We are in the midst of a heat wave in Toronto, with temperatures well over 30°C this entire week and feeling even higher with the humidex. For many, using air conditioners when it gets this hot isn’t just about feeling more comfortable, it’s a matter of staying safe and healthy. For seniors, who can be the most susceptible to falling ill due to extreme heat, it is vital that they have ability to stay cool.
However, in many long-term care facilities there is no central air conditioning at all.
While this may be shocking for many – it should not have been shocking to the Premier who was made aware of this dreadful fact years ago by MPP Doly Begum in Question Period. Nevertheless, yesterday Doug Ford seemed to have had no idea that central air conditioning is not mandatory in long-term care homes – with the only regulation being that you need a “cooling area” for every 40 residents. While this was a problem before COVID-19, with the inability to congregate numerous people in an area, it’s now a crisis.
But the air conditioning issues do not stop there.
In the last few months, I have heard time and time again from our community that many landlords are trying to collect fees from tenants for using air conditioning, and in most of these cases, they were not entitled to money they were trying to collect. What my office has heard is that landlords are demanding one-time payments from their tenants, as a seasonal fee for their air conditioning units. Such fees are not allowed under the Residential Tenancies Act (2006), and it’s unacceptable that landlords are exerting pressure on their tenants for such a naked cash grab.
In response to this, I have sent a letter to the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit asking them to explain why landlords are not facing any repercussions for their actions, and in an effort to ensure that this issue receives the attention that it deserves. Today, I rose in the legislature to introduce a petition about this issue. You can watch the video here.
If you are interested in supporting the call for action on this issue, I would encourage you to sign our open letter to the Manager of the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit – by clicking here.
On May 27, 2020, Regis Korchinski-Paquet died after an interaction with the Toronto Police. Since then, questions have swirled about what happened in that apartment. But while there are many questions that must be answered, some things are very clear. Calls for assistance shouldn’t end in death. Calling for support when someone is in crisis should not cost anyone’s life.
Today, I rose in the legislature to submit a petition titled: Petition for the Creation and Implementation of the Regis Report. This petition calls for a number of things from our provincial government, namely the implementation of a human-rights based, provincial strategy named the Regis Report that would include the implementation of Crisis Intervention Teams, the release of the names of police officers present at incidents investigated by the SIU, and more.
I’m incredibly proud to have been able to introduce this petition, and if you’re interested in reading the whole document, please see below in this email where the text will be shared in full.
Every Saturday my office is proud to host Community Food Tables throughout our community, and this Saturday I am very excited to share that we will be starting our fourth table, to be located at Vaughan and Winona! We are still looking for volunteers to help out at a couple of our tables, and if you are interested you can find the links to sign up to volunteer below! I’m very excited to see this program continue to expand, and I will be forever grateful to Joanne Vannicola for first bringing this idea to life.
If you are interested in hosting a table – please don’t hesitate to reach out – and my office will be more than happy to get you set up!
Finally today, COVID-19 continues to be a presence among us. While we have seen the cases and deaths in Ontario decline consistently, we must also remain aware that neglecting the necessary precautions could lead to a second wave of COVID-19. Just looking to the south, you can see what the effect of opening up too soon, and too aggressively is.
I say this not to instill fear, but rather encourage caution. So let’s keep wearing our masks while we’re out in public, maintaining our physical distance from anyone outside our bubbles and washing our hands as often as possible. So far we’ve done an incredible job – let’s keep that up.
Finally, I am happy to share with you a video put together about the need for a New Deal for Toronto.
Toronto is facing the worst financial crunch that we have ever seen, and we need the provincial and federal governments to step up and support the services that we all need. Funding for things like child care, public health and transit needs to be delivered to the City of Toronto immediately.
You can watch the full video 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."
Table Locations for Saturday July 11
739 St. Clair Ave W ( located at St. Clair West and Rushton)
Oriole Park Community Garden from 11am to 3pm
201 Oriole Parkway (located next to the community garden - near Frobisher and Lascelles)
Frankel Lambert Park from 11am to 1pm
340 Christie St (located along Melita Cres)
Corner of Vaughan and Winona from 11am to 3pm
529 Vaughan Road
News and Updates
Here are today’s new developments:
- The federal government is anticipating a whopping deficit this year, reaching $343 billion, as a result of COVID-19.
- The Ford government introduced an omnibus bill today that, while billed as a COVID-19 recovery bill, makes numerous changes to legislation but, as Andrea Horwath stressed, does nothing to help families, long-term care homes, small businesses, schools, day cares, First Nations and municipalities devastated by the pandemic.
- Two Toronto school trustees are urging the Ford government to craft a school reopening plan that actually works for families, specifically working parents. We have been demanding that the government make specific commitments to better support parents and educators as schools reopen. These include hiring more teachers and education workers and funding to stabilize the child care sector.
Solutions we’re pushing for:
- Despite Ford’s claims that he didn’t know some long-term care homes lack air conditioning in residents' rooms, Andrea Horwath emphasized that the we have been calling for minimum AC requirements in long-term care since at least 2006, and that the we have been bringing the matter to Ford’s attention since 2018. Horwath called on Ford to pass legislation today to require air conditioning in all long-term care residents’ rooms.
- Laura Mae Lindo tabled a private member’s bill to establish a first-ever Senior’s Advocate for Ontario, to act as an independent voice for seniors and family members who act as caregivers.
- Lisa Gretzky said Ford’s plan to end pandemic top-up payments for people receiving Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) or Ontario Works (OW) will hurt the province’s most vulnerable.
- Joel Harden asked Ford to release a concrete plan to ensure that the learning needs of students with disabilities are supported when school opens this fall.
- Michael Mantha took a local PSW’s fight for pandemic pay straight to Doug Ford during today’s question period.
- Jennifer French called on Ford to start serving seniors in Ontario, rather than the interests of for-profit long-term care companies. She cited a media report that said Treasury Board president Peter Bethlenfalvy reportedly denied funding requests to protect seniors from COVID-19 even as a tragedy developed in his own community at Pickering’s Orchard Villa.