Community News Update - April 23, 2021

Dear Community,

It has been another tough week for Ontario in the battle against COVID-19.

Today, we reported another 4505 cases of COVID-19, including over 1200 here in Toronto. (Peel Region has advised that they have reported higher than normal cases due, in part at least, to an issue with the provincial lab system.) Across Ontario, we have also recorded another 34 deaths due to COVID-19.

As the cases continue to pile up, some rules, regulations, and recommendations have changed today, and I’ll start this email by going through those adjustments.

Pregnant women in Ontario are now eligible for a vaccination under ‘highest risk’ designation. To book if you are pregnant, you have to book through the provincial call centre at 1-833-943-3900. The call centre is open 8AM to 8PM daily.  

Read more about this story here.

Direct flights from India and Pakistan are being banned for at least 30 days by the Government of Canada, in response to the worsening COVID-19 situations in those respective countries. The ban will be applicable to both private and commercial flights, and anyone travelling via an indirect flight will need to test negative at their layover location.

This ban went into effect last night (April 22) at 11:30PM.

Read more about this story here.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI) has changed its recommendation for the distribution of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Today, they have begun recommending the AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone aged 30 and over. Regardless of this recommendation, it’s going to remain up to the provinces to establish their own eligibility criteria based on vaccine supply and other factors.  

Read more about this story here.

Here in our own community, one of the greatest frustrations experienced by many during lockdown has been the continued, seemingly endless construction all around us. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been calling for more restrictions on construction projects, and just this week I’ve sent a letter to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, as well as the Premier, demanding action. We need to be closing non-essential construction, and we also need re-evaluate what the province has deemed to be “essential”.

These projects are putting the workers at the sites at risk, and the noise generated is also having a negative impact on many who are spending a great deal of time at home right now.

If you like to read my letter on this, please click here.

Looking forward to Monday, I want you to know that we will be watching the Ford government closely as they move forward with their vague commitments to provide some sort of paid sick leave for workers in Ontario. Bluntly, I don’t have a great deal of confidence that this government will deliver the robust program that we need, especially given that they’ve voted down our paid sick days proposal no less than 23 times in the Legislature. But we will see what they are bringing to the table, and we will continue to fight for the workers of Ontario.

It’s also worth noting that we can’t just stop at paid sick days.

We need a set of common-sense policies to be implemented to help drive down the COVID-19 infection rates in our province. The simple set of demands that the Ontario NDP are putting forward right now call for the following:

  • Paid sick days and paid vaccination time off for all workers
  • Cancel Ford’s dangerous new police powers
  • Close all non-essential workplaces
  • Direct financial support for workers and small businesses

COVID-19 has been especially hard on our most marginalized, with many ODSP and OW recipients being impacted greatly. As a response to this, an incredible local organization, TTCriders, is going to be holding a Transit Townhall Series for Wheel-Trans users, people with disabilities, and seniors on May 5, from 6-7:30PM.

This discussion will focus on the TTC’s effort to create a “5-Year Fare Plan”, and they will be soliciting feedback from the community on your experiences with fares, payment options, and accessibility.

If you’re interested in finding out more, and registering to attend, click here.

Finally, today is a very solemn anniversary for our city. Three years ago today, a man inspired by his hatred of women committed a vicious act that took the lives of ten people. Today, we remember and honour the victims, and we must all recommit to eradicating misogyny and hatred from our midst.

  • Ji Hun Kim
  • So He Chung
  • Anne Marie D’Amico
  • Andrea Bradden
  • Chul Min (Eddie) Kang
  • Beutis Renuka Amarasingha
  • Dorothy Sewell
  • Geraldine (Gerry) Brady
  • Munir Najjar
  • Betty Forsyth

In solidarity,

Jill Andrew

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