It’s the end of another week and while it might not feel like it, we are one step closer to getting past the COVID-19 pandemic. While there is a long way to go yet, we’re going to get there. I must also acknowledge that this week has been a difficult one for our community. We are now sitting with at least 22 confirmed deaths at Meighen Manor, and an increasing death toll across our province, our country, and the world. While we are under such immense strain at the moment, I would encourage everyone to find a moment this weekend to simply breathe, be present, and take a second away from the pandemic that has taken over much of our media.
It is so important to look after our mental health in this moment. Please take the time to reach out to a loved one, put on a favourite movie you haven’t seen in a while, read a great book or listen to your favourite album. You deserve it!
Jumping into today's news, I’m adding my voice to the call for full enforcement of the rules on short-term rentals in Toronto. There have been reports in our city of short-term rentals continuing to operate, and parties happening in high rises in Toronto. It must be recognized that in-person parties in any residence right now is a BAD IDEA and frankly a selfish one. This cannot be allowed to continue.
Next, we learned today that the federal government has come forward with a proposal to support commercial tenants through rent support. However, the proposed plan has immense gaps that mean that many businesses will not qualify for the program. Today, the Ontario NDP has issued a call for the Ford Government to step up and fill in those gaps. Our business community is feeling a great deal of pain in this moment – and it’s time that the Government of Ontario does its part in keeping our businesses afloat in this unprecedented time.
Since the pandemic began, my office has been inundated with questions from renters across our riding about the many challenges they are facing. For years, our renters have faced rising rents in our community – and now with a huge drop in income for many – those issues are sparking much fear and confusion in our community. In response to this, I have organized a Tenant's Town Hall on Facebook Live that will be happening Monday April 27th at 6PM. If you wish to tune in – click here!
If you have a question you would like to ask – please email my office at J-Andrew-CO@ndp.on.ca with the subject line “Tenant Question”.
Finally, I want to send my daily reminder to everyone that we cannot lose focus now. We need to wash our hands regularly, stay inside as much as possible, and support those in our communities while maintaining physical distance.
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."
For years, I have consistently heard about issues facing renters in our community. Now, with COVID-19 those challenges have been amplified.
➡️ Repairs and renovations
➡️ Staying safe in our homes
To address these concerns, I will be hosting a Tenants Town Hall on Monday - and I am THRILLED to be joined by Suze Morrison, Critic for Tenant's Rights and Sara Singh, Critic for Housing!
Click here to RSVP on Facebook
Click here to RSVP on my Website!
Even without a Facebook account, you can watch the stream by going to www.facebook.com/JillAndrewTO on Monday at 6PM!
News and Updates
- Canada announced a new commercial rent subsidy program, to be funded jointly by the provinces – the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses said the program may rely too much on landlords to administer, and may not provide adequate support to hard-hit businesses. -- the NDP warns that substantial gaps in the rent relief program will see many businesses unable to survive the pandemic.
- The Ontario Superior Court ruled in favour of The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) and its members working in long-term care facilities, ordering four long-term care homes to provide workers with PPE including N95 masks, and the right to wear them. – Andrea Horwath issued a statement, noting: "It was shocking to see that, instead of backing the nurses, the Ford government took on intervenor status in this case to throw cold water on the nurses’ quest to have access to the PPE."
- The Canadian military will begin to support five Ontario long-term care homes hit hard by outbreaks of COVID-19 - the NDP has been urging the Ford government to take long overdue action on the crisis facing long-term care.
- General Motors announced that it will use part of its Oshawa plant to make masks for health care workers - a request that Oshawa MPP Jennifer French originally put to Doug Ford in a letter.
Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:
- With May 1 just around the corner, the NDP is fighting for an 80% rent subsidy for renters, up to $2,500 a month. People can sign a petition in online in support of that.
- The NDP is flagging that the new commercial rent support program has massive gaps that leave many businesses out, and is calling on the Ontario government to fill them.
- The NDP’s proposal to “Save Main Street” urges the Ford government to provide provincial relief for small and medium-sized businesses; the call has been ignored by the Ford government for weeks.
Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:
- People are raising 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 their own words:
I like them because of their anthropomorphic and open minded nature. I’m painted many in the last couple of years, and I’ve had them hanging in various bars in midtown Toronto.