Today is International Workers’ Day and, here in Ontario, First Responders’ Day! Today is also Doctor's Day. I want to start this news bulletin with a heartfelt thank you to everyone who is working so hard right now to keep our community safe. Every day, workers are putting themselves at risk due to COVID-19 – so that our community can make it through this difficult time – and they deserve to be honoured for the work that they do.
On behalf of our entire community – thank you.
Of course, today is May 1, and for many members of our community the stress of another month of rent being due is here. For many in Toronto-St. Paul's paying rent is simply out of the question due to the fallout of COVID-19 and the financial burden it has created. I’m going to keep working as hard as I can to make sure that you get the support that you need moving forward from the provincial government. The Ontario NDP is still calling on the government to introduce direct financial supports for renters and is demanding supports for landlords in Ontario so that we can all move forward without the prospects of debt and arrears clouding over us.
It’s not just renters who need more protection.
Today, we have issued a call to the provincial government to do more to protect and support Ontarians with disabilities. Two weeks ago, the Ontario NDP called for the government to develop a plan to conduct in-home testing for people with disabilities. Two weeks later, we still haven’t seen a plan.
Further, we’re calling for the full plan to include, but not be limited to:
- Adopting a clinical triage protocol that respects the human rights of people with disabilities
- Ensuring that attendant care workers who help people with disabilities in their own homes have access to personal protective equipment
- Resources and clear guidelines to support 330,000 special education students with e-learning
- Provide remote and distance supports to assist the families of people with developmental or intellectual disabilities living with them, to provide respite for family members during mandatory periods of isolation at home
- Declaring the Assistive Devices Program an essential service so that no one is deprived of critical mobility or medical aides
Taking these concrete steps will make our community safer; and right now there is nothing that’s more important than that.
On that note, I’d like to send out my daily reminder that we all need to be washing our hands regularly, trying to avoid touching our faces, and making sure to go only go outside when it is essential. Especially with the beautiful weather that we’re seeing, we all must resist the temptations and make sure that we’re abiding by all the physical distancing protocols.
When we work together, we flatten the curve.
Finally, I also want to remind everyone that they are invited to participate in my Education Town Hall this Saturday at 6:30PM on Facebook Live!
I will be joined by both of the School Board Trustees who represent Toronto-St. Paul’s, Shelley Laskin and Norm Di Pasquale, as well as our Official Opposition Education Critic, Davenport MPP Marit Stiles. I’m grateful to them for joining me for this much needed conversation.
If you would like to submit a question, please email my office at JAndrew-CO@ndp.on.ca with “EDUCATION” in the subject line by 12pm tomorrow. Thanks a million.
P.S. I would like to make sure everyone is aware of the #FoodBankChallenge!
Here some amazing organizations that could use any support you’re able to offer!
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.
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."
Happening Saturday May 2nd at 6:30PM
You can RSVP on my website here or on Facebook here.
If you have a question you would like to submit click here!
News and Updates
- The C.D. Howe Institute says Canada has hit recession status.
- Though rent is due today, many residential tenants, and their advocates, say Canada’s Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) simply won’t help them. -- the NDP say people need an 80 per cent rent subsidy, and mandated protection from evictions.
- Many commercial tenants say Canada's commercial rent relief program, which Doug Ford has been touting, will not actually help them, as their landlords are unwilling to adopt the new rent assistance measures -- the NDP's proposal of a 75 per cent provincial rent subsidy would make sure direct payments go directly to tenants.
- As of Monday, a number of mostly seasonal businesses will be allowed to open back up -- the NDP has called on the government to provide clear rules, not simply guidelines, to ensure peoples' lives are not put at risk.
- The Ontario Health Coalition has launched an online campaign today, calling on Doug Ford to fix Ontario's long-term care sector -- their asks include immediately improving access to PPE for health workers, and increasing wages and working conditions for staff, things the NDP has also been urging the government to provide.
Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath’s statement marking International Workers’ Day and First Responders’ Day thanks the workers who are keeping our province running, and stresses that many of them are among the lowest paid in our society.
- As Ontario contemplates reopening the economy, the NDP is calling on the Ford government’s Labour Minister to strengthen protections for workers who refuse to do unsafe work -- as reported by the Toronto Star, over 200 workers fearful of contracting COVID-19 at their workplace filed work refusals, yet the Ministry of Labour has not upheld a single one.
- The NDP is reiterating its call for Doug Ford to take urgent actions to protect Ontarians with disabilities and ensure they get through the pandemic safely, including a plan to conduct in-home testing for people with disabilities, and ensuring home care workers have proper PPE--so far, the Ford government has been silent on the issue.
Here are some things we’re hearing from our community members:
- With rent due today, commercial tenants are worried about being able to keep the lights on. The NDP has renewed its call for Ford to provide desperately-needed commercial rent relief.
- Many residential tenants are unable to pay rent this month, and are terrified of being evicted -- the NDP has been calling for an 80 per cent rent subsidy for tenants, plus a legislated ban on evictions.
- Aaron Cappel Music is providing free singing classes for families on through Facebook on Wednesdays and Sundays at 11am. Click here to go to his Facebook page to tune in!