As you all know, our country is currently in an unprecedented situation. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in massive disruptions to our usual way of life. Parliament has adjourned until at least April 20th, with only a limited special sitting of the House of Commons planned to pass emergency legislation.
While Parliament is adjourned, I will be back with you all in our riding. However, my Opposition colleagues and I continue to closely monitor government actions to ensure they are meeting the demands of this crisis.
For now, my office is taking preventative measures to ensure that we are not contributing to the spread of Coronavirus. Our offices are closed, but we are still serving constituents by telephone and email. I have provided our contact information below.
All levels of government are issuing recommendations and taking action to address the pandemic. This is a very fluid situation, and by the time you are reading this, conditions may have changed. However, a good place to see the most up-to-date information on what the federal government is doing in response to the virus is www.canada.ca/coronavirus. You can also call the Government of Canada’s coronavirus information line at (1-833-784-4397) – available from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 pm (MT), seven days a week.
The Government is advising Canadians to avoid non-essential travel. If you are already abroad, it is strongly advised that you return home. For more information, you can go to www.travel.gc.ca/travelling You can register as a Canadian abroad (strongly advised at this time) at www.travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration.
While events have been moving quickly on a day-to-day basis, some things that you can to protect yourself and others include:
• staying home and away from others if sick or in isolation
• washing your hands often, using soap and water for at least twenty seconds
• covering coughs and sneezes
• avoiding touching face with unwashed hands
• avoiding travel outside Canada
• self-isolating for 14 days if returning from travel outside Canada or were exposed to COVID-19
If you have symptoms, like a dry cough, fever, fatigue or difficulty breathing:
• stay home – do not go to an ER or clinic
• take the COVID-19 self-assessment
• call Health Link 811 for instructions and testing
The advice above is current as of the time I’m writing this and has been consistent for most of this pandemic. However, I always encourage everyone to keep tabs on the newest guidelines from our public health officials. They are always in the best position to advise you.
The federal government continues to announce new measures to mitigate the impact of the virus and to support Canadians’ health and finances. You can visit www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan for full details.
My Opposition colleagues and I will be closely monitoring the roll-out of these measures. If you encounter difficulty accessing benefits or have an opinion on what actions the government should take, I encourage you to contact me.
As I noted above, this situation is unprecedented and changing quickly. I encourage everyone to take what preventative actions they can to help keep you, your family, and your community safe.
My Ottawa office can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. My Brooks office can be reached at 403-793-6775 or email@example.com, and my Strathmore office at 403-361-2980 or martin.shields.c1B@parl.gc.ca. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.