I hope you were able to connect with loved ones this weekend. It surely was a different long weekend but I hope you made it through. I was also deeply thankful to join St.Michael & All Angels and St. Matthews virtually for Easter fellowship, engaging zoom conversations including singing and Messy Church – a definite highlight.
Every day we are seeing the death tolls rise, and we have been told by our public health experts that the next few weeks may be the most painful we will experience during this pandemic. To make sure that we get through this as smoothly as possible, it is my sincere desire to see everyone continue to adhere to physical distancing, hand washing and every other measure possible to keep our community safe.
We know that people in our community are in pain right now, and now is the time for us to operate as one. The only path forward is together. We diligently following all the guidelines and continue to support those who are in the most need.
I would encourage everyone reading this email to engage yourself in the online communities where we are seeing incredible support networks forming. Those networks will help you stay in contact with your many friends and neighbours in this community. If you need help finding them, please do not hesitate to reach out. We also recognize that there are community members without access to internet. Please if you know someone struggling who needs a phone call to lift their spirits let us know.
Finally, I want to announce that this Saturday at 7PM I will be holding a digital town hall on Facebook Live with some of my fellow MPPs from the NDP. We will be online to answer the questions you might have about the pandemic, and our thoughts on the Ford government’s response including today’s Bill 189 COVID-19 Support and Protection. It will also be an opportunity for you to give us your feedback on what is affecting you the most right now.
If you are interested in participating, you can RSVP here or here. I ask that if you have questions that you submit them by this Friday 12pm the latest.
Please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca with the subject line “QUESTION RE: Digital Town Hall”.
If you have a positive story from our community OR a virtual event you're hosting that you want amplified, please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca.
Birthday, Anniversary Greetings
During normal times, my office sends out congratulatory scrolls to folks across the riding to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other milestones! While we're taking physical distancing measures, I will be continuing this digitally. If you have a birthday coming up in the family and you would like a special video message from me, please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca.
Calling Local Artists
If you are local artist, and you have a piece of work that you’ve been putting time into, we would love to share it with the community! We know that #ArtsSavesLives and minds especially during traumatic times. If you’re interested in sharing your art please email us at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca
News and Updates
The eventual reopening of Canadian businesses will take a phased-in approach, but any ease on restrictions is most likely weeks away.
Rules for Travellers
Travellers arriving in Canada must now show officials they have a credible plan in place for quarantine, or will be forced to self-isolate in a hotel.
Outbreaks at seniors’ homes account for nearly half of Canada’s COVID-19-related deaths.
The situation at seniors' and long-term care (LTC) homes is especially dire in Ontario and Quebec -- the Ford government has failed to mandate that LTC workers and residents be tested to slow the virus's spread. (The NDP has been calling for major changes to LTC, like increased testing and raising PSW and registered nurse practitioner (RPN) wages to a liveable wage.)
Update from the Legislature
In a special sitting of the Legislature today, Ontario extended the province’s Declaration of Emergency -- Andrea Horwath said the government’s emergency bill should have included support for the many Ontarians still falling through the cracks.
For weeks, Ford has refused to mandate an end to LTC staff working at multiple homes, which has contributed to the wildfire-like spread of COVID-19 in long-term care. Tonight, his government is expected to announce an order to deploy more staff to LTC homes, and limit LTC staff to working at one facility.--The NDP looks forward to making sure this directive follows through, with no exceptions.
What we’re working on:
But for many, this order comes too late. Many seniors have lost their lives, and so many families are grieving the loss of their loved ones. This practice has damaged many lives. It should not have been allowed to proceed for weeks.
The NDP also believes the government still needs to increase wages for PSWs and RPNs. Many LTC workers are earning near minimum wage. They deserve better, and we want to make sure they have decent wages and full-time hours so they aren't forced to moonlight at various homes.
"It shouldn’t have taken weeks to put a stop to something that put vulnerable seniors in the crosshairs of COVID-19, and I am heartbroken knowing that this announcement is simply too late for some families," said Horwath.
Toronto-St. Paul's Digital Town Hall
In recent weeks, much of the lives we know have been thrown into temporary suspension - and many challenges have emerged in our community.
In response to this, I will be hosting a digital town hall event on Facebook Live with a few of my MPP colleagues who will be able to answer some of your questions.
This will be happening Saturday April 18th at 7PM.
To access the stream, you just need to go to:
Joining me will be:
Critic for Social Services
Critic for Seniors and Critic for Accessibility and Persons with Disabilities
Critic for Home Care and Long Term Care
Critic for Labour