We’ve reached the end of another week during the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to start today with a quick discussion about the planned opening of parts of our economy, starting on Tuesday May 19.
While we are going to be seeing parts of our economy open, it’s vital that we continue to approach this situation with caution. For those who are going shopping for essentials- please ensure that you are continuing to observe your physical distance from one another, avoid touching your face, wear your mask and wash your hands frequently. This is critical for all of us and especially for those of us who are immunocompromised. As more and more people are going outside, it is incredibly important that we are all still doing everything we can to flatten the curve.
It’s been frankly a little disturbing to hear the lack of clarity on the plan from the government regarding the re-opening – and I can assure you that I will be diligently watching the plan as it develops. Now is a time for specifics with regards to openings. There cannot be any ambiguity and currently there is. We also cannot assume that our business community will no longer need support.
The fact of the matter is that we just don’t know how much economic activity is going to be returning – and that means that we need our provincial government to step up and provide immediate relief to small business owners across Ontario. We have heard clearly from our small business community that the support that they have received so far is not enough.
We need our provincial government to put an immediate freeze on commercial evictions – or we are going to be seeing businesses close all across our community. Starting at midnight tonight some businesses can be locked out by their landlord’s for non-payment of rent. It’s unacceptable that the small businesses that are the backbone of our community are now not receiving the support that they need – the time for action is now.
One specific sector that we have seen struggle during COVID-19 is arts and culture. We have all witnessed just how much our creative communities have given back during COVID-19 with free concerts, theatre, film, and the many sewists making homemade masks. They were in an already vulnerable position due to previous cuts under the Ford government, but with the impact of the global pandemic, culture is gravely suffering (and we cannot forget how important culture has been to our economy and the mental health of our communities) In response to this, today I issued an Open Letter to Premier Ford and Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries Lisa MacLeod, demanding immediate action to support the arts and culture workers.
You can read and sign the open letter here.
I want to remind everyone again that tomorrow (May 16) there will be a Community Food Table in the parking lot of St. Matthew’s Church. This table will be set up so that members of our community can drop off food donations, and members of our community who may be in need can collect items. Organizers will be on hand to ensure that physical distancing measures are being followed at all times.
I want to send a very special thank you to Joanne Vannicola for helping organize the Community Food Table! (More details about the Community Food Table can be found below!)
For those to don’t know, there is a great deal of food insecurity in our community. Data from the Daily Bread Food Bank in 2018 showed that in that year over 1200 people who live in Toronto-St. Paul’s visited a food bank. Any support that you can offer for this initiative and programs like it is deeply appreciated.
In a follow up from earlier this week, I want to let you know about how you can support the new residents at 65 Broadway Ave, in the Yonge and Eglinton Area. This building that was slated for demolition is now being used to house some of folks from across Toronto who have been experiencing homelessness. The City has secured the use of the building for six months and residents have already started moving in. Many of the residents need supplies, and thanks to our friends at the Republic Residents Association, we know what items they are looking for most.
- Small appliances, e.g. kettles, toasters, coffee makers, irons
- Kitchen/ cooking utensils e.g. can and bottle openers, wooden spoons, spatulas
- Pots/lids, pans and cookie sheets
- Cutlery and dishes
- Lamps with working light bulbs if possible
- Brooms, dustpans
- Personal hygiene items/Toiletries: soaps, shampoo; hairbrushes, combs, nail clippers, sanitary pads and tampons; disposable razors; toothbrushes, toothpaste
- Large plastics containers for pet food storage
- Used clothing: especially sweat pants, sweat shirts, t-shirts, pants, spring jackets – Please ensure clothing is in good shape, clean, folded, placed in plastic bags, indicating size and possible gender
- New undergarments: underpants, socks, bras
- Wall art or other wall embellishments
- Dollarama Gift Cards in small denominations ($10/$20)
If you are looking to donate, please call in advance to arrange a pick up, by calling the Shift Leader at 437-343-8057. Please DO NOT leave donations outside of the building.
You can swing by tomorrow, Saturday May 16 at 2PM to drop off items.
In a piece of sad local news, we have recently learned that Salsa on St. Clair is cancelled for 2020. While this likely does not come as a surprise, it is certainly devastating to hear that we won’t have this beautiful event to look forward to this year. Friends, we will dance, eat and create memories again next year at Salsa on St. Clair.
One final housekeeping note, as it is a long weekend, I will be sending out my next newsletter on Tuesday May 19. I hope everyone has a restful and safe long weekend and remember let's try to keep our heads up.
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."
Community Food Table
Drop Off Location:
St. Matthew's United Church - 729 St. Clair Ave W (corner of Rushton and St. Clair).
May 16th, 11:00am to 5:00pm
Email email@example.com for more information!
News and Updates
- Trudeau urges Canadians to buy from Canadian fisheries and farmers, and pledges support for fish harvesters who have lost income during COVID-19.
- Some grocery chains, including those with locations in Ontario, are requiring customers to wear a face covering while inside their stores.
- Some of Canada's national parks will reopen on June 1, with their use limited to day trips, excluding the prospect of camping.
- Ontario continues to open up more businesses. Saturday will see the opening of retailers like private campgrounds, golf courses and dog groomers, while Tuesday will see the launch of "Stage one" of the province's economic recovery. Earlier this week, Ontario's chief medical officer of health cautioned that Ontario hasn't yet met the threshold to start on an economic recovery plan. The NDP has been urging the Ford government to ramp up its COVID-19 testing and tracing before easing restrictions, and to better protect workers and customers by replacing suggested workplace safety guidelines with enforceable rules.
Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:
- The NDP points out that Ontario continues to lag on COVID-19 testing, falling behind a number of developed countries, and failing to meet Ford's own lowered targets.
- NDP Agriculture critic, John Vanthof, says the Ford government must do more to help the province's farmers, many of who are in crisis due to COVID-19.
- Andrea Horwath says the reopening of businesses must come with Ontario stepping up its COVID-19 testing and tracing. The province has averaged just 12,600 tests per day in the last 30 days, and not all of the positive cases have been thoroughly contact traced.
Featured Art Submission
In their own words:
Where to get updates on Coronavirus
For accurate information on COVID-19 - Public Health Agencies are the best sources.
Find them here:
Canadian Public Health
Public Health Ontario
Toronto Public Health
Other Key Contacts and Resources
MP Carolyn Bennett
City Councillor Josh Matlow
TDSB Trustee Shelley Laskin
TCDSB Trustee Norm Di Pasquale
Good Neighbour Project
Nia Centre for the Arts
Ontario Ministry of Health
Feed the Frontlines
Women 4 Us
Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres
Ontario Arts Council
SPRINT Senior Care
Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts
Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies
Toronto Community Housing
You can also find daily updates on my website