Over the weekend, we learned of another death at the hands of police in the GTA. This Saturday in Mississauga, police responded to a call after a family had called a non-emergency line to report that a 62-year-old man was in distress. Reports state that, Ejaz Choudry was suffering a schizophrenic episode and was on his balcony by himself with a knife when police entered the unit. His family begged police to let them go in with them to help calm him. It was reported that a crisis negotiator was contacted, but officers decided to enter the victim's residence without the presence of a negotiator. While there will likely be more information to emerge in this case, what we currently know paints an awful picture of a man whose struggle with mental health should not have cost him his life.
I’m extending my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Ejaz Choudry, and I want to echo the calls from communities across the world to end police violence.
Today, the Ontario government has announced that Toronto will be moving to stage two of the reopening plan starting this Wednesday June 24.
Before I go through what this means for our community, I want to urge caution. While we are moving further into the reopening plan, it is vital that we are still following the protocols that remain in place. We need to be physically distancing from anyone who is not in our bubbles, wearing masks in public, and washing our hands as often as possible. While we have seen a decline in active cases in Ontario, proceeding with caution is what will put us on a path past COVID-19.
So what does entering stage two mean?
It means that starting Wednesday, many businesses in our city will reopen. Barber shops, personal services such as, house-sitting, or outdoor personal training, and restaurant patios are all included. Indoor shopping malls will be opening as well. However, it will not be business as usual, as there are to be restrictions on the many businesses that are opening. Restaurants are not allowed to have patrons eat inside, and staff must wear face coverings where physical distancing is not possible. For a more comprehensive list of businesses that can and can’t open, click here.
In the last week I’ve received many questions about the social bubbles of 10 that are now being encouraged across Ontario. Social bubbles are groups of 10, within which you do not need to physically distance.
This part is quite simple, where the confusion seems to lie, is how to determine who is in your bubble of 10. The thing to remember here is that your bubble needs be a closed loop. Everyone in your bubble should know who’s in their bubble. While 10 people might sound like a lot, it is actually a very small number. Firstly, anyone you live with is automatically in your bubble. Next, if you choose to add someone to your bubble, you are also immediately in the bubble of everyone that they live with as well. In many cases, pairing with one other household or family may be the easiest way to prevent your bubble from growing larger than 10.
What the bubble does not mean, is that you can pick 10 friends to hang out with – and it’s very important that everyone understands this distinction. Not only that but your bubble cannot be 10 different people each day!
For me and many other Ontarians who are either immunocompromised or for those who don't wish to create a group of 10 you would continue with the regular practice of physical distancing, mask-wearing and hand-washing.
If you have any further questions about how the bubbles work, please do not hesitate to reach out to my staff team at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca.
I'm happy to share with you an exciting event happening this evening in our community! Hosted by Black Futures on Eglinton, Lyrics Libations, and Conversation, is an event to listen and analyze local poetry that reflects on the "emotions of witnessing Black neighbourhoods fall apart during gentrification". You can lean more about the event here.
Finally today, I want to send a huge shoutout to all the volunteers who helped out this weekend at the Community Food Tables that we’ve organized across the riding. We’re now operating three tables each Saturday, in Frankel Lambert Park, Oriole Park and at St. Matthew’s United Church. If you’re interested in helping host a table in your community, please reach out to my office!
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:
- Toronto and Peel Region can move into phase two of reopening as of Wednesday, Ford announced today. That leaves Windsor-Essex--where outbreaks among migrant workers on farms continue-- as the sole region in Ontario to remain in phase one – MPPs from Windsor-Essex said Ford’s failure to prevent or contain the outbreaks among migrant workers is unacceptable. They urged the local officer of health to provide details on advice given to Doug Ford, as well as why the necessary actions haven’t been taken.
- A third migrant worker in Ontario has died of COVID-19 – Juan Lopez Chaparro, 55, died Saturday in a London, Ontario hospital. Chaparro had worked for a farm near Simcoe, Ontario that has been experiencing an outbreak of the virus.We have been urging the Ford government to take action to protect workers, asking why it has taken this government so long to contain a problem it has long known about.
Solutions we’re pushing for:
- Over the weekend, Andrea Horwath again called out Doug Ford for continuing to allow underpaid personal support workers (PSWs) to work multiple jobs, noting that the practice has devastating consequences in terms of the spread of COVID-19.
Featured Art Submission
She has released 5 albums and 3 dance EP's. Her lyrics are on display at the International Museum for Peace and Solidarity in Uzbekistan and she was commissioned to write poetry for the New York Aquarium by the Wildlife Conservation Society. Her music has also been accepted into the New York Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Centre.