Let’s start today on a positive note.
Today we reported the fewest new cases of COVID-19 that we’ve found since April 7. While it’s not time to start celebrating, we are seeing that the physical distancing measures we have taken are working. We cannot lose our focus, what we are doing is working, driving the case numbers down and flattening the curve. We’ve got to keep it up. Keep maintaining our physical distance, washing our hands, and minimizing our trips outside.
While we can’t see the light at the end of this tunnel just yet, I want to reassure everyone that it is coming. We will see COVID-19 through, and there will be brighter days with concerts and gatherings in our future. Sadly, it’s not just our health that is concerning many right now.
May 1 is just around the corner and many members of our community have no way to pay their RENT. While we have heard words spoken by the government saying no one will be evicted for failure to pay their rent, what we have yet to see is any direct financial support coming from our province to renters. And I've got to remind you the Premier has not created *one* piece of legislation to truly protect people from evictions or rent increases.
I want you to know that the entire Ontario NDP caucus is working hard to demand that this change. We’re demanding that the provincial government makes sure that we’re delivering rental assistance of 80% to each and every renter – up to $2,500 per month and a rent freeze for several months. The Ontario NDP also wants to see a freeze on utility shut offs and It’s unacceptable that we have still not seen any direct financial aid to our renters. I am very worried for what will happen to tens of thousands of people in our community if they don’t get that support – because when it’s time to pay back all the missed rent payments – many won’t be able to.
We’re also calling for the provincial government to step up to the plate and provide supports for our small businesses. We have seen some movement from the federal government on this issue in recent days, but their proposal is not going to cover everyone, and it’s time that the Ontario government take real action to fill in those gaps. We’re asking that the government provide a 75% rent subsidy to commercial tenants, up to $10,000 per month, a freeze in utility payments and more. Taking these simple steps will keep many of our local businesses afloat through COVID-19. Our proposal is called Save Main Street, and you can read more about it here.
We need the government to not just make claims, but actually put the force of law behind those words to turn them into action. This issue is replicated again when it comes to COVID-19 testing.
We’re now 100,000 tests behind the initial target set by the Ford Government. Ford lowered the target from 18,900 tests per day by April 17 to 12,500 tests per day by April 22. They then started counting each swab, rather than each patient, since multiple swabs can be taken from each patient.
The government still hasn’t consistently met their own lower target, and as of Wednesday, the province has tested 100,000 fewer people by failing to meet its original target.
Our province deserves better. Our community deserves better and I will continue to advocate for what we deserve.
Finally today, I want to shine a spotlight on someone who is doing incredible work in our community. Aaron Cappel is a music teacher in the TDSB, and during the lockdown he is providing free virtual family-friendly singing classes. Aaron is providing these classes over Facebook Live, and they are recorded so that you can tune in after the fact. Aaron is a very talented musician, and I would like to send my sincere thanks to him for providing this incredible service!
Please do yourselves a favour and check out his page on Facebook! I promise you'll enjoy it!
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."
Today's News Updates
- Trudeau believes Canadians will be open to providing certain personal information voluntarily, via mobile or digital tracking, to allow the government to do what's known as contact tracing.
- Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh asked Trudeau to guarantee that Canadian companies registered in foreign tax havens do not receive financial assistance from the government -- meanwhile, many commercial tenants and landlords are afraid the government's commercial rent program will not help them.
- Ontario is expanding the list of essential workers who are eligible to receive free emergency child care.
- In Toronto, four staff and an eight-month-old baby have tested positive for COVID-19 at an emergency day care centre run by the city.
- Six weeks into workplace closures and physical distancing measures, Ontario has little understanding of community transmission of COVID-19, which appears to account for about half of the province's cases--the bulk of cases have occurred in long-term care facilities, or among other health care workers--the NDP has been urging the government to better protect seniors and those who care for them.
Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:
- Rent is due Friday, yet the government of Ontario continues to pass of its responsibility to residential tenants to the federal government. The NDP is pointing out that, on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it is the responsibility of provinces to help tenants--NDP Leader Leader Andrea Horwath and NDP Tenant Rights critic Suze Morrison said that means the ball is squarely in Ford’s court, and are again calling for an 80 per cent rent subsidy for renters.
- The NDP continues to push for more testing — including testing everyone in seniors care and other congregate care settings. Doug Ford once announced that Ontario would be testing nearly 20,000 people per day by April 17 – but we’re barely more than half-way there.
Featured Art Submission
In their own words: