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Community Update: January 14, 2021

January 14
Community Update

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year, I hope you and your loved ones are continuing to stay safe. 

I would like to remind you that the next Scarborough-Guildwood virtual town hall is tonight at 7:00pm. The event will feature my colleagues MPP Mitzie Hunter, City Councillor Paul Ainslie, myself, and special guest Dr. Eileen de Villa the Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto .
 
Please join us for this important conversation using the link here:
Join Now
Highlights from this issue:
  1. COVID-19 Pop-Up Testing & Assessment Centres
  2. Tamil Heritage Month & Thai Pongal
  3. Canada Summer Jobs
  4. What We Give
  5. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
  6. Canada Recovery Benefits
  7. One-Time Disability Payment
  8. Tax Season Reminders
    1. Claiming Government of Canada Benefits
    2. Claiming a Deduction for Home Office Expenses
  9. Outside of Canada Travel Information
  10. Important Immigration Information
  11. Parents and Grandparents program
  12. Who's Hiring in Scarborough?
  13. Food Access Information
  14. Summer Leadership Internship Program
  15. Scarborough Business Association Breakfast
  16. Highland Creek Trail
  17. In the News

COVID-19 Pop-Up Testing & Assessment Centres

The Scarborough Health Network offers testing every Wednesday from 9:00am-4:00pm at the Milliken Park Community Centre, located at 4325 McCowan Road.

Additional pop-up locations are regularly announced, please refer to the link at the bottom of this section for more information. 

Also, the Scarborough Health Network (SHN) is moving their Assessment Centres to warmer indoor locations for the winter. The SHN partnered with the University of Toronto Scarborough  and the Centre for Immigrant and Community Services (CICS) to provide new, indoor facilities for COVID-19 testing throughout the winter. This will ensure you will not need to wait outside during those cold winter months.  

Starting on December 1,  Cethentenary Assessment Centre will be relocated to University of Toronto – Scarborough Campus (1265 Military Trail, Highland Hall building).

The Birchmount Assessment Centre will stay open a little longer, until a new indoor location is launched at CICS. Stay tuned for more information on this.

The General Assessment Centre will be remain open as a Cold/Flu/COVID-19 Clinic.
Learn more and book an appointment here:
Learn More

Tamil Heritage Month &
Thai Pongal

Happy Tamil Heritage Month! This month serves as an opportunity to celebrate and educate future generations about the contributions Tamil Canadians have made to our community and country. 

I wish everyone celebrating Thai Pongal a joyous occasion. Although we cannot gather in-person this year, I hope everyone can celebrate virtually.

Canada Summer Jobs

The employer application period for Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) 2021 opened on Monday, December 21, 2020, and will close on Friday, January 29, 2021. Not-for-profit organizations and public- and private-sector employers with 50 or fewer full-time employees can now apply for funding.

Similar temporary flexibilities introduced for CSJ 2020 will be applied this year to help small businesses operate. These include:
  • A wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can receive up to 75 percent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee (not-for-profit organizations will continue to receive 100 percent);
  • An extension to the end date for employment to February 26, 2022; and
  • Allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis. 
For more information, please click the link below or contact my office
Learn More

What We Give

Listen Here

Podcast Episode with Utcha Sawyer

This episode's guest is Utcha Sawyers, the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough. She is an internationally recognized food and social justice expert, land steward, and educator. In addition to being the full-time Executive Director, Utcha and her family raise organic food, sheep, goats, and other animals on an 80 acre farm north of Toronto. 
Listen now to What We Give:
Listen Here
Don't forget to subscribe to What We Give on your favourite podcast player to ensure you don't miss out on hearing the weekly episodes of What We Give

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit was put in place to ensure Canadian workers could continue to make ends meet during the pandemic, and that no Canadian would have to make the choice between putting food on the table or going to work sick. 

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will update the application process for the three recovery benefits on Monday, January 11. For claims covering a period beginning on or after January 3, 2021, applicants will need to indicate whether they were self-isolating or in quarantine due to international travel. Over the coming weeks, the CRA will delay processing claims for individuals who are self-isolating or in quarantine because of international travel until the legislative process is complete to ensure those who receive the benefit meet the latest eligibility criteria.
 
If you qualify for the CRSB, learn more and apply here:
Apply Here

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

To help businesses through this challenging time and to save jobs, the federal government is extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to June 2021, and have proposed to increase the maximum subsidy rate back to 75%.
 
Learn more about the program and apply here:
Apply Now

Canada Recovery Benefits

The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. Please note that recipients will be obliged to account for any benefits received in their 2020 income tax return. 

If you are eligible for the CRB, you can receive $1,000 ($900 after taxes) for a 2-week period. Individuals are required to re-apply every 2 weeks. 

You may apply up to a total of 13 eligibility periods (26 weeks) between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
 
Learn more & apply here: 
Learn More

One-Time Disability Payment 

On October 30, 2020, approximately 1.6 million eligible people will automatically start receiving the one-time payment.
 
Many different groups of Canadians will be eligible for this payment, including those who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit, Canada Pension Plan Disability, a Quebec Pension Plan disability pension, and 7 programs administered by Veterans Affairs Canada. 
 
Seniors with disabilities who were eligible for the one-time seniors payment announced on May 12, 2020 may also be eligible for the one-time payment to persons with disabilities. In cases where they are eligible for both payments, individuals would receive a total amount of $600 as follows:
  • $300 for Canadians who are eligible for the Old Age Security pension and who received the one-time seniors payment of $300; or
  • $100 for Canadians who are eligible for the Old Age Security pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement or Allowances and who received the one-time senior’s payment of $500. 
Learn more and apply here:
Apply Now

Tax Season Reminders

Claiming Government of Canada Benefits on your 2020 Tax Return

Starting in early January 2021 and no later than March 10, 2021, you will begin receiving T4A slips from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You can also access the T4A slips by logging into your CRA My Account.

The T4A is virtually identical to the T4 slips Canadians usually receive, but rather than employment income, they provide the amounts of COVID-19 emergency and recovery benefits received from the CRA in 2020. 

Claiming a Deduction for Home Office Expenses

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has made the home office expenses deduction available to more Canadians, and simplified the way employees can claim these expenses on their personal income tax return for the 2020 tax year.
 
Employees who worked from home more than 50% of the time over a period of a least four consecutive weeks in 2020 due to COVID-19 will now be eligible to claim the home office expenses deduction for 2020. 
 
A new temporary flat rate method will allow eligible employees to claim a deduction of $2 for each day they worked at home in that period, plus any other days they worked from home in 2020 due to COVID-19 up to a maximum of $400. 
Learn more about this deduction here:
Learn More
While some countries are preparing to partially open up their borders, the Government of Canada reminds all Canadians that a global travel advisory to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada remains in effect. Travellers should also avoid all cruise ship travel until further notice. 

The restriction on all discretionary travel at the Canada-U.S. border has been extended until February 21, 2021. This applies to all foreign nationals with some exceptions for immediate family members

Processes are being introduced to support enhanced family reunification, entry for compassionate reasons, and the safe and gradual entry of some international students. 
  • Starting on October 8, more information will be available outlining who qualifies under the enhanced family reunification program. 
  • Starting on October 20, international students, if they will be attending a designated learning institution that has been identified by their provincial or territorial government as having a COVID-19 readiness plan in place are allowed to enter Canada. 
Travelers returning to Canada are required to quarantine or self-isolate for 14 days. This is mandatory. Also, please note that anyone who flies to the United States for non-essential reasons and returns to Canada will have to quarantine for 14 days too. 

*New*: As of 11:59 pm (EST) January 6, 2021, all air passengers five years of age or older, including Canadians, will be required to show a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours prior to boarding their scheduled departure to Canada. Contact your local health authorities to find out where you can get a PCR test.

For further information and a list of exemptions, consult the Travel restrictions, exemptions, and advice page.

For more travel advice and information, click here

Important Immigration Information 

Check out the links below to find out how COVID-19 is affecting TRVs, citizenship applications, passport renewals, and other files: 
  • Click here to find out how COVID-19 is affecting immigration, refugees, citizenship and passport services:
  • Click here for updates on Permanent Residence applications
  • Click here for updates on your citizenship application
  • Click here for updates from Passport Canada:
  • Click here for updates on Refugees, asylum claimants, sponsors and PRRA applications
  • Potential travellers who have specific cases can consult with the CBSA's Border Information Services here
  • Click here for updates on TRV, student's permit and foreign workers
  • Even if you have an approved visitor visa or eTA, you may not be approved to travel at this time or guaranteed entry to Canada.
  • As of July 1, 2020, IRCC is processing all online visitor visa and eTA applications, so you can be ready to travel when the restrictions are lifted
  • Quarantine requirements
    • When visitors arrive in Canada by air, land or sea, border services will assess your health before you leave the port of entry.
    • If you're a foreign national, and you have symptoms of COVID-19, you won't be allowed to enter Canada.
  • You must have a plan to quarantine for 14 days when you arrive in Canada, including
    • A place to stay
    • How you'll get to your destination
    • How you'll get your groceries
    • Accessing essential services and medical care
  • This plan is mandatory, even if you have no symptoms.
  • If you don't have a plan, you should not travel to Canada. Otherwise, you will not be allowed to enter the country. 
  • The penalties for not following your quarantine plan once you're in the country can include
    • A fine of up to $750,000
    • 6 months of jail time
    • Being found inadmissible, removed from Canada and banned from entering for 1 year
  • Only people who provide essential services, for example truck drivers who regularly cross the border to maintain the flow of goods, are exempt from the quarantine requirements.

Parents and Grandparents program

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has now finished sending invitations to apply for the 2020 Parents and Grandparents Program. All interested potential sponsors who were randomly selected to apply for the 2020 program have been sent invitations.

If you successfully submitted an interest to sponsor form but did not receive an invitation in your email inbox, please check your junk mail to see if you were randomly selected to submit an application. You can also check your invitation status on IRCC’s website.

For the 2021 program, IRCC will conduct a new interest to sponsor form intake process and accept a maximum of 30,000 new applications. Information and timelines for the 2021 Parents and Grandparents Program will be posted on IRCC’s website as soon as they’re available.

Those interested in bringing their parents or grandparents to Canada can also consider a parent and grandparent super visa, which allows them to stay in Canada for up to 2 years at a time.

Who's Hiring in Scarborough

The East Scarborough Storefront has compiled this week's list of all the available jobs in Scarborough. 

All jobs are with Scarborough-based employers and vary from retail to social sector employment opportunities. 
View the List

Food Access Information

Lending a hand to the Muslim Welfare Centre- one of the organizations which provides food access to our community (picture from before the pandemic)
The East Scarborough Storefront has created a list with information about all the organizations in our community who are currently offering food services and hot meals.
View the list here:
View the List

Summer Leadership Internship Program

The Summer Leadership Program (SLP) is a unique political internship opportunity developed to invest in the future success of young people from across the country.

The program gives young people an opportunity to contribute to Prime Minister Trudeau’s team while gaining vital job experience serving in the offices of Members of Parliament, Ministers’ Offices, and the Prime Minister’s Office. Due to Covid-19, the internship will be entirely online.
 
For more information and to submit an application, click here:
Apply Now

Scarborough Business Association Breakfast

Join the Scarborough Business Association for their next Cyber Breakfast - featuring speaker Dan Kelly.
 
For more information and to register, please click the button below:
Register Now

Highland Creek Trail

BlogTo has written an article highlighting the Highland Creek Trail - one of my favourite walks in our community. 

If you know the trail well, it can lead you from the Guildwood Go Station all the way to the Rouge Hill Go Station, with stops at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus, Morningside Park, and the lake front. An interactive map of the trail can be viewed here.

I encourage you to safely get outside and explore this trail. 

In the News

I invite you to read my most recent interviews here:
My staff and I are embracing video chatting as we work remotely to continue serving you. You can reach us at 416-283-1226 or john.mckay.c1@parl.gc.ca.  

Our constituency office continues to be closed, but our services remain available to you by phone or email. 

If you require assistance on matters relating to the federal government or departments (Citizenship and Immigration, Canada Revenue Agency, CPP/OAS), please contact my office by phone at 416-283-1226 or by email at John.McKay.c1@parl.gc.ca. We will return all calls and emails

Citizenship and Immigration is not assisting people via telephone. However they can be reached through their web form.

If this is the first update you have seen, and you would like to be included on all future communications, please click here.

Sincerely,
 
Hon. John McKay, P.C.,
Member of Parliament for Scarborough-Guildwood
To view all previous issues of my email updates, click here
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