Construction has been a hot issue in our community for many years. With people spending more time than ever at home due to COVID-19, this issue has been magnified greatly. In the early days of the pandemic, we saw construction sites kept open, despite the many concerns that workers and their families were being put at risk. On top of that, this government saw fit to override the City of Toronto’s noise bylaws, and extended allowable construction hours to 6AM to 10PM, seven days a week. Previously, construction noise was allowed between 7AM and 7PM on weekdays, Saturdays 9AM to 7PM, with no construction noise allowed on Sundays or on statutory holidays.
In April, I wrote an open letter expressing my concerns about construction during COVID-19, and today all of the Toronto NDP MPPs joined together to write another letter to the provincial government calling for action. You can read our letter here.
The concerns here are serious, as the nearly never-ending construction noise can have a severe impact on the physical and mental health of those who are subjected to it for up to 16 hours a day. I have heard from members of our community who have not been able to sleep adequately, whose work is being disrupted, whose mental health has been challenged and parents whose children are having difficulty focusing on their studies. On top of that, there is currently no end in sight – with the extended hours currently scheduled to last until October of 2021. There is no pandemic-related reason to extend these working hours, and it is long overdue that the power to determine construction schedules goes back to the City of Toronto.
Today, we have only reported 5 new cases of COVID-19 in Toronto, which is the lowest number that we have seen since March. While this is very exciting news, we should remain cognisant that this trend could reverse if we do not remain vigilant. Across the world, we are still seeing COVID-19 surging in many communities, and our numbers are coming down because of the public health measure that we are taking every day.
I want to send a sincere thank you to everyone who is making the effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, and again I’ll remind everyone to wear your mask in public, wash your hands frequently, and maintain a physical distance of 6 feet from anyone that is not in your bubble.
The reopening plan has many people feeling nervous, and perhaps none more than the plans for reopening our schools in September. It’s a little over a month away now, and students, parents and education workers still don’t know what the conditions will be when school returns. Sadly, so far we have not seen nearly the level of investment we need to make sure that our schools can reopen safely, with barriers installed, hand sanitizer, increased staffing levels and more. Read about the Ontario NDP school reopening plan here.
These new challenges are exacerbated by the fact that even before COVID-19, Ontario’s schools had a repair backlog of over $16 billion dollars. In response, this Wednesday (July 29) from 12-1PM Fix Our Schools, Ontario Parents for Public Education, and the Ontario Parents Action Network are organizing groups of concerned Ontarians to drop by the offices of MPP across Ontario to demand action, and investment. If you are interested in registering to attend, click here.
They are very aware of the physical distancing measures that will need to take place to do this safely, and I welcome the action. Everyone deserves a safe plan to learn, and a safe place to work, and so far, this provincial government has not taken the steps necessary to make that happen.
This weekend, my office hosted another set of four community food tables across our community, with a full compliment of volunteers at each! We’re now registering volunteers to help out for this coming week at the four tables, and you can find the sign-up links just below this letter.
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."
News and Updates
Here are today’s new developments:
Ontario municipalities will share up to $4 billion from the $19-billion fund the federal government and provinces pledged last week to help municipalities, which are short millions due to the pandemic - The NDP says municipalities need support from the Ford government over the long-term to avoid service cuts, and that many are still reeling from the deep cuts Doug Ford made to municipalities two years ago, including to public health, ambulance services and child care.
The maximum number of kids allowed in child care cohorts in the province has been raised to 15 from 10. Doug Ford continues to claim that child care has already been back to 91 per cent capacity, but journalists, experts, parents and the NDP have all debunked that.
Solutions we’re pushing for:
Jeff Burch and Jessica Bell say the funding announced by the Ford government for municipalities falls short of what's needed for municipalities to protect jobs and public services over the long-term.
Saturday August 1
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!
Carole Thomas Mandel
"Since the onset of the Pandemic, I have created a series of watercolour paintings and drawings in pen based on a theme around the facial mask. Perhaps there is no greater symbol of our current health crisis than the mask, representing all of us taking care of one another, anxiety we all currently experience and unfortunately some political issues.
With a view to what the past can teach us, I have also incorporated images expressed by great artists in the past."
You can also find Carole in the Members’ Gallery with the Botanical Artists of Canada at: