Why so surprised?

Last week, Ford told reporters he was shocked by the revelations of a Canadian military report based on the experience of soldiers inside some of Ontario’s worst-hit long-term care homes.

Ford called the report “heartbreaking, horrific and gut-wrenching”. Trudeau said when he read the report, he felt a “range of emotions, including anger, frustration, sadness and grief”.

“It was the worst report, most heart-wrenching report I have ever read in my entire life,” Ford said. “Until yesterday morning, we didn’t know the full extent of what these homes, what these residents, were dealing with.”


COVID-19 impacts cash flow

In a report outlining Clarington’s financial situation, Clarington Council was told that the municipality’s cash flow would be $7.7 million short for 2020 fiscal year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. And as we are still in the pandemic; we have been told that a clear financial picture will be available once staff understands the full impact of COVID-19.

The biggest impact is on the revenue side. A municipalities’ main revenue is property tax, up to half of their total revenues. Clarington’s tax levy is approximately $62.6 million – which included $8.3 million to capital projects and $3.8 million to reserves and reserve funds.

Clarington has – as have many municipalities across Canada, brought in property tax deferrals. In other words, when you get your tax bill, you don’t have to pay it for 60 or 90 days. There’s no interest, no penalty. The interest and penalty revenues are lost but also the property taxes aren’t coming in. The municipality is also taking another hit with the cancellation of spring programming, loss of user fees and loss of sport field rentals.


Are we really ready?

On Tuesday, May 19 Ontario rolled out Stage 1 of reopening the province. After being on semi-lock down for what seems to be an eternity, are we ready for another new normal?

Retail businesses with a street entrance have been given the green light to open – under strict health and safety protocols. Some seasonal businesses and activities got the go-ahead on May 16. With less than 400 new cases of COVID-19 a day for two weeks, the curve appears to have flattened.

The Ford government’s framework for the reopening unveiled in late April, set out clear public health criteria for beginning to phase out restrictions on businesses and gatherings. They included: a consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases; sufficient acute and critical care hospital capacity to respond to potential surges; and, approximately 90 per cent of new COVID-19 case contacts being reached by local public health officials within one day.


Who will become your ‘double bubble buddy’?

Two provinces have implemented the so-called “double bubble” policy, in which members of two households are permitted to come in close contact. Who could become your “double bubble buddies” if the measures announced in New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador were enacted in Ontario?

When you start thinking about it, it’s not that easy a decision. Off the top of my head I can think of dozens of people I would love to visit – but one needs to pause to think ‘who needs it most?’


Looking for a hug?

Although the pandemic has unleashed a catastrophe of epic proportions, mid the global upheaval and sufferings several good things have emerged – a silver-lining as they say.

We’re realizing how important community is and doubling-down on investing in it. We’re deepening our appreciation for the people—the teachers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, grocery store workers, garbage collectors, bus drivers, janitors, and more—who are the foundation of our society and keep us well in body and mind. We’re realizing that we can do things that seemed impossible and we can make sacrifices for the greater good.

One thing is for sure, it has instilled good hand hygiene habits among millions worldwide. For years, health experts have been recommending regular handwashing to keep diseases at bay. Eighty percent of common infections are spread by hands. According to the Centre of Disease Control, washing your hands at least five times a day has been shown to significantly decrease the frequency of colds, influenza (the “flu”) and other infections.