While we are currently facing a global health crisis, sadly, we could be in for more health crisis’ in our future if governments don’t start taking meaningful steps towards combating climate change. In fact, many health experts say that climate change will have immense health impacts in our province moving forward, with events ranging from flooding and wildfires to new diseases and mental health distress caused by climate-related displacement.
We are already seeing the vast impacts of climate change, and while we need to get through COVID-19, we also need to look to the future and the other issues that we need to tackle.
Let’s hope that we’ve learned some lessons from COVID-19 about working together to fundamentally adjust our world to address a common challenge. If we put the same urgency into climate change, we will be well on our way to defeating climate change.
In that vein, today my colleagues, MPPs Bhutila Karpoche our Official Opposition mental health and addictions critic and Peter Tabuns climate crisis and energy critic have introduced a bill that would require the government to be prepared to address current and future health impacts of climate change. The Climate Crisis Health Protection Plan Act is a forward-thinking piece of legislation that would have an immediate impact on many marginalized communities across Ontario, who are often the most severely impacting by climate change. Among other things, the bill would mandate the creation of both a Climate Crisis and Health Secretariat to develop and implement an action plan, and a science advisory board to provide exert guidance.
I am proud to support this legislation – let’s hope that we see support from the government as well.
Today me and my colleagues are calling to see supports for parents when school returns in the fall. As is stands, many parents are nervous about what their lives will look like when school returns. And we still do not know what schooling will look like amid the COVID-19 pandemic. There is still even a chance that we won’t be able to open schools – and if that’s the case how can we expect parents to get back to work?
I am calling on the government to enact an immediate action plan to prepare for the various scenarios that could be facing us in September. The plan needs to include guarantees that parents will be able to access paid, job-protected leave until school and child care fully resumes, hiring more teachers and education workers to allow for smaller classes, and immediate funding to stabilize the child care sector to prevent fee increases and layoffs.
Sadly, we have yet to see much guidance from the government since they released vague instructions to our school boards on June 19. This government needs to be thinking and operating proactively on this file, or we could see many families and students suffering when school resumes. A great first step, would be taking a look at the proposal that we’ve presented today. You can read more about it here.
In other education news, it has been announced that Ontario will be ending streaming in Grade nine – and will be addressing other “racist, discriminatory practices”. While congratulations are in order for everyone who has been a part of the fight to end streaming, it also must be noted that streaming starts long before grade nine and we need this to be more comprehensive than has been announced so far.
As an educator and education worker myself, I’m also sending a clear message to the province on this file. We are watching. Words are not enough and until we see these words become real action – we will not relent.
In St. Paul's rent has been an ongoing area of concern for many. The government Bill 184 has only made life harder for tenants. Knowing your rights as a tenant is incredibly important, and I am excited to let everyone know about an event that is happening this Thursday, where you can learn more about your rights as a tenant in Ontario. Toronto ACORN is hosting a “Tenants Rights Information Session” this Thursday July 9th at 6:30PM. They will be covering several topics around renters’ rights and will be answering questions and opening the floor to discussion after each section. You can RSVP for the online event by emailing GTAinfo@acorncanada.org or calling 416-651-9233.
You can check out the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/618970682054477/
In Ontario, for the first time in months, we have seen no new COVID-19 related deaths today. While this is a positive development, we must also acknowledge that we’ve also found 154 new cases today. We are doing a good job as a community battling COVID-19, but we need to keep working together to truly put this pandemic behind us.
Across the world, we are seeing new outbreaks emerge in places that have reopened too early following closures. It is vital that as we continue to reopen that everyone takes every possible precaution. That means washing our hands regularly, wearing a mask in public and keeping at least 2 metres apart from anyone who is not in your bubble. Working together is the only path forward, and we’ve done an admirable job so far.
We can’t waste all that work by losing focus now – keep those masks on and remember physical distancing doesn't have to mean emotional distance. We can stay close to our loved ones we just have to do it differently.
Take good care everyone. I'm back in the legislature tomorrow eager to continue fighting for you.
P.S. Ben Nobleman Park has an incredible community, and today I’m sharing with you their new blog as well as a podcast interview that touches on the park and more! You can read the blog posts here and here, and listen to the podcast here.
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."
Here are today’s new developments:
- Ontario saw zero reported deaths from COVID-19 today, for the first time since March, with 138 new cases reported.
- The Windsor-Essex region communities of Leamington and Kingsville--the last in Ontario held back from entering Stage Two of reopening due to outbreaks among migrant workers--will enter Stage Two tomorrow. Ford has been all over the map in his response to the ongoing migrant worker crisis, with no clear plan to protect workers. We have been pushing the government to give migrant workers proper sick pay and safe accommodation.
- Thirty workers have tested positive for COVID-19 at a mushroom farm in Vaughan.
- Toronto Mayor John Tory warned residents that the city will begin implementing a host of devastating service cuts unless the federal and provincial governments provide cash-strapped municipalities with a major bailout package. Despite Ford's claims to the contrary, Ontario has the responsibility and the capacity to support municipalities direly in need of emergency operating funding.
Solutions we’re pushing for:
- During question period today, Andrea Horwath said Doug Ford allowing asymptomatic, COVID-19-positive migrant farm workers to continue working is inhumane, and criticized Ford's misleading claims that workers who self-isolate will still be paid. “The majority of workers will not be paid under the current system, which also fails to protect farmers from critical labour shortages,” Horwath said.
- Marit Stiles and Doly Begum say the Ford government’s instructions for schools’ reopening post-COVID are vague, leaving parents and educators anxious and unsure of what to expect. We want the government to implement an action plan that includes guaranteed access to job-protected leave for parents until school and child care fully resume.
Featured Community Art Submission
I am a 12 year old girl that lives in Toronto. During this pandemic, healthcare workers have been selflessly and tirelessly risking their lives in order to save others. They definitely deserve to be called superheroes during this difficult time. I believe this sketch is a literal example of #ArtsSavesLives!
Our Community Food Tables will be running again this Saturday July 11.
St. Matthew’s United Church
- 729 St. Clair Ave W (St. Clair W and Rushton)
- 11am to 3pm
Oriole Park Community Garden
- 201 Oriole Pkwy (Corner of Lascelles and Frobisher)
- 11am to 3pm
Marian Engel Park
- 285 Melita Ave (Melita and Hector)
- 11am to 1pm
The Community Food Tables are tables located throughout our community where you are able to donate food by leaving it on the table, and anyone who is in need can take anything from the table. They're a free community exchange. Tables are supervised by volunteers during the hours their in operation.