Good morning, Greater Sudbury.
Here are some stories to start your day.
Ontario unveils $17B action plan to help ease financial burden due to COVID-19 measures:
The province rolled out a $17-billion action plan March 25 in an effort to ensure front-line health-care workers have the resources they need to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, said Ontario's finance minister. Finance Minister Rod Phillips released Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, and said it's a critical first step to ensure our health care system, communities and economy are positioned to weather the challenges ahead. The action plan includes $7 billion in additional resources for the health-care system and direct support for people and jobs. It also will make available $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals to improve their cash flow, protecting jobs and household budgets. The plan includes a dedicated $1 billion COVID-19 contingency fund, as part of the additional health-care investments, as well as an unprecedented $2.5 billion reserve and an increased contingency fund of $1.3 billion to provide continued flexibility to respond to changing global circumstances. The plan includes $3.3 billion in additional health-care resources to protect the health and well-being of the people of Ontario. Get the full story here.
Liberals rejig benefits for workers affected by COVID-19:
The federal government is repackaging two previously promised benefits for Canadians whose working lives are disrupted by COVID-19. Instead, the Liberals say there will now be one benefit to provide $2,000 per month for four months to workers whose income drops to zero because of the pandemic, including if they have been furloughed by their employers but technically still have jobs. Speaking in the Senate, Finance Minister Bill Morneau told senators that the move should help get money to affected workers faster than under the previously announced model. When the Liberals unveiled their response package, they proposed two benefits — one to flow through the employment insurance system and another for those who don't qualify for EI benefits, such as self-employed workers. Morneau said the new, combined benefit should be simpler to administer and get to workers with a target delivery date of April 6.
City COVID-19 update: Stay away from parks, property tax due date extended:
The city has taken several steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community. The City of Greater Sudbury said it has made these decisions with guidance from Public Health Sudbury and Districts. “This is a challenging time for the residents of Greater Sudbury, and City Council is keeping our community’s needs top of mind. We are working quickly to make decisions people are telling us they need," said Mayor Brian Bigger in an email statement Wednesday. "This includes easing the financial burden by changing property tax and water bill due dates, increasing garbage collection as people do their part to stay home, and offering free downtown metered parking to help businesses through this difficult time. We also continue to offer many City services in innovative ways, and we will continue to do everything we can to help our community.” For updated information on city services and programs click here.
A deeper dive into the three COVID-19 measures council passed March 24:
City council passed three motions on Tuesday night in an effort to ease some of the burden that COVID-19 has brought upon Greater Sudbury residents. Sudburians will be allowed one extra garbage bag for curbside pickup until at least the end of the month, metered parking in the city's downtown will be free until March 31 and interest charges on overdue water and waste water accounts will be suspended until June 4. Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan tabled the motions regarding garbage pickup and metered parking at Tuesday's virtual meeting where mayor and council met via videoconferencing. "We're in a very difficult and different time in all of our lives," said Kirwan. "I've had a number of people inquiring as to what the city might do in order to alleviate some of the smaller fees or charges or inconveniences that people may have." Check out the full story here.
NOSM students join medical school peers in running errands for health-care workers and their families:
They may not yet be allowed on the front lines of Canada's battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, but medical students in several provinces are still finding ways to pitch in. A grassroots effort led by the country's aspiring doctors aims to support overstretched health-care workers during the outbreak. They're providing pet care, making grocery and pharmacy runs, and completing general errands to unburden doctors and other health-care providers working to combat the pandemic. Students with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine are no exception. Jai Mashru, president of the NOSM student council, posted a video to YouTube March 25, explaining how local students are joining in. He said he's had about 45 NOSM students have volunteered so far for tasks including child care and running errands for Northern Ontario health-care personnel. To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, the medical school is limiting the initiative to one volunteer per family. Mashru said students are also willing to do things such as monitoring crisis support lines. More on this story here.
Toppers cooks up support for fight against COVID-19:
Topper's Pizza is serving up a helping of support for people being affected by COVID-19, and those working on the front lines. As of March 24, $3 from every Family Pleaser Combo sold will be donated to help local food banks and Feed Ontario's COVID-19 Emergency Food Boxes to support our communities. Customers can also choose to give additional donations of $1, $2, or $5. Second, as a special thank you to health-care workers and first responders, starting March 25, Ontario health-care workers and first responders (police, fire and paramedics) will receive 25 per cent off any large pizza.
Canada Post still delivering amid pandemic, but they've made a few changes:
Canada Post continues to operate amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but has made some changes to the way it does business, including shorter post office operating hours and no on-time delivery guarantees. “Canada Post understands the important role the postal service plays and is committed to serving Canadians while taking action to keep our people and our communities safe,” said a press release. “To do so effectively in these challenging times, Canada Post will continue to review and quickly adapt our approach with health and safety as our primary goal.” Full list of changes can be found here.
April is not far off, but the snow doesn't seem ready to leave just yet. Periods of snow expected this morning, then turning to a mix of sun and cloud. There's a risk of some freezing rain this morning. Thursday's high will be sitting at around 2. Partly cloudy tonight with the low dropping down to -9, feeling like -12 with the wind chill. For current weather conditions, short-term and long-term forecasts visit Sudbury.com's weather page at www.sudbury.com/weather.