatement offer. Federal Developments Violence against Black Canadians and Indigenous People: The Prime Minister indicated that he spoke last week with the Commissioner of the RCMP and was assured by him that the RCMP will make use of all available tools to take quick and solid action to address issues of violence against Black Canadians and Indigenous People, including having RCPM officers wear body cameras. Prime Minister Trudeau also said that he will be discussing this issue during his weekly meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts and recognized that racism goes beyond policing and touches on the issue of poverty and mental health as well. In response to questions about attending a recent Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, the Prime Minister indicated that he felt it was important for him to be there to listen and "be able to understand and to share with people how important it was to act... I recognize that it is a difficult situation where we are trying to balance very important competing interests [COVID-19 public health measures]." Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Blair reaffirmed his commitment to improve Indigenous policing. Border Exemptions: The Prime Minister announced that staring this Tuesday the federal government will be introducing limited exemptions for immediate family members of citizens or permanent residents to enter Canada through the Canada-US border. These exemptions will include spouses or common-law partners, parents or step-parents, dependent children, guardians and tutors. Any person entering Canada will have to self-isolate for 14 days. We shall continue to monitor and report on COVID-19 related development at the provincial and federal level to make it easier for you to stay informed. Stay well! P.S. Join Ontario Public Health Association for a webinar presentation on our recent report Clearing the Air: How Electric Vehicles and Cleaner Trucks Can Reduce Pollution, Improve Health and Save Lives in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area' this Wednesday, June 10th 12:00p.m. - 1:00p.m with Sarah Buchanan, at Environmental Defence, Helen Doyle, Helen Doyle, OPHA's Environmental Health Work Group Chair, and Dr. Marianne Hatzopoulou and Laura Minet from the University of Toronto's Transportation and Air Quality Research Group. You can register here. Summary of Cases Trends of Cases in Ontario: Here are the key messages conveyed today by Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Williams and his Associate Dr. Yaffe: Many health units in Ontario have seen no new cases or limited small increases in cases over the last week; There has been a 7-day daily average of 329 new cases in Ontario of which the majority are from GTA; The increase of cases per day has been the lowest in the past two days. On Sunday, for example, there were 192 cases (this does not include the reporting delay between hospitals, labs and Public Health). There's a total of 30,860 cases in Ontario with 243 new cases reported today (around 215 cases from GTA); 79% of these cases or 24,492 cases have recovered; There's been a steady decrease in the number of people in the hospital (i.e. 603) while the number of people in ICU has remained steady with a 7-day average of 120 people per day; the number of people on a ventilator has declined to a 7-day low of 81 cases; Tragically, 2,450 deaths have been reported with 24 deaths in the last 24 hours; The number of active outbreaks, active cases in long-term care home residents and staff have been reducing steadily. The rate of increase in deaths has also been slowing down; There have been favourable trends for retirement homes with 26 active outbreaks and no new deaths; In the last week, Ontario has processed on average just over 19,000 tests a day, with record highs on Friday and Saturday, just around 23,000 daily tests; Today, Ontario completed 15,357 tests bringing the total in Ontario to 866,889 tests; While the number of tests in increasing, the number of new cases is not increasing, which provincial public health leaders are taking as an encouraging and that the province is ready to enter Stage 2. Cases in Canada: Total number of cases: 95,699; an increase of 642 cases Resolved: 54,233 (57%) Deaths: 7,800 (8%) People tested: 50,462 people tested per million Percent positivity: 5%

NAN Memo- $650 Million in Further Support for Indigenous Communities

June 3, 2020 On May 29, 2020, the Government of Canada announced a $650 million three-pillar investment targeted to Indigenous communities and on-reserve individuals. Full details on the rollout of this funding have not been announced and we are providing this update as preliminary information only.  As we have further information including what funding will be going directly to communities to support COVID-19 efforts, we will update the leadership and our partners accordingly. Background On March 18, 2020, the federal government announced two specific funds to support Indigenous communities across Canada. The $305 million Community Support Fund, and a separate $15 million investment to go towards organizations that support urban and off-reserve Indigenous individuals. The $15 million was proposal based and closed to applications in mid-April. On May 21, 2020, the government announced $75 million in new funding for Indigenous organizations providing services to Indigenous peoples in urban centres and off-reserve. The latest $650 million investment commitment consists of: $285.1 million to support the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities. The investment will fund community-led responses to the pandemic and provide targeted increases in primary health care resources for First Nation communities. In case of outbreaks, this funding can be drawn upon to provide surge capacity and additional support for community-based services in First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities. $270 million to supplement the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program to address increased demand on the program, which will help individuals and families meet their essential living expenses. It will also help hire additional staff to better serve First Nation communities and connect individuals to other government programs. $44.8 million over five years to build 12 new shelters, which will help protect and support Indigenous women and girls experiencing and fleeing violence. This funding will help build 10 shelters in First Nation communities on-reserve across the country, and two in the territories, to support Indigenous women and children. The government will also provide $40.8 million to support operational costs for these new shelters over the first five years, and $10.2 million annually ongoing. Also announced was $1 million a year ongoing, starting this year, to support engagement with Métis leaders and service providers on shelter provision and community-led violence prevention projects for Métis women, girls, and LGBTQ and two-spirit people. Key Points Funding for additional health care resources in First Nations communities will support: Increasing the number of health care providers to provide surge capacity. Delivering up to 160 temporary assessment, screening, and isolation units, which includes retooling of existing facilities, ready-to-move trailers, and mobile structures. Medical supplies and equipment in health care facilities. First Nations administer the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program. Program staff members play an important role in helping individuals with other needs, including providing referrals to mental health and addictions counselling, and helping families find and apply for appropriate government benefits, such as Employment Insurance, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, and the Canada Child Benefit. 10 new shelters in First Nation communities on-reserve will be funded through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Shelter Enhancement Program, and two new shelters in the territories will be funded through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund. Both programs will offer forgivable loans for up to 100 per cent of the total eligible capital costs of construction. The process to access the funding for the shelters will be through an Expression of Interest. First Nations on-reserve across the country and Indigenous governments and/or organizations in the territories will be eligible to submit proposals. As of March 2020, the Family Violence Prevention Program provides operational funding for a network of 46 shelters for women and children living on reserve and in Yukon that provides places of refuge and services for women and children fleeing violence. The additional investments will bring the number of program-funded shelters to 58. Eligibility & How to Apply These programs are targeted to First Nation communities and members living on-reserve. Information on how to access funding for increased public health capacity is expected to be available through ISC regional offices. Information on how to apply for On-Reserve Income Assistance is available here. Note: there is no specified deadline, but the application process depends on location. NAN will work with the Minister’s office to obtain more details on how this funding will be released. We will provide this information to our communities as it becomes available. Download Memo Visit Nishnawbe Aski Nations COVID-19 site

Ontario Improving Broadband and Cell Service for Rural Communities

Connecting Residents and Businesses to the 21st Century Digital Economy Essential for Recovery after COVID-19 As Ontario safely and gradually begins to reopen, the provincial government is investing $150 million in reliable broadband and cellular service. This funding will help create even more economic and educational opportunities in rural, remote and underserved areas of the province. This is part of the province's $315 million initiative called Up to Speed: Ontario's Broadband and Cellular Action Plan. Today's announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure, and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. "As we carefully restart the economic engine of Canada, every region and every community will play a role in bringing jobs and prosperity back to our province," said Premier Ford. "By investing in reliable broadband and cellular service, we are helping to create greater opportunity for our families, farmers and small business owners in rural and remote areas of this great province." The new Improving Connectivity in Ontario, or ICON, program, when leveraged, has the potential to result in an investment of up to $500 million in total partner funding to improve connectivity in underserved and unserved areas. Applicants, including telecom companies, municipal governments, First Nation communities, and non-profits, will be invited to submit innovative proposals and lend their investment, expertise and experience to improve connectivity in communities across Ontario. The province will fund a portion of each approved project. "By doing their part and staying home to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the people of Ontario have demonstrated the need to be connected to learn, work, and run their businesses," said Minister Scott. "It appears that functioning remotely will continue to be a regular way of life for many in this new environment, and fast reliable Internet will be critical. The ICON program is an important step towards bridging the digital divide in Ontario." Access to broadband is a core component of the province's Learn at Home plan. Reliable Internet, particularly in rural and regional areas, is essential to supporting students' success in school. The provincial government recently called on the federal government to take immediate action to improve Internet connectivity for Ontario students. As many as 12 per cent of households in Ontario ― mostly in rural, remote or Northern areas ― are underserved or unserved, according to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. "Access to high-speed Internet is foundational to our young people's success in learning, working, and innovating, today and into the future," said Minister Lecce. "Our government is taking action by connecting all schools to broadband, starting with high schools this September 2020 and elementary schools by September 2021. It is also why we are calling on the federal government to step up their investment to connect the next generation of thinkers and workers to the modern and digital economy." The ICON program is one of several important initiatives underway to expand access to mobile broadband and high-speed Internet services. Over the past several months, Ontario has partnered with the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) to leverage $213 million to improve access in Eastern Ontario. As part of a $190 million project to bring high-speed Internet to thousands of homes and businesses throughout Southwestern Ontario, the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) has awarded contracts in Lambton, Wellington and Norfolk counties. Ontario has also invested in initiatives to improve connectivity in Northern Ontario, such as a project that will connect five remote Matawa-member First Nation communities, and investments in broadband projects through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and the Next Generation Network Program. Additional Resources Connecting Ontario: Learn how Ontario is helping to improve connectivity across the province. Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan Ontario Builds map Quotes “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that connectivity is not a luxury ― it’s a social, cultural and economic lifeline. We welcome the launch of this broadband and cellular infrastructure program. We look forward to seeing it implemented as quickly as possible to connect homes and businesses that lack adequate service. Municipal governments will continue to work with other governments and stakeholders to find solutions that will deliver affordable, reliable access to broadband across Ontario.” Jamie McGarvey
President, Association of Municipalities of Ontario “The launch of the broadband and cellular infrastructure program is a vital step in addressing the market gaps that have left too many rural communities behind. We have long advocated that this is an essential service, critical to our local economies and for accessing healthcare and education. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that now is the time for governments and the private sector to work together to find solutions for the patchwork of connectivity across our province.” Allan Thompson
Chair, Rural Ontario Municipal Association “Bell looks forward to continuing to work with the Government of Ontario to accelerate the deployment of government-funded broadband projects to homes and businesses in rural areas across the province. While we continue to expand Bell’s own Wireless Home Internet program to more rural communities in Ontario, government programs such as this are crucial to helping close the remaining gaps.” Stephen Howe
Chief Technology Officer, Bell “Cogeco shares the Government of Ontario’s goal of expanding broadband access in the province. We welcome today’s announcement which brings Cogeco Connexion, our Canadian broadband subsidiary, closer to having shovels in the ground on projects that will reach traditionally unserved and underserved communities. We look forward to partnering with the government and using our expertise in serving the province’s more rural communities to ensure that more of Ontario’s residents and businesses can rely on a robust network that connects them to their loved ones, to online learning tools, to their work and to their customers.” Philippe Jetté
President and Chief Executive Officer, Cogeco Inc. and Cogeco Communications Inc. “We know how important it is for Canadians to have access to high-speed Internet connectivity no matter where they live. In less populated areas, the solution lies in a partnership between governments and network builders, and we welcome the Government of Ontario’s program. We look forward to working with the province to continue to improve connectivity in rural and remote areas and expand service so communities can participate fully in the digital economy.” Jorge Fernandes
Chief Technology and Information Officer, Rogers Communications “TELUS invests hundreds of millions of dollars to connect rural and remote communities across Canada each year, and is committed to continually expanding our wireless and high-speed Internet footprints for the benefit of all Canadians. In order for traditionally underserved communities to have access to the connectivity they need, governments and the private sector need to collaborate on an approach that leverages their respective strengths and uses the PPP model to get the job done. National carriers like TELUS have the experience and expertise to complete projects quickly and cost-effectively, and to provide the type of connectivity that fits the specific needs of a community today and for future generations. Government can design economic and cost-sharing models for projects where market forces don’t work, while maintaining a regulatory environment that provides certainty and allows for a reasonable return on investment. To this end, we support Minister Scott and the provincial government’s efforts to address connectivity needs in Ontario.” Ibrahim Gedeon
Chief Technology Officer, TELUS Source

Ontario Helps Manufacturers Ramp Up Production of Personal Protective Equipment

Initiatives Will Benefit Frontline Workers during COVID-19 The Ontario government continues investing in local manufacturers in order to keep frontline workers and communities safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. More innovative businesses are receiving financial support today through the Ontario Together Fund to re-tool their processes and increase their capacity to make personal protective equipment (PPE). Today's update was provided by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. "Our entrepreneurs, businesses and workers are stepping up and unleashing the full strength of Ontario's manufacturing might ― sometimes doubling or tripling their output and working modern-day miracles in the fight against COVID-19," said Premier Ford. "Our government is proud to partner with our champions in the business community to establish 'made-in-Ontario' as the gold-standard for medical supplies and equipment here in Canada and around the world." The three new companies receiving support are: Southmedic — Southmedic is a Barrie, Ontario based medical device manufacturer that distributes to more than 60 countries around the world. The province is providing $1.8 million to help the company reengineer and retool its current production, and purchase new moulding equipment. With this new equipment, the company will double its output of oxygen masks, triple its output of ETCO2 masks, which are specialty masks used to monitor breathing prior to ventilator use, and quadruple its output of eye and face shields to help meet the province's need for PPE. The funding will also allow the company to reorganize its production facility to allow for physical distancing. Sterling Industries — Sterling Industries is a Concord, Ontario based contract manufacturer and assembler of medical devices and sub-components. The province is providing $1,023,325, which will allow the company to increase its output of face shields from 200,000 per week to more than a million per week. This increased capacity will help Sterling Industries deliver 10 million face shields to Ontario Health more quickly. SRB Technologies — SRB Technologies is a Pembroke, Ontario based producer of self-powered emergency lighting and self-powered exit signs. The province is providing $59,889 to help the company convert a portion of its production from emergency lighting solutions for the nuclear, aerospace, construction and defence sectors to manufacturing medical-grade face shields, which will be supplied to regional hospitals and long-term care facilities. "Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Ontario businesses have shown incredible collaboration, resilience and determination to tackle this crisis," said Minister Fedeli. "Many of our innovators have stepped up to help produce much needed medical supplies. Now that we're in the first stage of restarting our economy, I encourage all businesses to keep innovating and review our provincial safety guidelines in order to protect their employees in this new environment." On April 1, 2020, the government launched the $50 million Ontario Together Fund to support the development of proposals submitted by businesses and individuals through the Ontario Together web portal and help businesses retool their operations. All submissions received through the portal are being reviewed and prioritized to focus on solutions that can respond to where the need is greatest and what can be implemented quickly. In March, the government launched the Ontario Together web portal, appealing to Ontario's manufacturers, entrepreneurs and innovators to provide essential supplies and equipment to support frontline workers in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Source

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