Jill Andrew MPP, Toronto–St. Paul's

Government of Ontario

Wednesday Community News Update - August 5th

Published on August 5, 2020

Dear Community,

For many years Toronto has been facing a housing crisis, and as the cost of living keeps going up, more and more people have been forced to live in shelters, or on the street. In January of this year, the Ontario NDP called on the provincial government to declare homelessness a crisis in Ontario and to start actively funding programs to address it fully. The government has not heeded this call, and now we are left without the funding for cities that they need to tackle homelessness. 

When COVID-19 hit Toronto, the City was able to find buildings and hotels all over our city that were then converted into temporary shelters. Here in our community we have had a couple of these shelters spring up in the Yonge and Eglinton Area.

The City of Toronto did not provide the full range of services that need to be provided alongside a bed and a roof for the new tenants. As a result, we have seen an increase in things like discarded needles, overdoses, and last night a stabbing at one of the shelters. That lack of support, coupled with little communication about the plan with residents, has left a number of people in our community feeling unsafe. While this is an issue that is being examined by the City of Toronto, as your MPP I will continue to monitor this situation carefully. For anyone who is interested in voicing their concerns, I encourage you to attend the online meeting about this topic that is being organized for August 19 at 6pm. Full details about the meeting can be found here.  

Last week, the City of Toronto released some very important data about how COVID-19 is impacting people across different socio-demographic groups. For many months, I have been calling for the Province of Ontario to collect demographic data on the impact of COVID-19. While the Ford government would not heed this call, the City of Toronto did, and in May they began gathering socio-demographic data about COVID-19.

This data confirms what many of us already suspected. In Toronto, COVID-19 has impacted racialized people, and low-income people at a disproportionately high rate. In fact, in Toronto 83% of COVID-19 cases were found in racialized people, while making up only about 52% of Toronto’s population. Further, 27% of cases were from households that made less than $30,000 per year, despite only 14% of Torontonians living at that income threshold.

This information showcases clearly who is being hit the hardest by COVID-19 and speaks to systemic discrimination that exists throughout our society. I believe firmly that you would find similar results across Ontario if we had been collecting this data properly – and those inequities must be addressed.

We are now a few days into Phase Three of the reopening in Toronto, and so far, our cases are holding fairly steady. We have seen a slight uptick today with 18 new cases being found in Toronto today, but we have not seen a surge in cases that would compromise the reopening.

We have also been told today that our social circles of 10 will likely be staying well into 2021, and it appears clear that there will be no silver bullet solution to COVID-19 in our immediate future. That means that we all need to continue to follow the public health advice that is being given to us by our experts. We all need to ensure that we’re wearing masks in public, washing our hands frequently, and keeping a safe distance of 2 metres away from anyone who is not in our social circle of 10. We all need to keep working together – so that we can get through this once and for all.

In Solidarity,



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."

Community Food Table Locations

for Saturday August 8

St. Matthew's United Church from 11am to 3pm
729 St. Clair Ave W ( located at St. Clair West and Rushton)
Click HERE to sign up!

Oriole Park Community Garden from 11am to 3pm
201 Oriole Parkway (near Frobisher and Lascelles) 
Click HERE to sign up!

Cy Townsend Park from 11am to 3pm
455 Winona Drive (corner of Vaughan and Winona)
Click HERE to sign up!

Marian Engel Park from 11am to 1pm
285 Melita Ave (just west off of Christie)
Click HERE to sign up!

Featured Art Submission

Mariko Uda

Reflecting During Covid 

With so much going on in the world, local resident Mariko Uda, felt a need to collectively process, and so created a set of 4 questions - What lessons have we learned?  What you are now doing less of? more of? and what are your hopes moving forward? - and a virtual "bulletin board" where people's responses are anonymously shared.  Check out responses so far (some from around the world) and add your own!  www.reflectingduringcovid.wordpress.com