Let’s start today with a piece of positivity from our community.
Our friends over on Grimthorpe Road have started an incredible initiative with a street garden that will be growing fresh food for the Beeton Cupboard Food Bank at St. Michael and All Angels. The program is looking to grow and could use financial support to continue expanding. It is $40 to sponsor a planter and you can choose what food will grow in the planter! This organizing truly showcases some of the best this community has to offer, as we come together to grow sustainably sourced food for those in the most need.
If you are interested in sponsoring a planter, please email Lynn Kaplan at email@example.com.
Next, I want to let you know about a few more amenities that are now once again open to the public. But before I do, I need to remind everyone that we are not out of the woods yet, and that means that we all need to keep doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. That means washing our hands frequently, minimizing non-essential trips out of the house, and I would strongly urge you to consider wearing a face mask while in public. While they will not protect anyone fully, it has been shown that they are an effective tool in slowing the spread of the virus.
With all of that said, the new regulations mean that it is no longer banned to use park benches or off-leash dog areas. However, there are remaining restrictions on outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, outdoor pools, and more. For those who are going to be using our off-leash dog areas again especially, please make sure that you are aware of the high touch areas of the park and maintain your physical distance from other park goers, so that you can stay safe.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario, we’ve seen long-term care residents hit harder than any other part of our population, with the worst impacts in privatized long-term care facilities. For years, this is an industry that has been underfunded and under-regulated by the province. In a disturbing twist, it has been revealed today that each of the three biggest for-profit long-term care providers have hired Ford government insiders to lobby on their behalf.
Those hired include:
- Ford’s former campaign spokesperson
- Ford’s former Director of Marketing
- A former PC campaign manager
- The former Chief of Staff to the Attorney General
All four lobbyists began working after COVID-19 started wreaking havoc on our long-term care facilities, and it casts a long shadow over the Ford government’s decision to vote UNANIMOUSLY against a call for a fully public, independent and non-partisan inquiry into what has happened in long-term care. Further, it’s shocking to see these corporations spend money that could have gone to better use supplying their frontline staff with PPE - on expensive lobbyists.
This news comes on the heels of another shortfall on testing, as the province continues to fall FAR behind its testing goals. As the Ontario provincial government continues to open the economy and parks back up, it is more and more important that we maintain a high level of testing to ensure we’re catching any new community spread of COVID-19. This is all exacerbated by the fact that the Ford government has repeatedly lied about testing levels in the province, including claiming that we're world leaders, when in reality - we'd be closer to 40th.
We’re getting through this, but we cannot lose sight of our goal and I cannot stress enough that we still have NO CURE for COVID-19. We must make sure that as we open back up, we do so responsibly, so that we can do everything in our power to prevent another surge of cases. The Ontario government opening back our economy responsibly means ensuring testing is doing much better than it currently is and that contact-tracing is also well underway.
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
- Today, Canada’s chief public health officer announced she is now officially recommending that Canadians wear non-medical face masks when keeping two metres apart from others isn't possible. Justin Trudeau says he personally will wear a mask to protect himself and others on Parliament Hill when he can't physically distance. Public health advice on non-surgical mask wearing as a protective measure against the spread of COVID-19 has varied across regions. Ontario's Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney today recommended that people wear face coverings on public transit.
- As workplaces open up, health and safety guidelines for public transit agencies will be released soon - the NDP has called for the government to give businesses clear, enforceable rules, rather than recommended guidelines, to ensure lives aren’t put at risk.
- Women in Canada are both contracting and dying from COVID-19 in higher numbers than men, counter to trends seen in other countries – possible explanations include that, in Ontario and Quebec, more than 80 per cent of personal support workers and nurses in long-term care are women – NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has repeatedly urged the Ford government to step up supports for long-term care staff, and has spoken out about women bearing the brunt of the economic pain dished out by COVID-19.
- Ontario will soon decide if summer day camps can open in July and August.
- After the Ford government announced that the school school year won’t resume in person, NDP Education critic Marit Stiles stressed that the government must fill the gap left by child care centres remaining closed as more parents return to work.
Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:
- A horrific situation at a for-profit retirement home in Hamilton prompted NDP MPP for Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas, Sandy Shaw, to ask the Ford government during Wednesday’s question period if it would take action to ensure private, for-profit corporations do not continue to hurt seniors.
- During question period Wednesday, Andrea Horwath asked Ford if he's placing corporate interests ahead of those of vulnerable seniors. Since the start of the pandemic, the big three for-profit long-term care corporations have hired close allies of Doug Ford to protect their financial interests through lobbying.
- Andrea Horwath called the Ford government blocking a motion yesterday for a find-and-fix public inquiry into Ontario’s long-term care system “unconscionable.” The inquiry that the Ford government opposed would have included examining the role of long-term care homes run by for-profit corporations.