Markham

Statements from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti in response to COVID-19

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

News Page

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.

30


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.


30


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.


30


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.


30


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


30


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.


30

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

30


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

30


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

30


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

30


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.

30


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.

30


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.


30


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.


30


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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