Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the fractures in our social safety net exposed for the gaping holes that they truly are. Issues across the entire spectrum ranging from the cost of childcare and housing, to the need for more investment in education and long-term care have emerged as their own crises – issues that are in urgent need of action. And while none of these issues are new, the stakes have never been this high before.
Sadly, even with the challenges that we are seeing in our community, and across our province, our Premier has not only failed to rise to the occasion, he is already out campaigning, as if the pandemic is in the distant past. He continues to apply the same tried and failed solutions to the challenges we are facing now, and it is costing our province dearly. Even now, the government is pushing Bill 184, which would make it easier for landlords to evict their tenants – a bill that I was proud to speak against today in the Legislature.
Over the weekend, while I was visiting our Community Food Table at Vaughan and Winona, I had the opportunity to speak with many residents of 440 Winona Drive, an apartment building nearby. The stories that the residents told me of their treatment by their landlord were beyond unacceptable: tenants being sent eviction notices for air conditioning units, failing to provide hand sanitizer in the common areas of their building, (as mandated by the City of Toronto), and even homophobia against LGBTQ+ residents.
This is not happening in some far away land – but right here in our community. And it’s happening because this provincial conservative majority government, and the provincial Liberal government for 15 years before them, that have allowed landlords to mistreat tenants for decades.
Today, we fight back! When I rose in the legislature this morning, I shared the story of 440 Winona Drive, and I will be following up with their landlord to ensure that we see real changes in that building. You can watch my statement here. If you or someone you know is facing conditions like this – please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca.
One of the first, earliest and cruelest moves made under the Ford government was to axe the Ontario Basic Income Pilot Project – leaving participants without the funds that they had been promised – and taking away the information and data that we would have gained from the program. That program would have meant the world to those participants now, and the research collected would have been invaluable, as we battle COVID-19.
Today, I presented and submitted a paper to the Legislature calling for the creation of an emergency basic income program to help support our community through this global pandemic. If this government hadn’t squashed the previous program for political reasons, many Ontarians would be in a better place economically right now – and it’s time for this government to swallow their pride and implement an emergency basic income program.
I also took the time today to introduce two other petitions, one demanding that landlords stop trying to charge illegal air conditioning fees, and another calling for the creation and implementation of the Regis Report. We need justice for Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and it is my hope that through a report into her death, we can see real changes into how our Police Services interact with Black, Indigenous and racialized people.
The desperate need for change was highlighted again this weekend, when three protestors from Black Lives Matter Toronto were arrested, and detained without legal counsel for over 12 hours, after splashing paint on statues downtown. While the action drew a great deal of attention, the real story here is the treatment of the arrestees. It’s unacceptable that it took so long for protestors to be released and it’s intolerable that those who had been detained were denied access to their lawyers. I will be watching very closely to see how this story continues to develop.
Today is also a milestone for me personally. Two years ago, today, I gave my very first Member’s Statement in the Legislature. Moments like these always make me pause and reflect on how much things have changed since those days – how many issues we’ve sparred over with this government since 2018, and how much work we’ve done together right here in our community. Representing the people of Toronto-St. Paul’s is an incredible honour, and something that I’m looking forward to doing for many years to come. You can watch my first Member’s Statement in the Legislature here.
Across Ontario, many regions are moving to Stage Three of the reopening plan – with only three regions remaining in Stage Two. Those regions are Peel, Windsor-Essex, and Toronto. As we remain in Stage Two of the reopening, it is important to remember that COVID-19 still presents a significant danger to our community, especially our more vulnerable community members. We need to make sure that we are all taking the safety precautions that we need too – and not losing our focus. That means, when you’re going out, you should be wearing a mask. When you get back, you should be washing your hands thoroughly, physically distancing, and doing your best to keep six feet away from anyone who is not in your bubble. So far, our community has done a great job in the fight against COVID-19, let’s keep that up.
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 July 25
729 St. Clair Ave W ( located at St. Clair West and Rushton)
Click here to Volunteer
Oriole Park Community Garden from 11am to 3pm
201 Oriole Parkway (near Frobisher and Lascelles)
Click here to Volunteer
Vaughan and Winona from 11am to 3pm
529 Vaughan Road
Click here to Volunteer!
Marian Engel Park from 11am to 1pm
285 Melita Ave (just west off of Christie)
News and Updates
Here are today’s new developments:
Seven additional regions in Ontario will proceed to Stage three of the province's reopening this week, with Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex regions remaining in Stage two. The province saw an uptick of new cases over the weekend, the bulk of them coming from Peel, Windsor-Essex and Toronto.
At his daily press conference, Doug Ford dismissed the need for an independent preparedness review to ensure the province is ready to handle a potential second wave of COVID-19 - an initiative proposed by Andrea Horwath.
Toronto Mayor John Tory has urged the Ford government to implement stricter measures on bars and restaurants, which can resume indoor service once a region hits Stage three. At his press conference today, Ford indicated that he won't be implementing these measures .
Despite claiming his government would launch a commission into Ontario's long-term care sector in July, Doug Ford has yet to announce any details - we have taken issue with the the Conservatives' proposed government-controlled commission, calling instead for a fully independent, find-and-fix judicial inquiry.
As the Ontario Medical Association warns that reopening bars indoors could be a risky move, there have been reports of a surge of cases among younger people in various parts of Canada.
Solutions we’re pushing for:
Andrea Horwath is calling on the government to assess Ontario's readiness for a second wave, rather than undertaking his eight-week vanity tour of the province.
In the wake of Ford announcing his government won't keep its promise to build 15,000 long-term care beds - itself a fraction of what's needed - we emphasized that the Ford Conservatives have built a paltry 34 long-term care beds.
Lisa Gretzky, tabled a motion in the Legislature today urging the Ford government to implement a COVID-19 Essential Caregiver Strategy, which would recognize essential caregivers as more than visitors.
We have issued a 'fact check' to a claim Ford made during today's question period, regarding a segment on CNN and Canada's response to the pandemic.