Today is World Earth Day, and while we are in the midst of a pandemic, it is important to not lose sight of our other responsibilities as global citizens. Let’s take this moment to commit to redoubling our efforts to fight climate change and address the climate emergency in a real way. Our approach to this must be comprehensive – ensuring that no one is left behind as we fundamentally restructure our economy. While the challenges they present are different, we can learn plenty from the way we have pulled together to battle COVID-19 as we continue to push for a new sustainable economy, greener communities and a future our children's children can not only survive but thrive in.
The challenges facing our community right now are extreme as we continue to see outbreaks of COVID-19 emerging in our community, with many in retirement and long-term care facilities. I have spoken to many people who are struggling right now with fears for themselves and for their loved ones. We've also heard today that a worker at the Forest Hill Loblaws has tested positive for COVID-19. We should note that Loblaws have said that last night the store was thoroughly sanitized and is now open again to customers.
To everyone who is being affected, I want to send you my sincere support as we continue to navigate COVID-19 and advocate for a better more equitable and properly resourced Ontario than the one before COVID-19. For those whom this is taking a dire toll on them mentally, I want to let you know that you are not alone, and that there are resources out there that can help you.
If you scroll to the bottom section of this email you can find them.
I have also heard from many people that they continue to be concerned about the lack of testing in Ontario and specifically testing for those who are most vulnerable, the disabled and those who are immunocompromised. Today, the Ontario NDP has issued a call to the Ford government to ensure that people with disabilities are able to get in home testing – so that they can get their results without the need to travel to a testing centre. A society says everything about itself with how it treats its most vulnerable, and while I am so proud of the way that this community has stepped up, the actions - or lack thereof - of our provincial government concerns me deeply.
A recent survey asked Toronto small and medium businesses about their experience with COVID-19 and the impact of the financial fallout on their livelihood. Of the businesses that responded, 76% per cent said they will not survive past three months with the current federal funding options being offered. It is crucial that our small and medium size businesses get the supports they rightfully deserve through direct support from our provincial government. This is what we proposed in our Save Main Street proposal to Premier Ford and we will keep pushing for this. Our St. Paul's businesses, our restaurants are our heritage, our culture they are second homes away from home for many (and many are still open for take-out or delivery – like Albert’s Real Jamaican Foods, Ferro, or the Midtown Gastro Hub!).
I'll fight to keep it that way!
Finally, I want to acknowledge the Day of Mourning Ceremony that will be taking place on April 28th, to honour workers killed on the job. Every year, the Day of Mourning is a solemn reminder of the dangers that workers go through each day to try and make ends meet. This year, it will be particularly poignant as we see front line workers across the world putting themselves in harms way to make sure that the wheels of society continue to turn. I will be tuned in and I hope many of you will consider offering our St. Paul's compassion to this too. You can watch the live stream here on April 28th at 10:30am.
I also want to send an enormous thank you to the many people in our riding who are volunteering their time to make a difference right now. Everyday we are hearing from members of our community who are working to support each other in this incredibly difficult moment. From ensuring that seniors are still receiving groceries to fashion designers and sewists creating homemade PPE to keep workers safe – I am continually inspired by the selfless nature of community.
Thank you all so much.
Finally, I want to add my daily reminder that while we will get through this, we are not there yet. Every single one of us needs to make sure that we are limiting our travels to only essential activities, that we’re washing our hand regularly and that we are disposing of our masks and gloves responsibly. Only through everyone working together will we 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. And if you should decide to share your video on social media do tag us @JillsLastWord on Twitter and Jill Andrew - MPP, Toronto-St. Paul's on Facebook.
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:
Canada is rolling out a package of supports to help students, who have been excluded from Canada’s emergency income program. The supports include a Canada Emegency Student Benefit (CESB), and an incentive for students who volunteer in COVID-19 relief efforts
Canada’s urban Indigenous population say they feel excluded from the federal government’s COVID-19 response.
More than a third of patients in Canada admitted to hospital and ICUs due to COVID-19 are under the age of 60, a new report finds. Health officials are encouraging younger people not to dismiss the severity of the virus.
Doug Ford is asking the federal government to bring in the military to support five long-term care homes hit hard by COVID-19, though his long-term care minister refused to identify the five homes—the NDP has been asking the Ford government to take immediate action to save lives and stop the spread of the virus in long-term care homes.
What we’re working on:
The NDP is calling on the Ford government to immediately make in-home testing available to people with disabilities, who the Ontario has made no plan to support.
NDP MPPs across Ontario are calling on the Ford government to make major changes to long-term care and home care to save lives.
The proposal includes:
- Aggressively recruiting home care and long-term care staff
- Mandate that more staff be scheduled on each shift in each long-term care home
- Immediately increase salaries for staff to a minimum of $22/hr in order to retain and attract workers, including Personal Support Workers (PSWs) and Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs)
- Assign each staff member to one facility only, and ensure they have full-time hours, to eliminate the potential for staff to transmit COVID-19 to other facilities, ending all exceptions.
Featured Art Submission
In her own words:
Nowdays, she works primarily in oils on canvas. Many of her paintings feature animals or birds in human roles. A bit of whimsy and a bit of tongue-in-cheek. Deborah thinks art doesn't always have to be serious and should make people laugh. She hopes her paintings do that! And that they also tell a story or two...