Earlier this week the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) released a report on what they witnessed in our Ontario’s long-term care homes when they came in to offer their support. The report details the horrendous conditions the CAF found in some of our long-term care facilities, including equipment being used on infected and non-infected patients without being disinfected, rotten food, pest infestations and more. What has been revealed in this report is outrageous, horrifying, and saddening. It did not have to be this way.
I’m heartbroken for the residents that are living in these conditions, and I cannot fathom the pain and anguish their families are processing right now.
It is beyond unacceptable that these conditions had to be revealed by the CAF – when our government ought to have known exactly what the conditions were long ago. This is an absolute failure by the government and Minister of Long Term Care Merrilee Fullerton. Today, I am joining my colleagues in calling for her immediate resignation. She has failed in her role as Minister – and Doug Ford must hold her accountable.
But that isn’t the only outrageous news of the day.
This week at Queen’s Park, Doug Ford’s PCs actually put forward a motion to speed up the process of evicting tenants. Among other things, Bill 184 will prevent tenants from bringing up issues such as ongoing maintenance issues in their units at hearings for non-payment of rent. It will speed up evictions of tenants at a time when many are unable to pay their rent on time. It’s not enough to just say that this bill is short-sighted or misguided. This is an attack on tenants while they are at their most vulnerable.
Bill 184 does not advocate for Rent Control, rent relief, rent subsidies, rent freezes or a rent registry so we can keep track of landlords tossing folks out under the guise of renovations only to hike up the press for the next unsuspecting target.
A bill without these foundational elements is not a bill to protect tenants. This bill makes it easier to evict tenants!
Instead of making it easier to evict tenants, the Ontario NDP is calling for the government to put a freeze on rent increases, provide rent subsidies of 80% (up to $2,500 per month) and put a ban on disconnections. We need to be doing more to support tenants right now – not pulling the rug out from under them.
Standing up for each other is now more important than ever.
Yesterday, I stood with the families, residents, and staff of Meighen Manor to ask the government to immediately send extra support to the facility. Sadly today, we’ve heard that the death toll at the facility has gone up again, now standing at 47. I asked Doug Ford clearly if he would stand with those who are being affected by the litany of issues at Meighen Manor – and got no clear reply. But we’re not done fighting on this file – you have my word that I will not stop sounding this alarm bell until we get every ounce of support we need.
Like many people, I find great strength in art. And I want to share with you a call out from the Oakwood Village BIA! They have received permission from the City of Toronto to repaint three benches – and they’re looking for artists proposals for how you’d like to see them designed! The submissions are open until June 22nd – and you can find out all the details here.
I can't wait to see what's in store!
Like many sports organizations, The North Toronto Baseball Association have had to cancel their season due to COVID-19. But they took this opportunity to leverage their sense of community for good and asked if families would like to donate their registration fees to the City of Toronto COVID-19 relief fund. Over 100 families stepped up, and they were able to donate a total of $41,250 to the relief fund. I want to send a sincere thank you to all the families who pitched in!
Finally today, we have two pieces of news from the City of Toronto. First, as we are currently experiencing a heat warning in Toronto, the City has moved to open its emergency cooling centres (for a full list of cooling centres you can go here). Next, the City is also now running its CurbTO program, and Winona Drive has now been designated a ‘Quiet Street’ meaning that it is only open to local car traffic, and pedestrians are now welcome to walk on the road (for a full map of CurbTO initiatives click here).
Stay safe and stay cool out there.
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:
- Canadian MPs are now taking part in sessions of the House of Commons both virtually and in-person, with regular Parliament replaced by meetings of a special committee mainly focused on COVID-19.
- In Ontario, Andrea Horwath and the NDP have said for-profit corporations need to get out of long-term care, and replaced by public, community-based care. Following yesterday’s horrific report on conditions in long-term care homes in Ontario and Quebec, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also called on the government to outlaw for-profit long-term care facilities and create national standards under federal health law.
- A day after the military reported atrocious conditions in five Ontario long-term care homes, Premier Doug Ford was notably absent from a sitting of the Ontario Legislature for the second day in a row. NDP MPPs questioned the government on claims it knew nothing about the harrowing conditions in long-term care facilities province-wide — despite incident reports, media reports, affidavits filed in legal cases and family members speaking out.
- The province said it will take over five long-term care homes, including four mentioned in yesterday's damning report. The NDP has urged the Ford government to take over all homes failing to protect residents and staff.
Here are some concerns the NDP is working on, and solutions we’re pushing for:
- In an op-ed published in today’s Ottawa Citizen, Andrea Horwath said the Ford government must stamp out COVID-19 hotspots by ramping up inspections and having a hospital or public health authority take over every unsafe long-term care facility.
“… stories of residents with horrific bedsores, unseen falls and recurring infections have continued — and time and time again, the government of the day has sent thoughts and prayers, but never help.” – Andrea Horwath
- Ontario NDP Tenant Rights critic Suze Morrison said it's wrong for the Ford government to quietly ram through legislation that will make it easier for landlords to evict tenants, especially during a pandemic.
- Ontario NDP Education critic Marit Stiles said the new normal for our province’s public schools must take into account new funding needs, and ensure collaboration among educators, parents, students, experts and community and political leaders.
Featured Art Submission
Lydia Ainsworth and Diane Pollack
In their own words: