With the weekend approaching, please take some time for self-care. Facing a global pandemic is something that many of us never thought we would have to go through in our lives, and the impact and trauma of what is happening right now will manifest differently in each one of us. It’s so important that we all take the moments that we need to simply breathe and relax. Since COVID-19 hit, our community has been reeling.
Many have lost their jobs, others have lost their lives – and everyone is going to need time to heal.
Whether it’s watching your favourite movie for the hundredth time, listening to that album you haven’t dusted off in far too long, or just going for a nice walk around the neighbourhood, take the time to do something for you – you deserve it.
Sadly, for many, there will be added stress coming as the moratorium on residential evictions is on track to be lifted at the beginning of August. The way that this majority government has handled supports for renters across Ontario has been unacceptable, and allowing evictions to resume at this moment is reprehensible.
Those who have lost their jobs and wages are now being asked to quickly come up with the rent they have been unable to pay. The government told renters that they would be protected, and now they have effectively turned their backs on them. We are not through COVID-19 yet – some members of our community still can’t go back to work. How are they supposed to not only come up with August’s rent, but also the debt they have incurred at no fault of their own?
While CERB has been a help to many, with the cost of living in our community being so high, for many it is not enough to cover the rent. We need this government to act now – and ensure that people who have been hit hard by COVID-19 already are not thrown out into the street.
Another key piece to the puzzle is childcare. As you might know, even before COVID-19, Toronto had the highest child care fees in the country. Now, for child care centres to re-open, they are going to need more staff, and more space to keep everyone safe. There is no way to do this without increasing the costs associated with their operations. On top of that, without child care, many parents (especially women) are going to be forced out of their jobs. That will lead to stressful financial instability for many working families.
It’s vital that this government acts quickly to provide support for the child care sector. Some of what I am calling for includes: start with creating a plan to maintain access to child care by boosting capacity under the re-opening rules; provide immediate funding to stabilize the sector; and ensure that parents will be able to access paid, job-protected leave until school and child care fully resumes.
You can read more about what’s needed here.
This weekend, there are a few exciting events happening right here in our community.
Starting at tomorrow morning at 11am, there will be four Community Food Tables up and running across our neighbourhood. For those who are not familiar with the tables, the principle is very simple. You take what you need and leave what you can. The goal is to provide a space in our community where anyone who needs some food for their cupboard can get it in a judgement free, safe space. We’re all set for volunteers for tomorrow, but if you’re interested in dropping off some food at one of the four locations, please see below for their exact locations.
I’m also excited to share reminders about two events happening online on Saturday night.
This Saturday night at 8pm, tune in to Facebook Live as you “Stay Home for Homelessness”: a Concert Event featuring Kenny Munshaw (live from his living room in Savannah, Georgia), in support of Seeds of Hope, and their continuing efforts to feed and clothe those experiencing poverty and homelessness, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic.
There is no cost to join in for this wonderful evening of music and giving… just click here to go to the event page, and indicate that you’re going to attend. Kenny and his production crew are donating this performance, so every cent raised, including sponsorship, will go directly to Seeds of Hope.
This Saturday evening at 6pm, we will see Salsa on St. Clair move online with the first ever virtual Salsa in Toronto Festival. You can watch all the action at salsaintoronto.com!
Last, but not least the Eglinton Way Farmers Market is back up and running each Sunday morning from 8am to 1pm at 125 Burnaby Blvd.
Finally, I’ll share another reminder that it’s vital that everyone is taking all the necessary precautions to stay safe from COVID-19. That means that we all need to be wearing our masks, washing our hands, and keeping our distance from anyone outside our bubble. We’re going to get through this, but we aren’t there yet – so let’s all stay healthy and safe this weekend.
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."
Table Locations for Saturday July 18
729 St. Clair Ave W ( located at St. Clair West and Rushton)
Oriole Park Community Garden from 11am to 3pm
201 Oriole Parkway (near Frobisher and Lascelles)
Vaughan and Winona from 11am to 3pm
529 Vaughan Road
Marian Engel Park from 11am to 1pm
285 Melita Ave (just west off of Christie)
News and Updates
Here are today’s new developments:
Many regions in Ontario entered Stage 3 of economic reopening today, meaning the majority of businesses will be allowed to reopen. Meanwhile, the Ontario Medical Association has asked the Ford government to reconsider allowing indoor bars to open, citing evidence from other jurisdictions showing "that the reopening of bars carries significant risk."
North York long-term care home Villa Colombo will be taken over by Humber River Hospital due to an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. For months, the we have been calling on the Ford government to take over all unsafe long-term care facilities, and criticizing the government for stepping in too late to curb outbreaks in long-term care.
At his press conference today, held in the Waterloo region at a medical technology startup, Ford dodged a question about whether the federal funding package announced yesterday will cover Toronto's expected $1.35-billion shortfall. We have has been pushing the province to give emergency funding to municipalities to prevent service cuts and tax hikes.
Metrolinx is making face coverings mandatory on all GO Transit trains and buses, and on the UP Express.
Here are some concerns the we are working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:
The NDP is calling out Conservative MPP David Piccini for rejecting the NDP's plan to provide direct financial support to struggling small businesses