While the weather outside continues to grow warmer, it continues to be our duty to make sure that we’re staying inside and following all of the physical distancing protocols put in place by our public health experts. We need to be staying inside as much as we can, washing our hands regularly, and making sure we avoid touching our faces. And remember, we will get there! We just need to keep our eyes on the prize and that is to flatten the curve of COVID-19.
With safety in mind, I want to share with you some information that we came across in The Toronto Star. The Star reported recently that in every instance where workers across the province have refused unsafe work, and demanded an inspection from the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Labour has overruled the workers.
This is incredibly concerning to hear, especially when we consider that in many of these cases, no on-site inspections were performed. While we’re now on the path to planning the reopening of our economy it is absolutely vital that workers are able to perform their jobs safely. No one should have to decide between keeping their job and coming home safe and healthy.
One key facet to making sure that everyone is able to be safe in their workplace is creating enforceable rules around health and safety. It is imperative that we don’t just have loose guidelines, but rather clearly delineated rules that can be clearly enforced by the Ministry of Labour.
In fact, one of the issues that is emerging from the Long-Term Care crisis we’re currently facing is that many of these facilities were at extra risk due to not conforming with health and safety guidelines. If these regulations had been enshrined and enforceable, many LTC facilities would have been in better positions to respond to COVID-19.
Ontario cannot have these gaps again. Better rules must be enforced as we embark on reopening our economy. We also must have proper testing measures in place. We need much more testing on a daily basis. If testing does not happen at the rate it needs to we cannot have access to the best possible picture of how this virus is impacting our communities across Ontario.
Next, I want to invite everyone to participate in my Education Town Hall this Saturday at 6:30PM on Facebook Live! I will be joined by both of the School Board Trustees who represent Toronto-St. Paul’s, Shelley Laskin and Norm Di Pasquale, as well as by the Official Opposition Education Critic, Marit Stiles. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on our education system – and I’m grateful to be able to share both our provincial and local insight on education, learning and coping during COVID-19 with you all.
If you would like to submit a question, please email my office at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca with “Education Question” in the subject line!
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."
Happening Saturday May 2nd at 6:30PM
News and Updates
- Canada’s deficit is expected to top $252 billion this year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Canadian restaurant owners are among the many businesses struggling to stay afloat right now, with some predicting that the ongoing stress and uncertainty will lead to closures even after restrictions are lifted -- the NDP has been calling for a major commercial rent relief program, and has echoed calls from business owners who say the federal government’s rent relief program — which Doug Ford believes is enough — is not good enough.
- Ontario has announced new guidelines for businesses across different sectors to prepare for opening up when restrictions ease— the NDP’s Labour critic for Workplace Health and Safety, Wayne Gates, says that giving businesses guidelines, as opposed to clear rules, is dangerous, and will put lives at risk.
- Despite Doug Ford’s insistence that the province has enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers, reports out of long-term care facilities indicate that workers aren’t given the PPE they need, and PSWs may continue to face pressure from employers to work without proper protections. The union representing the second PSW to die of COVID-19 in Ontario, Arlene Reid, said PPE protocols and government directives have “insufficiently protected PSWs” in home care, long-term care and hospital settings -- The NDP has been calling for a new strategy to protect residents and staff in long-term care.
Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:
- The NDP is calling out Doug Ford's continued failure to mandate auto insurance companies to lower their rates during the pandemic, pointing out that all auto insurance rates in Ontario are approved by the provincial government -- the NDP has been calling on Ford to mandate a three-month, 50 per cent discount to auto insurance.
- Andrea Horwath is calling on the Ford government to announce emergency financial support for colleges and universities, as Mohawk College anticipates having to make $50 million in cuts as a result of COVID-19.
- Doug Ford continues to move the goalposts to lower Ontario's target for increasing COVID-19 tests--a key factor in safely reopening the economy - -the NDP's "fact check" shows that the government has failed consistently to meet its own lowered targets.
- With rent due tomorrow, commercial tenants are worried about being able to keep the lights on. The NDP has renewed its call for Ford to provide desperately-needed commercial rent relief.
- Many residential tenants are unable to pay rent this month, and are terrified of being evicted -- the NDP has been calling for an 80 per cent rent subsidy for tenants, plus a legislated ban on evictions.