Top COVID-19 stories and news
- As of May 31, there are 28,263 known cases of COVID-19 in Ontario.
- 22,153 cases have been resolved in the province and 2,276 people have died.
- As of May 30, there are 11,174 cases in Toronto, 8,446 recovered cases and 823 people have died.
The latest local and Canadian news on novel coronavirus
11:55 am Toronto Public Library reopens drop boxes at 53 more branches today
The Toronto Public Library has reopened 53 library branch drop boxes today and will rollout curbside drop-off and pick-up services on June 8.
Drop-box services are now available at 70 braches and are only accepting the return of books, magazines, DVDs, CDs and audio books. Larger items such as musical instruments and Adruino kits are not being accepted yet as they may be damaged in drop boxes.
Residents are encouraged to return borrowed items, but it’s not mandatory. Borrowers can continue hold on to items until branches reopen and they will not be charged late fees.
11:35 am Ottawa fast-tracks gas tax revenue for cities struggling during COVID-19 crisis
The federal government will fast-track gas tax revenue for cities that are financially struggling during the pandemic.
On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will make $2.2B for municipalities in the coming weeks via the the gas tax fund. Normally cities receive that money in two annual instalments a year, but the entire amount for 2020-21 will now be available via a single early payment.
Municipalities are asking the provinces and federal government for $10 billion to cover financial shortfalls due to the COVID-19 crisis.
“We need to do more and we will do more. But in order to do more we have to work with the provinces because the municipalities fall within their jurisdiction,” Trudeau added.
Mayor John Tory has said Toronto is forecasting a $1.5 billion loss in revenue by the end of this year due to COVID-19.
11 am Ontario reports 404 new COVID-19 cases as testing drops below target
Provincial public health officials have reported 404 new COVID-19 cases and 10 more deaths.
That’s the highest daily case count in a week. Ontario’s total case count is 28,263 and 22,153 – or just over 78 per cent – are considered resolved.
After hitting a record high in testing, the number of tests completed has dropped below the daily target of 16,000. There were 14,379 tests completed since yesterday and 6,427 cases are under investigation.
The virus has killed a total of 2,276 people in the province. There are 781 patients in hospital, with 125 in intensive care and 81 in intensive care on ventilators.
10 am Ontario changes rules around temporary layoffs
The province is temporarily amending labour laws so employers aren’t forced to terminate employees during the pandemic.
Under the Employment Standards Act, businesses are required to terminate employees who have been laid off for 13 weeks. The employer must then pay severance to workers.
Non-unionized employees who have had hours temporarily reduced or eliminated due to the COVID-19 crisis will now considered on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave. They will be considered employed with legal protections and eligible for emergency income support, such as the Canada Emergence Response Benefit or CERB.
The amendment is retroactive to March 1 and will expire six weeks after the province’s state of emergency ends. The regulatory change does not impact unionized workers.
“We need to make sure business owners can reopen their doors and workers have jobs to go back to,” said Ontario’s labour minister Monte McNaughton in a statement. “This regulatory change will protect businesses from being forced to permanently lay off their employees due to COVID-19 and suffer a financial loss that could shutter their operations for good.”
Statistics Canada reports that 379,000 Ontario workers were temporarily laid off in April 2020, an increase of 2,496 per cent compared with the same period a year prior.
9 am Canada has more than 90,000 cases of COVID-19
There are 90,947 cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 7,295 people have died.
The outbreak is a serious public health threat though most people who contract the virus have not been hospitalized.
Symptoms include cough, fever, difficulty breathing and pneumonia in both lungs and may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure. People age 65 and over and people with compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions have a higher risk of contracting a severe case.