Community News Update - April 11, 2022

With Covid infections estimated at over 100,000 per day, we badly need expanded PCR testing and an acknowledgement that the lifting of mask mandates were premature. While the government announced that they are expanding availability of PCR tests today, their actions continue to be too-little, too-late.

I should also note that despite the government’s promises to increase access to free rapid tests, many of the pharmacies carrying them have not been provided with enough to stay supplied for those who need them. Even if eligibility is expanding, we need to see if people in these groups will actually be able to get PCR tests.

Speaking of rapid tests. I was very disturbed to see this reporting from the Toronto Star on the distribution of free rapid tests. https://www.thestar.com/news/investigations/2022/04/10/just-20-of-rapid-tests-went-to-ontarios-covid-19-hot-spots-star-analysis-finds.html It seems that only one fifth of the free tests distributed by the government ended up in the hands of those who needed them most.

Instead, these tests disproportionately went to private schools and large corporations. Since free tests started being handed out on street corners with no advanced notice, I have been demanding along with my colleagues that we get some kind of transparency about where these tests are going, but we never got a response.

On Friday I appeared on CBC Radio on Ontario Today to discuss how people react to hurtful jokes. I wanted to discuss this topic in light of the recent incident at the Academy Awards and my own experiences with alopecia. I wanted to acknowledge the pain caused by jokes like this, but at the same time reaffirm that violence is not the answer. You can listen here:

https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-45-ontario-today/clip/15905721-how-react-joke-hurt

Continuing construction on the Eglinton Crosstown is leading to further traffic reductions at the intersection of Eglinton and Dufferin. For several weeks traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction, and there will be no turning on or off Eglinton. Further details can be found here: http://www.thecrosstown.ca/news-media/whats-new/traffic-configuration-change-at-fairbank-station-for-utility-works-april-11-202

This weekend I knocked on doors with enthusiastic canvassers and the legendary Zanana Akande in support of the Ontario NDPs affordable housing plan. We haven’t seen action on this under the Ford government or the Liberals, and we badly need an NDP government committed to making affordable housing a reality for everyone in Toronto.

Coming up, on April 20th, there is also the CP Planning’s workshop on empowering racialized people to build and implement planning solutions to speed up the development of affordable housing and increase security for racialized renters. Ontario lives a housing crisis, and initiatives such as this are so important so that we have more actors discussing how to make housing more affordable. More information at https://torontohscarrp.eventbrite.ca.

Finally, yesterday was Palm Sunday, marking the beginning of Holy Week. I know that this time is very significant to Christians in this riding and I want to extend best wishes to everyone celebrating these days leading up to Easter.

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