As we approach the weekend, I want to start with a quick reminder that tomorrow evening I will be hosting a Digital Town Hall through Facebook Live!
The broadcast will begin at 7PM and all are welcome to join. If you wish to watch the live stream, please click here. I will be joined by some of my MPP colleagues and we will be answering your questions about the Ontario Government's COVID-19 response, the issues that matter most to you as well as insight on how we can organize together to get through this pandemic and beyond.
While COVID-19 has taken over much of the news cycle right now – I think it’s important that we also take the time to highlight other things that are going on around us. It’s vital that we try to stay otherwise connected during this difficult time and arts and culture have created magical moments to do just that. I think immediately of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra world-renowned musicians who have gifted us with free virtual concerts helping to brighten our spirits.
I would like to remind everyone that April is National Poetry Month – poetry is a beautiful art form – and something that many are drawing strength from now. I want to share with you one of my highlights from the Legislature when I was able to speak in support of MPP Percy Hatfield’s Bill to create a Poet Laureate of Ontario in memory of the incomparable Gord Downie.
I also want to send an enormous #StPaulsShoutOut to the team at Feed the Frontlines, who are working everyday to get meals out to the health care workers on the frontlines of the pandemic that we’re facing right now. Feed the Frontlines has two goals, keeping local restaurants open and providing incredible meals to health care and social service providers across Toronto. The work that Feed the Frontlines is doing right now is inspiring and I want to send them a huge shout out. To date, they have raised over $150,000 dollars and delivered thousands of meals. To find out more about how you can get involved with their work, click here. We are deeply thankful to all or St.Paul's restaurants participating in this amazing cause!
In times of crisis, we know that there are often extra burdens carried by marginalized populations. Me and my fellow colleagues of the Black Caucus are callingl for the collection of race-based data to ensure that we have the full picture of how COVID-19 is affecting Black, Indigenous, and racialized Ontarians. Similar data that has been collected in the United States has revealed stark inequities – and it’s of the utmost importance that we’re able to collect the data here as well.
Finally, I want to send another reminder to our community, that while we’ve done an incredible job so far, there is still more work to be done. We need to make sure that we’re washing our hands, maintaining our distance and checking in on the vulnerable members of our community. And for those who are venturing outside – please ensure that you’re not leaving disposable gloves or masks anywhere but the garbage as we've heard some concerns about this in our community. That just isn't acceptable as it places our health and our environment at risk.
Try to keep your heads up everyone – we’re going to get through this.
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."
Here are today’s new developments:
- Trudeau announced aid for the energy sector, plus support for rural businesses and workers in the arts and culture sectors.
- Ontario will not follow the lead of other provinces and have Public Health take over the management of private long-term care facilities, a measure to stop the spread of COVID-19--the NDP has been calling on the government to raise LTC staff's wages, handle infection control, and step up recruitment, retention and scheduling of staff.
- Ontario will offer child care to staff in essential settings such as group homes and shelters, as well and law enforcement.
- The province is partnering with tech firms like Apple and Rogers to facilitate online learning for children while learning from home.
- Ontario is expected to release its latest modelling numbers on Monday, giving Ontarians a sense of what to expect in terms of projected COVID-19 case numbers and fatalities.
- A seniors’ advocacy group says the Ontario government limiting prescription refills to 30 days is hurting seniors financially – for weeks, the NDP has been calling on the Ford government to cover the prescription co-payments seniors have to pay for every refill.
- As of April 20, all Canadians travelling by air will be asked to wear non-medical masks or face coverings. Those travelling by other modes will be encouraged to wear face coverings as much as possible.
What we’re working on:
The NDP is calling on Ontario to step up measures to protect long-term care workers by raising wages, handling infection control and staff scheduling and increasing recruitment and retention of staff.
“It’s time for leadership. Every delay on action to fix the crisis in long-term care could cost lives. Raise wages now. Seniors and workers in long-term care cannot afford to wait while Doug Ford squabbles over who will pay. Act now and sort it out later,” said Andrea Horwath.
Andrea Horwath is calling on the Ford government to listen to health experts and collect race and socio-demographic data on COVID-19.
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.
Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:
Ontario drivers say they need immediate relief on their auto insurance premiums, something the Ford government's approach falls far short of.
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.
Featured Art Submission
In her own words:
"I have started making short 5 minute follow-along videos that take you through a series of movements (rooted in the science of how the brain learns and what the brain engages with in order to feel safe) that easily calms your nervous system and enables creativity to be nourished. People of all ages are enjoying them in our Stay at Home mode."
You can find more of her content here and here.