When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph had no idea how valuable the connections he made during his time as Executive-Director of the Chamber of Commerce would be.
Longfield immediately called on the expertise of the Guelph Chamber to prepare for an unprecedented lockdown of businesses and direction on how manufacturing plants could operate differently.
Longfield said, “The first three months I was on the phone seven days a week with residents of Guelph and every evening I was on a conference call with other MPs and ministers to say, this is what I’m hearing in my community.”
With businesses temporarily shuttered, employers and workers needed income supports right away. Initially, the employment insurance system was overwhelmed with claims. Longfield said the public service response to that crisis was incredible. “We didn’t have 6 to 8 weeks for people who suddenly didn’t have a paycheque. The CERB program went live and within days money was being deposited into people’s bank accounts.”
With the help of the CRA, the federal government created additional wage subsidy and rent subsidy programs for struggling businesses which helped to stabilize the economy. We’re currently seeing positive results with 80% of jobs lost during the pandemic being recovered.
Longfield is proud of the Liberal government’s commitment to the environment in passing Canada’s first Climate Change Accountability Act. He’s working with the city, University of Guelph, local businesses and residents on net zero accountability.
Longfield spent 30 years as a mechanical engineering technologist. As a member of the auto caucus, he’s working with GM, Chrysler and Ford on producing zero emission vehicles in Canada. He sees the importance of sustainable building back to fight climate change.
To assist the most vulnerable, Longfield and his staff worked with the United Way and the Community Foundation to ensure seniors and low-income residents had food on the table. Longfield worked with not-for-profit charities in Guelph and secured over a million dollars for the Women’s Shelter, the Seed Project and the United Way.
Longfield connected realtors who volunteered to deliver meals to seniors. Longfield said, “Guelph is the kind of community where people get together to ask how they can help.” When manufacturers asked what they could do, Longfield connected them to the buy-and-sell network and within days they were producing ventilators, ventilator parts and PPE.
Battling the pandemic was like being in a war, Longfield said. “The people in Guelph were there for us, while the federal government was there to change and adapt and respond as quickly as they could.”
Because of his extensive experience in manufacturing, Longfield sees himself as a person who connects people to solutions. He’s proud to say that Guelph is the kind of community that wants to find the solutions. He said, “I saw it before COVID, I’m seeing it through COVID, it’s in Guelph’s DNA to have people who want to help. Part of my job is to help them, help other people by making the right connections.”
If you would like to connect with Lloyd Longfield please visit: www.mplongfield.ca