Message from Your MPP

Dear Neighbours,

Happy New Year to you and your family and welcome to 2022! The new year is a time to set new goals while reflecting on and celebrating the achievements of the past year. Through the hard work and resilience of Team Ontario, we have seen communities across the province come together to overcome COVID-19 and I am certain 2022 will be no exception.

Currently, Ontario is seeing a concerning rise in COVID-19 cases, due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Vaccinations are the best defense in stopping the spread and protecting the community and health care system. Thanks to the hard work of health care heroes, volunteers, and community partners, the province is leading Canada in getting boosters into arms. As of January 2, over 3.7 million booster doses have been administered across the province. Thank you to everyone for doing your part by getting vaccinated. To further increase protection, please continue following public health guidelines by wearing a mask in indoor public settings, avoid social gatherings, and stay home if you’re feeling sick. 

As we remain vigilant to ensure the health and safety of everyone, it is also very important to look after your mental well-being. There is always someone to talk to and resources available to support you. During this challenging time, let’s remember to be kind to one another. To spread smiles, connect with family and friends virtually, make a donation to a local charitable organization, or order takeout from a restaurant in your neighbourhood to support small businesses. We will get through this together. 

Wishing everyone a prosperous, happy, and safe New Year. 


Protecting Ontario from Omicron

In response to rise in COVID-19 cases due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, the province returned to the modified version of Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen on January 5, 2022. In addition, starting January 5 students have moved to remote learning until at least January 17. 

These time-limited measures will help protect the community and prevent hospitals and staff from becoming overwhelmed. Measures include but are not limited to:

  • 5 people indoors, 10 people outdoors.  
  • Retail settings, including shopping malls, permitted at 50% capacity, food courts will be required to close.
  • Personal care services permitted at 50% capacity. 
  • Indoor meeting and event spaces closed with limited exceptions.
  • Indoor dining at restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishment closed, outdoor dining with restrictions, takeout, drive-through and delivery permitted.

Ontario will remain in the Modified Step 2 Roadmap to Reopen for at least 21 days (until January 26, 2022), subject to trends in public health and health system indicators.

Roll Up Your Sleeves & Get Vaccinated 

Getting vaccinated remains our best defense against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. Thank you to everyone for doing your part by getting the shot. I encourage everyone who hasn’t already and is eligible to get their first, second, or booster doses as soon as you can. 

I was thrilled to get boosted with help of Switch Health and health care staff at the International Centre in Mississauga-Malton. Thank you to the entire team for helping residents roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated with comfort and a smile. 

As of December 20, 2021, all individuals aged 18 and over are eligible to receive their booster dose. 

Support for Frontline Workers

To support families during remote learning, the government is providing free emergency child-care to essential workers starting January 10. Eligible workers include:

  • health care workers 
  • workers helping distribute, manufacture, and administer COVID-19 vaccination 
  • child care workers
  • truck drivers and transit workers
  • construction workers
  • grocery store and pharmacy workers
  • public safety workers (police, fire, paramedics, provincial inspection/enforcement) 

Support for Students and School Staff 

As of January 7, the vaccination clinic at International Centre in Mississauga-Malton will support priority booking for school staff, including educators, custodial, child care & administrative staff, and school bus drivers. To book an appointment, contact the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900. 

The government is also providing additional tools to protect children, youth, & school staff including:

  • non-fit-tested N95 masks to all education staff 
  • updated and stricter screening requirements to help limit the spread of COVID-19
  • more than 70,000 HEPA filter units and other ventilation devices, with an additional 3,000 units being provided
  • access for school boards to $1.6 billion in resources to protect against COVID-19 

Support for Businesses 

  • COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant: eligible small businesses required to close under current measures will receive a grant payment of $10,000.
  • Business Costs Rebate Program: eligible businesses required to close or reduce capacity will receive rebate payments up to 100% of property tax and energy costs. Applications are open January 18. 
  • Effective January 1, 2022, the government is providing up to $7.5 billion for a six-month interest- and penalty-free period for Ontario businesses to make payments for most provincially administered taxes.
  • Starting January 18, electricity prices will be set 24 hours a day at the current off-peak rate of 8.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for 21 days.

Investing in Ontario

$18.5 million to deliver critical social and community programs. The funding will support necessary building repairs and renovations for 198 community agencies providing vital services for people with developmental disabilities, victims of domestic violence, and children with special needs and mental health needs.

Additional $11 million to further improve safety in retirement homes to keep residents safe. This includes $8 million to support teams to assist retirement homes with infection prevention and control (IPAC), testing and vaccination, hiring of more staff, and $3 million in mobile staffing support teams to effectively and efficiently support residents.

Additional $12 million to boost supply chain competitiveness in the automotive sector through the next phase of the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP).  The funding will support small and medium-sized auto parts companies supplying automotive parts by investing in technology adoption and/or training in lean manufacturing.

$8.9 million to further protect adults with developmental disabilities, children in care or with special needs, women, and families experiencing domestic violence. The funding will be used to provide personal protective equipment, rapid antigen testing, enhanced infection prevention, and control measures, and HEPA filters to improve ventilation in congregate settings and protect residents and staff.

$3 million over 3 years to help students with disabilities transition into the workforce. Through the David C. Onley Initiative, the funding will extend supports to more learners via the creation of an online toolkit, providing comprehensive roadmap institutions can use to support students.

Nearly $3 million to provide 166 jobseekers free training and work experience in residential construction across the province and support employers to hire talent. Training will provide opportunities to learn about general home building techniques, health, and safety on the job from experienced tradespeople and virtual supports. 

Over $2.8 million to protect the health of the Great Lakes as part of the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health. The funding will support 24 projects focused on improving fish and wildlife well-being and habitats and rehabilitating historically degraded areas. 

$1 million annually to promote locally grown food and support the economic growth and success of the province’s agri-food sector. The funding will provide up to $100,000 for marketing projects that encourage Ontarians to buy fresh, locally grown, and made agri-food products.

$500,000 to help ensure victims and survivors of human trafficking and intimate partner violence are well-connected to supports and services they need. The funding will be provided through Victim Services Toronto’s Exit Route program giving victims and survivors immediate access to case managers and social workers at the point of contact with police.

$100,000 through Ontario’s EnAbling Change Program to help children of all abilities enjoy the dance. The funding will support Canada’s National Ballet School’s Inclusive Movement for Kids project to provide diverse accessible and inclusive programming including digital dance.

Ontario is recruiting 100 international entrepreneurs to start or grow businesses in regions hit hard by pandemic job losses. Through the Entrepreneur Stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program, the government will increase local jobs within in-demand sectors including information technology, life sciences, and tourism. 

Investing in Mississauga-Malton 

Ontario is adding 138 new and 118 upgraded long-term care beds in a new long-term care building in Mississauga. There are now 1,343 new and 409 upgraded long-term care beds in development or under construction in Mississauga. 

Queen’s Park Update 

Action to Keep LTC Residents Safe

In response to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, the government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is taking further actions to protect the health and safety of residents, staff and caregivers in long-term care homes.

The following temporary measures at LTC homes are in effect

  • Access to long-term care homes by general visitors will be paused. Designated caregivers may continue to enter long-term care homes.
    Day absences for all residents for social purposes will be paused.

In addition:

  • LTC residents are eligible for a 4th mRNA vaccine dose if at least 3 months (84 days) have passed since their 3rd dose.
    All staff and caregivers in long-term care homes eligible for the 3rd vaccine by December 31, 2021, must receive that dose by January 28, 2022. 

As of November 30, 2021, 99% of long-term care staff, students and volunteers are fully vaccinated. In addition, as of December 22, 84% of eligible residents and 43% of eligible staff have received their 3rd dose.

COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Extended 

The government has extended the Worker Income Protection Benefit program. The program ensures workers are safe and do not lose pay if they need to stay home for reasons related to COVID-19. Employees can continue to access the paid leave to get tested, vaccinated, self-isolate, or care for a family member.

Through the program, employees are entitled up to $200 a day for up to three days and eligible employers are entitled to be reimbursed for sick leave pay.The federal paid sick days program has also been extended and workers now have up to 6 weeks of paid leave. Through both the provincial and federal programs, workers are entitled up to 33 paid sick days.

For more information, employers and workers can call the program’s dedicated hotline at 1-888-999-2248 or visit Ontario.ca/COVIDworkerbenefit.

Seniors Home Safety Tax Credit Extended

Ontario is extending the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit, providing a refundable credit worth 25% of up to $10,000 per household in eligible expenses, to a maximum of $2,500. The extension would assist seniors, or caregivers, to renovate their homes to make them safer and more accessible.

You can claim the credit on your Income Tax and Benefit Return using receipts from suppliers and contractors. Expenses must be paid or payable in 2021/2022.

Increasing Rapid Training Programs

The government is supporting the development of up to 250 new rapid training programs to help people upgrade their skills and build rewarding careers. Over 1,200 micro-credentials are now approved for the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), with more being approved on a regular basis.

The programs will be available for enrolment in 2022 through the Ontario Micro-credentials Challenge Fund.

Improving Future of Work 

The government has released the report from the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee on the changing nature of work.

The committee consulted with workers, labour groups, businesses, and academics across Ontario and internationally to understand challenges on the ground. 

Recommendations from the report include:

  • Designing and testing a portable benefits program, where contributors could be employers, workers, and the government.
  • Ensuring employment rights for gig or platform workers in the app-based space. 
  • Developing strategies for domestic and international markets to promote Ontario as a desirable place to work and live.

Speeding Up Process to file Criminal Charges 

The government is further expanding the use of eIntake – a digital platform that allows police officers to file criminal charges electronically and reduce paperwork. The initiative will also allow Justices of the Peace to enter decisions, sign documents digitally and request additional information from police online.

The eIntake system is available in Toronto courthouses as of December 7 following successful launches in other regions of Ontario. 

Local Business Rolls Up Sleeves to Boost Vaccination

On December 28, I was thrilled to join the Premier of Ontario, Minister of Health, and the Solicitor General at Hello Fresh Canada’s vaccination clinic located in Mississauga-Malton. Hello Fresh is one of many businesses rolling up their sleeves to help Ontario increase capacity and get more shots in arms sooner. It was incredibly heartwarming to witness the teamwork of health care staff, the Hello Fresh team, and volunteers and their dedication to protect fellow Ontarians.  

Applications Now Open!

Grassroots Growth Initiative

The government is providing funding to initiatives that will support the growth of Ontario’s agri-food sector, ensuring the sustainability of agriculture and local economies. 

 Eligible projects must support at least one or more of the following in the agri-food sector:

  • increase public engagement and support for agriculture, local food, and rural development
  • build youth leadership capacity and increase youth involvement
  • enhance safety and risk management practices
  • strengthen public trust and public knowledge about Ontario’s agri-food systems
  • encourage agri-food and rural development outcomes

To be eligible for funding, applicants should be a corporation, partnership, sole proprietor, or unincorporated association. 

Boosting COVID-19 Vaccination  

The government is calling on businesses, volunteers, and retired health professionals to help fellow Ontarians to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated. 

  • Businesses can host employer-led clinics to vaccinate employees, their families, as well as members of the local communities. To learn more, contact the Ontario Together Contact Centre at 1-888-777-0554
  • Community groups and places of worship interested can arrange a GO-VAXX mobile bus clinic visit by contacting GOVAXX@ontario.ca.
  • Volunteers 16 years and older can register to sign up for a variety of roles based on the abilities, experience, and needs of local public health units. To sign up, visit the Ontario COVID-19 Volunteer Portal.
  • Retired nurses and physicians, paramedics, dentists, and firefighters to help with vaccine administration. To register visit the Health Workforce Matching Portal

Increasing Child Care Spaces in Mississauga-Malton 

On December 16, I was pleased to join Ontario’s Minister of Education,  Director of Education for Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board (DPCDSB), Trustee Mississauga Ward 5, Superintendent of Planning and Operations, DPCDSB, and Principal of San Lorenzo Ruiz Elementary School to announce $1.6 million investment for the school.

The funding supports 73 child care spaces at San Lorenzo Ruiz Elementary School, providing 1 infant room, 1 toddler room, and 2 preschool rooms through the province’s Early Years Capital Program. It is part of the government’s commitment to invest up to $1 billion in the creation of up to 30,000 new licensed child care spaces over 5 years.

It will ensure families and caregivers have access to affordable and quality care for children in Mississauga-Malton and across the province. 

Community Blood Drive – Winter Edition!

Following the success of our Community Blood Drive this past summer, our office hosted another Blood Drive on December 19 at Canadian Blood Services Heartland Donor Centre. We were joined by youth who participated as first-time donors and local organizations including Canadian Muslim Freinds, and Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association. Thank you to residents and the Canadian Blood Services team for helping gift life-saving blood to patients during the holidays.

Mississauga-Malton Youth Council Update 

On December 10, I was thrilled to come together with the Mississauga-Malton Youth Council to discuss their project ideas focused on supporting the community. The projects are focused on increasing diabetes awareness and blood donations, two issues impacting communities in the Region of Peel and across Ontario. Members are excited to connect with fellow youth and residents and bring forth meaningful change.

Applications for the youth council remain open, visit the link below to join! 

Read my Mississauga News Column 

Volunteering can help build a more inclusive society

Volunteering provides an excellent contribution to the social fabric of society, says Deepak Anand

OPINION | January 6, 2022

VOlunteering is not distinctive to a certain group. It is a mode to achieve every milestone. It promotes well-being and self-satisfaction in every age group. It is a secret recipe for self-acceptance and carries a good feeling about oneself, paving the path of self-believing and creating value for everyone and to everyone.

A studt shows that people who get involved in volunteering experience the highest levels of happiness. Helping others leaves people more content, above and beyond the benefits of receiving help.

Spoken by great philosopher Aristotle over 2,300 years ago: “What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.” Reinforcing that giving back to the community is not a new-found belief.

Spreading Holiday Cheer

During the festive season, I was thrilled to drop off care packages to residents in the neighbourhood. Shoutout to our youth for helping spread the holiday cheer
and bring smiles to the faces of families.

Out and About in the Community

Pleased to visit TriOS College and learn about their work to support student learning during COVID-19.

A pleasure to join the Mississauga Board of Trade and Ontario’s Minister of Energy for a productive conversation on supporting businesses and the economy.

Wonderful to have volunteers join us to pack goodies for residents and spread the holiday cheer.

Delighted to welcome 2022 with residents and
look towards bringing positive change in
Mississauga-Malton in the New Year.

Volunteered at Daily Bread Food Bank with my MPP colleagues to help sort food for families in need during the holiday season.

Heartwarming to join Prime Asia TV as they donated blankets to help those experiencing homelessness.

Pleased to visit Share & Care Canada Food Bank, located at Westwood Mall, and meet with their team who are distributing & delivering essential food supplies to families in need.

Celebrating the holiday season with residents at
Malton Community Centre’s Annual Luncheon.

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