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COVID-19 Resource Guide for Seniors

Please Note: These materials do not constitute legal advice. Government initiatives, announcements and regulations in response to the COVID-19 situation continue to evolve and change frequently.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Those who are infected with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms. You may not know you have symptoms of COVID-19 because they are similar to a cold or flu.
Symptoms have included:
* Cough
* Fever
* Difficulty breathing
* Pneumonia in both lungs

What do you do if you develop a symptom?
Do not visit an assessment centre unless you have been referred by a health care professional.
Do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.
Instead, you should:
* Complete the COVID-19 Self-Assessment at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/
* Call Telehealth: 1-866-797-0000.
Please note, there are significant wait times to speak to a representative.

How do you protect yourself and others from COVID-19?
* Practice social distancing
* Stay home – Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health is strongly urging those over the age of 70 or those with compromised immune systems or underlying medical conditions to stay at home
* Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
* Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow
* Avoid touching your face

Self-isolate for 14 days if you:
* recently returned from travel outside of Canada
* have a cough, fever, fatigue and/or difficulty breathing
* are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
* have been asked by a health care professional for another reason

How do you practice Social Distancing?
* Keep at least six feet (the length of a bicycle) from others when going out for groceries, medical trips and other essential needs
* Limit the number of times you leave your home for errands
* Try to shop at less busy times
* Order online to have groceries or other items delivered if possible
* Go for a walk in your neighbourhood or park while maintaining distance from others
* Avoid overcrowding in elevators or other enclosed spaces
* Wash or sanitize your hands after touching communal surfaces

*Many stores are offering senior shopping hours:
* Longo’s – 8:00 am – 9:00 am
* Loblaws – 7:00 am – 8:00 am
* Walmart – 7:00 am – 8:00 am
* Costco – Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m

Tips to protect your personal health and wellbeing
During this difficult time, seniors can protect their mental health and feel more connected by taking the following steps:
* Call a friend or family member
* Exercise in your home
* Go for a walk, while remembering to practice social distancing
* Get fresh air by opening a window or going outside for a few minutes each day

Seniors also have access to resources for that can be useful in maintaining mental and physical health:
* ConnexOntario (1-866-531-2600), Ontario’s mental health, addictions and problem gambling help line, which can provide contact information for local mental health and addictions services and supports, including crisis lines.
* 211 Ontario: Dial 2-1-1 on your cell phone or home phone or visit www.211ontario.ca
211 is a telephone helpline and online database of Ontario’s community and social services. The service is free and confidential and is available during COVID-19 and beyond
* Ontario Seniors’ INFOline: 1-888-910-1999; Email: infoseniors@ontario.ca
Delivery of items
The Government of Canada is contributing $9 million through United Way Canada for local organizations to support practical services to Canadian seniors. These services could include the delivery of groceries, medications, or other needed items, or personal outreach to assess individuals’ needs and connect them to community supports.
Your local United Way organization: http://www.unitedway.ca/how-we-help/find-your-uwc/
There are several charitable operations which offer delivery to senior citizens who will have difficulty accessing food and essential items during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, Operation Ramzieh assembles and distributes free food boxes to senior citizens in Toronto and Ottawa.
Information about Operation Ramzieh can be found here: https://operationramzieh.org/about-3

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) gives up to $2,000 a month to workers who have stopped working because of COVID-19. This includes employees, people who are self-employed and contract workers.
You can apply through both the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Service Canada starting April 6, 2020.

To apply for the CERB you need: i) a Social Insurance Number and ii) an online account with the CRA or Service Canada. If you’re not able to create an online account to claim your CERB, you can call 1-800-959-2019.
If you’re eligible for the CERB, you will get up to $2,000 for a 4-week period. You will get one payment that covers the 4-week period. Payments can be made by direct deposit or cheque.

Rent Payments
Tenants who can pay their rent must do so, to the best of their abilities. Landlords are entitled to collect compensation from a tenant for each day that an eviction order is not enforced.
The government of Ontario has made efforts to encourage landlords and tenants to work together during this difficult time to establish fair arrangements to keep tenants safe and in their homes.

Mortgage Relief
Canadian banks have committed to work with their customers on a case-by-case basis to find solutions to help them manage hardships caused by COVID-19. This includes permitting lenders to defer up to six monthly mortgage payments (interest and principal) for impacted borrowers. Canadians who are impacted by COVID-19 and experiencing financial hardship as a result should contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral. This gives flexibility to be available − when needed − to those who need it the most. You are encouraged to visit your bank’s website for the latest information, rather than calling or visiting a branch.

Reduced minimum withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds
The government of Canada has reduced the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25 per cent for 2020.

Increased GST/HST Rebate
Canadians who normally receive the GST/HST credit and have filed a 2018 tax return will automatically receive a one-time increase in the credit.
Even if you were previously not entitled to the GST/HST credit, but have filed your 2018 tax return, you may also get the one-time credit amount based on your family net income.

Public Pensions
You can apply online through your My Service Canada Account for the following:
 Canada Pension Plan Retirement Pension
 Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefit, or
 Old Age Security/Guaranteed Income Supplement
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Service Canada is strongly encouraging you to apply for these benefits online, from the comfort of your home. You will not be required to submit documentation to support your application at this time. Service Canada may be requesting these documents at a later date, but in the meantime, we can begin working on your application.
For more information on Public Pensions such as how to apply and eligibility requirements, go to https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions.html or call 1-800-277-9914.

Low‑income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP)
The government is providing $9 million in direct support to families for their energy bills by expanding eligibility for the Low‑income Energy Assistance Program and by ensuring that their electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected for nonpayment during the COVID‑19 outbreak.
Further information can be found here: https://www.oeb.ca/rates-and-your-bill/help-low-income-consumers/low-income-energy-assistance-program
Find the list of contact information for the social agencies used for the delivery of LEAP Emergency Financial Assistance here: https://www.oeb.ca/sites/default/files/LEAP_Utility-Agency_Partners.pdf

Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS)
The Ontario government has proposed to double the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) maximum payment to $166 per month for individuals and $332 per month for couples, for six months starting in April 2020.
For further information on GAINS and other financial help offered by the Federal and Provincial governments for seniors, visit the CARP (formerly Canadian Association of Retired Persons) website: https://www.carp.ca/2020/03/26/covid-19-financial-supports-announced/
COVID-19 and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
If you’re already getting income support from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), you do not qualify for Ontario’s COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Program.
Instead, there are new resources that ODSP workers can use to give extra “discretionary benefits” to people getting ODSP and Ontario Works. Individuals on ODSP may be able to get a one-time benefit of up to $100, and those with families may be able to get a one-time benefit of up to $200.
If you qualify, these benefits can be used for needs related to COVID-19, such as:
 personal protective equipment, like masks and gloves, for hospital or clinic visits
 food and groceries if you can’t get to a food bank, for example, because you’ve been ordered to self-isolate, or you’re caring for a family member who is sick or has been ordered to self-isolate
 cleaning supplies if you’ve been ordered to self-isolate, or you’re caring for a family member who is sick or has been ordered to self-isolate

Wills and estate planning during COVID-19
At this point, we would promote the following actions to ensure that your estate planning affairs are in order:
a) Review your existing documents. Make sure that you have copies (either paper or electronic) of your existing estate planning documents, and review them to confirm that they still reflect your wishes. If you cannot locate your documents, consider calling or emailing your estate planning lawyer to obtain copies.
b) Pinpoint any items that require attention sooner rather than later. As you review, take note of any major changes that may have occurred in your family since you last updated your estate plan. These might include child births, deaths, marriages, divorces, etc. Also consider whether the individuals that you previously appointed to serve as your agents are still appropriate.
c) Follow up with your loved ones and advisors.
d) Make sure that your loved ones know if you have appointed them to any role in your estate plan. This includes your executor (i.e. personal representative under your will, or trustee of your trust), guardian for your minor children, attorney-in-fact under your durable power of attorney for property, and patient advocate under your health care power of attorney.
e) Consider reaching out to your financial advisor, insurance advisor, etc. to ensure that your beneficiary designations are up to date and discuss any new planning opportunities relative to your current financial status.
f) If you require any medical attention in the near future, confirm that your medical provider has a copy of your patient advocate designation and is informed as to who you wish to have access to your confidential health information.
If you do not already have an estate plan, now is as good of a time as any to consider the opportunity before you. Having a will/trust, a power of attorney, and a healthcare power of attorney can certainly contribute to a healthy state of mind.

Seniors and Fraud

In emergencies like this, vulnerable individuals, especially seniors, are often targeted by dishonest con artists trying to take advantage of fear and uncertainty. They can pose as door-to-door salespeople, telemarketers, collection agents and sometimes even distant relatives asking for help.

Be on the lookout for any of the following behaviours:

* Scammers may impersonate health organizations and businesses to gather personal and financial information or sell fake test kits, supplies, vaccines or cures for COVID-19

* Fraudsters may seek donations for illegitimate or non-existent organizations

* Scammers may impersonate doctors and hospital staff, claim to have treated a relative or friend of the intended victim for COVID-19 and demand payment for treatment.

How to spot an email scam:

*Be Skeptical – Fraudulent e-mails can look like they come from a real organization.

* Be Vigilant – Never send personal and/or financial information by e-mail. * Check the “From” address – Be cautious when an email domain doesn’t match the organization that the sender says they are from. Never click on suspicious links or attachments – Phishing emails often *include embedded links that look valid, but if you hover over them, you can usually see the real hyperlink

* Protect your devices – Make sure that your electronics are password protected The RCMP has produced Seniors Guidebook to Safety and Security which provides useful information to answer some common concerns when it comes to seniors’ safety and security about scams and other security matters. The guide can be accessed here: https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/seniors-guidebook-safety-and-security?wbdisable=true

About the Authors:
Michael Miller
Partner
Dickinson Wright LLP
416-270-9708
MMiller@dickinsonwright.com Wendy Hulton Partner Dickinson Wright LLP 416-777-4035 WHulton@dickinsonwright.com
Jennifer Leve
Partner
Dickinson Wright LLP
416-777-4043
JLeve@dickinsonwright.com
Carly Walter Student at Law Dickinson Wright LLP 416-646-6877 CWalter@dickinsonwright.com

Telephone Scams

July 2018

Once again the ‘scammers’ are out in full force!  Now that income tax time has come around, they are working the phone lines claiming to be calling from the Canada Revenue Agency and demanding money for ‘supposedly’ back taxes owing.  This scam has been increasing in the past couple of months.  If you receive such calls, please report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.  Below is an article from the Canada Revenue Agency website to make our readers aware and to beware of any calls received asking for money or threatening legal action and/or arrest.

Beware of new telephone scams

Ottawa, Ontario, … The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is noting an increase in telephone scams where the caller claims to be from the CRA but is not, and is asking Canadians to bewarethese calls are fraudulent and could result in identity and financial theft.

Some recent telephone scams involve threatening taxpayers or using aggressive and forceful language to scare them into paying fictitious debt to the CRA. Victims receive a phone call from a person claiming to work for the CRA and saying that taxes are owed. The caller requests immediate payment by credit card or convinces the victims to purchase a prepaid credit card and to call back immediately with the information. The taxpayer is often threatened with court charges, jail or deportation.

If you get such a call, hang up and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

These types of communication are not from the CRA. When the CRA calls you, it has established procedures in place to make sure your personal information is protected. If you want to confirm the authenticity of a CRA telephone number, call the CRA by using the numbers on its Telephone numbers page. The number for business-related calls is 1-800-959-5525. The number for calls about individual concerns is 1-800-959-8281.

To help you identify possible scams, use the following guidelines:

The CRA:

  • never requests prepaid credit cards;
  • never asks for information about your passport, health card, or driver’s licence;
  • never shares your taxpayer information with another person, unless you have provided the appropriate authorization; and
  • never leaves personal information on your answering machine or asks you to leave a message containing your personal information on an answering machine.

When in doubt, ask yourself the following:

  • Is there a reason that the CRA may be calling? Do I have a tax balance outstanding?
  • Is the requester asking for information I would not include with my tax return?
  • Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
  • How did the requester get my email address or telephone number?
  • Am I confident I know who is asking for the information?

The CRA has strong practices to protect the confidentiality of taxpayer information. The confidence and trust that individuals and businesses have in the CRA is a cornerstone of Canada’s tax system. For more information about the security of taxpayer information and other examples of fraudulent communications, go to www.cra.gc.ca/security.

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

For information on scams or to report deceptive telemarketing contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online atwww.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or toll free at 1-888-495-8501.If you believe you may be the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information unwittingly, contact your local police service.

 

Have Questions/Concerns?

Updated January 1, 2018

Do you have personal questions or concerns relating to your residency in Twin Pines?

Mandeep Sangha, Peel Living’s Tenancy Support Agent, will be on site in the Summerville Pines’ Community Hall on the following Mondays from 1 pm – 4 pm to assist you and address your tenancy related issues:

January 8, February 5, March 5, April 9, May 7, June 11, July 9, August 13, September 10, October 8, November 5, December 10.

Appointments will be seen first and drop in’s as time allows – in 15 minute intervals. Appointments can be made by calling 905-453-2500 ext 3612 during office hours Monday – Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

This is a welcome progression from Peel Living, particularly for those who do not have access to a computer or prefer to speak to someone ‘in person’ to air their concerns.  Please do not hesitate to take advantage of it!

Meeting October 6, 2016

On October 6, 2016 Dan Ferguson, the Solicitor for Cedar Grove Residents’ Community Corporation and Marlyn Addai, President of the Board of Directors, will be forming a delegation to the Peel Living Board on behalf of the residents of Twin Pines, to remind the Peel Living Board of the commitments made to Twin Pines in October 2012 and the impact their decisions are having on this community i.e. financially, emotionally and health wise.

This meeting will be held at the Regional Administrative Headquarters, in the Regional Council Chambers, 5th Floor, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Suite A, Brampton, Ontario. The Peel Living Board meeting is scheduled to start at 8:30 am.

We urge as many residents as possible to attend to show our commitment to our Park.

Winners of our Winter Home Decorating Contest

December 21, 2015

On Saturday, December 12, 2015, we held our annual Pot Luck Dinner, after which we trooped out to light the lovely fir trees at the front of the Park.

At the dinner, those attending voted on the 59 entries in the Winter Home Decorating Contest and the winners were as follows:

#1 – 2nd Avenue East

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#7 Orchard Drive

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#18 – 6th Avenue West

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Congratulations to all our Winners !!!

Has Your Mail Gone Missing???

Postman

Updated March 7, 2017

I‘m sure we have all experienced the ‘dumbstruck’ looks we get when we give someone our address and the inevitable frustration when one part or the other of the address is left off.  When this happens, of course, our mail is not delivered.  For a while we had the same steady postal worker, who got to know the names of the residents and the mail was delivered regardless.  Unfortunately, we are back to getting whichever postal worker finishes their route early enough and therefore gets handed our mail to deliver.  It seems as though it’s a new face every other day.

It has come to our attention that lately mail is being returned to sender even when the address is correct and if this is ‘official mail’, you know what a problem that can cause.  One of our residents contacted Canada Post and through perseverance was able to speak with a supervisor, who said the more complaints they received, the better.  You know that old saying “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”.

So if you are not receiving your mail, or getting someone else’s mail, please call Canada Post at 1-800-267-1177 to register a complaint.  It may take a bit of patience to navigate the inevitable voice recordings, but ask to speak to a supervisor and they will give you a ticket number and someone will get back to you in a day or so.

We shouldn’t have to put up with poor service, because someone can’t be bothered to look at the site maps at the front of the Park to find out where the streets are!

How Does the Planning Process Work???

July 10, 2011

On Monday, July 6th, the Board of Directors of Cedar Grove Residents’ Community Corporation held another meeting with the members of planningAlliance and CIVIS, the Community Engagement Team engaged by Peel Living to develop a Community Plan for Twin Pines.   These meetings have been occurring monthly.

At this meeting, Bryan Bowen, who is the project’s Planning Approvals Lead, gave a power point presentation on the ‘mysteries’ of the planning process.  The Board found this was very informative in explaining timelines and the many steps involved in each phase of the planning and approvals process.  Consequently it was thought that this information may also be helpful in assisting our residents in understanding what exactly goes into obtaining approvals for such a major undertaking as the re-imagining of the community of Twin Pines.

Outlined below is a synopsis of how these proceedings unfold:

Planning Approvals – (Conceptual Phase) – governed by Provincial Legislation

Community Concept Plan (non-statutory) – this is the point where we have the opportunity for the highest input

  • public meetings are held with all stakeholders (residents of Twin Pines, our neighbours, local businesses, etc.)
  • meetings will also include transportation experts, engineers, etc. (technical phase)
  • planning Alliance takes all suggestions, weighs the pros and cons,  and produces several Alternative Plans
  • these Alternative Plans are  taken back to stakeholders and a consensus, weighing all pros & cons, will hopefully produce a Hybrid Plan which the majority of stakeholders can live with
  • this Plan will then be presented to the Peel Living Board for endorsement
  • implementation will include phasing, costs, character and vision of the community

After the Peel Living Board has endorsed the Plan, it enters the City of Mississauga’s planning approvals process:

Municipal Planning Approvals (statutory)

  • Official Plan Amendment – The Mississauga Official Plan sets out the city’s vision for growth and development within the municipality in a way that is consistent with the Peel Region Official Plan.  Official Plan amendments may be required before changes can take place in Twin Pines
  • Zoning By-law Amendment – Zoning By-laws govern individual lots, density, parking, height of buildings, etc. and are amendable.  If any amendments are required, this is the time that they will be presented

Any amendments under the Official Plan and Zoning By-laws are approved by City Council and can be appealed.

Plan of Subdivision and Site Plan Approval are next and residents will have fewer opportunities to be involved in the planning process from this point on.

Building and Development Permits – (Detailed/Technical – no input from stakeholders)

  • Building Permits
  • Site Servicing Permits
  • Construction Management Plan – includes staging, phasing, and managing interruption to residents
  • Streetscape Permits
  • Others (TBD)

The timing for these various steps to proceed are dependent on many factors.  In the case of Twin Pines, they could depend on Peel Living’s partnership with the City of Mississauga in planning this future community, the City of Mississauga’s Dundas Corridor Master Plan (Dundas Connects) and Metrolinx’s Dundas Street Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) expansion.  This, however, gives us an idea of how complex this procedure is and how it is difficult to make accurate assumptions of timelines.

If you have any further questions regarding this process, please contact Michelle Drylie at 647-231-6820 or email: mdrylie@planningalliance.ca.