Nearly half of the 15 municipalities targeted as “hardest-hit” by the COVID-19 pandemic are located in Peel Region, the province has revealed. The Ontario government said Tuesday that it will be investing $12.5 million into “high-risk neighbourhoods” to help support local health units and community partners battling the virus.
Municipalities in Brampton and Mississauga, including the Bramalea area and northwest/east/s out west corners of Mississauga, were identified as high-priority communities in need of funding, according to a provincial strategy outlined this week.
“We know that COVID-19 has impacted some communities much worse than others due to some of the barriers to accessing critical services,” Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday. “This strategy starts to break down these barriers by offering people assistance in a variety of languages to ensure these communities know where to get PPE, get tested or isolate safely away from loved ones.” In recent weeks, municipalities in Peel have set up dedicated testing centres for residents who think they may have COVID-19, building off previous funding announced at all levels of government.
Under the new funding strategy, the province is aiming to invest $42 million to create approximately 1,500 spaces in isolation centres for residents to use, if needed, along with additional supports such as transportation and links to social services. The funding also includes financial support for residents who don’t qualify for Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), as well as the hiring of community ambassadors to help deliver outreach and communities to the affected communities.
Peel remains under a stay-at home order mandated by the province until Feb. 22. “We know that our ability to connect with all of our residents on the services and supports available to them is essential in our battle against this virus,” said Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “I want to thank the (province) for recognizing the unique needs of our city and region and for providing us with additional support.