October 19, 2020

GTHA Mayors and Chairs thank provincial officials for public health advice on Halloween

"Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area took part in their weekly call on the ongoing response to COVID-19.

We asked the province and health officials for clear and simple advice on Halloween and today they’ve provided that advice.

For this year, Ontario public health advice tells us we have to celebrate Halloween differently than we have ever done before. For areas which are in a modified Stage 2, the provincial recommendation is not to go door to door but to find other ways to celebrate Halloween at home. Residents not in modified Stage 2 areas are also encouraged to follow public health advice so as to have a safe, healthy, physically-distanced Halloween.

The Mayors and Chairs also discussed the impact of the declaration of a modified Stage 2 on hospitality businesses including the restaurant business. Concern was expressed about instances in which loans and lines of credit for small businesses are being recalled by financial institutions, and the severe impact this would have for many of them. The insurance issue was also discussed with many of the same businesses facing cancelled or dramatically more expensive liability insurance at a time when they are struggling.

The Mayors and Chairs also discussed ways in which they can work with the restaurant and hospitality industry, public health and the province to ensure stability and consistency following the 28-day pause so as to help the industry get back to good health and avoid future shutdowns."


October 16, 2020

York Region moving to modified Stage 2 

Today the province announced further restrictions for York Region, joining Toronto, Peel and Ottawa in a modified Stage 2. Effective 12:01 am on Monday, October 19, 2020 for a period of 28 days, gyms and fitness centres will not be permitted to open and restaurants will not be able to offer indoor dining. As a result of these new restrictions, fitness activities at the Markham Pan Am Centre will not be offered. I thank the Premier for giving the hospitality industry advance notice so they can adjust their operations.

Currently, there are 606 active cases of COVID-19 in York Region and 147 in the city of Markham. Our hospitalizations have steadily increased and overall daily infections are exceeding levels at the peak of the first wave in April and May. Our positivity rate in York Region is now hovering around 3% which has met the provincial threshold for York Region to enter a modified Stage 2. I am concerned by the pandemic modelling and today’s announcement by the provincial government reflects a growing concern from provincial public health officials.

I sympathize greatly with businesses in our community and I have been so impressed by how our local restaurant and hospitality industry has adhered to public health protocols. These new restrictions bring about more uncertainty and additional challenges. I strongly encourage residents to support local restaurants as they shift to take-out and delivery only. I am also urging the higher levels government to find additional ways to assist the hospitality sector on top of the already announced $300 Million announced last week by the provincial government to assist businesses affected by these latest Modified Stage 2 restrictions. Last month, The City of Markham requested the province work local municipalities to develop immediate options to assist sectors like the hotel industry.

Our community has come together like never before and we all need to continue to do our part, respect others by maintaining a safe physical distance and doing everything we can to ensure the safety of others. Wearing a mask is one of the most important components of that shared responsibility. We must continue to work collectively, individuals, businesses and the various levels of government as we have done throughout this pandemic so far. We cannot let out guard down.


October 13, 2020

GTHA Mayors and Chairs ask for clear public health advice on Halloween

"Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area took part in their weekly call on the ongoing response to COVID-19.

The Mayors and Chairs have been working together since March to ensure a coordinated regional response to the pandemic.

Today, the Mayors and Chairs discussed the province's recent announcement to move Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa into a modified Stage 2 for 28 days to address rising COVID-19 case counts. All the Mayors and Chairs are committed to making sure a resurgence is addressed as quickly as possible so that we can continue to keep schools open, protect long-term care home residents, and avoid a larger and longer lockdown.

We are all committed to following the advice of our public health professionals to combat this virus. We recognize that a healthy economy must have healthy people. We look forward to participating in a continuous review of public health conditions and available data during the 28-day period.

Looking ahead to Halloween, now less than three weeks away, the Mayors and Chairs will strongly advocate for one clear public health message, preferably coming from the province, by the end of this week. In the meantime, Medical Officers of Health in these municipalities will work to forge such a common position for discussion with the province and we will shortly provide the province with a summary of some of the points which arose in our discussion today.

In the coming days, the Mayors and Chairs will be encouraging residents across the region to wear a mask, avoid gathering with people you don't live with (beyond work and school where precautions are in place), and support local businesses."


October 9, 2020

Be thankful by staying APART this Thanksgiving

Today the province announced new restrictions in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa to combat the second wave of COVID-19 in Ontario, including the closure of gyms and indoor dining. Provincial health authorities are actively watching York Region’s case data and communicating with our local public health officials on possible next steps.

I applaud the Prime Minister and his government on today’s announcement of a revamped commercial rent-relief and wage subsidy program for businesses impacted by COVID-19. This continues to be an added lifeline for businesses as they continue to weather the storm. I have been impressed by how our local restaurant and hospitality industry has adhered to public health protocols, and I sympathize with them as the possibility of new restrictions brings more uncertainty and anxiety. I am urging the federal and provincial governments to find additional ways to assist the hospitality sector. Last month, the City of Markham requested the province work local municipalities to develop immediate options to assist sectors like the hotel industry. I encourage residents to continue supporting local dining as they shift to take-out and delivery only.

Currently, there are 494 active cases of COVID-19 in York Region and 114 in the City of Markham. Our hospitalizations have steadily increased and overall daily infections are at levels similar to the peak of the first wave in April and May. I am concerned by the pandemic modelling and today’s announcement by the provincial government reflects a growing concern from public health officials. We must continue to work collectively, individuals, businesses and the various levels of government as we have done throughout this pandemic so far. We cannot let out guard down.

Our community has come together like never before and we all need to continue to do our part, respect others by maintaining a safe physical distance and doing everything we can to ensure the safety of others. Wearing a mask is one of the most important components of that shared responsibility.

As we enter Thanksgiving weekend, I ask that residents show restraint in their gatherings. The best way to be thankful for family members this Thanksgiving is to keep them safe. Please consider a virtual gathering and limit exposure to only the immediate household. I wish you and your family a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.


October 6, 2020

Markham Library shifts from curbside to inside pick-up.

The colder weather is upon us and Markham Public Library is shifting its services to meet the needs of customers. Starting October 13, the following four branches will have in-branch front desk pickup:

Locations:
Angus Glen Library
Aaniin Library
Markham Village Library
Thornhill Community Centre Library

Curbside service will discontinue as of October 10, as customers will be able to pick up their holds from inside of the branch. COVID-19 health and safety protocols remain in effect. As per provincial guidelines, the capacity of the branch will be limited to 10 people at all times and mask use is mandatory. Study rooms, Makerspaces, play areas and bookshelves will remain closed. Lendery items, toys and digital equipment services are also not available.

Additional services to be offered include return item drop boxes at all four locations. Computer, Printer and Proctoring services will be offered by appointment only. Markham Public Library continues to offer an excellent variety of digital collections for all ages that customers can enjoy from home. For more information, please visit www.markhampubliclibrary.ca/reopening.

Thank you for your continued cooperation as we respond to this unprecedented public health challenge.


October 5, 2020

GTHA Mayors and Chairs committed to addressing resurgence

"Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area took part in their weekly call on the ongoing response to COVID-19.

The Mayors and Chairs continue to be committed to working together with each other and with the provincial and federal governments to address escalating case counts.

During today's discussion, the Mayors and Chairs agreed that our public health efforts must be focused on keeping schools open for children and protecting long-term care home residents.

To help in this effort, the Mayors and Chairs continue to urge all residents to follow public health advice. Beyond work and school where precautions are in place, now is not the time to gather with people from outside your own household. That, along with wearing a mask and washing your hands, is the best way to keep healthy and avoid spreading COVID-19 right now.

More specifically, the Mayors and Chairs called upon residents to follow public health advice and show restraint in Thanksgiving gatherings. It simply isn't worth putting the health of family members at risk. The best way to be thankful for family members at Thanksgiving is to follow public health advice."


October 2, 2020

Masks ON in Ontario.

Today the province announced that masks will now be mandatory as of midnight tonight in indoor public settings across Ontario. I applaud the Premier and his government for taking this important step. Today’s announcement will complement our already in-place mask requirements in York Region. I have long called for a consistent mask approach across the province, as well as extra public health restrictions on restaurants, bars and gyms.

I am concerned with the rising case numbers in York Region, the GTA and Ontario. There are currently 75 active cases in Markham, 375 in York Region and there are 21 patients hospitalized for COVID-19. York Region Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Karim Kurji informed regional council last week that we are indeed witnessing a second wave arriving earlier than expected.

While I appreciate the province taking a consistent approach to mask use, I ask that they consider a consistent approach to municipalities that comprise the Greater Toronto Area. We want to avoid becoming another COVID-19 hot spot. I have long called for a consistent and regional approach, especially in large urban areas. Strict protocols have to remain in place to ensure the safety and protection of everyone. By not doing this leaves our community vulnerable.

There is a heightened sense of anxiety right now as we watch an uptick in daily case counts. We cannot let out guard down. We must continue to work collectively, individuals, businesses and the various levels of government as we have done throughout this pandemic so far.

Our community has come together like never before and we all need to continue to do our part, respect others by maintaining a safe physical distance and doing everything we can to ensure the safety of others. Wearing a mask is one of the most important components of that shared responsibility.


September 28, 2020

GTHA Mayors and Chairs committed to fighting COVID-19 resurgence

"Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area met to discuss the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the resurgence. They noted with serious concern escalating case count numbers in large parts of the region.

The Mayors and Chairs thanked the provincial government for taking action on Friday to reduce restaurant and bar hours based on public health advice to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We believe strategic action like this is needed to target hot spots while keeping the vast majority of businesses open across the GTHA.

All the Mayors and Chairs are consulting with their local Medical Officers of Health about what further action should be taken now in light of escalating case counts. A number of municipalities on the call indicated they were seriously considering further restrictions on restaurant capacity as part of a broader concern about the spread of COVID-19 in those settings.

Concern was also expressed about capacity related issues as relates to banquet halls and the desirability of examining this sector from a health and consistency standpoint.

We are committed to working with the provincial government and public health authorities to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities while making sure we do everything we can as municipal governments to help school boards keep schools open and to continue to keep the economy open to the greatest extent possible.

Given that every public health action will have an impact on the businesses focused on, the Mayors and Chairs will continue to advocate for financial support from the provincial and federal governments to support businesses who are doing the right thing and complying with public health measures.

This includes the need for continued streamlined support for businesses, particularly those in the hospitality sector as well as the consideration of possible measures to assist the accommodation sector. The Mayors and Chairs took note of some ideas contained in a resolution of Markham Council.

The Mayors and Chairs believe that investments made to assist the sector will help preserve jobs and businesses, allow for a more robust recovery sooner and will ultimately help in restoring government finances.

They reiterated the paramount importance of maintaining public health as a healthy recovery requires healthy people.”


September 19, 2020

York Region in. Large private gatherings out.

I would like to thank Premier Ford, the provincial government and the Chief Medical Officer of Health for listening to our concerns and for including York Region under the latest restrictions on large social gatherings, a limit of 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors. This will go into effect immediately.

This speaks to the seriousness of this issue. We cannot let another weekend go by without taking swift action. The rising number of COVID-19 cases is alarming and should not be taken lightly. Violators who behave recklessly and refuse to follow the rules or take necessary safety precautions should face steep fines as they are risking their health and the health of others.

This is welcome news after we asked the Province to make this necessary change. We appreciate efforts by Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health for underscoring the need to reset the numbers for social gatherings.

I have long called for a consistent and regional approach, especially in large urban areas that share a border. Strict protocols have to remain in place to ensure the safety and protection of everyone. We all have a responsibility to do what is right and to avoid a false sense of security. We are all a target for this virus. We cannot let out guard down and we have to do everything within our power to ensure that our economy continues to recover.

September 17, 2020

York Region should not be excluded

I welcome the news that the provincial government is reducing social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors in some areas, while violators could face steep fines. I agree with Premier Ford and his government that rule breakers hosting and attending large private gatherings without taking necessary precautions should be penalized. This is the right move and is necessary to curb the rising case numbers. However, I am disappointed and concerned that these new restrictions do not include York Region.

I expressed this very concern at the GTHA Mayors and Chairs meeting earlier this week. York Region’s Medical Officer of Health shared recent data and local outbreak numbers with the Province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and Dr. Karim Kurji has requested a similar approach that includes a limit to indoor house party numbers to 10 and outdoors to 20 people.

We want to avoid becoming another COVID-19 hotspot. I have long called for a consistent and regional approach, especially in large urban areas. Strict protocols have to remain in place to ensure the safety and protection of everyone. Not only does this leave our community more vulnerable, but could also invite illegal gatherings in our backyard through short-term rental accommodations.

There is a heightened sense of anxiety and frustration right now as we watch an uptick in daily case counts. We cannot let out guard down and we have to do everything within our power to ensure that our economy continues to recover. We must continue to work collectively, individuals, businesses and the various levels of government as we have done throughout this pandemic so far. We are in this together and we must remain vigilant, while following the same consistent rules that do not exclude other large urban areas, particularly among municipalities that share a border in the GTHA.

Meanwhile, I applaud the Province’s actions to protect renters by freezing residential increases and by extending the ban on commercial evictions. Businesses are struggling to stay afloat and they need all the support they can get.

September 14, 2020

GTHA Mayors and Chairs committed to cooperation during COVID-19 resurgence

"Once again today Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area met to discuss their concern around the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mayors and Chairs reiterated their commitment to continue to cooperate and communicate with each other on the fight against COVID-19 and in preparing for the anticipated resurgence.

In that regard, all present expressed their concern about the recent rising case counts within the region and across Ontario, and committed to continuing to work with other governments to minimize virus spread.

The Mayors and Chairs also expressed the continuing belief that following consistent public health advice with respect to physical distancing, face coverings and handwashing represented the best tools in the fight against COVID-19.

They also agreed that personal responsibility is more important than ever and that just saying 'no' to large parties, crowd scenes and close encounters and saying 'yes' to the wearing of masks will help us win this fight.

To that end, the Mayors and Chairs will seek out early opportunities to mount a joint public education campaign to remind our millions of residents about public health advice and personal responsibility.

We will also look forward to working with the other governments on the fight against COVID-19 including ensuring returning travellers understand the serious consequences of not following quarantine rules and ensuring a robust and strategic testing regime."

July 30, 2020

Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti moves to make masks mandatory in common spaces in condominium, rental and multi-residential units in York Region

Today, I presented a motion at York Regional Council to make masks and face coverings mandatory in common spaces in condominium, rental and multi-residential buildings throughout York Region.

York Regional Council has strongly endorsed that the Medical Officer of Health issue an instruction under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. It will take effect Friday, August 7, 2020.

A motion also passed to endorse that the Medical Officer of Health take additional measures as it relates to bars, restaurants and gyms as required, which could result in more stringent criteria. As we cautiously continue to move toward recovery during Stage 3, there is a greater opportunity for social interaction, especially in indoor spaces that could carry a greater risk of transmission.

While most businesses continue to follow proper protocols set out by the Province, with some going beyond, we need to continuously evaluate, monitor and act without hesitation to ensure public safety. Should the need arise, some added measures could include contact tracing, but will not include limiting the hours of operation. Businesses need to recover their losses while meeting physical distancing guidelines.

Today’s move by York Regional Council serves as a reminder that we are not out of the woods. It is important to note that mask use has increased across York Region with more than 90 per cent compliance. In Markham at Markville Mall alone, public health officers observed a compliance rate of 97 per cent. This demonstrates that legislation followed by education, over enforcement is the way to go, and is an effective tool in the fight against COVID-19. I would like to commend members of the community for their incredible efforts and for taking the necessary precautions to keep us all safe.

At the City of Markham, all 297 play structures are now open. They have been fully inspected and all deficiencies repaired. New signs have been installed at all playgrounds with reminders to maintain physical distancing, and wash and disinfect hands before and after use. The City of Markham has also opened all athletic fields. I am calling on parents and caregivers to take necessary precautions.

I am extremely pleased to see that additional screening measures at Toronto Pearson Airport are now operational. These measures are something I had called for in late January, prior to the lockdown.

As the economy continues to reopen, we should guard against any false sense of security. The pandemic is not over. I am proud of our collective efforts so far, and ask that we keep up the good work to ensure we do not fall back while we restart the economy. 


July 20, 2020

Stage 3 means we can support more local businesses but we should not let our guard down

As York Region moves into Stage 3 this Friday, more businesses will reopen, which will lead to more interactions and that means we all need to be more vigilant.

I have always called for a cautious and thoughtful approach to restarting the economy. We must avoid what we are seeing in some other jurisdictions south of the border. Our collective efforts have made a difference, and while Markham’s community transmission rates remain low, this is not the time to relent or to let our guard down.

We are only as strong as our weakest link. It is incumbent on all businesses and organizations to take every precaution possible to ensure public safety. We recognize that we are asking businesses to do a lot more during these challenging times; however, the reality is each one of us remains a target for this virus. I thank them for all that they are doing to keep their customers, employees and our community safe.

Nearly all businesses and public spaces can open during Stage 3, including indoor dining in restaurants and bars, gyms (which cannot exceed a limit of 50 people), movies theatres, personal services, casinos, attractions like galleries, zoos, museums and performing arts. By Friday, there will also be an increase to social gatherings of up to 50 people indoors, while outdoor gathering limits increase to a maximum of 100 people.

I would advise businesses that may not be ready to reopen by Friday to take the time they need in order to be able to meet all the guidelines set by the Province, while ensuring they can take all the necessary precautions. At the municipal level, we will continue to review the opening of our facilities, as always, community safety remains our top priority.

July 9, 2020

My mask. Your safety. York Region mandates the use of masks in public indoor spaces.
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

Wearing masks and face coverings in public indoor spaces will be mandatory in York Region. I applaud York Regional Council for making this bold decision in the name of public safety. Today’s move goes beyond recommending face coverings to requiring their use in public indoor spaces.

The decision requires operators of indoor establishments and organizations to implement a policy prohibiting people from entering the premises if they are not wearing a mask or face covering. Exemptions include children under the age of five, people with underlying medical conditions and persons who are unable to place or remove a mask or face covering without assistance.

I presented a motion on June 25, 2020 requiring face coverings in public indoor spaces; and today York Regional Council has unanimously endorsed the Medical Officer of Health’s recommendation to issue an instruction consistent with other public health units, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

The onus is on all of us to do our part. We all have a responsibility. Education rather than enforcement will be the principle objective. We are relying on the goodwill of the public and businesses to get on board, get masks on and continue the efforts to beat the pandemic.

I have been calling for a consistent approach and today’s decision sets the ground rules for all municipalities across York Region. The community expects us to do everything we can to ensure public safety and to stop community spread. As the economy continues to reopen and we move toward recovery, this is a prudent step in that direction.

When worn properly, masks can act as an important visual reminder that this pandemic is not over. It has also been shown that there is a greater adherence to physical distancing and handwashing when masks are worn. Our collective efforts have made a difference and this is not the time to let our guard down.

Today’s decision is necessary to continue to protect public safety and ensure a successful economic recovery. It also is a reflection of public sentiment. We have been hearing loud and clear that most people want the extra layer of protection that masks offer. Masks work.

This new policy will go into effect across York Region as of Friday, July 17, 2020 and will stay into effect until November 30, 2020 with a possible extension.

Examples of indoor public spaces and establishments:

  • Premises or any portion thereof which are used as a place of business for the sale or offering for sales of goods and services, and includes a mall or similar structure, which contains multiple places of business.
  • Places of Worship
  • Community Centres
  • Cultural Establishments (libraries, galleries, museums)
  • Community services agencies providing services to the public
  • Retail stores, shopping malls/centres
  • Grocery stores
  • Banquet halls and event centres/spaces
  • Indoor sporting venues and concert and entertainment venues.
  • Common areas of hotels, motels, short-term rentals

For more information, visit: www.york.ca


June 25, 2020

Statement: Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti moves to make masks mandatory in York Region

We cannot afford to let our guard down until a vaccine is found. As the economy continues to reopen, we should guard against any false sense of security. The pandemic is not over and the threat of a second wave is a real possibility. Today, I moved a motion at York Regional Council to make wearing masks mandatory at all indoor spaces, and in crowded outdoor spaces where physical distancing is not possible.

Options could include an order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. York Region Council also has the authority to pass a bylaw under the Municipal Act.

The community expects us to do everything we can to ensure public safety and to stop community spread. A policy mandating masks throughout the region is both a responsible public health response and a sound economic decision. We have to take every step possible to restore public confidence in the marketplace and create consistency among businesses throughout York Region.

I previously called on the Provincial Government to create a similar consistent policy across Ontario, in lieu of that; extra precautions should be taken in large urban centres and across the GTA. We just have to look to the situation that is unfolding in some jurisdictions south of the border, with the number of cases rising at an alarming rate.

Masks4Canada, a group of doctors and members of the medical community, have signed an open letter asking federal and provincial public health officials to make masks mandatory in all indoor spaces outside the home, in crowded areas where physical distancing is challenging or impossible and on public transit. The letter states, "In addition to the current physical distancing measures and hand hygiene, masks are critical in order to ensure a safe reopening, prevent additional outbreaks and save lives."

I commend York Regional Council for endorsing my call to make masks mandatory on York Region Transit, effective July 2, 2020; and I believe this is another necessary safeguard in the fight to stop COVID-19. A report on mandating masks will be presented to York Regional Council at a special council meeting on July 9, 2020.


June 19, 2020

Markham brings summer camps to your neighbourhood and opens more outdoor facilities
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

As we officially welcome summer, the City of Markham is preparing to give you more options, including an innovative approach to delivering day camps. The Pop Up Park Program involves a series of outdoor camp-like activities in local parks. It starts in July and will run in 24 neighbourhood parks. City of Markham recreational staff will also provide a range of interactive and virtual camps. On the cultural side, a range of virtual camps will be offered by the Markham Museum, Flato Markham Theatre and the Varley Art Gallery.

The City of Markham is now issuing permits to sports organizations for outdoor sports fields for practice only, and that includes soccer, baseball, and cricket. Outdoor basketball courts are also being made available.

By June 26, 2020, all of our splash pads will be open. In late July, Morgan Pool will be open for lessons, lane swimming and aqua fit programs.

We have taken a thoughtful and careful approach to reopening facilities so we can fully inspect, clean and install proper signage. Park washrooms will be cleaned twice a day with a deep clean weekly. As per provincial orders, playgrounds will remain closed.

I am extremely proud of Markham Council and staff for making it a priority to keep our parks and trails open during the COVID-19 pandemic, understanding that it is important for people to spend time outdoors. This next phase allows for additional outdoor options while adhering to provincial orders, and ensuring public safety.

June 15, 2020

Stage 2: Renewed call for mandatory masks
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I have long called for a consistent approach to reopening the economy, and while we are pleased that more businesses in Markham can start getting back on track in Stage 2 of the Province’s reopening, I am concerned for the safety of my community.

I am calling on the Province to make wearing masks mandatory in enclosed indoor spaces where physical distancing is not possible. Meanwhile, since York Region will now move into this next phase of reopening starting Friday June 19, 2020, I am asking retailers and personal service shops in Markham to implement a ‘no mask, no service’ policy.

We recently called on the Provincial Government and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to give restaurants, cafes, bars and other licensed establishments the flexibility to expand licensed patios into additional spaces like parking lots to allow them to meet physical distancing and hygiene guidelines. At the municipal level, the City of Markham is removing barriers to help them expand by not requiring a rezoning application, a site plan and by waiving any associated fees. Businesses can apply for a patio extension by contacting our City Clerk’s office.

We are prepared to take our first cautious steps toward recovery, whether it is getting a haircut or enjoying the first meal on a restaurant patio with a small group of family or friends, this is a positive development. We are definitely moving in the right direction; however, this is not the time to let our guard down or to ease safety restrictions.

The percentage of community transmission cases in Markham continues to decline, we have managed to maintain our position as having one of the lowest rates among large urban municipalities in York Region and lower than the provincial average. It is a position we do not want to compromise.

We anticipate people from Toronto and other parts of the GTA to cross municipal boundaries and we welcome them. We have to strike the right balance between supporting our businesses and ensuring public safety.

We trust that the information used to move our region into Stage two of reopening is based on the most up to date data and public health advice. COVID-19 is a reality that will be with us for some time, and the need to take necessary precautions becomes even more important now.

We will continue to review municipal services that may be impacted by this change. As always, community safety remains our top priority.


June 12, 2020

Additional screening measures long overdue
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

On January 26, 2020, I called on the federal government to implement enhanced screening measures at Canadian airports, and I am pleased to hear the Prime Minister’s announcement mandating temperature screening for air passengers, first for those travelling to Canada, then for those travelling from Canada and within Canada.

At the time of my call, I felt screening measures were less stringent than at other international airports and that prevention is key. This is the right move, and a necessary move, one that will restore public confidence and reduce the risk of exposure to the virus, further protecting our communities.

Implementing enhanced screening would have been an effective measure at an earlier stage to help slow down the spread of COVID-19. However, today’s announcement is welcome news as the economy slowly reopens. We need to take every step possible to minimize a spike in a potential second wave. I applaud the federal government for adding another layer of protection, as we all continue to combat COVID-19.

June 11, 2020

Masks ON for public transit users
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I am calling on provincial officials to introduce measures to make it mandatory for all transit passengers across Ontario to wear masks. Passengers often move across municipal boundaries and a consistent province-wide approach ensures there are no risks to public safety. For the sake of fairness, and in effort to limit the spread of the virus, this would be a positive step.

While the Ontario Government has made recommendations and released safety guidelines to transit agencies, in York Region, we are moving forward with making masks mandatory as of July 2, 2020. I presented a motion on this today during the York Region Committee Meeting. It is our duty to ensure that all public spaces, especially enclosed areas like buses, are safe for both riders and transit employees.

The decision to make masks mandatory on transit is also a sound business decision. When people feel safer, they are likely to take transit. A healthy transit system is key to making a full economic recovery and restoring public confidence.

As we move toward the next stage of recovery, the City of Markham continues to take a thoughtful, careful and phased in approach to reopening. We have now opened the Milne Dam Conservation Area and two more recycling depots, Milliken Mills and Thornhill.

Our community has come together like never before and we all need to continue to do our part, respect others by maintaining a safe physical distance and doing everything we can to ensure the safety of others. Wearing a mask is an important component of that shared responsibility.

A complete staff report on the implementation of the mandatory mask policy on York Region Transit will be presented to York Region Council on June 26, if it passes, masks will be made mandatory on York Region Transit as of July 2, 2020.


June 8, 2020

Positive steps as we move forward
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I appreciate the Provincial Government’s regional approach to Stage 2 in its reopening plan. I have always called for a cautious and thoughtful strategy to restarting the economy in order to avoid a surge in COVID cases.

I applaud the Province’s move eliminating licensing requirements to extend outdoor patios for the duration of summer and into the fall. We recently called on the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to give restaurants, cafes, bars and other licensed establishments the flexibility to expand patios into additional spaces like parking lots to allow them to meet physical distancing and hygiene guidelines.

At the municipal level, the City of Markham is removing barriers to help them expand by not requiring a rezoning application, a site plan and by waiving any associated fees. We are taking it a step further by allowing other retail businesses to expand as well, and sell their products outdoors. Any expansion is still subject to city approval through a streamlined process, as we want to give our small and local businesses every opportunity possible to rebuild.

We thank Premier Doug Ford, Doug Downey, Attorney General, Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister Small Business and Cutting Red Tape for answering our call. Thank you to Thornhill MPP Gila Martow for pushing to ease restrictions at the provincial level. Flexible rules around patios, outdoor dining and shopping will help businesses recover from the financial hit they have taken during this pandemic.

I also support the Province’s ban on commercial evictions until the end of August. We understand that it could be challenging to access government relief programs; that being said, it’s appropriate to restrict landlords by not allowing them to evict tenants who are facing financial hardship at this time. This is the right move. We all need to do our part to support our local entrepreneurs and small business owners that have been hit hard and are struggling to stay afloat. Understanding landlords are facing a difficult situation too, we encourage them to apply to the Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) Program.

By Friday, social gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed across Ontario, and we will continue to review municipal services that may be impacted by this change; as always, community safety remains our top priority.


June 8, 2020

End of outbreak at Participation House, a community achievement
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti


I am thrilled to acknowledge that the COVID-19 outbreak is now over at Participation House in Markham. This is exactly the kind of news we all need right now.

An outbreak was first declared at the home in April. At the time, there was a critical shortage of staff and personal protective equipment (PPE). We immediately put out an urgent call for help and we launched the Markham Cares Donation Centre to ensure necessary supplies can get to the facilities in our community that needed it most. The support was overwhelming. People and businesses from Markham and beyond our borders immediately rose to the challenge, donated supplies and meals and offered to help. We heard countless heartwarming stories of kindness and generosity, and we are beyond grateful.

At the height of the outbreak, 95 per cent of residents at the home had COVID-19. Tragically, six residents passed away. Our hearts and thoughts are with their families and loved ones for their unimaginable and devastating loss. Our community is with you.

Now that Participation House has been given the all clear, I would like to thank the entire team, led by Shelley Brillinger for their steadfast commitment, hard work and dedication to the residents, with many working around the clock for weeks with little to no rest and at risk to themselves and their own families. It was a difficult and heartbreaking situation and it took a toll on everyone involved.

I applaud Dr. Jane Philpott for her extraordinary support at Participation House. Undoubtedly, she was a critical resource during a time of crisis. We extend our sincere appreciation to the highly skilled medical team at Markham Stouffville Hospital, along with York Region EMS for answering the call and for their exceptional support and leadership.

I am now calling on the Provincial Government to include all supportive housing facilities, like Participation House, in its review with the recently announced Independent Commission into Long-Term Care. Last week, on a call with Deputy Premier Christine Elliott, I was assured that she and Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, are looking into adding supportive housing in that review.

Participation House is home to our most vulnerable, people who cannot care for themselves. Families were understandably worried and afraid, and they deserve to know that every effort is underway to prevent similar tragedies. Meanwhile, I hope today’s news offers some relief. We all have a responsibility and duty to protect and care for the residents of Participation House, and our collective response helped end the outbreak and made all the difference. Thank you for ensuring they were not alone.


June 1, 2020

Federal and Provincial Governments need to seriously address financial impact to municipalities.

Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement today is a positive signal that the federal government is listening to the concerns of municipalities. The $2.2 billion gas tax funding for municipalities for infrastructure improvements, which is usually received in two installments, will now be delivered in one payment in June.

At the City of Markham, that money has already been accounted for this year in our budget; it is restricted for capital projects and cannot be utilized for operating budgets. Although we appreciate the advancement of this gas tax funding to one payment, it does not address the serious financial crisis and shortfalls we currently face with permanent revenue loss and increased costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We appreciated when the Provincial Government provided municipalities some quick relief by allowing us to defer the transfer of the education property tax, which gave municipalities some flexibility in developing a local short-term financial response; but that too is far from the necessary support that is needed.

The Federal and Provincial Governments recognize the value municipalities add to driving economic activity and we need assistance immediately to continue to deliver essential and front line services and drive recovery.

I am encouraged by the federal government’s commitment to do more to support municipalities. Premier Doug Ford has also voiced his willingness to provide urgent financial assistance to municipalities. We continue to call on both the federal and provincial governments to collaborate and expedite emergency funding for municipalities to assist with the costs of confronting COVID-19 in our communities and the need to properly restart our local economies. We need all governments working together on this right now.


May 29, 2020

Summer Camps Cancelled. Summer Safety a Priority
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti


Throughout this pandemic, the City of Markham’s response has been careful, thoughtful and measured. As we slowly re-enter the reopening phase, we have had to make some difficult decisions in the name of public safety. Today, we are announcing the cancellation of all city-run summer camps and programs.

This was a tough but necessary decision to ensure parents have time to plan for alternative activities. Anyone who has registered will receive a refund. We will continue to explore modified camp programs with limited offerings, in the event that the Province allows camps to operate this summer with strict restrictions.

All City of Markham Community Centres, Libraries, the Markham Museum, the Varley Art Gallery and the Flato Markham Theatre remain closed. All large-scale city supported events are cancelled until August 31, 2020. This week, Markham reopened some its outdoor spaces including tennis courts, soccer and baseball fields, skateboard parks, off-leash dog parks, benches, park shelters and picnic tables. On June 5, 2020, we will open community gardens and the Markham Village Recycling Depot, with additional recycling centres opening the following week. It is imperative that we continue to adhere to the same rules under Provincial Emergency Orders, including restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people. We ask that you maintain physical distancing of 2 metres.

This week, the Provincial Government announced more health care providers could begin to reopen including optometrists, dentists, chiropractors and physiotherapists while meeting provincial guidelines and public health regulations to prevent the spread of the virus. I applaud the Province for its directive requiring health regulatory colleges to develop guidelines to ensure high quality and safe clinical care must be met before services can resume, while also providing advice on which services can be provided virtually. Our community relies on these important healthcare services and they are small businesses that contribute to the vitality of our main streets and commercial centres.

I also welcome Ontario’s plan to expand testing across the province making it more available to more people in more places. Enhanced screening will give public health officials, municipalities, businesses and decision makers the confidence to gradually move toward recovery. We simply cannot take any risks and safety remains our top priority. As always, caution is key.


May 28, 2020

Milestone Agreement: Big Step for Critical Yonge North Subway Extension
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

Today celebrates a major step forward with the signing of a Preliminary Agreement between the Provincial Government and York Region, a significant milestone in the delivery of the Yonge North Subway Extension. This underscores the strong partnership between the provincial and regional governments, as they work together to get this critical project built. This is tangible evidence that the Province and the Region are committed to extending the Yonge Subway Line to serve more people and jobs in major urban and employment centres along Highway 7 and Yonge Street.

As Chair of the York Region Rapid Transit Corporation, I have spent my tenure advocating for long-term funding and advancing the Yonge-North Subway Extension, the most justified rapid transit project in the GTA. The extension to Markham and York Region will meet current travel demands, provide greater access to other rapid transit lines and support the future transit needs of our growing communities.

The merits of this priority project are well documented as a critical transit link. Now, the Yonge-North Subway Extension will also play a significant role in restarting the economy, post COVID-19. It will create 60,000 new jobs, build a stronger economy, shape communities and support a sustainable future by reducing 3,300 daily bus trips along the busy Yonge Street corridor, saving more than 13 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per workday.

With this Preliminary Agreement now in place, the next crucial step will be to secure funding from the Federal Government for its portion, and we look forward to a firm commitment from our federal partners in order to start the project immediately, which should not take a back seat to any other rapid transit infrastructure.

Thank you to Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Transportation, Caroline Mulroney and Associate Minister of Transportation, Kinga Surma for their ongoing commitment to the full completion of the Yonge-North Subway Extension, one of four priority transit projects under Ontario’s Transit Plan. Thank you to the teams at York Region and York Region Rapid Transit Corporation, along with provincial officials for their hard work on getting this agreement across the finish line. Together, we will deliver a world-class transportation network.


May 28, 2020

Markham jumps into ShopHERE program in support of small businesses
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

The City of Markham is the first municipality to join a Canada-wide initiative. The ShopHERE Program, initiated by Digital Main Street (a program of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas) and the City of Toronto, is being expanded across the country.

This is a great fit for Markham, a municipal leader in Canada’s innovation corridor. It builds on the rich and diverse talent we have here, while supporting local entrepreneurs and artists who may need to rethink their business model beyond bricks and mortar, and need to fast track their digital transformation.

ShopHERE will provide independent businesses and artists the opportunity to develop an online store, which will be built and launched with no fees charged to the business, with support from marketing and business students. The program will provide independent businesses and artists with:
  • Their choice of a template online store customized with their information, branding, logo, etc.
  • Hands-on assistance setting up and launching their online store.
  • Training and support for digital marketing, shipping and operating an online store.
  • Access to free tools and online advertising credits to support the launch of their online store.
Digital Main Street and Google are extending the program to Canadian municipalities with a goal of building 50,000 online stores by the end of 2020.

This is a significant collaboration with leading tech partners Shopify, Google, Mastercard, Microsoft, Facebook, eBay, Ritual, Trufan, eShipper, Snapchat, Magnet and York University’s Markham and York University Schulich School of Business have a strong partnership and a long history of supporting innovation and research and development in our community.

The program was unanimously endorsed by the Destination Markham Corporation Board, which is currently working on a recovery plan and strategies focused on reviving tourism, the hospitality industry and the wider local economy across various sectors. An estimated 8,312 Markham businesses, 744 of them restaurants, bars or cafes, are eligible for the ShopHERE program.

I have been moved by the stories I have heard from our small business owners who are experiencing anxiety and frustration during these challenging times. Many are looking for ways to rebuild. By providing this opportunity, we are trying to extend a lifeline. We have all had to rethink and adjust the way we work, learn and do business and this innovative program provides critical support for our small and independent businesses, which are the backbone of our economy.

To find out more about the ShopHERE program: https://digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere/


May 22, 2020

More Space. More Options. Same Rules.
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

The City of Markham is taking a thoughtful and measured approach to reopening some of its outdoor facilities, while ensuring that community safety comes first. Our two-stage approach will see the following outdoor spaces and amenities reopen to the public, as of May 28, 2020:

  • Outdoor tennis courts
  • Sports fields including soccer and baseball
  • Skateboard parks
  • Off-leash dog parks
  • Park benches, park shelters and picnic tables

Other facilities to reopen on June 5, 2020:

  • Community gardens
  • Recycling depots

The City has chosen not to rush a reopening of facilities and services so we can fully inspect, clean, install proper signage and support our community groups that have asked for advice and consultation, as they too want to be cautious and implement the proper protocols. While more options for outdoor activities will be available soon, one thing remains constant, it is critical that we continue adhere to the same rules under Provincial Emergency Orders, including restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people and maintaining physical distancing of 2 metres. No team sports are allowed and no permits will be provided by the City of Markham for sports fields.

Playgrounds and basketball courts will remain closed in order to limit close contact, as will cultural venues. In the last couple of days, we have seen a gradual rise in COVID-19 infections across the province; if these trends continue, we are likely heading toward a shutdown of summer camps and a continued closure of all of our community centres until September at the earliest. Parents and guardians should start planning for alternate arrangements, although we are considering modified and limited programming options if possible.

All large-scale city supported events are cancelled until August 31, 2020. We are examining ways to limit large gatherings while still connecting as a community using different and innovative approaches.

The City of Markham is proud to have kept our parks and trails open during the COVID-19 pandemic, understanding that it is important for people to spend time outdoors. Markham has one of the lowest percentages of community spread and we want to maintain that position and avoid a second wave. This phased in approach to reopening strikes the right balance while moving toward recovery safely and carefully, as always, caution is key.


May 14, 2020

We are not there yet
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I welcome the Provincial Government’s incremental approach to reopening the economy and we appreciate the permissions given to municipalities to make their own decisions. Now that Premier Ford has announced the first stage, there will be no change to the services provided by the City of Markham as of next Tuesday; and we will closely review and evaluate the permissions granted by the Province.

As businesses such as retail stores with street front entrances, golf courses and construction sites prepare to open, the onus is on them to ensure that they are ready and prepared to protect the public and their employees, and that includes having proper distancing protocols and protective equipment. A rush to reopen business or limited public services should not be at the expense of community safety.

We all have a shared responsibility to avoid another surge of COVID-19 cases. We managed to avoid the original forecasted hit to hospitals but if we loosen the reigns too fast, we risk seeing that capacity put to the test. Our collective efforts have made a difference and we are headed in the right direction but this is not the time to let our guard down.

Markham has the lowest percentage of community spread among large municipalities in York Region, lower than the City of Toronto and the provincial average, and that speaks to the robust measures we have taken early on to protect the community. We want that success to continue. We want to maintain our position. We want to keep moving forward safely toward a complete recovery, without any major setbacks.

May 13, 2020

We should be helping, not hampering businesses
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

The City of Markham is currently examining ways to support businesses and restaurants during reopening. Understanding that recovery will not be business as usual, we want to give restaurant and bar owners the flexibility to expand their patios into extra spaces like parking lots. Giving them more space will allow them to meet physical distancing and hygiene guidelines since it will mean removing tables and serving fewer people than before.

At the municipal level, we can facilitate zoning requests but some aspects of patio regulation require liquor licensing. That is why I am urging the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to ease restrictions by extending the temporary liquor license beyond the standard 14-day period. This will allow restaurants to apply for the free, temporary license to get them through the summer months and into fall, instead of applying for a permanent modification. We hope that the AGCO will consider the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the hospitality industry, and consider modifying its licensing requirements to reduce barriers to restaurants and bars in these trying times.

In another move to allow for more physical distancing, Markham Council has voted to prohibit parking at any time on the west side of Main Street Unionville. This will provide additional space for pedestrians and is an important step to assist retailers, restaurants and other businesses in the historic tourist district.

As the economy slowly restarts, we need to focus on making public and outdoor spaces safe, ensuring everyone is comfortable by encouraging businesses to consider using patios and sidewalk shopping, especially as the weather warms up. Flexible rules around patios, outdoor dining and shopping will help businesses recover from the financial hit they have taken during the past couple of months. Let’s streamline the process and make it easier for an already struggling industry while ensuring public safety.


May 12, 2020

A Night for Nurses in Markham

In honour of National Nursing Week, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti is calling on everyone to turn on their porch lights on Thursday night, illuminating the fantastic job our nurses are doing.

“Never before have we needed them more,” says Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “They are selfless, kind, skilled and caring. We thank them for always going above and beyond while putting themselves at risk. To all the brave nurses, we say thank you for all that you do, now as we battle the COVID-19 pandemic and every day.”

The City of Markham is proud to proclaim Nursing Week in honour of these medical professionals who do so much for us. Let’s shine a light and show them we care.

Take a picture, post it on social media, and use #NightforNurses #MarkhamCares

When: Thursday, May 14, 2020, 9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.


May 6, 2020

Markham Fair cancelled. New push for food drive honouring Mother’s Day
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

The Markham Fair, originally scheduled for Oct. 1-4, 2020 has been cancelled. The Fair has deep roots in our community, over its 175-year history it has overcome many challenges including world wars, depressions and the Spanish Flu. One of the largest and longest running fairs of its kind in Ontario, the fair is a non-profit organization driven by close to 1000 dedicated volunteers. This was a difficult but necessary decision made by the Markham Fair Board of Directors for the safety of visitors, volunteers, staff and vendors. The farming community, which has been a part of Markham for generations, knows all too well the importance of looking out for each other.

“The Fair has been an integral part of life in Markham, 70,000 visitors attended last year. It is tough to imagine the weekend before Thanksgiving without it. We are a stable organization that has already started planning our return the weekend before Thanksgiving 2021!” – Todd Silverman, General Manager, Markham Fair & Fairgrounds.

Markham continues to have the lowest percentage of direct contact and community spread cases among the larger urban municipalities in York Region, lower than the City of Toronto and the provincial average. That speaks to the robust measures we have taken as a municipality, and to our collective efforts as a community; however this is not the time to back down in the fight against COVID-19. I continue to call for a cautious re-opening of the economy. We are in this for the long haul. Protocols have to remain in place to ensure the safety and protection of everyone and to help reduce the stress on our healthcare system. The Markham Fair’s decision reflects the ongoing concern for community safety.

Our community spirit is strong, as evidenced by the outpouring of support through the Markham Cares Campaign. It has truly been heartwarming. Thank you to all the generous donors who have contributed to both the Markham Cares Donation Centre, which has accepted more than 75,000 units of PPE so far, and the Markham Cares Food Drive in support of the Markham Food Bank.

In honour of Mother’s Day, we are announcing a special three-day food drive on May 7, 8 & 9, 2020 – the Markham Cares Food Drive for Mother’s Day. Donations can be dropped off at our donation centre at 8100 Warden Avenue and at all Markham Fire Stations. Please do not visit a drop-off location if you have symptoms related to COVID-19. Hours of operation have been extended (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.) Please continue to give in support of people and families facing financial hardship and let’s ensure that no one is left behind.

We are currently reviewing other major community events including Canada Day celebrations, one of Markham’s marquee events. Our goal is to celebrate our nation’s birthday safely. We cannot physically be together, but we can still be there for each other. In times of crisis, we come together and we will rise again as a community, and as a country. These are the lessons our mothers have taught us that truly reflect what it means to be a Canadian.


April 27, 2020

Avoid the surge
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

By making decisions based on data and consultation with public health officials, the Provincial Government is taking the right approach by phasing in the re-opening of Ontario’s economy. This is not the time to relent and risk a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, further stressing our healthcare system. The Province of Ontario needs to take the lead to create consistency among all municipalities. The last thing I want to see is a repeat of what happened at the beginning of this crisis with varied provincial and municipal announcements, which led to confusion. 


In early April, the Province released modelling of ICU capacity for COVID-19, with a projected steep rise in patients by late this month. Collectively, we managed to avoid the forecasted hit to hospitals but if we loosen the reigns too fast, we risk seeing that capacity put to the test. What we managed to avoid in April, we should still avoid in May, June and in the coming months.

Any framework for re-opening the economy has to be careful, thoughtful and measured. No one should have to fight the virus in an intensive care unit. York Region is an Ontario hotspot for COVID-19 cases, with around half of the ICU cases at Markham Stouffville Hospital. Participation House, Markhaven Home for Seniors, Sunrise of Unionville and other facilities are still grappling with outbreaks.

I understand the anxiety and frustration that many of us are feeling during these trying times, especially for businesses and our main streets as they struggle to stay afloat. I have heard sad stories of businesses that have had to vacate their premises, some are shifting their focus online, and all are trying to find ways to rebuild. The threat is not over; the choices we have made and continue to make will make all the difference as we work toward recovery.

I continue to call for a cautious re-opening of the economy. We can learn from other jurisdictions around the world about the impact of re-opening, especially those hit with a second wave. However, for now, protocols have to remain in place to ensure the safety and protection of everyone including our health care heroes. There is much to consider but I am confident that together, including all levels of government, we will succeed in avoiding a spike in COVID-19 cases.


April 24, 2020

Help is on the way for small businesses
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I welcome Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement of the Canadian Emergency Rent Assistance Program. The federal government has reached an agreement with provinces and territories to lower rent by 75 percent for small and medium sized businesses for April, May and June. This is much needed relief for businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in revenues due to COVID-19, and is available to non-profit and charitable organizations. Property owners would be asked to cover 25 per cent of the rent, while tenants would pay 25 per cent.

I would like to thank The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, and Member of Parliament for Markham-Thornhill for her advocacy on behalf of businesses in our community and around the country. I would like to also thank provincial and territorial governments for agreeing on the terms of this package that will greatly assist businesses in Markham.

The City of Markham is also offering financial relief. On March 27, Markham Council passed extended relief measures for residents and businesses, one of the most extensive in the country. We approved the waiving of penalty and interest charges until the end of 2020 for those unable to pay their property taxes. We also eliminated the $50 stormwater charge per household and eliminated the stormwater rate for industrial/commercial properties for 2020. We deferred the 2020 Water Rate Increase of 7.8%, which was also supported by York Region.

Our entrepreneurs and innovators drive the Markham economy. Markham is home to 10,675 small businesses, 98 per cent of businesses in Markham employ less than a hundred people. Our main streets in historic Unionville and Markham Village are typically vibrant and bustling tourist attractions that rely on foot traffic and are an integral part of our community. Local business owners are understandably concerned and worried, with some struggling to keep their lights on. This newly announced assistance provides significant support to businesses to help them get through this very difficult time.

I would like to take a moment to offer our deep condolences to the team at Estée Lauder for the loss of one of their own, a 48-year-old woman who worked at the headquarters in Markham. This a tragic reminder that no age group is immune to the coronavirus. Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones and with everyone who has lost a loved one or has fallen ill. Stay home. Save lives. We will get through this together.


April 22, 2020

Call for military assistance answered
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I am pleased to hear that Premier Doug Ford is requesting the federal government's help to deploy the Canadian Armed Forces to assist in long-term care homes hit hardest by COVID-19. I urge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to respond as quickly as possible.

Last week, I urged the Premier to make the call for medical support from the Canadian Armed Forces to provide emergency help to homes struggling to cope. I witnessed first-hand the desperation, heightened anxiety and fear in many of those homes including Markham’s Participation House. Front line healthcare providers are working hard to provide the best care they can in a time of crisis, but it is overwhelming, and many are still experiencing a critical shortage of skilled medical staff and personal support workers.

This is the right move. Together we can fix what is needed now, and ensure healthcare providers are getting the help they need to deliver proper care. Ultimately, health care protocols will have to evolve in order to deal with the next major emergency. Right now, we need to get these highly trained military medical personnel mobilized and in the homes where they are needed most.

We have a collective responsibility to care for and protect our most vulnerable. We owe them every effort.


April 17, 2020

Progress at Participation House. More action needed now.
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

It has been seven days since a COVID-19 outbreak was declared at Participation House, however they are still experiencing a critical shortage of skilled medical staff and personal support workers.

Earlier this week, I had called on Premier Doug Ford to issue a provincial directive and use every mechanism available to get resources and medical support to homes like Participation House, which should be operating as a healthcare facility during this public health emergency.

Today, the Ontario Government issued a new temporary emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which provides Local Health Integration Networks with the ability to safely reassign front line staff to areas they are needed most including long-term care homes and supportive housing.

I would like to thank Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care for taking this action. Local Health Integration Networks have been given a mandate and I am calling on them to act immediately.

If it means we have to call on medical personnel from the Canadian Armed Forces to provide emergency help to homes struggling to cope, then that is what we need to do, and we need to do it now. We cannot let another several days go by.

Progress has been made, the team at Markham Stouffville Hospital has been supportive and continues to coordinate to get additional staff to Participation House, a doctor has also visited the home and assessment of patients continues, along with extra nursing support. Last week, I put out an urgent call for personal protective equipment (PPE) for Participation House and we were touched by the immediate and overwhelming response. Thank you to everyone who has generously donated. However, mask, gloves and gowns were only the beginning; we now need medical personnel on the ground to care for those who cannot care for themselves.

We have a collective responsibility to care for and protect the residents of Participation House and we need action now. We should be doing better than this. We owe them every effort.


April 13, 2020

Donation Centre launches amidst ongoing concerns of staff shortage at Participation House Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

Today we are announcing the launch of a new donation centre in Markham for the public. The Markham Cares Donation Centre will serve as a central receiving depot for personal and corporate donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) and necessary COVID-19 related supplies.

Participation House is an urgent example of why we need to be able to respond quickly to local healthcare needs when supplies are critically low. The home, which supports people with physical and developmental disabilities, is in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak and faced a desperate situation with a lack of protective supplies.

We issued an emergency call for help and the response was overwhelming. Shipments of personal protective equipment are pouring in from all over the community and country. Thank you to everyone who stepped up and answered the call, from people giving a box of gloves they had at home to corporations like MLSE, TELUS and Canadian Tire, labour union LiUNA, Markham Fire and Emergency Services and York Regional Police; we are grateful for all the support.

Still, we cannot allow this situation to happen again. It is critical for healthcare providers to have everything they need to battle COVID-19 while protecting themselves and caring for the most vulnerable in our community. The supply of personal protective equipment is the last thing our healthcare workers need to worry about.

I remain concerned and disturbed that Participation House has had to endure three days of a critical shortage of staff. The skeleton staff is doing their best and continue to work hard to ensure that all residents are getting the food, medicine and care they need, but they remain physically and emotionally drained.

I have reached out to Premier Doug Ford and Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, and while I appreciate the help received thus far, I am hoping that the staff shortage will be addressed immediately.

People looking to donate can drop off supplies using the drive-thru tent located at 8100 Warden Avenue, immediately north of Highway 407. The Markham Cares Donation Centre opens Tuesday April 14, 2020. It will operate daily from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Except Sunday).

April 10, 2020

Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti calls for emergency support for Participation House

We have been informed by York Region Public Health officials of a COVID-19 outbreak at Participation House in Markham. Participation House supports 42 adults with physical and developmental disabilities, such as cerebral palsy. Both staff and residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

I am issuing an emergency call to businesses, community groups or individuals who can immediately help to provide gowns, safety glasses and gloves. Please contact my office through email at: mayorscarpitti@markham.ca.

They need help. Their situation speaks to the vulnerability of the residents and staff, and exactly why the public has to strictly adhere to physical distancing and all the other requirements during this public health emergency.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is critical to stopping the spread in this home. Participation House has six separate units, there are six bedrooms and three shared washrooms within each unit. All units open into a common area with a communal dining space.

The City of Markham is currently facilitating a donation of masks to Participation House. There is a critical need for nurses and personal support workers at both Participation House and Markhaven Home for Seniors, which is also trying to cope with a COVID-19 outbreak.

The residents and staff at both facilities deserve our support and we have an obligation to do everything within our power to provide that support.


April 6, 2020

If not a lockdown, we need a crackdown
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I am calling on Premier Doug Ford and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones to ban being within 2 metres of another person in public spaces, and to include this mandate in the existing provincial emergency orders, with an exemption for people who live together. This means police services across the province, including the OPP, need to step up their game and to enforce what is in the emergency orders and fine violators.

We need consistency. This is a serious public health crisis and public health officials say we are in a critical stage of the pandemic. This is not the time to ignore their recommendations. If provincial numbers are realized, that means more people will die from COVID-19 this month alone than are killed in traffic accidents across Ontario annually. In a flood or forest fire, we would urge people to evacuate those areas to minimize the loss of life. Social evacuation is now the new normal. Stay
home. Save lives.

I have reached out to businesses throughout Markham asking them to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect health care providers in our community including for Markham Stouffville Hospital, Markhaven Home for Seniors, Bethany Lodge and Yee Hong long-term care facilities which are already experiencing a critical shortage of supplies.

Our thoughts and concerns go beyond Markham. I have spoken to Chief Harvey Yesno of Eabametoong First Nation, Markham’s Indigenous partner, regarding the situation on the ground in the remote First Nation community, which now has one confirmed case of COVID-19. He says there is increased anxiety and expressed concerns over a chronic shortage of nurses and other medical personnel. Thank you to the senior levels of government for giving them assurances that protective
equipment will be provided soon.

Ideas keep pouring in, an ICU physician reached out with a wonderful suggestion to support health care providers and first responders by affording them time to shop for food and supplies, as was given to seniors. I strongly urge grocery stores, pharmacies and essential businesses to dedicate some time and provide special checkout lanes to spare our heroes from waiting in line, so they can get back to keeping us safe.

Despite the concerns, I am hearing stories of compassion and strength in the face of adversity. Thank you to all the generous residents and businesses who are rising to action in service of our communities.


March 31, 2020

Extended closures. Extending Help
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

All City of Markham recreation centres, libraries and facilities will remain closed until further notice. Spring programming is cancelled and we will be notifying everyone affected.

I strongly advocated for the Province to include closure of playgrounds and park amenities such as tennis and basketball courts in the provincial emergency orders. I thank Premier Doug Ford for his decisive action to do so effective immediately. The emergency order will now eliminate any ambiguity by providing consistent enforcement across Ontario using sound legal grounds. York Regional Police is the lead authority on issuing fines to violators; the maximum fine is $100,000.

Stay away and stay safe. We must listen to the advice of public health officials. We must practice physical distancing and stay at home as much as possible.

Many moving and heartfelt stories are emerging of people opening their hearts and helping. I welcome the plan by senior levels of government to mobilize businesses and manufacturers asking those who can to pivot production to include much-needed medical supplies and protective equipment. Markham is proud to be a hub for innovation and home to creative talent. We are a warm, compassionate and caring community.

Several Markham-based companies are answering the call to help such as Dental Brands. The team worked with the Province of Ontario and donated 100,000 Level 2 masks, which have a 97-98% filtration efficiency, and considered hospital grade masks. BTNX Inc. has developed a rapid test for COVID-19, which provides results in 15 minutes and has applied to Health Canada to market the test. There are many more inspiring examples in our community and we thank them all for their leadership and generosity.

Please continue to support the Markham Cares Campaign. There are several ways for people and businesses to contribute. The Markham Food Bank has experienced a drastic rise in demand. You can drop off donations at Markham Fire stations and at Longo's, No Frills, Whole Foods Market and FreshCo stores in Markham. Please refrain from visiting drop-off locations if experiencing symptoms. Financial donations can be made on the Canada Helps page: www.canadahelps.org, search using
“Markham Food Bank”.

Markham Stouffville Hospital has launched a fundraising and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Drive campaign. Let’s support our brave front line healthcare workers as they combat COVID-19. For more info, visit: https://www.helpmsh.ca/

Our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those who passed due to COVID-19 in our community. To everyone affected with COVID-19, we wish you a speedy recovery. We will get through this together. We will emerge strong together.


March 27, 2020

Extended relief for Markham residents and businesses until December 31, 2020
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

We heard loud and clear that some people cannot afford to pay their property taxes in a timely manner. Markham Council voted to eliminate late payment charges on unpaid property taxes from April 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020. This is help for residents and businesses who need help.

I am calling on everyone who is able to pay property taxes to continue to do so. However, by offering this relief until the end of the year, we are giving people experiencing financial hardship additional time to recover.

Recognizing that as a municipality our primary revenue source comes from property taxes, our duty as public servants is to ensure we are doing everything we can using the tools we have to support our residents and businesses. It is critical for the City of Markham to continue to provide essential and necessary services to the entire community such as fire protection, garbage collection and keeping our infrastructure in a state of good repair.

I believe it is important to set a clear direction and to avoid passing intermittent relief measures during
this public health crisis.

Markham Council also voted to eliminate the $50 stormwater charge per household, as well as the stormwater rate for industrial and commercial properties for this year. Council voted to defer the 2020 water rate increase of 7.8%, subject to approval by York Region.

The Municipal Accommodation Tax will be suspended from April 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020. As part of Markham’s economic recovery plan, Markham Council will assign the Destination Markham Board to lead a marketing strategy focused on promoting a ‘buy local, shop local and stay local’ campaign.

Small and medium-sized businesses are getting needed relief. I applaud the federal government for increasing the wage subsidy to 75% to help companies keep employees on payroll, while also offering $40,000 interest free loans and deferring the GST and HST payments. We thank the Prime Minister and his government for the support and for protecting jobs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us all. We will continue to work together to address the needs of our communities. Our hearts are with everyone affected and our hope is that we will emerge stronger as a community and as a country.

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March 25, 2020

Money where it needs to be — Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I applaud the Provincial Government for making significant investments where it matters most in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This local, national and global public health crisis has serious economic ramifications.

As part of the Economic and Fiscal Update, Rod Phillips, Ontario’s Finance Minister, announced $7 billion for healthcare and $10 billion in support for people and businesses.

I wrote to Premier Doug Ford last weekend asking for an immediate first step providing municipalities some relief by allowing us to defer the transfer of the education property tax. This gives municipalities flexibility in developing a local short-term financial response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While we understand that the priorities right now are investing in healthcare and supporting families and businesses, we will be asking the Province for additional financial measures to assist municipalities.

We support the investments made to the front lines that include $62 million for more doctors, nurses and support workers, $75 million in protective equipment for healthcare providers and $160 million forCOVID-19 monitoring and testing. Significant investments are also being made in long-term care and mental health support.

At the federal level, the House of Commons has passed legislation to provide relief to families and businesses including emergency support for people experiencing financial hardship. I applaud the Federal Government for providing immediate assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

While Markham is home to ICT giants and multinational corporations, thousands of small businesses contribute to the strength of our local economy. These businesses need help, and I understand the Federal Government will soon release the process for small businesses to easily access those emergency funds.

I have long advocated for stricter measures at Canada’s airports and I welcome the Federal Government’s plan to impose a mandatory 14-day isolation period. All travellers who have returned recently should adhere to this and stay home.

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us all. We will continue to work together to address the needs of our communities.

Listen to 105.9 The Region – Markham’s information and emergency radio station.


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March 24, 2020

We must work together: Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

We have been advocating for hydro rate relief on behalf of residents and businesses, and we welcome news that Ontario is temporarily cutting hydro rates for families, farmers and small businesses. Consumers will be charged the lowest rate possible, switching to off-peak rates (10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour) for the next 45 days to offset higher electricity costs for people who have lost their job, people working from home or are in self-isolation. Families will save an estimated $20 a
month and small businesses an estimated $150.

All levels of government must work together. Municipalities are facing unprecedented challenges. During a call with the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario, Minister Clark and Minister Phillips discussed those challenges with mayors. The Province will share its fiscal update tomorrow and we look forward to hearing how the province will further assist municipalities.

This is a public health emergency. We all have a responsibility. We need to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Our healthcare providers, grocery store and pharmacy employees, delivery drivers, telecommunications workers and others are going to work for us. Please stay home for them. The Ontario Government announced the mandatory closure of non-essential workplaces and you can find the list of businesses permitted to stay open at the following link: https://news.ontario.ca/newsroom/en

Ontario declared a State of Emergency on March 17, 2020. The City of Markham activated our Emergency Operations Centre early last week and a dedicated team of staff has been actively monitoring the situation since February. I assure you that the City of Markham is taking the situation very seriously and has been utilizing every resource available to us. I was also one of the first mayors to push the provincial government to provide municipalities with the ability to hold digital council and committee meetings, enabling us to make decisions and conduct necessary business during the
COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have travelled recently, please go directly home and stay home for 14 days. Do not stop at a grocery store or visit friends or relatives. We will get through this together.

Listen to 105.9 The Region – Markham’s information and emergency radio station.


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March 23, 2020

Every measure possible: Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I thank Premier Doug Ford and the Provincial Government for announcing a mandatory shut down of all non-essential businesses for 14 days, something I have previously called for. This is the right move. This is a necessary move. We need to stay ahead of the curve and we need to ensure that we are taking every measure possible.

Everyone has a responsibility to stop the spread of COVID-19. We need to protect ourselves but also think of others, seniors and the vulnerable in our community, while keeping our healthcare providers and essential workers safe.

People returning from March Break travels or any other travel must adhere to self-isolation along with people and relatives who pick them up from the airport. I am calling on grocery stores and pharmacies to put up signs asking people not to enter if they have travelled recently. Please shop online or have someone drop off supplies for you.

I echo the Prime Minister’s call urging Canadians to do their part and stay home. Keep our community safe. Those not doing their part are putting everyone at risk.

The Provincial Government is providing $200 million in funding to support municipalities, emergency services, charities and social service providers. I recently launched the Markham Cares Food Drive in support of people experiencing financial hardship. Demand at the Markham Food Bank continues to rise and I thank everyone who has helped by dropping off donations at local grocery stores. Financial donations can be at www.canadahelps.org

Markham has experienced a heartbreaking loss, the first COVID-19 related death in York Region. We offer our sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of the woman who passed away. York Region Public Health officials continue to work closely with healthcare providers at Markhaven Home for Seniors in Markham.

All of Markham’s facilities remain closed to the public, while essential services are continuing as usual. Markham Council is set to hold its first council meeting through videoconferencing on Friday, March 27, 2020.


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March 21, 2020

Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti on the latest COVID-19 case in Markham

We have been made aware that a long-term care resident has tested positive for COVID-19 at Markhaven Home for Seniors in Markham. I trust that public health officials and healthcare providers are doing everything they can to contain further spread, while ensuring other residents in Markhaven are protected. I encourage all family and friends with loved ones in long-term care facilities to please check protocol before visiting, and adhere to any restrictions. We all need to protect the most vulnerable in the community and trust that healthcare providers are doing their best.

I am calling on senior levels of government to take further steps and close all non-essential businesses including shopping malls, personal service shops and offices. While I understand this can lead to some workers experiencing financial hardship, I am hearing from concerned residents who have to go into work and are very worried about the exposure to COVID-19. We are all being advised to take precautions, keep our distance and work from home when possible. Keeping these operations and businesses open runs contrary to the advice we are receiving from public health officials.

For up-to-date information about COVID-19, visit: www.york.ca/covid19
For the latest information and update on closures and cancellations at the City of Markham, visit: www.markham.ca/covid19


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March 20, 2020

Shut down non-essential businesses and public activities
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I am calling on senior levels of government to take further steps and close all non-essential businesses including shopping malls, personal service shops and offices. While I understand this can lead to some workers experiencing financial hardship, I am hearing from concerned residents who have to go into work and are very worried about the exposure to COVID-19. We are all being advised to take precautions, keep our distance and work from home when possible. Keeping these operations and businesses open runs contrary to the advice we are receiving from public health officials.

I am also urging families to stay away from playgrounds, as difficult as this may be; we all have to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. The City of Markham is in the process of installing signs advising people to refrain from using the playgroud equipment.

Families should begin to prepare for the likelihood that City of Markham facilities including recreation centres, libraries and the Civic Centre could remain closed to the public beyond April 5, 2020. All essential municipal services will continue as usual and normal business activities will continue via email and conference calls when possible. All services that protect the health and safety of our residents will be maintained.

Municipal parking control officers are focusing their enforcement on accessible parking spaces and on clearing fire routes. In an effort to keep our neighbourhoods safe, enforcement will continue on residential streets to ensure access for snow clearing and emergency vehicles.

The City of Markham has different property tax due dates compared to other municipalities. To date, more than 91% of residents and businesses have paid their current taxes for the first half of the year. In an effort to help property taxpayers, we are examining measures that will be announced shortly.

We all need to be on the same page. We all need to ensure we are doing everything possible to flatten the curve and protect healthcare providers and first responders. We must remember that the disruption to our daily lives pales in comparison to the burden placed on our healthcare system.

I welcome the Federal Government’s new plan to mobilize businesses and manufacturers by pivoting production to include medical supplies, drawing on the talent we have in Canada. Markham is home to creative innovators and I would like to thank companies that are making changes to protect the health and wellbeing of their employees and the community as a whole.

Let’s continue to open our hearts and give to local charities and food banks. Let’s continue to look out for one another, a neighbour, senior or someone who might need help. Let’s support our local businesses by ordering takeout and delivery. We will get through this together.


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March 19, 2020

Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti: Conducting city business safely

I would like to thank Premier Doug Ford and the Provincial Government for listening to the needs of municipalities by allowing us to hold council meetings through teleconferencing. I had previously asked the provincial government to grant municipalities special permission to hold electronic council and committee meetings which was prohibited under the Municipal Act, 2001.

All City of Markham facilities including The Markham Civic Centre remain closed to the public until April 5, 2020. All essential municipal services will continue as usual and normal business activities will continue via email and conference calls when possible. All services that protect the health and safety of our residents will be maintained.

Our job as elected officials is to continue to advocate on your behalf and keep you informed. The change in legislation announced today allows us to continue to serve the people of Markham while taking necessary precautions to protect the health of everyone involved.

I also applaud the provincial government for making a substantial investment in frontline healthcare workers, the true heroes in our community, and for suspending eviction notices to protect tenants ensuring they can stay in their homes.
Overall, I commend both senior levels of government for moving to provide relief and support to people and businesses in our communities.

Now more than ever, we need to do our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus and protect our healthcare professionals. Let’s continue to open our hearts and give to local charities and food banks. Let’s continue to look out for one another, a neighbour, senior or someone who might need help. Let’s support our local businesses by ordering takeout and delivery. We will get through this together.

I will continue to provide regular updates on all my social media platforms. You can also find updated information at: www.markham.ca/covid19

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March 18, 2020

UPDATE: Statement from Mayor Frank Scarpitti on federal measures and Markham’s continued response to COVID-19

I commend the Federal Government for restricting non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S border, while ensuring goods and trade continue to flow. The United States is Markham’s largest source of foreign direct investment and we need to ensure trade can continue while we take every necessary step to flatten the curve and slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

I welcome additional economic measures announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that will provide relief for families and businesses, including a boost to the Canada Child Care Benefit, an extension of the tax filing deadline and emergency support for people who do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.

Many families, entrepreneurs and businesses are concerned about what to do next and this economic stimulus package should give them some peace of mind, ensuring people who need help will receive it. Markham is home to many innovative entrepreneurs and small and medium sized businesses that drive our economy and need support. The new measures include a temporary wage subsidy of 10 per cent for small businesses.

I also applaud the Federal Government for providing financial relief through the Indigenous Community Support Fund to address the immediate needs of First Nations, Inuit, Métis communities. The City of Markham has a partnership with Eabametoong First Nation in Northern Ontario and I am in regular contact with Chief Harvey Yesno at the remote First Nations community.

We should not forget to help people who need it and who may be feeling isolated or scared during this uncertain time. We are a compassionate and caring community, we look out for one another and we can all do our part to make a difference, even if in some small way. Thank you for supporting the Markham Cares Food Drive in support of the Markham Food Bank. Financial donations can be made at www.canadahelps.org

As a reminder, all City of Markham facilities are closed to the public until April 5, 2020. It is important to note that all essential municipal services will continue as usual. For up-to-date information, visit www.markham.ca/covid19

Together, we can take steps to help lessen the burden on our health care system, while protecting frontline health care workers. Thank you to all our first responders who are working tirelessly to keep us safe. Thank you to grocery store and pharmacy employees, truck drivers and everyone who is keeping our supply chain strong.


For more information on newly announced federal measures: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance.html

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March 17, 2020

UPDATE: Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti on the City of Markham’s Response
to COVID-19

I fully support the Provincial Government's decisive action to declare a State of Emergency. This is in the interest of the collective good and to help reduce the burden on the health care system. The Province is ordering privately licensed daycares, private schools, theatres, special venues, bars and restaurants to close. The declaration requires those businesses to legally close except to provide take-out and delivery service. I applaud local establishments that are already providing take-out and delivery services and thank them for taking the necessary precautions to protect the public.

I applaud both senior levels of government for moving to provide relief and support to workers and businesses affected. I have had discussions and will contact local Business Improvement Associations and the Markham Board of Trade, and while financial assistance falls under federal and provincial jurisdictions, I will be looking into what we can do at the municipal level to support residents and business owners.

The Markham Civic Centre, 8100 Warden Avenue and 555 Miller Avenue will be closed to the public until April 5, 2020. Normal business activities will continue via email and conference calls when possible. We have also extended hours at the Contact Centre, which will be open 8:00 am-8:30 pm (Monday to Friday), and 10:00 am-3:00 pm (weekends). On Friday, we announced the closure of all City of Markham recreation centres, libraries and cultural venues. It is important to note that all essential municipal services will continue as usual.

Markham Stouffville Hospital is opening a COVID-19 Assessment Centre tomorrow to serve people in Markham, Stouffville, Uxbridge and the surrounding area who are experiencing possible symptoms. It is walk-in only and will not take appointments and phone calls, only patients who meet the criteria will be tested.

I would like to thank the people of Markham for coming together, for helping one another and lending a helping hand. Thank you for supporting the Markham Cares Food Drive in support of the Markham Food Bank.

We can all do our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19. We will get through this together.

The City of Markham will continue to provide updated information on our website: www.markham.ca.covid19

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March 16, 2020

Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti: Updates to City of Markham Response to COVID-19

The City of Markham is activating its Emergency Operations Centre on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 to ensure we continue to deliver a coordinated response to COVID-19. It is important to note that all essential municipal services will continue as usual.

I have asked the Provincial Government to grant municipalities special permission to hold electronic council and committee meetings, which is currently prohibited under the Municipal Act, 2001.

In late January, I called on the Federal Government to implement additional screening and detection measures at Canadian airports, including rerouting of international flights to specific airports. I am pleased with the step to restrict foreign travellers from entering Canada but I urge federal authorities to include American travellers in those restrictions.

While all documented cases to-date in York Region are travel-related, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada is discouraging any mass gatherings of 50 people or more. Ontario Health officials are also recommending temporarily shutting down dining services and to provide take-out and delivery. I encourage local businesses to take necessary precautions to protect the public and I applaud establishments that are providing take-out and delivery.

This can be a stressful time for many of us. The Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario has some helpful tips for anyone experiencing anxiety or has mental health concerns, including getting enough sleep, eating healthy and engaging in enjoyable activities. For more information, visit: ontario.cmha.ca.

Demand at the Markham Food Bank has increased sharply. Since launching the Markham Cares Food Drive, we have received many inquiries from people looking to help. You can contact the food bank directly if you would like to volunteer. Financial donations are also needed and can be made on the Canada Helps page: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/9826

I have heard many heartfelt stories over the past few days of people reaching out, opening their hearts and helping one another throughout the community and at grocery stores. Please continue to look out for seniors and the vulnerable. We must remember that are all in this together. #MarkhamCares

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March 13, 2020

Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti: City of Markham Response to COVID-19 Launch of Markham Cares Food Drive

We are taking the current situation very seriously. We are committed to keeping our residents and employees safe. Effective at midnight, all City of Markham recreation centres and libraries will be closed until April 5, 2020. All programs and drop-ins including March Break Camps, seniors programs and clubs, aquatics, fitness centres, library services and permits will be suspended until then. Camps at the Varley Art Gallery, Markham Museum and Flato Markham Theatre will be cancelled. People will receive full refunds. The customer service desk will remain open at each major community centre.

Markham Council Meetings, General Committee, Development Services Committee, Public Hearings, Committee of Adjustment and all Advisory Committee meetings will also be cancelled.

Our Emergency Management Team is working with Public Health officials and is closely monitoring the evolving situation around COVID-19. We have already taken immediate steps to ensure the health and safety of our residents and employees, and we will continue enhanced cleaning and disinfecting at all our facilities while also sharing prevention information in various languages.

This is an unprecedented and fluid situation. As we navigate through these challenging times, we must remember that we are all in this together. Many are preparing by purchasing groceries and supplies but we should not forget others who may not be as fortunate. I am launching the Markham Cares Food Drive. Please support your local charities and food banks. You can drop off donations at all City of Markham Fire Stations. Several grocery chains throughout Markham including Longo’s, No Frills, FreshCo and Whole Foods will have Markham Food Bank boxes at their entrances.

All levels of government must work together to address challenges as they arise. While I understand this disruption to our daily routines, the inconvenience pales in comparison to the potential surge and burden on our health care system. I would like to salute our health care professionals and emergency responders who are on the frontlines and are keeping us safe and informed.

This will undoubtedly have serious economic implications affecting businesses and people in our community; however, not taking these actions could lead to greater implications and longer-term effects. I encourage everyone to get their information from reliable sources and follow the advice of medical experts.

If you have concerns about your health please visit york.ca/covid19 for up-to-date information or call Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.

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October 19, 2020

GTHA Mayors and Chairs thank provincial officials for public health advice on Halloween

"Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area took part in their weekly call on the ongoing response to COVID-19.

We asked the province and health officials for clear and simple advice on Halloween and today they’ve provided that advice.

For this year, Ontario public health advice tells us we have to celebrate Halloween differently than we have ever done before. For areas which are in a modified Stage 2, the provincial recommendation is not to go door to door but to find other ways to celebrate Halloween at home. Residents not in modified Stage 2 areas are also encouraged to follow public health advice so as to have a safe, healthy, physically-distanced Halloween.

The Mayors and Chairs also discussed the impact of the declaration of a modified Stage 2 on hospitality businesses including the restaurant business. Concern was expressed about instances in which loans and lines of credit for small businesses are being recalled by financial institutions, and the severe impact this would have for many of them. The insurance issue was also discussed with many of the same businesses facing cancelled or dramatically more expensive liability insurance at a time when they are struggling.

The Mayors and Chairs also discussed ways in which they can work with the restaurant and hospitality industry, public health and the province to ensure stability and consistency following the 28-day pause so as to help the industry get back to good health and avoid future shutdowns."


October 16, 2020

York Region moving to modified Stage 2 

Today the province announced further restrictions for York Region, joining Toronto, Peel and Ottawa in a modified Stage 2. Effective 12:01 am on Monday, October 19, 2020 for a period of 28 days, gyms and fitness centres will not be permitted to open and restaurants will not be able to offer indoor dining. As a result of these new restrictions, fitness activities at the Markham Pan Am Centre will not be offered. I thank the Premier for giving the hospitality industry advance notice so they can adjust their operations.

Currently, there are 606 active cases of COVID-19 in York Region and 147 in the city of Markham. Our hospitalizations have steadily increased and overall daily infections are exceeding levels at the peak of the first wave in April and May. Our positivity rate in York Region is now hovering around 3% which has met the provincial threshold for York Region to enter a modified Stage 2. I am concerned by the pandemic modelling and today’s announcement by the provincial government reflects a growing concern from provincial public health officials.

I sympathize greatly with businesses in our community and I have been so impressed by how our local restaurant and hospitality industry has adhered to public health protocols. These new restrictions bring about more uncertainty and additional challenges. I strongly encourage residents to support local restaurants as they shift to take-out and delivery only. I am also urging the higher levels government to find additional ways to assist the hospitality sector on top of the already announced $300 Million announced last week by the provincial government to assist businesses affected by these latest Modified Stage 2 restrictions. Last month, The City of Markham requested the province work local municipalities to develop immediate options to assist sectors like the hotel industry.

Our community has come together like never before and we all need to continue to do our part, respect others by maintaining a safe physical distance and doing everything we can to ensure the safety of others. Wearing a mask is one of the most important components of that shared responsibility. We must continue to work collectively, individuals, businesses and the various levels of government as we have done throughout this pandemic so far. We cannot let out guard down.


October 13, 2020

GTHA Mayors and Chairs ask for clear public health advice on Halloween

"Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area took part in their weekly call on the ongoing response to COVID-19.

The Mayors and Chairs have been working together since March to ensure a coordinated regional response to the pandemic.

Today, the Mayors and Chairs discussed the province's recent announcement to move Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa into a modified Stage 2 for 28 days to address rising COVID-19 case counts. All the Mayors and Chairs are committed to making sure a resurgence is addressed as quickly as possible so that we can continue to keep schools open, protect long-term care home residents, and avoid a larger and longer lockdown.

We are all committed to following the advice of our public health professionals to combat this virus. We recognize that a healthy economy must have healthy people. We look forward to participating in a continuous review of public health conditions and available data during the 28-day period.

Looking ahead to Halloween, now less than three weeks away, the Mayors and Chairs will strongly advocate for one clear public health message, preferably coming from the province, by the end of this week. In the meantime, Medical Officers of Health in these municipalities will work to forge such a common position for discussion with the province and we will shortly provide the province with a summary of some of the points which arose in our discussion today.

In the coming days, the Mayors and Chairs will be encouraging residents across the region to wear a mask, avoid gathering with people you don't live with (beyond work and school where precautions are in place), and support local businesses."


October 9, 2020

Be thankful by staying APART this Thanksgiving

Today the province announced new restrictions in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa to combat the second wave of COVID-19 in Ontario, including the closure of gyms and indoor dining. Provincial health authorities are actively watching York Region’s case data and communicating with our local public health officials on possible next steps.

I applaud the Prime Minister and his government on today’s announcement of a revamped commercial rent-relief and wage subsidy program for businesses impacted by COVID-19. This continues to be an added lifeline for businesses as they continue to weather the storm. I have been impressed by how our local restaurant and hospitality industry has adhered to public health protocols, and I sympathize with them as the possibility of new restrictions brings more uncertainty and anxiety. I am urging the federal and provincial governments to find additional ways to assist the hospitality sector. Last month, the City of Markham requested the province work local municipalities to develop immediate options to assist sectors like the hotel industry. I encourage residents to continue supporting local dining as they shift to take-out and delivery only.

Currently, there are 494 active cases of COVID-19 in York Region and 114 in the City of Markham. Our hospitalizations have steadily increased and overall daily infections are at levels similar to the peak of the first wave in April and May. I am concerned by the pandemic modelling and today’s announcement by the provincial government reflects a growing concern from public health officials. We must continue to work collectively, individuals, businesses and the various levels of government as we have done throughout this pandemic so far. We cannot let out guard down.

Our community has come together like never before and we all need to continue to do our part, respect others by maintaining a safe physical distance and doing everything we can to ensure the safety of others. Wearing a mask is one of the most important components of that shared responsibility.

As we enter Thanksgiving weekend, I ask that residents show restraint in their gatherings. The best way to be thankful for family members this Thanksgiving is to keep them safe. Please consider a virtual gathering and limit exposure to only the immediate household. I wish you and your family a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.


October 6, 2020

Markham Library shifts from curbside to inside pick-up.

The colder weather is upon us and Markham Public Library is shifting its services to meet the needs of customers. Starting October 13, the following four branches will have in-branch front desk pickup:

Locations:
Angus Glen Library
Aaniin Library
Markham Village Library
Thornhill Community Centre Library

Curbside service will discontinue as of October 10, as customers will be able to pick up their holds from inside of the branch. COVID-19 health and safety protocols remain in effect. As per provincial guidelines, the capacity of the branch will be limited to 10 people at all times and mask use is mandatory. Study rooms, Makerspaces, play areas and bookshelves will remain closed. Lendery items, toys and digital equipment services are also not available.

Additional services to be offered include return item drop boxes at all four locations. Computer, Printer and Proctoring services will be offered by appointment only. Markham Public Library continues to offer an excellent variety of digital collections for all ages that customers can enjoy from home. For more information, please visit www.markhampubliclibrary.ca/reopening.

Thank you for your continued cooperation as we respond to this unprecedented public health challenge.


October 5, 2020

GTHA Mayors and Chairs committed to addressing resurgence

"Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area took part in their weekly call on the ongoing response to COVID-19.

The Mayors and Chairs continue to be committed to working together with each other and with the provincial and federal governments to address escalating case counts.

During today's discussion, the Mayors and Chairs agreed that our public health efforts must be focused on keeping schools open for children and protecting long-term care home residents.

To help in this effort, the Mayors and Chairs continue to urge all residents to follow public health advice. Beyond work and school where precautions are in place, now is not the time to gather with people from outside your own household. That, along with wearing a mask and washing your hands, is the best way to keep healthy and avoid spreading COVID-19 right now.

More specifically, the Mayors and Chairs called upon residents to follow public health advice and show restraint in Thanksgiving gatherings. It simply isn't worth putting the health of family members at risk. The best way to be thankful for family members at Thanksgiving is to follow public health advice."


October 2, 2020

Masks ON in Ontario.

Today the province announced that masks will now be mandatory as of midnight tonight in indoor public settings across Ontario. I applaud the Premier and his government for taking this important step. Today’s announcement will complement our already in-place mask requirements in York Region. I have long called for a consistent mask approach across the province, as well as extra public health restrictions on restaurants, bars and gyms.

I am concerned with the rising case numbers in York Region, the GTA and Ontario. There are currently 75 active cases in Markham, 375 in York Region and there are 21 patients hospitalized for COVID-19. York Region Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Karim Kurji informed regional council last week that we are indeed witnessing a second wave arriving earlier than expected.

While I appreciate the province taking a consistent approach to mask use, I ask that they consider a consistent approach to municipalities that comprise the Greater Toronto Area. We want to avoid becoming another COVID-19 hot spot. I have long called for a consistent and regional approach, especially in large urban areas. Strict protocols have to remain in place to ensure the safety and protection of everyone. By not doing this leaves our community vulnerable.

There is a heightened sense of anxiety right now as we watch an uptick in daily case counts. We cannot let out guard down. We must continue to work collectively, individuals, businesses and the various levels of government as we have done throughout this pandemic so far.

Our community has come together like never before and we all need to continue to do our part, respect others by maintaining a safe physical distance and doing everything we can to ensure the safety of others. Wearing a mask is one of the most important components of that shared responsibility.


September 28, 2020

GTHA Mayors and Chairs committed to fighting COVID-19 resurgence

"Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area met to discuss the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the resurgence. They noted with serious concern escalating case count numbers in large parts of the region.

The Mayors and Chairs thanked the provincial government for taking action on Friday to reduce restaurant and bar hours based on public health advice to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We believe strategic action like this is needed to target hot spots while keeping the vast majority of businesses open across the GTHA.

All the Mayors and Chairs are consulting with their local Medical Officers of Health about what further action should be taken now in light of escalating case counts. A number of municipalities on the call indicated they were seriously considering further restrictions on restaurant capacity as part of a broader concern about the spread of COVID-19 in those settings.

Concern was also expressed about capacity related issues as relates to banquet halls and the desirability of examining this sector from a health and consistency standpoint.

We are committed to working with the provincial government and public health authorities to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities while making sure we do everything we can as municipal governments to help school boards keep schools open and to continue to keep the economy open to the greatest extent possible.

Given that every public health action will have an impact on the businesses focused on, the Mayors and Chairs will continue to advocate for financial support from the provincial and federal governments to support businesses who are doing the right thing and complying with public health measures.

This includes the need for continued streamlined support for businesses, particularly those in the hospitality sector as well as the consideration of possible measures to assist the accommodation sector. The Mayors and Chairs took note of some ideas contained in a resolution of Markham Council.

The Mayors and Chairs believe that investments made to assist the sector will help preserve jobs and businesses, allow for a more robust recovery sooner and will ultimately help in restoring government finances.

They reiterated the paramount importance of maintaining public health as a healthy recovery requires healthy people.”


September 19, 2020

York Region in. Large private gatherings out.

I would like to thank Premier Ford, the provincial government and the Chief Medical Officer of Health for listening to our concerns and for including York Region under the latest restrictions on large social gatherings, a limit of 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors. This will go into effect immediately.

This speaks to the seriousness of this issue. We cannot let another weekend go by without taking swift action. The rising number of COVID-19 cases is alarming and should not be taken lightly. Violators who behave recklessly and refuse to follow the rules or take necessary safety precautions should face steep fines as they are risking their health and the health of others.

This is welcome news after we asked the Province to make this necessary change. We appreciate efforts by Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health for underscoring the need to reset the numbers for social gatherings.

I have long called for a consistent and regional approach, especially in large urban areas that share a border. Strict protocols have to remain in place to ensure the safety and protection of everyone. We all have a responsibility to do what is right and to avoid a false sense of security. We are all a target for this virus. We cannot let out guard down and we have to do everything within our power to ensure that our economy continues to recover.

September 17, 2020

York Region should not be excluded

I welcome the news that the provincial government is reducing social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors in some areas, while violators could face steep fines. I agree with Premier Ford and his government that rule breakers hosting and attending large private gatherings without taking necessary precautions should be penalized. This is the right move and is necessary to curb the rising case numbers. However, I am disappointed and concerned that these new restrictions do not include York Region.

I expressed this very concern at the GTHA Mayors and Chairs meeting earlier this week. York Region’s Medical Officer of Health shared recent data and local outbreak numbers with the Province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and Dr. Karim Kurji has requested a similar approach that includes a limit to indoor house party numbers to 10 and outdoors to 20 people.

We want to avoid becoming another COVID-19 hotspot. I have long called for a consistent and regional approach, especially in large urban areas. Strict protocols have to remain in place to ensure the safety and protection of everyone. Not only does this leave our community more vulnerable, but could also invite illegal gatherings in our backyard through short-term rental accommodations.

There is a heightened sense of anxiety and frustration right now as we watch an uptick in daily case counts. We cannot let out guard down and we have to do everything within our power to ensure that our economy continues to recover. We must continue to work collectively, individuals, businesses and the various levels of government as we have done throughout this pandemic so far. We are in this together and we must remain vigilant, while following the same consistent rules that do not exclude other large urban areas, particularly among municipalities that share a border in the GTHA.

Meanwhile, I applaud the Province’s actions to protect renters by freezing residential increases and by extending the ban on commercial evictions. Businesses are struggling to stay afloat and they need all the support they can get.

September 14, 2020

GTHA Mayors and Chairs committed to cooperation during COVID-19 resurgence

"Once again today Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area met to discuss their concern around the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mayors and Chairs reiterated their commitment to continue to cooperate and communicate with each other on the fight against COVID-19 and in preparing for the anticipated resurgence.

In that regard, all present expressed their concern about the recent rising case counts within the region and across Ontario, and committed to continuing to work with other governments to minimize virus spread.

The Mayors and Chairs also expressed the continuing belief that following consistent public health advice with respect to physical distancing, face coverings and handwashing represented the best tools in the fight against COVID-19.

They also agreed that personal responsibility is more important than ever and that just saying 'no' to large parties, crowd scenes and close encounters and saying 'yes' to the wearing of masks will help us win this fight.

To that end, the Mayors and Chairs will seek out early opportunities to mount a joint public education campaign to remind our millions of residents about public health advice and personal responsibility.

We will also look forward to working with the other governments on the fight against COVID-19 including ensuring returning travellers understand the serious consequences of not following quarantine rules and ensuring a robust and strategic testing regime."

July 30, 2020

Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti moves to make masks mandatory in common spaces in condominium, rental and multi-residential units in York Region

Today, I presented a motion at York Regional Council to make masks and face coverings mandatory in common spaces in condominium, rental and multi-residential buildings throughout York Region.

York Regional Council has strongly endorsed that the Medical Officer of Health issue an instruction under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. It will take effect Friday, August 7, 2020.

A motion also passed to endorse that the Medical Officer of Health take additional measures as it relates to bars, restaurants and gyms as required, which could result in more stringent criteria. As we cautiously continue to move toward recovery during Stage 3, there is a greater opportunity for social interaction, especially in indoor spaces that could carry a greater risk of transmission.

While most businesses continue to follow proper protocols set out by the Province, with some going beyond, we need to continuously evaluate, monitor and act without hesitation to ensure public safety. Should the need arise, some added measures could include contact tracing, but will not include limiting the hours of operation. Businesses need to recover their losses while meeting physical distancing guidelines.

Today’s move by York Regional Council serves as a reminder that we are not out of the woods. It is important to note that mask use has increased across York Region with more than 90 per cent compliance. In Markham at Markville Mall alone, public health officers observed a compliance rate of 97 per cent. This demonstrates that legislation followed by education, over enforcement is the way to go, and is an effective tool in the fight against COVID-19. I would like to commend members of the community for their incredible efforts and for taking the necessary precautions to keep us all safe.

At the City of Markham, all 297 play structures are now open. They have been fully inspected and all deficiencies repaired. New signs have been installed at all playgrounds with reminders to maintain physical distancing, and wash and disinfect hands before and after use. The City of Markham has also opened all athletic fields. I am calling on parents and caregivers to take necessary precautions.

I am extremely pleased to see that additional screening measures at Toronto Pearson Airport are now operational. These measures are something I had called for in late January, prior to the lockdown.

As the economy continues to reopen, we should guard against any false sense of security. The pandemic is not over. I am proud of our collective efforts so far, and ask that we keep up the good work to ensure we do not fall back while we restart the economy. 


July 20, 2020

Stage 3 means we can support more local businesses but we should not let our guard down

As York Region moves into Stage 3 this Friday, more businesses will reopen, which will lead to more interactions and that means we all need to be more vigilant.

I have always called for a cautious and thoughtful approach to restarting the economy. We must avoid what we are seeing in some other jurisdictions south of the border. Our collective efforts have made a difference, and while Markham’s community transmission rates remain low, this is not the time to relent or to let our guard down.

We are only as strong as our weakest link. It is incumbent on all businesses and organizations to take every precaution possible to ensure public safety. We recognize that we are asking businesses to do a lot more during these challenging times; however, the reality is each one of us remains a target for this virus. I thank them for all that they are doing to keep their customers, employees and our community safe.

Nearly all businesses and public spaces can open during Stage 3, including indoor dining in restaurants and bars, gyms (which cannot exceed a limit of 50 people), movies theatres, personal services, casinos, attractions like galleries, zoos, museums and performing arts. By Friday, there will also be an increase to social gatherings of up to 50 people indoors, while outdoor gathering limits increase to a maximum of 100 people.

I would advise businesses that may not be ready to reopen by Friday to take the time they need in order to be able to meet all the guidelines set by the Province, while ensuring they can take all the necessary precautions. At the municipal level, we will continue to review the opening of our facilities, as always, community safety remains our top priority.

July 9, 2020

My mask. Your safety. York Region mandates the use of masks in public indoor spaces.
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

Wearing masks and face coverings in public indoor spaces will be mandatory in York Region. I applaud York Regional Council for making this bold decision in the name of public safety. Today’s move goes beyond recommending face coverings to requiring their use in public indoor spaces.

The decision requires operators of indoor establishments and organizations to implement a policy prohibiting people from entering the premises if they are not wearing a mask or face covering. Exemptions include children under the age of five, people with underlying medical conditions and persons who are unable to place or remove a mask or face covering without assistance.

I presented a motion on June 25, 2020 requiring face coverings in public indoor spaces; and today York Regional Council has unanimously endorsed the Medical Officer of Health’s recommendation to issue an instruction consistent with other public health units, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

The onus is on all of us to do our part. We all have a responsibility. Education rather than enforcement will be the principle objective. We are relying on the goodwill of the public and businesses to get on board, get masks on and continue the efforts to beat the pandemic.

I have been calling for a consistent approach and today’s decision sets the ground rules for all municipalities across York Region. The community expects us to do everything we can to ensure public safety and to stop community spread. As the economy continues to reopen and we move toward recovery, this is a prudent step in that direction.

When worn properly, masks can act as an important visual reminder that this pandemic is not over. It has also been shown that there is a greater adherence to physical distancing and handwashing when masks are worn. Our collective efforts have made a difference and this is not the time to let our guard down.

Today’s decision is necessary to continue to protect public safety and ensure a successful economic recovery. It also is a reflection of public sentiment. We have been hearing loud and clear that most people want the extra layer of protection that masks offer. Masks work.

This new policy will go into effect across York Region as of Friday, July 17, 2020 and will stay into effect until November 30, 2020 with a possible extension.

Examples of indoor public spaces and establishments:

  • Premises or any portion thereof which are used as a place of business for the sale or offering for sales of goods and services, and includes a mall or similar structure, which contains multiple places of business.
  • Places of Worship
  • Community Centres
  • Cultural Establishments (libraries, galleries, museums)
  • Community services agencies providing services to the public
  • Retail stores, shopping malls/centres
  • Grocery stores
  • Banquet halls and event centres/spaces
  • Indoor sporting venues and concert and entertainment venues.
  • Common areas of hotels, motels, short-term rentals

For more information, visit: www.york.ca


June 25, 2020

Statement: Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti moves to make masks mandatory in York Region

We cannot afford to let our guard down until a vaccine is found. As the economy continues to reopen, we should guard against any false sense of security. The pandemic is not over and the threat of a second wave is a real possibility. Today, I moved a motion at York Regional Council to make wearing masks mandatory at all indoor spaces, and in crowded outdoor spaces where physical distancing is not possible.

Options could include an order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. York Region Council also has the authority to pass a bylaw under the Municipal Act.

The community expects us to do everything we can to ensure public safety and to stop community spread. A policy mandating masks throughout the region is both a responsible public health response and a sound economic decision. We have to take every step possible to restore public confidence in the marketplace and create consistency among businesses throughout York Region.

I previously called on the Provincial Government to create a similar consistent policy across Ontario, in lieu of that; extra precautions should be taken in large urban centres and across the GTA. We just have to look to the situation that is unfolding in some jurisdictions south of the border, with the number of cases rising at an alarming rate.

Masks4Canada, a group of doctors and members of the medical community, have signed an open letter asking federal and provincial public health officials to make masks mandatory in all indoor spaces outside the home, in crowded areas where physical distancing is challenging or impossible and on public transit. The letter states, "In addition to the current physical distancing measures and hand hygiene, masks are critical in order to ensure a safe reopening, prevent additional outbreaks and save lives."

I commend York Regional Council for endorsing my call to make masks mandatory on York Region Transit, effective July 2, 2020; and I believe this is another necessary safeguard in the fight to stop COVID-19. A report on mandating masks will be presented to York Regional Council at a special council meeting on July 9, 2020.


June 19, 2020

Markham brings summer camps to your neighbourhood and opens more outdoor facilities
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

As we officially welcome summer, the City of Markham is preparing to give you more options, including an innovative approach to delivering day camps. The Pop Up Park Program involves a series of outdoor camp-like activities in local parks. It starts in July and will run in 24 neighbourhood parks. City of Markham recreational staff will also provide a range of interactive and virtual camps. On the cultural side, a range of virtual camps will be offered by the Markham Museum, Flato Markham Theatre and the Varley Art Gallery.

The City of Markham is now issuing permits to sports organizations for outdoor sports fields for practice only, and that includes soccer, baseball, and cricket. Outdoor basketball courts are also being made available.

By June 26, 2020, all of our splash pads will be open. In late July, Morgan Pool will be open for lessons, lane swimming and aqua fit programs.

We have taken a thoughtful and careful approach to reopening facilities so we can fully inspect, clean and install proper signage. Park washrooms will be cleaned twice a day with a deep clean weekly. As per provincial orders, playgrounds will remain closed.

I am extremely proud of Markham Council and staff for making it a priority to keep our parks and trails open during the COVID-19 pandemic, understanding that it is important for people to spend time outdoors. This next phase allows for additional outdoor options while adhering to provincial orders, and ensuring public safety.

June 15, 2020

Stage 2: Renewed call for mandatory masks
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I have long called for a consistent approach to reopening the economy, and while we are pleased that more businesses in Markham can start getting back on track in Stage 2 of the Province’s reopening, I am concerned for the safety of my community.

I am calling on the Province to make wearing masks mandatory in enclosed indoor spaces where physical distancing is not possible. Meanwhile, since York Region will now move into this next phase of reopening starting Friday June 19, 2020, I am asking retailers and personal service shops in Markham to implement a ‘no mask, no service’ policy.

We recently called on the Provincial Government and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to give restaurants, cafes, bars and other licensed establishments the flexibility to expand licensed patios into additional spaces like parking lots to allow them to meet physical distancing and hygiene guidelines. At the municipal level, the City of Markham is removing barriers to help them expand by not requiring a rezoning application, a site plan and by waiving any associated fees. Businesses can apply for a patio extension by contacting our City Clerk’s office.

We are prepared to take our first cautious steps toward recovery, whether it is getting a haircut or enjoying the first meal on a restaurant patio with a small group of family or friends, this is a positive development. We are definitely moving in the right direction; however, this is not the time to let our guard down or to ease safety restrictions.

The percentage of community transmission cases in Markham continues to decline, we have managed to maintain our position as having one of the lowest rates among large urban municipalities in York Region and lower than the provincial average. It is a position we do not want to compromise.

We anticipate people from Toronto and other parts of the GTA to cross municipal boundaries and we welcome them. We have to strike the right balance between supporting our businesses and ensuring public safety.

We trust that the information used to move our region into Stage two of reopening is based on the most up to date data and public health advice. COVID-19 is a reality that will be with us for some time, and the need to take necessary precautions becomes even more important now.

We will continue to review municipal services that may be impacted by this change. As always, community safety remains our top priority.


June 12, 2020

Additional screening measures long overdue
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

On January 26, 2020, I called on the federal government to implement enhanced screening measures at Canadian airports, and I am pleased to hear the Prime Minister’s announcement mandating temperature screening for air passengers, first for those travelling to Canada, then for those travelling from Canada and within Canada.

At the time of my call, I felt screening measures were less stringent than at other international airports and that prevention is key. This is the right move, and a necessary move, one that will restore public confidence and reduce the risk of exposure to the virus, further protecting our communities.

Implementing enhanced screening would have been an effective measure at an earlier stage to help slow down the spread of COVID-19. However, today’s announcement is welcome news as the economy slowly reopens. We need to take every step possible to minimize a spike in a potential second wave. I applaud the federal government for adding another layer of protection, as we all continue to combat COVID-19.

June 11, 2020

Masks ON for public transit users
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I am calling on provincial officials to introduce measures to make it mandatory for all transit passengers across Ontario to wear masks. Passengers often move across municipal boundaries and a consistent province-wide approach ensures there are no risks to public safety. For the sake of fairness, and in effort to limit the spread of the virus, this would be a positive step.

While the Ontario Government has made recommendations and released safety guidelines to transit agencies, in York Region, we are moving forward with making masks mandatory as of July 2, 2020. I presented a motion on this today during the York Region Committee Meeting. It is our duty to ensure that all public spaces, especially enclosed areas like buses, are safe for both riders and transit employees.

The decision to make masks mandatory on transit is also a sound business decision. When people feel safer, they are likely to take transit. A healthy transit system is key to making a full economic recovery and restoring public confidence.

As we move toward the next stage of recovery, the City of Markham continues to take a thoughtful, careful and phased in approach to reopening. We have now opened the Milne Dam Conservation Area and two more recycling depots, Milliken Mills and Thornhill.

Our community has come together like never before and we all need to continue to do our part, respect others by maintaining a safe physical distance and doing everything we can to ensure the safety of others. Wearing a mask is an important component of that shared responsibility.

A complete staff report on the implementation of the mandatory mask policy on York Region Transit will be presented to York Region Council on June 26, if it passes, masks will be made mandatory on York Region Transit as of July 2, 2020.


June 8, 2020

Positive steps as we move forward
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I appreciate the Provincial Government’s regional approach to Stage 2 in its reopening plan. I have always called for a cautious and thoughtful strategy to restarting the economy in order to avoid a surge in COVID cases.

I applaud the Province’s move eliminating licensing requirements to extend outdoor patios for the duration of summer and into the fall. We recently called on the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to give restaurants, cafes, bars and other licensed establishments the flexibility to expand patios into additional spaces like parking lots to allow them to meet physical distancing and hygiene guidelines.

At the municipal level, the City of Markham is removing barriers to help them expand by not requiring a rezoning application, a site plan and by waiving any associated fees. We are taking it a step further by allowing other retail businesses to expand as well, and sell their products outdoors. Any expansion is still subject to city approval through a streamlined process, as we want to give our small and local businesses every opportunity possible to rebuild.

We thank Premier Doug Ford, Doug Downey, Attorney General, Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister Small Business and Cutting Red Tape for answering our call. Thank you to Thornhill MPP Gila Martow for pushing to ease restrictions at the provincial level. Flexible rules around patios, outdoor dining and shopping will help businesses recover from the financial hit they have taken during this pandemic.

I also support the Province’s ban on commercial evictions until the end of August. We understand that it could be challenging to access government relief programs; that being said, it’s appropriate to restrict landlords by not allowing them to evict tenants who are facing financial hardship at this time. This is the right move. We all need to do our part to support our local entrepreneurs and small business owners that have been hit hard and are struggling to stay afloat. Understanding landlords are facing a difficult situation too, we encourage them to apply to the Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) Program.

By Friday, social gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed across Ontario, and we will continue to review municipal services that may be impacted by this change; as always, community safety remains our top priority.


June 8, 2020

End of outbreak at Participation House, a community achievement
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti


I am thrilled to acknowledge that the COVID-19 outbreak is now over at Participation House in Markham. This is exactly the kind of news we all need right now.

An outbreak was first declared at the home in April. At the time, there was a critical shortage of staff and personal protective equipment (PPE). We immediately put out an urgent call for help and we launched the Markham Cares Donation Centre to ensure necessary supplies can get to the facilities in our community that needed it most. The support was overwhelming. People and businesses from Markham and beyond our borders immediately rose to the challenge, donated supplies and meals and offered to help. We heard countless heartwarming stories of kindness and generosity, and we are beyond grateful.

At the height of the outbreak, 95 per cent of residents at the home had COVID-19. Tragically, six residents passed away. Our hearts and thoughts are with their families and loved ones for their unimaginable and devastating loss. Our community is with you.

Now that Participation House has been given the all clear, I would like to thank the entire team, led by Shelley Brillinger for their steadfast commitment, hard work and dedication to the residents, with many working around the clock for weeks with little to no rest and at risk to themselves and their own families. It was a difficult and heartbreaking situation and it took a toll on everyone involved.

I applaud Dr. Jane Philpott for her extraordinary support at Participation House. Undoubtedly, she was a critical resource during a time of crisis. We extend our sincere appreciation to the highly skilled medical team at Markham Stouffville Hospital, along with York Region EMS for answering the call and for their exceptional support and leadership.

I am now calling on the Provincial Government to include all supportive housing facilities, like Participation House, in its review with the recently announced Independent Commission into Long-Term Care. Last week, on a call with Deputy Premier Christine Elliott, I was assured that she and Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, are looking into adding supportive housing in that review.

Participation House is home to our most vulnerable, people who cannot care for themselves. Families were understandably worried and afraid, and they deserve to know that every effort is underway to prevent similar tragedies. Meanwhile, I hope today’s news offers some relief. We all have a responsibility and duty to protect and care for the residents of Participation House, and our collective response helped end the outbreak and made all the difference. Thank you for ensuring they were not alone.


June 1, 2020

Federal and Provincial Governments need to seriously address financial impact to municipalities.

Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement today is a positive signal that the federal government is listening to the concerns of municipalities. The $2.2 billion gas tax funding for municipalities for infrastructure improvements, which is usually received in two installments, will now be delivered in one payment in June.

At the City of Markham, that money has already been accounted for this year in our budget; it is restricted for capital projects and cannot be utilized for operating budgets. Although we appreciate the advancement of this gas tax funding to one payment, it does not address the serious financial crisis and shortfalls we currently face with permanent revenue loss and increased costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We appreciated when the Provincial Government provided municipalities some quick relief by allowing us to defer the transfer of the education property tax, which gave municipalities some flexibility in developing a local short-term financial response; but that too is far from the necessary support that is needed.

The Federal and Provincial Governments recognize the value municipalities add to driving economic activity and we need assistance immediately to continue to deliver essential and front line services and drive recovery.

I am encouraged by the federal government’s commitment to do more to support municipalities. Premier Doug Ford has also voiced his willingness to provide urgent financial assistance to municipalities. We continue to call on both the federal and provincial governments to collaborate and expedite emergency funding for municipalities to assist with the costs of confronting COVID-19 in our communities and the need to properly restart our local economies. We need all governments working together on this right now.


May 29, 2020

Summer Camps Cancelled. Summer Safety a Priority
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti


Throughout this pandemic, the City of Markham’s response has been careful, thoughtful and measured. As we slowly re-enter the reopening phase, we have had to make some difficult decisions in the name of public safety. Today, we are announcing the cancellation of all city-run summer camps and programs.

This was a tough but necessary decision to ensure parents have time to plan for alternative activities. Anyone who has registered will receive a refund. We will continue to explore modified camp programs with limited offerings, in the event that the Province allows camps to operate this summer with strict restrictions.

All City of Markham Community Centres, Libraries, the Markham Museum, the Varley Art Gallery and the Flato Markham Theatre remain closed. All large-scale city supported events are cancelled until August 31, 2020. This week, Markham reopened some its outdoor spaces including tennis courts, soccer and baseball fields, skateboard parks, off-leash dog parks, benches, park shelters and picnic tables. On June 5, 2020, we will open community gardens and the Markham Village Recycling Depot, with additional recycling centres opening the following week. It is imperative that we continue to adhere to the same rules under Provincial Emergency Orders, including restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people. We ask that you maintain physical distancing of 2 metres.

This week, the Provincial Government announced more health care providers could begin to reopen including optometrists, dentists, chiropractors and physiotherapists while meeting provincial guidelines and public health regulations to prevent the spread of the virus. I applaud the Province for its directive requiring health regulatory colleges to develop guidelines to ensure high quality and safe clinical care must be met before services can resume, while also providing advice on which services can be provided virtually. Our community relies on these important healthcare services and they are small businesses that contribute to the vitality of our main streets and commercial centres.

I also welcome Ontario’s plan to expand testing across the province making it more available to more people in more places. Enhanced screening will give public health officials, municipalities, businesses and decision makers the confidence to gradually move toward recovery. We simply cannot take any risks and safety remains our top priority. As always, caution is key.


May 28, 2020

Milestone Agreement: Big Step for Critical Yonge North Subway Extension
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

Today celebrates a major step forward with the signing of a Preliminary Agreement between the Provincial Government and York Region, a significant milestone in the delivery of the Yonge North Subway Extension. This underscores the strong partnership between the provincial and regional governments, as they work together to get this critical project built. This is tangible evidence that the Province and the Region are committed to extending the Yonge Subway Line to serve more people and jobs in major urban and employment centres along Highway 7 and Yonge Street.

As Chair of the York Region Rapid Transit Corporation, I have spent my tenure advocating for long-term funding and advancing the Yonge-North Subway Extension, the most justified rapid transit project in the GTA. The extension to Markham and York Region will meet current travel demands, provide greater access to other rapid transit lines and support the future transit needs of our growing communities.

The merits of this priority project are well documented as a critical transit link. Now, the Yonge-North Subway Extension will also play a significant role in restarting the economy, post COVID-19. It will create 60,000 new jobs, build a stronger economy, shape communities and support a sustainable future by reducing 3,300 daily bus trips along the busy Yonge Street corridor, saving more than 13 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per workday.

With this Preliminary Agreement now in place, the next crucial step will be to secure funding from the Federal Government for its portion, and we look forward to a firm commitment from our federal partners in order to start the project immediately, which should not take a back seat to any other rapid transit infrastructure.

Thank you to Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Transportation, Caroline Mulroney and Associate Minister of Transportation, Kinga Surma for their ongoing commitment to the full completion of the Yonge-North Subway Extension, one of four priority transit projects under Ontario’s Transit Plan. Thank you to the teams at York Region and York Region Rapid Transit Corporation, along with provincial officials for their hard work on getting this agreement across the finish line. Together, we will deliver a world-class transportation network.


May 28, 2020

Markham jumps into ShopHERE program in support of small businesses
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

The City of Markham is the first municipality to join a Canada-wide initiative. The ShopHERE Program, initiated by Digital Main Street (a program of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas) and the City of Toronto, is being expanded across the country.

This is a great fit for Markham, a municipal leader in Canada’s innovation corridor. It builds on the rich and diverse talent we have here, while supporting local entrepreneurs and artists who may need to rethink their business model beyond bricks and mortar, and need to fast track their digital transformation.

ShopHERE will provide independent businesses and artists the opportunity to develop an online store, which will be built and launched with no fees charged to the business, with support from marketing and business students. The program will provide independent businesses and artists with:
  • Their choice of a template online store customized with their information, branding, logo, etc.
  • Hands-on assistance setting up and launching their online store.
  • Training and support for digital marketing, shipping and operating an online store.
  • Access to free tools and online advertising credits to support the launch of their online store.
Digital Main Street and Google are extending the program to Canadian municipalities with a goal of building 50,000 online stores by the end of 2020.

This is a significant collaboration with leading tech partners Shopify, Google, Mastercard, Microsoft, Facebook, eBay, Ritual, Trufan, eShipper, Snapchat, Magnet and York University’s Markham and York University Schulich School of Business have a strong partnership and a long history of supporting innovation and research and development in our community.

The program was unanimously endorsed by the Destination Markham Corporation Board, which is currently working on a recovery plan and strategies focused on reviving tourism, the hospitality industry and the wider local economy across various sectors. An estimated 8,312 Markham businesses, 744 of them restaurants, bars or cafes, are eligible for the ShopHERE program.

I have been moved by the stories I have heard from our small business owners who are experiencing anxiety and frustration during these challenging times. Many are looking for ways to rebuild. By providing this opportunity, we are trying to extend a lifeline. We have all had to rethink and adjust the way we work, learn and do business and this innovative program provides critical support for our small and independent businesses, which are the backbone of our economy.

To find out more about the ShopHERE program: https://digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere/


May 22, 2020

More Space. More Options. Same Rules.
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

The City of Markham is taking a thoughtful and measured approach to reopening some of its outdoor facilities, while ensuring that community safety comes first. Our two-stage approach will see the following outdoor spaces and amenities reopen to the public, as of May 28, 2020:

  • Outdoor tennis courts
  • Sports fields including soccer and baseball
  • Skateboard parks
  • Off-leash dog parks
  • Park benches, park shelters and picnic tables

Other facilities to reopen on June 5, 2020:

  • Community gardens
  • Recycling depots

The City has chosen not to rush a reopening of facilities and services so we can fully inspect, clean, install proper signage and support our community groups that have asked for advice and consultation, as they too want to be cautious and implement the proper protocols. While more options for outdoor activities will be available soon, one thing remains constant, it is critical that we continue adhere to the same rules under Provincial Emergency Orders, including restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people and maintaining physical distancing of 2 metres. No team sports are allowed and no permits will be provided by the City of Markham for sports fields.

Playgrounds and basketball courts will remain closed in order to limit close contact, as will cultural venues. In the last couple of days, we have seen a gradual rise in COVID-19 infections across the province; if these trends continue, we are likely heading toward a shutdown of summer camps and a continued closure of all of our community centres until September at the earliest. Parents and guardians should start planning for alternate arrangements, although we are considering modified and limited programming options if possible.

All large-scale city supported events are cancelled until August 31, 2020. We are examining ways to limit large gatherings while still connecting as a community using different and innovative approaches.

The City of Markham is proud to have kept our parks and trails open during the COVID-19 pandemic, understanding that it is important for people to spend time outdoors. Markham has one of the lowest percentages of community spread and we want to maintain that position and avoid a second wave. This phased in approach to reopening strikes the right balance while moving toward recovery safely and carefully, as always, caution is key.


May 14, 2020

We are not there yet
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I welcome the Provincial Government’s incremental approach to reopening the economy and we appreciate the permissions given to municipalities to make their own decisions. Now that Premier Ford has announced the first stage, there will be no change to the services provided by the City of Markham as of next Tuesday; and we will closely review and evaluate the permissions granted by the Province.

As businesses such as retail stores with street front entrances, golf courses and construction sites prepare to open, the onus is on them to ensure that they are ready and prepared to protect the public and their employees, and that includes having proper distancing protocols and protective equipment. A rush to reopen business or limited public services should not be at the expense of community safety.

We all have a shared responsibility to avoid another surge of COVID-19 cases. We managed to avoid the original forecasted hit to hospitals but if we loosen the reigns too fast, we risk seeing that capacity put to the test. Our collective efforts have made a difference and we are headed in the right direction but this is not the time to let our guard down.

Markham has the lowest percentage of community spread among large municipalities in York Region, lower than the City of Toronto and the provincial average, and that speaks to the robust measures we have taken early on to protect the community. We want that success to continue. We want to maintain our position. We want to keep moving forward safely toward a complete recovery, without any major setbacks.

May 13, 2020

We should be helping, not hampering businesses
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

The City of Markham is currently examining ways to support businesses and restaurants during reopening. Understanding that recovery will not be business as usual, we want to give restaurant and bar owners the flexibility to expand their patios into extra spaces like parking lots. Giving them more space will allow them to meet physical distancing and hygiene guidelines since it will mean removing tables and serving fewer people than before.

At the municipal level, we can facilitate zoning requests but some aspects of patio regulation require liquor licensing. That is why I am urging the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to ease restrictions by extending the temporary liquor license beyond the standard 14-day period. This will allow restaurants to apply for the free, temporary license to get them through the summer months and into fall, instead of applying for a permanent modification. We hope that the AGCO will consider the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the hospitality industry, and consider modifying its licensing requirements to reduce barriers to restaurants and bars in these trying times.

In another move to allow for more physical distancing, Markham Council has voted to prohibit parking at any time on the west side of Main Street Unionville. This will provide additional space for pedestrians and is an important step to assist retailers, restaurants and other businesses in the historic tourist district.

As the economy slowly restarts, we need to focus on making public and outdoor spaces safe, ensuring everyone is comfortable by encouraging businesses to consider using patios and sidewalk shopping, especially as the weather warms up. Flexible rules around patios, outdoor dining and shopping will help businesses recover from the financial hit they have taken during the past couple of months. Let’s streamline the process and make it easier for an already struggling industry while ensuring public safety.


May 12, 2020

A Night for Nurses in Markham

In honour of National Nursing Week, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti is calling on everyone to turn on their porch lights on Thursday night, illuminating the fantastic job our nurses are doing.

“Never before have we needed them more,” says Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “They are selfless, kind, skilled and caring. We thank them for always going above and beyond while putting themselves at risk. To all the brave nurses, we say thank you for all that you do, now as we battle the COVID-19 pandemic and every day.”

The City of Markham is proud to proclaim Nursing Week in honour of these medical professionals who do so much for us. Let’s shine a light and show them we care.

Take a picture, post it on social media, and use #NightforNurses #MarkhamCares

When: Thursday, May 14, 2020, 9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.


May 6, 2020

Markham Fair cancelled. New push for food drive honouring Mother’s Day
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

The Markham Fair, originally scheduled for Oct. 1-4, 2020 has been cancelled. The Fair has deep roots in our community, over its 175-year history it has overcome many challenges including world wars, depressions and the Spanish Flu. One of the largest and longest running fairs of its kind in Ontario, the fair is a non-profit organization driven by close to 1000 dedicated volunteers. This was a difficult but necessary decision made by the Markham Fair Board of Directors for the safety of visitors, volunteers, staff and vendors. The farming community, which has been a part of Markham for generations, knows all too well the importance of looking out for each other.

“The Fair has been an integral part of life in Markham, 70,000 visitors attended last year. It is tough to imagine the weekend before Thanksgiving without it. We are a stable organization that has already started planning our return the weekend before Thanksgiving 2021!” – Todd Silverman, General Manager, Markham Fair & Fairgrounds.

Markham continues to have the lowest percentage of direct contact and community spread cases among the larger urban municipalities in York Region, lower than the City of Toronto and the provincial average. That speaks to the robust measures we have taken as a municipality, and to our collective efforts as a community; however this is not the time to back down in the fight against COVID-19. I continue to call for a cautious re-opening of the economy. We are in this for the long haul. Protocols have to remain in place to ensure the safety and protection of everyone and to help reduce the stress on our healthcare system. The Markham Fair’s decision reflects the ongoing concern for community safety.

Our community spirit is strong, as evidenced by the outpouring of support through the Markham Cares Campaign. It has truly been heartwarming. Thank you to all the generous donors who have contributed to both the Markham Cares Donation Centre, which has accepted more than 75,000 units of PPE so far, and the Markham Cares Food Drive in support of the Markham Food Bank.

In honour of Mother’s Day, we are announcing a special three-day food drive on May 7, 8 & 9, 2020 – the Markham Cares Food Drive for Mother’s Day. Donations can be dropped off at our donation centre at 8100 Warden Avenue and at all Markham Fire Stations. Please do not visit a drop-off location if you have symptoms related to COVID-19. Hours of operation have been extended (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.) Please continue to give in support of people and families facing financial hardship and let’s ensure that no one is left behind.

We are currently reviewing other major community events including Canada Day celebrations, one of Markham’s marquee events. Our goal is to celebrate our nation’s birthday safely. We cannot physically be together, but we can still be there for each other. In times of crisis, we come together and we will rise again as a community, and as a country. These are the lessons our mothers have taught us that truly reflect what it means to be a Canadian.


April 27, 2020

Avoid the surge
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

By making decisions based on data and consultation with public health officials, the Provincial Government is taking the right approach by phasing in the re-opening of Ontario’s economy. This is not the time to relent and risk a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, further stressing our healthcare system. The Province of Ontario needs to take the lead to create consistency among all municipalities. The last thing I want to see is a repeat of what happened at the beginning of this crisis with varied provincial and municipal announcements, which led to confusion. 


In early April, the Province released modelling of ICU capacity for COVID-19, with a projected steep rise in patients by late this month. Collectively, we managed to avoid the forecasted hit to hospitals but if we loosen the reigns too fast, we risk seeing that capacity put to the test. What we managed to avoid in April, we should still avoid in May, June and in the coming months.

Any framework for re-opening the economy has to be careful, thoughtful and measured. No one should have to fight the virus in an intensive care unit. York Region is an Ontario hotspot for COVID-19 cases, with around half of the ICU cases at Markham Stouffville Hospital. Participation House, Markhaven Home for Seniors, Sunrise of Unionville and other facilities are still grappling with outbreaks.

I understand the anxiety and frustration that many of us are feeling during these trying times, especially for businesses and our main streets as they struggle to stay afloat. I have heard sad stories of businesses that have had to vacate their premises, some are shifting their focus online, and all are trying to find ways to rebuild. The threat is not over; the choices we have made and continue to make will make all the difference as we work toward recovery.

I continue to call for a cautious re-opening of the economy. We can learn from other jurisdictions around the world about the impact of re-opening, especially those hit with a second wave. However, for now, protocols have to remain in place to ensure the safety and protection of everyone including our health care heroes. There is much to consider but I am confident that together, including all levels of government, we will succeed in avoiding a spike in COVID-19 cases.


April 24, 2020

Help is on the way for small businesses
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I welcome Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement of the Canadian Emergency Rent Assistance Program. The federal government has reached an agreement with provinces and territories to lower rent by 75 percent for small and medium sized businesses for April, May and June. This is much needed relief for businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in revenues due to COVID-19, and is available to non-profit and charitable organizations. Property owners would be asked to cover 25 per cent of the rent, while tenants would pay 25 per cent.

I would like to thank The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, and Member of Parliament for Markham-Thornhill for her advocacy on behalf of businesses in our community and around the country. I would like to also thank provincial and territorial governments for agreeing on the terms of this package that will greatly assist businesses in Markham.

The City of Markham is also offering financial relief. On March 27, Markham Council passed extended relief measures for residents and businesses, one of the most extensive in the country. We approved the waiving of penalty and interest charges until the end of 2020 for those unable to pay their property taxes. We also eliminated the $50 stormwater charge per household and eliminated the stormwater rate for industrial/commercial properties for 2020. We deferred the 2020 Water Rate Increase of 7.8%, which was also supported by York Region.

Our entrepreneurs and innovators drive the Markham economy. Markham is home to 10,675 small businesses, 98 per cent of businesses in Markham employ less than a hundred people. Our main streets in historic Unionville and Markham Village are typically vibrant and bustling tourist attractions that rely on foot traffic and are an integral part of our community. Local business owners are understandably concerned and worried, with some struggling to keep their lights on. This newly announced assistance provides significant support to businesses to help them get through this very difficult time.

I would like to take a moment to offer our deep condolences to the team at Estée Lauder for the loss of one of their own, a 48-year-old woman who worked at the headquarters in Markham. This a tragic reminder that no age group is immune to the coronavirus. Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones and with everyone who has lost a loved one or has fallen ill. Stay home. Save lives. We will get through this together.


April 22, 2020

Call for military assistance answered
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I am pleased to hear that Premier Doug Ford is requesting the federal government's help to deploy the Canadian Armed Forces to assist in long-term care homes hit hardest by COVID-19. I urge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to respond as quickly as possible.

Last week, I urged the Premier to make the call for medical support from the Canadian Armed Forces to provide emergency help to homes struggling to cope. I witnessed first-hand the desperation, heightened anxiety and fear in many of those homes including Markham’s Participation House. Front line healthcare providers are working hard to provide the best care they can in a time of crisis, but it is overwhelming, and many are still experiencing a critical shortage of skilled medical staff and personal support workers.

This is the right move. Together we can fix what is needed now, and ensure healthcare providers are getting the help they need to deliver proper care. Ultimately, health care protocols will have to evolve in order to deal with the next major emergency. Right now, we need to get these highly trained military medical personnel mobilized and in the homes where they are needed most.

We have a collective responsibility to care for and protect our most vulnerable. We owe them every effort.


April 17, 2020

Progress at Participation House. More action needed now.
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

It has been seven days since a COVID-19 outbreak was declared at Participation House, however they are still experiencing a critical shortage of skilled medical staff and personal support workers.

Earlier this week, I had called on Premier Doug Ford to issue a provincial directive and use every mechanism available to get resources and medical support to homes like Participation House, which should be operating as a healthcare facility during this public health emergency.

Today, the Ontario Government issued a new temporary emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which provides Local Health Integration Networks with the ability to safely reassign front line staff to areas they are needed most including long-term care homes and supportive housing.

I would like to thank Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care for taking this action. Local Health Integration Networks have been given a mandate and I am calling on them to act immediately.

If it means we have to call on medical personnel from the Canadian Armed Forces to provide emergency help to homes struggling to cope, then that is what we need to do, and we need to do it now. We cannot let another several days go by.

Progress has been made, the team at Markham Stouffville Hospital has been supportive and continues to coordinate to get additional staff to Participation House, a doctor has also visited the home and assessment of patients continues, along with extra nursing support. Last week, I put out an urgent call for personal protective equipment (PPE) for Participation House and we were touched by the immediate and overwhelming response. Thank you to everyone who has generously donated. However, mask, gloves and gowns were only the beginning; we now need medical personnel on the ground to care for those who cannot care for themselves.

We have a collective responsibility to care for and protect the residents of Participation House and we need action now. We should be doing better than this. We owe them every effort.


April 13, 2020

Donation Centre launches amidst ongoing concerns of staff shortage at Participation House Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

Today we are announcing the launch of a new donation centre in Markham for the public. The Markham Cares Donation Centre will serve as a central receiving depot for personal and corporate donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) and necessary COVID-19 related supplies.

Participation House is an urgent example of why we need to be able to respond quickly to local healthcare needs when supplies are critically low. The home, which supports people with physical and developmental disabilities, is in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak and faced a desperate situation with a lack of protective supplies.

We issued an emergency call for help and the response was overwhelming. Shipments of personal protective equipment are pouring in from all over the community and country. Thank you to everyone who stepped up and answered the call, from people giving a box of gloves they had at home to corporations like MLSE, TELUS and Canadian Tire, labour union LiUNA, Markham Fire and Emergency Services and York Regional Police; we are grateful for all the support.

Still, we cannot allow this situation to happen again. It is critical for healthcare providers to have everything they need to battle COVID-19 while protecting themselves and caring for the most vulnerable in our community. The supply of personal protective equipment is the last thing our healthcare workers need to worry about.

I remain concerned and disturbed that Participation House has had to endure three days of a critical shortage of staff. The skeleton staff is doing their best and continue to work hard to ensure that all residents are getting the food, medicine and care they need, but they remain physically and emotionally drained.

I have reached out to Premier Doug Ford and Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, and while I appreciate the help received thus far, I am hoping that the staff shortage will be addressed immediately.

People looking to donate can drop off supplies using the drive-thru tent located at 8100 Warden Avenue, immediately north of Highway 407. The Markham Cares Donation Centre opens Tuesday April 14, 2020. It will operate daily from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Except Sunday).

April 10, 2020

Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti calls for emergency support for Participation House

We have been informed by York Region Public Health officials of a COVID-19 outbreak at Participation House in Markham. Participation House supports 42 adults with physical and developmental disabilities, such as cerebral palsy. Both staff and residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

I am issuing an emergency call to businesses, community groups or individuals who can immediately help to provide gowns, safety glasses and gloves. Please contact my office through email at: mayorscarpitti@markham.ca.

They need help. Their situation speaks to the vulnerability of the residents and staff, and exactly why the public has to strictly adhere to physical distancing and all the other requirements during this public health emergency.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is critical to stopping the spread in this home. Participation House has six separate units, there are six bedrooms and three shared washrooms within each unit. All units open into a common area with a communal dining space.

The City of Markham is currently facilitating a donation of masks to Participation House. There is a critical need for nurses and personal support workers at both Participation House and Markhaven Home for Seniors, which is also trying to cope with a COVID-19 outbreak.

The residents and staff at both facilities deserve our support and we have an obligation to do everything within our power to provide that support.


April 6, 2020

If not a lockdown, we need a crackdown
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I am calling on Premier Doug Ford and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones to ban being within 2 metres of another person in public spaces, and to include this mandate in the existing provincial emergency orders, with an exemption for people who live together. This means police services across the province, including the OPP, need to step up their game and to enforce what is in the emergency orders and fine violators.

We need consistency. This is a serious public health crisis and public health officials say we are in a critical stage of the pandemic. This is not the time to ignore their recommendations. If provincial numbers are realized, that means more people will die from COVID-19 this month alone than are killed in traffic accidents across Ontario annually. In a flood or forest fire, we would urge people to evacuate those areas to minimize the loss of life. Social evacuation is now the new normal. Stay
home. Save lives.

I have reached out to businesses throughout Markham asking them to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect health care providers in our community including for Markham Stouffville Hospital, Markhaven Home for Seniors, Bethany Lodge and Yee Hong long-term care facilities which are already experiencing a critical shortage of supplies.

Our thoughts and concerns go beyond Markham. I have spoken to Chief Harvey Yesno of Eabametoong First Nation, Markham’s Indigenous partner, regarding the situation on the ground in the remote First Nation community, which now has one confirmed case of COVID-19. He says there is increased anxiety and expressed concerns over a chronic shortage of nurses and other medical personnel. Thank you to the senior levels of government for giving them assurances that protective
equipment will be provided soon.

Ideas keep pouring in, an ICU physician reached out with a wonderful suggestion to support health care providers and first responders by affording them time to shop for food and supplies, as was given to seniors. I strongly urge grocery stores, pharmacies and essential businesses to dedicate some time and provide special checkout lanes to spare our heroes from waiting in line, so they can get back to keeping us safe.

Despite the concerns, I am hearing stories of compassion and strength in the face of adversity. Thank you to all the generous residents and businesses who are rising to action in service of our communities.


March 31, 2020

Extended closures. Extending Help
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

All City of Markham recreation centres, libraries and facilities will remain closed until further notice. Spring programming is cancelled and we will be notifying everyone affected.

I strongly advocated for the Province to include closure of playgrounds and park amenities such as tennis and basketball courts in the provincial emergency orders. I thank Premier Doug Ford for his decisive action to do so effective immediately. The emergency order will now eliminate any ambiguity by providing consistent enforcement across Ontario using sound legal grounds. York Regional Police is the lead authority on issuing fines to violators; the maximum fine is $100,000.

Stay away and stay safe. We must listen to the advice of public health officials. We must practice physical distancing and stay at home as much as possible.

Many moving and heartfelt stories are emerging of people opening their hearts and helping. I welcome the plan by senior levels of government to mobilize businesses and manufacturers asking those who can to pivot production to include much-needed medical supplies and protective equipment. Markham is proud to be a hub for innovation and home to creative talent. We are a warm, compassionate and caring community.

Several Markham-based companies are answering the call to help such as Dental Brands. The team worked with the Province of Ontario and donated 100,000 Level 2 masks, which have a 97-98% filtration efficiency, and considered hospital grade masks. BTNX Inc. has developed a rapid test for COVID-19, which provides results in 15 minutes and has applied to Health Canada to market the test. There are many more inspiring examples in our community and we thank them all for their leadership and generosity.

Please continue to support the Markham Cares Campaign. There are several ways for people and businesses to contribute. The Markham Food Bank has experienced a drastic rise in demand. You can drop off donations at Markham Fire stations and at Longo's, No Frills, Whole Foods Market and FreshCo stores in Markham. Please refrain from visiting drop-off locations if experiencing symptoms. Financial donations can be made on the Canada Helps page: www.canadahelps.org, search using
“Markham Food Bank”.

Markham Stouffville Hospital has launched a fundraising and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Drive campaign. Let’s support our brave front line healthcare workers as they combat COVID-19. For more info, visit: https://www.helpmsh.ca/

Our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those who passed due to COVID-19 in our community. To everyone affected with COVID-19, we wish you a speedy recovery. We will get through this together. We will emerge strong together.


March 27, 2020

Extended relief for Markham residents and businesses until December 31, 2020
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

We heard loud and clear that some people cannot afford to pay their property taxes in a timely manner. Markham Council voted to eliminate late payment charges on unpaid property taxes from April 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020. This is help for residents and businesses who need help.

I am calling on everyone who is able to pay property taxes to continue to do so. However, by offering this relief until the end of the year, we are giving people experiencing financial hardship additional time to recover.

Recognizing that as a municipality our primary revenue source comes from property taxes, our duty as public servants is to ensure we are doing everything we can using the tools we have to support our residents and businesses. It is critical for the City of Markham to continue to provide essential and necessary services to the entire community such as fire protection, garbage collection and keeping our infrastructure in a state of good repair.

I believe it is important to set a clear direction and to avoid passing intermittent relief measures during
this public health crisis.

Markham Council also voted to eliminate the $50 stormwater charge per household, as well as the stormwater rate for industrial and commercial properties for this year. Council voted to defer the 2020 water rate increase of 7.8%, subject to approval by York Region.

The Municipal Accommodation Tax will be suspended from April 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020. As part of Markham’s economic recovery plan, Markham Council will assign the Destination Markham Board to lead a marketing strategy focused on promoting a ‘buy local, shop local and stay local’ campaign.

Small and medium-sized businesses are getting needed relief. I applaud the federal government for increasing the wage subsidy to 75% to help companies keep employees on payroll, while also offering $40,000 interest free loans and deferring the GST and HST payments. We thank the Prime Minister and his government for the support and for protecting jobs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us all. We will continue to work together to address the needs of our communities. Our hearts are with everyone affected and our hope is that we will emerge stronger as a community and as a country.

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March 25, 2020

Money where it needs to be — Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I applaud the Provincial Government for making significant investments where it matters most in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This local, national and global public health crisis has serious economic ramifications.

As part of the Economic and Fiscal Update, Rod Phillips, Ontario’s Finance Minister, announced $7 billion for healthcare and $10 billion in support for people and businesses.

I wrote to Premier Doug Ford last weekend asking for an immediate first step providing municipalities some relief by allowing us to defer the transfer of the education property tax. This gives municipalities flexibility in developing a local short-term financial response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While we understand that the priorities right now are investing in healthcare and supporting families and businesses, we will be asking the Province for additional financial measures to assist municipalities.

We support the investments made to the front lines that include $62 million for more doctors, nurses and support workers, $75 million in protective equipment for healthcare providers and $160 million forCOVID-19 monitoring and testing. Significant investments are also being made in long-term care and mental health support.

At the federal level, the House of Commons has passed legislation to provide relief to families and businesses including emergency support for people experiencing financial hardship. I applaud the Federal Government for providing immediate assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

While Markham is home to ICT giants and multinational corporations, thousands of small businesses contribute to the strength of our local economy. These businesses need help, and I understand the Federal Government will soon release the process for small businesses to easily access those emergency funds.

I have long advocated for stricter measures at Canada’s airports and I welcome the Federal Government’s plan to impose a mandatory 14-day isolation period. All travellers who have returned recently should adhere to this and stay home.

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us all. We will continue to work together to address the needs of our communities.

Listen to 105.9 The Region – Markham’s information and emergency radio station.


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March 24, 2020

We must work together: Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

We have been advocating for hydro rate relief on behalf of residents and businesses, and we welcome news that Ontario is temporarily cutting hydro rates for families, farmers and small businesses. Consumers will be charged the lowest rate possible, switching to off-peak rates (10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour) for the next 45 days to offset higher electricity costs for people who have lost their job, people working from home or are in self-isolation. Families will save an estimated $20 a
month and small businesses an estimated $150.

All levels of government must work together. Municipalities are facing unprecedented challenges. During a call with the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario, Minister Clark and Minister Phillips discussed those challenges with mayors. The Province will share its fiscal update tomorrow and we look forward to hearing how the province will further assist municipalities.

This is a public health emergency. We all have a responsibility. We need to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Our healthcare providers, grocery store and pharmacy employees, delivery drivers, telecommunications workers and others are going to work for us. Please stay home for them. The Ontario Government announced the mandatory closure of non-essential workplaces and you can find the list of businesses permitted to stay open at the following link: https://news.ontario.ca/newsroom/en

Ontario declared a State of Emergency on March 17, 2020. The City of Markham activated our Emergency Operations Centre early last week and a dedicated team of staff has been actively monitoring the situation since February. I assure you that the City of Markham is taking the situation very seriously and has been utilizing every resource available to us. I was also one of the first mayors to push the provincial government to provide municipalities with the ability to hold digital council and committee meetings, enabling us to make decisions and conduct necessary business during the
COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have travelled recently, please go directly home and stay home for 14 days. Do not stop at a grocery store or visit friends or relatives. We will get through this together.

Listen to 105.9 The Region – Markham’s information and emergency radio station.


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March 23, 2020

Every measure possible: Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I thank Premier Doug Ford and the Provincial Government for announcing a mandatory shut down of all non-essential businesses for 14 days, something I have previously called for. This is the right move. This is a necessary move. We need to stay ahead of the curve and we need to ensure that we are taking every measure possible.

Everyone has a responsibility to stop the spread of COVID-19. We need to protect ourselves but also think of others, seniors and the vulnerable in our community, while keeping our healthcare providers and essential workers safe.

People returning from March Break travels or any other travel must adhere to self-isolation along with people and relatives who pick them up from the airport. I am calling on grocery stores and pharmacies to put up signs asking people not to enter if they have travelled recently. Please shop online or have someone drop off supplies for you.

I echo the Prime Minister’s call urging Canadians to do their part and stay home. Keep our community safe. Those not doing their part are putting everyone at risk.

The Provincial Government is providing $200 million in funding to support municipalities, emergency services, charities and social service providers. I recently launched the Markham Cares Food Drive in support of people experiencing financial hardship. Demand at the Markham Food Bank continues to rise and I thank everyone who has helped by dropping off donations at local grocery stores. Financial donations can be at www.canadahelps.org

Markham has experienced a heartbreaking loss, the first COVID-19 related death in York Region. We offer our sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of the woman who passed away. York Region Public Health officials continue to work closely with healthcare providers at Markhaven Home for Seniors in Markham.

All of Markham’s facilities remain closed to the public, while essential services are continuing as usual. Markham Council is set to hold its first council meeting through videoconferencing on Friday, March 27, 2020.


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March 21, 2020

Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti on the latest COVID-19 case in Markham

We have been made aware that a long-term care resident has tested positive for COVID-19 at Markhaven Home for Seniors in Markham. I trust that public health officials and healthcare providers are doing everything they can to contain further spread, while ensuring other residents in Markhaven are protected. I encourage all family and friends with loved ones in long-term care facilities to please check protocol before visiting, and adhere to any restrictions. We all need to protect the most vulnerable in the community and trust that healthcare providers are doing their best.

I am calling on senior levels of government to take further steps and close all non-essential businesses including shopping malls, personal service shops and offices. While I understand this can lead to some workers experiencing financial hardship, I am hearing from concerned residents who have to go into work and are very worried about the exposure to COVID-19. We are all being advised to take precautions, keep our distance and work from home when possible. Keeping these operations and businesses open runs contrary to the advice we are receiving from public health officials.

For up-to-date information about COVID-19, visit: www.york.ca/covid19
For the latest information and update on closures and cancellations at the City of Markham, visit: www.markham.ca/covid19


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March 20, 2020

Shut down non-essential businesses and public activities
Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti

I am calling on senior levels of government to take further steps and close all non-essential businesses including shopping malls, personal service shops and offices. While I understand this can lead to some workers experiencing financial hardship, I am hearing from concerned residents who have to go into work and are very worried about the exposure to COVID-19. We are all being advised to take precautions, keep our distance and work from home when possible. Keeping these operations and businesses open runs contrary to the advice we are receiving from public health officials.

I am also urging families to stay away from playgrounds, as difficult as this may be; we all have to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. The City of Markham is in the process of installing signs advising people to refrain from using the playgroud equipment.

Families should begin to prepare for the likelihood that City of Markham facilities including recreation centres, libraries and the Civic Centre could remain closed to the public beyond April 5, 2020. All essential municipal services will continue as usual and normal business activities will continue via email and conference calls when possible. All services that protect the health and safety of our residents will be maintained.

Municipal parking control officers are focusing their enforcement on accessible parking spaces and on clearing fire routes. In an effort to keep our neighbourhoods safe, enforcement will continue on residential streets to ensure access for snow clearing and emergency vehicles.

The City of Markham has different property tax due dates compared to other municipalities. To date, more than 91% of residents and businesses have paid their current taxes for the first half of the year. In an effort to help property taxpayers, we are examining measures that will be announced shortly.

We all need to be on the same page. We all need to ensure we are doing everything possible to flatten the curve and protect healthcare providers and first responders. We must remember that the disruption to our daily lives pales in comparison to the burden placed on our healthcare system.

I welcome the Federal Government’s new plan to mobilize businesses and manufacturers by pivoting production to include medical supplies, drawing on the talent we have in Canada. Markham is home to creative innovators and I would like to thank companies that are making changes to protect the health and wellbeing of their employees and the community as a whole.

Let’s continue to open our hearts and give to local charities and food banks. Let’s continue to look out for one another, a neighbour, senior or someone who might need help. Let’s support our local businesses by ordering takeout and delivery. We will get through this together.


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March 19, 2020

Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti: Conducting city business safely

I would like to thank Premier Doug Ford and the Provincial Government for listening to the needs of municipalities by allowing us to hold council meetings through teleconferencing. I had previously asked the provincial government to grant municipalities special permission to hold electronic council and committee meetings which was prohibited under the Municipal Act, 2001.

All City of Markham facilities including The Markham Civic Centre remain closed to the public until April 5, 2020. All essential municipal services will continue as usual and normal business activities will continue via email and conference calls when possible. All services that protect the health and safety of our residents will be maintained.

Our job as elected officials is to continue to advocate on your behalf and keep you informed. The change in legislation announced today allows us to continue to serve the people of Markham while taking necessary precautions to protect the health of everyone involved.

I also applaud the provincial government for making a substantial investment in frontline healthcare workers, the true heroes in our community, and for suspending eviction notices to protect tenants ensuring they can stay in their homes.
Overall, I commend both senior levels of government for moving to provide relief and support to people and businesses in our communities.

Now more than ever, we need to do our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus and protect our healthcare professionals. Let’s continue to open our hearts and give to local charities and food banks. Let’s continue to look out for one another, a neighbour, senior or someone who might need help. Let’s support our local businesses by ordering takeout and delivery. We will get through this together.

I will continue to provide regular updates on all my social media platforms. You can also find updated information at: www.markham.ca/covid19

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March 18, 2020

UPDATE: Statement from Mayor Frank Scarpitti on federal measures and Markham’s continued response to COVID-19

I commend the Federal Government for restricting non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S border, while ensuring goods and trade continue to flow. The United States is Markham’s largest source of foreign direct investment and we need to ensure trade can continue while we take every necessary step to flatten the curve and slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

I welcome additional economic measures announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that will provide relief for families and businesses, including a boost to the Canada Child Care Benefit, an extension of the tax filing deadline and emergency support for people who do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.

Many families, entrepreneurs and businesses are concerned about what to do next and this economic stimulus package should give them some peace of mind, ensuring people who need help will receive it. Markham is home to many innovative entrepreneurs and small and medium sized businesses that drive our economy and need support. The new measures include a temporary wage subsidy of 10 per cent for small businesses.

I also applaud the Federal Government for providing financial relief through the Indigenous Community Support Fund to address the immediate needs of First Nations, Inuit, Métis communities. The City of Markham has a partnership with Eabametoong First Nation in Northern Ontario and I am in regular contact with Chief Harvey Yesno at the remote First Nations community.

We should not forget to help people who need it and who may be feeling isolated or scared during this uncertain time. We are a compassionate and caring community, we look out for one another and we can all do our part to make a difference, even if in some small way. Thank you for supporting the Markham Cares Food Drive in support of the Markham Food Bank. Financial donations can be made at www.canadahelps.org

As a reminder, all City of Markham facilities are closed to the public until April 5, 2020. It is important to note that all essential municipal services will continue as usual. For up-to-date information, visit www.markham.ca/covid19

Together, we can take steps to help lessen the burden on our health care system, while protecting frontline health care workers. Thank you to all our first responders who are working tirelessly to keep us safe. Thank you to grocery store and pharmacy employees, truck drivers and everyone who is keeping our supply chain strong.


For more information on newly announced federal measures: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance.html

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March 17, 2020

UPDATE: Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti on the City of Markham’s Response
to COVID-19

I fully support the Provincial Government's decisive action to declare a State of Emergency. This is in the interest of the collective good and to help reduce the burden on the health care system. The Province is ordering privately licensed daycares, private schools, theatres, special venues, bars and restaurants to close. The declaration requires those businesses to legally close except to provide take-out and delivery service. I applaud local establishments that are already providing take-out and delivery services and thank them for taking the necessary precautions to protect the public.

I applaud both senior levels of government for moving to provide relief and support to workers and businesses affected. I have had discussions and will contact local Business Improvement Associations and the Markham Board of Trade, and while financial assistance falls under federal and provincial jurisdictions, I will be looking into what we can do at the municipal level to support residents and business owners.

The Markham Civic Centre, 8100 Warden Avenue and 555 Miller Avenue will be closed to the public until April 5, 2020. Normal business activities will continue via email and conference calls when possible. We have also extended hours at the Contact Centre, which will be open 8:00 am-8:30 pm (Monday to Friday), and 10:00 am-3:00 pm (weekends). On Friday, we announced the closure of all City of Markham recreation centres, libraries and cultural venues. It is important to note that all essential municipal services will continue as usual.

Markham Stouffville Hospital is opening a COVID-19 Assessment Centre tomorrow to serve people in Markham, Stouffville, Uxbridge and the surrounding area who are experiencing possible symptoms. It is walk-in only and will not take appointments and phone calls, only patients who meet the criteria will be tested.

I would like to thank the people of Markham for coming together, for helping one another and lending a helping hand. Thank you for supporting the Markham Cares Food Drive in support of the Markham Food Bank.

We can all do our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19. We will get through this together.

The City of Markham will continue to provide updated information on our website: www.markham.ca.covid19

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March 16, 2020

Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti: Updates to City of Markham Response to COVID-19

The City of Markham is activating its Emergency Operations Centre on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 to ensure we continue to deliver a coordinated response to COVID-19. It is important to note that all essential municipal services will continue as usual.

I have asked the Provincial Government to grant municipalities special permission to hold electronic council and committee meetings, which is currently prohibited under the Municipal Act, 2001.

In late January, I called on the Federal Government to implement additional screening and detection measures at Canadian airports, including rerouting of international flights to specific airports. I am pleased with the step to restrict foreign travellers from entering Canada but I urge federal authorities to include American travellers in those restrictions.

While all documented cases to-date in York Region are travel-related, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada is discouraging any mass gatherings of 50 people or more. Ontario Health officials are also recommending temporarily shutting down dining services and to provide take-out and delivery. I encourage local businesses to take necessary precautions to protect the public and I applaud establishments that are providing take-out and delivery.

This can be a stressful time for many of us. The Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario has some helpful tips for anyone experiencing anxiety or has mental health concerns, including getting enough sleep, eating healthy and engaging in enjoyable activities. For more information, visit: ontario.cmha.ca.

Demand at the Markham Food Bank has increased sharply. Since launching the Markham Cares Food Drive, we have received many inquiries from people looking to help. You can contact the food bank directly if you would like to volunteer. Financial donations are also needed and can be made on the Canada Helps page: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/9826

I have heard many heartfelt stories over the past few days of people reaching out, opening their hearts and helping one another throughout the community and at grocery stores. Please continue to look out for seniors and the vulnerable. We must remember that are all in this together. #MarkhamCares

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March 13, 2020

Statement from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti: City of Markham Response to COVID-19 Launch of Markham Cares Food Drive

We are taking the current situation very seriously. We are committed to keeping our residents and employees safe. Effective at midnight, all City of Markham recreation centres and libraries will be closed until April 5, 2020. All programs and drop-ins including March Break Camps, seniors programs and clubs, aquatics, fitness centres, library services and permits will be suspended until then. Camps at the Varley Art Gallery, Markham Museum and Flato Markham Theatre will be cancelled. People will receive full refunds. The customer service desk will remain open at each major community centre.

Markham Council Meetings, General Committee, Development Services Committee, Public Hearings, Committee of Adjustment and all Advisory Committee meetings will also be cancelled.

Our Emergency Management Team is working with Public Health officials and is closely monitoring the evolving situation around COVID-19. We have already taken immediate steps to ensure the health and safety of our residents and employees, and we will continue enhanced cleaning and disinfecting at all our facilities while also sharing prevention information in various languages.

This is an unprecedented and fluid situation. As we navigate through these challenging times, we must remember that we are all in this together. Many are preparing by purchasing groceries and supplies but we should not forget others who may not be as fortunate. I am launching the Markham Cares Food Drive. Please support your local charities and food banks. You can drop off donations at all City of Markham Fire Stations. Several grocery chains throughout Markham including Longo’s, No Frills, FreshCo and Whole Foods will have Markham Food Bank boxes at their entrances.

All levels of government must work together to address challenges as they arise. While I understand this disruption to our daily routines, the inconvenience pales in comparison to the potential surge and burden on our health care system. I would like to salute our health care professionals and emergency responders who are on the frontlines and are keeping us safe and informed.

This will undoubtedly have serious economic implications affecting businesses and people in our community; however, not taking these actions could lead to greater implications and longer-term effects. I encourage everyone to get their information from reliable sources and follow the advice of medical experts.

If you have concerns about your health please visit york.ca/covid19 for up-to-date information or call Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.

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