Anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism is pervasive in our society. Today the City of Toronto is discussing various motions about how we can reform policing. As of the writing of this newsletter, we haven’t seen how the votes will land on this motion. While I don’t know how the vote will end up today, I do know that this fight is not over. The fundamental changes that our society needs to dismantle systemic racism will only be the result of continued activism and pressure.
We can make this world a better place for Black and Indigenous people, and I want you to know that I will never give up this fight.
Today, the Ontario NDP backed a coalition of more than a dozen Black organizations in their call for policing reform. I am incredibly proud to stand on the right side of history and demand immediate action from all levels of government on this issue. These recommendations include implementing all the recommendations from three different reports.
- The Report of the Independent Street Checks Review (2018)
- The Police and Community Engagement Review-PACER (2014)
- The Report of the Independent Police Oversight Review (2017)
Further, I want to reiterate the demands from the Ontario NDP’s Commitment to Action against Policy Violence. We need to overhaul police oversight, end carding and destroy the collected data, invest in alternative first responders, divert calls away from the police, invest in police-free schools and to better equip agencies and more. To read our full report please click here.
Sadly, our province continues to battle with COVID-19. While we are continuing to see encouraging signs at home here in Toronto, we have seen spikes in cases in the Windsor-Essex area among migrant workers on farms. Over the weekend it was confirmed that in one case, a farm was confirmed to have 175 positive COVID-19 tests among their staff. It’s shocking that these migrant workers have been given such unsafe working conditions, while they work long hours producing the food that feeds our province. The plight of migrant workers cannot be addressed without addressing anti-racism and class inequities.
This situation is especially concerning, as we have learned that the Ford government is sending mixed messages to these farms about how they should now proceed. While the federal government has issued a directive for any worker who tests positive to stop working, the Ford government has issued a directive to keep them in the fields and greenhouses if they’re infected but asymptomatic. Confusing messaging like this is unacceptable, and will be a recipe for disaster if not remedied quickly.
Here at home, we are continuing to see our city open back up which is a good thing BUT again if the Ford government is subjecting Ontarians to unclear or confusing messaging it does provide reason for pause.
As opening happens, we are seeing more and more encouragement to be wearing masks while in public. It’s a vital part of stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our community, and starting on July 2nd, you will be required to wear a mask in order to ride on the TTC. All riders will be required to a wear a mask, unless they are under the age of two, or have a health condition that prevents wearing a mask.
Wearing a mask is one of the best and simplest steps you can take to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Along with wearing one, you should also be washing your hands as often as possible, keeping at least 6 feet away from anyone outside your bubble, and making sure to support those in our community who are in need. I cannot state this enough: there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19. So far during COVID-19, our community has done an incredible job coming together to flatten the curve, and that work continues. COVID-19 is still just as contagious as it has always been, and it’s vital that we don’t lose sight of the importance of staying safe.
As of this writing, pools and splash pads in Toronto are now open, with wading pools will begin opening on July 1 (on a location by location basis), and Toronto’s beaches are now being patrolled by lifeguards. I would encourage everyone who is going to be getting out there to have fun, and stay safe in the water.
Finally today, I would like to announce that I will be joining Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath for a Long-Term Care summit this Thursday, July 2! The summit will bring together physicians, families, frontline care workers, policy leaders and advocates to address what long-term care could look like in Ontario. Watch the summit 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."
News and Updates
Here are today’s new developments:
- New federal models in Canada show progress in the fight to curb the spread of COVID-19, but that significant hotspots remain.
- One of the remaining hotspots for COVID-19 in Canada is among agri-farm migrant workers outside Windsor, where nearly 200 new cases occurred over the weekend. We have been urging the Ford government to better protect migrant workers by ensuring PPE, paid sick days for workers and alternate accommodations in which to self-isolate.
Solutions we’re pushing for:
- Andrea Horwath wrote to Canada’s Minister of Employment today asking the federal government to be ready to take action if the Ford government fails to quell the virus’s spread among migrant workers. Horwath expressed concern about Ontario’s recommendation that agri-farm workers who test positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic continue working.
- Horwath will host a live-streamed, virtual summit on a vision for transforming Ontario's long-term care sector on Thursday, July 2. The summit will bring together physicians, families, frontline care workers, policy leaders and advocates to address what long-term care could look like in Ontario. Watch the summit here.
Featured Art Submission
I am working in mixed media, using prints of my photos, oil stick transfers and gouache paint. This pandemic has challenged us all in many different ways to work creatively with what is on hand.