Right now, we’re continuing to see an increase in deaths across Canada due to COVID-19 – and for many it’s beginning to feel overwhelming. I want to send a message of support and solidarity to every member of our community. You are not alone. We’re battling this together – and our community will see the other side of this.
I have become aware of deaths in our community at the Isabel and Arthur Meighen Manor due to COVID-19. I cannot imagine the unbearable grief these families and loved ones are experiencing. I send them my deepest condolences.
I am worried about residents from Christie Gardens Apartments & Care and Russell Hill Retirement Residence where we have recently learned of residents testing positive for COVID-19.
This news is truly heartbreaking.
We’re going to be in for a very challenging few weeks, and it’s going to affect us all differently – and that’s okay. There is no singular way to "do" grief as we learned from our friends at being here, human. Everyone will process their own grief and trauma differently so we must make space for this.
Don’t lose hope – stay focused on what we can control: washing our hands, keeping our distance, and supporting those in the most need. We’re all on the same team right now – doing everything we can to back our frontline workers keeping our community moving forward.
I will continue advocating for more COVID-19 testing and for the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) needed by our frontline workers.
It is not okay - in fact it is DISGUSTING that many frontline workers are risking their lives to take care of our loved ones and all too many of them do not have access to PPE or are having to work in long-term care facilities that have not gone through rigorous health and safety inspections. COVID-19 has painfully illustrated the inequities and gaps in our health care system such as our chronic PSW shortage. We cannot forget that these inequities and gaps in health care have been around for decades well before COVID-19.
I will continue to fight hard for the health care system and the supports we need because our most vulnerable should never feel abandoned or ignored.
While we are starting to see expanded supports for those economically affected, both workers and business owners, I know that it’s not enough and we need to hear more from the provincial government too with regards to DIRECT supports to our community. There are new challenges that have arisen. For example many people stuck paying for auto insurance when they aren’t even driving their cars. I’m fighting to see 50% reductions in the costs of that auto insurance. There are also older problems – like hydro costs. I’m hearing that hydro rates are set to rise again in May – reversing the off-peak pricing that many are relying on right now.
You have my sincere commitment to continue to fight for you, your businesses, and our community because there is nothing that induces anxiety more than the unknown. We all deserve more answers and they need to come sooner than later.
Finally, I want to remind our entire community that this Saturday at 7PM, I will be hosting a Digital Town Hall along with four of my colleagues from the Ontario NDP caucus. If you have a question you would like to see answered, please email my office at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca by noon tomorrow.
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
ALL art submitted MUST be accompanied by a short artists statement (50 words or less) to help contextualize the art. Additionally, there are no guarantees that submissions will be included in the newsletter. Thank you for sharing your work with us and our community."
REMINDER: Toronto-St. Paul's Digital Town Hall
Happening Saturday April 18th at 7PM.
Support for Businesses
Canada is expanding measures to help businesses during the pandemic, including broadened loan eligibility -- groups like the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) says these changes still leave out certain firms, like new businesses and the self-employed.
Trudeau will talk to premiers today about helping small businesses with rents – for weeks, the NDP has been calling on the Ontario government to provide help to small and medium-sized businesses, including a 75 per cent rent subsidy.
Canada won't be opening up its border with the U.S. anytime soon, despite what President Trump said yesterday.
COVID-19 Testing in Ontario
Ontario continues to fall behind the rest of the provinces when it comes to COVID-19 testing.
What we’re working on:
Andrea Horwath called on the Ford government to close the dangerous gaps in his new orders to protect vulnerable group living facilities – gaps include waiting a week for measures to take effect, and exempting temp agency staff from the rule to work in one home only.
The NDP's Health critic says Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca's call for an inquiry into long-term care during the pandemic is self-serving, given Del Duca and the Liberals "blocked the call for a broad independent inquiry into the unfolding crisis in long-term care two years ago."Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:
Concerns about the state of long-term care and seniors homes before COVID-19 — a problem the NDP has been raising for years.
Ongoing concerns about small businesses that are failing, with some facing eviction — through no fault of their own — because there is no provincial support in place for expenses like commercial rent.
We have also heard many concerns from those who have lost their work due to COVID-19 - about access to insurance to ensure that they can continue to afford their medication. The Ontario NDP has called for everyone receiving financial support from the government to receive full drug coverage.