Community News Update - April 19, 2023

As of today, 155k members of Public Service Alliance Canada - Alliance de la Fonction publique du Canada (PSAC-AFPC) are on strike!

In addition to wage increases, the members are seeking: mandatory training in unconscious bias, diversity, and inclusion, remote work options, language bonuses for speakers of Indigenous languages, and extra pay for Veterans Affairs case workers.

I stand in solidarity with all striking PSAC workers! You can learn more about their demands and find a picket line near you HERE.

Earlier this week, the Toronto Arts Foundation hosted their annual awards luncheon to recognize the impact arts and artists have in our city.

To no surprise to us in Toronto-St. Paul's, receiving the 2023 Arts for Youth Award was our own Nia Centre for the Arts. With their mission to ensure Black youth are uplifted to their full, creative potential, it has been an absolute honour to see firsthand the impact they have in the Oakwood-Vaughan community, and beyond. This recognition of excellence is incredibly well-deserved and I hope you will join me in celebrating them.

While I couldn't join the Monday event in person, I want to wish all award recipients a heartfelt congratulations, as well as a big thank you to Toronto Arts Foundation for their continued work in elevating and celebrating Toronto creatives.

It's long time our provincial government do the same, which I continue to call for in my role of Culture and Heritage critic. Read my letter to the Premier and Ministers on the many ways they can. 

Yesterday, Doug Ford made the official announcement that his government would be moving the Ontario Science Centre to Ontario Place. 

If this seems like it came from no where, you're not alone. It was only last week that he even mentioned this proposal publicly. Meanwhile, community organizations deeply involved in the plans for Ontario Place, such as Ontario Place For All, are equally blindsided, stating they weren't consulted in the decision-making process.

Though par for the course with the Ford government, it is dissapointing, nonetheless. Whether folks agree with government policies or not, it is a fundamental principle of democracy that decisions are made transparently, with integrity, and put the public's best interest first; not political insiders. The secrecy throughout this post-it note plan does just the opposite.

It is for this reason, our Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles tabled the Strengthening Member’s Integrity Act earlier this week, to effectively stamp out insider influence and potential for conflicts of interest in government decision-making. If there's nothing to hide, there's no reason for Ford to say no. Stay tuned.

On Saturday, April 21, the Fairbank Village BIA will be hosting a community cleanup event from 11AM - 1PM! Meet outside their office at 1988 Eglinton Ave W to get involved!

Low income individuals may be interested in making use of The Stop's Free Tax Clinic, which is open from March 1 to April 28! See below for more information!

In solidarity,

Jill Andrew
Toronto-St. Paul's

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