Supporting Durham Region’s priorities

June 25, 2020

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland
Privy Council Office
Room 1000
85 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A3

Dear Deputy Prime Minister Freeland,

We are writing to you, in our capacity as Members of Parliament representing ridings in the
Regional Municipality of Durham, in regards to the Region’s federal funding priorities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the delivery of public services by all levels of
government. Durham Region was no exception and they had to adapt with new, innovative
measures to ensure that workers, businesses and families are well protected. As an example,
the Region of Durham partnered with local child-care operators and home child-care agencies in
Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa, Clarington and Uxbridge to offer free emergency child care for
the children of front line and essential workers.

To support unsheltered residents, the Region of Durham also worked with community partners
to open the In/Out of The Crisis (IOTC) program at Camp Samac in Oshawa, Ontario. The
facility served as a temporary location to provide shelter for the homeless and is staffed 24
hours a day, seven days a week, with appropriate physical distancing measures and security to
protect vulnerable residents.

These are just a couple of the programs the Region of Durham has been able to offer it’s
residents. Unfortunately, the Region of Durham is currently facing a $40.5 million shortfall as a
result of COVID-19 related expenditures. To contain this impact, they’ve worked to build
community resilience and create a Regional Recovery Plan with opportunities to work in
partnership with the federal government.

In addition to their support of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) request for $10
billion in funding to be distributed to municipalities across Canada for emergency operations,
Durham Region’s policy priorities for federal partnership include:

  • Transit Infrastructure: The Region is requesting that federal and provincial governments
    expedite the approval of Investing in Canada Infrastructure (ICIP) projects.
  • Supportive Housing: The Region is looking to partner with the federal government to
    develop innovative housing solutions and enhance existing programs to support unsheltered
    residents.
  • Broadband Infrastructure: COVID-19 has highlighted the critical importance of universal
    broadband infrastructure. Durham Region is looking to partner with the federal government to
    access funding in support of their Broadband Strategy to bridge the digital divide in Durham.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Durham Region is urging the federal government to
    implement the zero-interest home retrofit loan program in 2020, and are looking to partner on
    the Durham Forest Centre for Innovation and Resilience.

Further information and specific details regarding their funding priorities are found in the
attached report.

We’d also note that these four priorities align strongly with our government’s core policy agenda.
Supporting transit and housing infrastructure, as well as implementing universal broadband
coverage by 2030 and protecting our environment from the devastating effects of climate
change have been major policy areas of focus over the past five years.

As Durham Region Members of Parliament, we support these funding requests, and urge you
work in partnership with the Region to deliver on our shared commitments to Canadians.

Yours Sincerely,

Hon. Mark Holland
MP, Ajax

Jennifer O’Connell
MP, Pickering-Uxbridge

Ryan Turnbull
MP, Whitby

A PDF copy of this letter can be found here.

Letter to Kevin Ashe, Chair of Durham Regional Police Services Board

Ryan Turnbull Member of Parliament

June 20, 2020

Kevin Ashe
Chair
Durham Regional Police Services Board
Police Headquarters
605 Rossland Road East
Whitby, ON L1N 0B8

Dear Chair:

Re: Use of Force Protocols and Anti-Racism Training

I write to express my concern regarding recent videos circulated demonstrating the unnecessary use of force by officers of the Durham Regional Police Service (“DPRS”). I have been sent these videos by dozens of constituents expressing their own concern.

I am aware that an initial review determined that the use of force was necessary in both circumstances, however I ask that a full review of all available evidence be conducted with a full report released to the public. Members of the community are rightly seeking clarification for the actions of these officers.

As the Prime Minister has said, unconscious bias exists within all aspects of the government, including in policing. I understand that the Durham Regional Police Service provides some training to its members regarding anti-racism and unconscious bias. I am requesting that the DPRS and Board review all anti-racism programs and unconscious bias training programs they provide for their members. In the interest of transparency, I urge such a report to be released to the public at the earliest possible opportunity.

I further request copies of any review or report that is conducted. This issue is very important to me and my constituents.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Ryan Turnbull

Member of Parliament for Whitby

Statement on Anti-Black Racism and Discrimination

Ryan Turnbull Member of Parliament

Dear Constituents and All Canadians,

I have always believed that we need to create a society that embraces diversity, equity and inclusion, and that we need to do everything we can to provide people of all backgrounds equal opportunity.  The material conditions that people are born into are far from equal and the family, social and economic context that people navigate through are far from equitable.

The anti-Black racism we are seeing in the United States is beyond disturbing; it is morally reprehensible and yet we cannot pretend that forms of racism, discrimination and unconscious bias are not present in our society and within our communities in Canada.   The experiences of many Black Canadians will attest to the fact that we have much work to do right here at home to address anti-black racism and discrimination in its many forms.

I hope we can all have the courage to admit that Canada is not immune to the racism we are seeing in the United States. Racism has been a part of Canada and systemic racism continues to exist within our institutions to this very day.  Because our history has included forms of racism and discrimination does not mean that we must accept it; quite the contrary, we should strive to expose and eradicate it everywhere.

We all need to stand against racism in all its forms. We need to support Black and racialized people by creating safe and open spaces for them to share their experiences, which we can all learn much from. Their voices have been ignored for far too long. We need to do better and be true allies of the Black Community.

This is a unique moment in history and only we can choose where we go from here, but I believe Canada’s identity is one that is based on values of diversity, equity and inclusion, and what we need to do is to re-commit to realizing those shared values more fully.

Right now, the Black Community needs to know that we stand with them. This means amplifying the voices of Black and racialized people today and everyday moving forward. Now is a time to listen, educate ourselves, and learn from the lived experiences of Black Canadians and racialized people.

Black Lives Matter. All racialized people matter. It is up to us to demonstrate real and concrete action towards justice and equality. Let us open up this conversation in Canada and begin the journey of addressing the root causes of racism and discrimination, rather than living in denial.

Investing in Critical Infrastructure

 As we face the greatest public health crisis of our time, our Government is taking strong and quick action to protect the health and safety of all Canadians, stabilize our economy, and support communities across Canada. Our Government understands the challenging situation that cities and towns are in.

The government is  making an immediate investment in our communities by speeding up this year’s funding delivered through the Federal Gas Tax Fund. We are delivering over $2 billion from the Gas Tax Fund to municipalities – earlier than usual to help them weather the economic consequences of the pandemic.

Our Government is continuing to have important conversations with provinces and territories about this pressing issue, and we are speaking with mayors from across the country, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, as well as transit authorities.

Making an immediate investment in infrastructure will play a critical role in restarting local economies, allowing Canadians to return to work when it is safe to do so, and improving our quality of life in the months and years ahead

 For more information visit HERE.

Supporting our Students

Many young Canadians are facing an unprecedented challenge in the wake of COVID-19. Whether you’ve recently graduated and were looking forward to starting your career, or you’re still in school and counting on summer employment to pay tuition, or pursuing a national service opportunity – our Government has your back. The Canada Emergency Student Benefit will support students and recent graduates who are not covered by CERB in order to ensure they are able to continue their studies and pay for tuition in the fall. We’re also helping students gain valuable work experience and serve their communities through the new Canada Student Service Grant, and by making temporary changes to expand the Canada Summer Jobs program, which employs 70,000 each year. We are also proposing additional tuition support measures, including broadening the eligibility for Student Financial Assistance. These significant new supports will help young Canadians get through this crisis and play a central role in ensuring Canada emerges from these challenges stronger than ever.

For more information visit canada.ca/coronavirus or call our office at 905-665-8182.

Supporting our Seniors

Back in February, I hosted a consultation on seniors issues with over 45 seniors in attendance and some lively and worthwhile discussion.  Following this, I met with Deb Schulte, the Minister of Seniors to present and discuss the findings from the consultation. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been reaching out and speaking with seniors, and have engaged regularly with Minister Schulte on the financial strains, health risks and social challenges that many seniors are facing right now. As many of you know, throughout this pandemic our government has focused on supporting those who need it most.  One of our first announcements for low and modest income seniors was to increase the GST/HST credit which saw an average of $400 per person and $600 per couple. This direct payment required no application and was really targeted to support our seniors. After hearing clearly that our government needed to do more to support our seniors, I advocated for increased financial support to help during this challenging period. Following this, the government announced a $300 one-time (tax free) payment for those eligible for Old Age Security (OAS) and a $200 one-time payment for those on the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). Combined with other measures, that is approximately $900 in direct financial support for low-income seniors. My office has been assured by Minister Deb Schulte that these payments will be made very shortly. In addition to these one-time, tax free payments, our government has also invested in many community groups that help support seniors to help deliver food and essential supplies. These investments include:

  •  $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund to help charities and non-profits deliver essential services to those in need;
  • $9 million to United Way Canada;
  • $100 million to support food banks and local food organizations;
  • enhanced the New Horizons for Seniors Funding to allow previously approved projects to be modified to meet seniors‘ needs during this public health crisis and invested an additional $20 million.

The increase to New Horizons for Seniors Funding will help fund senior services that are delivered through many of the local community organizations.  These local organizations, and their programs and services are listed on the Durham Region United Way’s website: https://unitedwaydr.com/seniors-response-fund/ I would also like to emphasize that the issues that seniors are facing outside of COVID-19 are of real concern and continue to be top priority for me.  I will continue advocating for solutions and policies that are based on the concerns expressed by Whitby’s seniors and work towards making a positive impact on the quality of life experienced by our seniors.

Ryan Turnbull

Member of Parliament for Whitby

905-665-8182

Commercial Rent Assistance – Now Open for Application

Our Government is unwavering in its support for Canadian workers and their families as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month, we reached an agreement with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA), which will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners, allowing them to reduce rent by 75% for April and May (retroactive), and June, to their small business tenants.

This week, the Prime Minister announced that application documents and updated criteria for CECRA for small businesses are now available through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website, and the program is now open for applications.

The Government is taking a staggered approach to applications. Please see the chart below:

 

Day Who should register?
Monday Property owners who are located in Atlantic Canada, BC, Alberta and Quebec, with up to 10 tenants who are eligible for the program
Tuesday Property owners who are located in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and the Territories, with up to 10 tenants who are eligible for the program
Wednesday All other property owners in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and the Territories
Thursday All other property owners in Atlantic Canada, BC, Alberta and Quebec
Friday All

Visit the CMHC website for more information.