Community News Update - April 26, 2024

Dear Community, 

Today is the 2nd anniversary of the ACTRA lockout. This is not an anniversary to celebrate. Today marks two years since the unprecedented lockout of ACTRA performers by the Institute of Canadian Agencies (ICA). This lockout has devastated performers, most of whom are precarious gig workers, and has cost many members their hopes, dreams, and in some cases, their homes. This is not okay. 

The ICA has chosen to walk out on 60 years of collective bargaining to bully non-union workers into working without safety standards, benefits, and industry standard terms and conditions. This is exploitation. Full stop.

It's time to stop the union-busting, pay the workers fairly, and ensure safe working conditions! It's time for the ICA to get back to the bargaining table and work with performers and cultural workers toward a FAIR contract. 

I've amplified their calls at Queen's Park alongside ONDP Labour Critic, MPP Jamie West. I will continue to fight alongside Canadian performers until a fair deal is reached. For the love of arts, the ICA MUST return to the table. Solidarity forever!

Click here to read more about the lockout. 

Jill in Question Period

After a series of misdiagnoses and treatments without improvement, Bishop Brigante was diagnosed with late-stage colorectal cancer last year. He is only 45 years old.

Bishop is now calling on the province to lower the screening age from 50 to 30. We've seen an alarming rise in young adults in their 20s, 30s, and 40s being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Experts have been sounding the alarms and it's time we listen. 

I was proud to stand in Question Period Monday morning to demand that the province listen to Bishop's calls and lower the screening age immediately. Lives are on the line. Click here to watch the full question. 


It's time to bring back the Child & Youth Advocate

This week at Queen's Park I rose during debate of Ford's Conservative's Bill 188, Supporting Children's Futures Act, 2024 to call once again for the return of the provincial, independent Child & Youth Advocate. Children and youth in care deserve and independent, non-partisan voice to advocate for their needs at the provincial level. Thank you to the former Child and Youth Advocate, Irwin

Elman. Countless children and youth in care had their voices and experiences represented through policy recommendations to the government. We need this independent office back to advocate for vulnerable young people across this province. Click here to watch my speech. 

On a similar note, if this province truly cared about supporting vulnerable young people, they would pass our Missing Persons Amendment Act immediately.


Ontario Autism Coalition at Queen's Park

This week at Queen's Park, I met with delegates from the Ontario Autism Coalition (OAC) at Queen's Park. The Ford government needs to step up and fund supports for people with autism. Since this government was elected in 2018, the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) waitlist has ballooned to 67,000. Children and families are falling through the cracks. I look forward to connecting with them again soon to discuss ways the province could support special education, OAP, and adult autism services. Click here to read more. 

One thing this government could do right now to support the autism community is pass the ONDP's Bill 74, Missing Persons Amendment Act. This bill would allow police services to issue a regional emergency alert when a vulnerable person goes missing. This could include a person with autism, dementia, or Alzheimer's disease. Currently, an emergency alert can only be issued for a child under 17. 

Thank you Alina Cameron and the entire OAC team for your advocacy!

TDSB Budget Town Halls

I'm sure you are all aware by now that the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is facing impending cutbacks due to this government's chronic underfunding. School boards across Ontario are sounding the alarms. I'm sharing a message from the Chair of the TDSB, Rachel Chernos Lin.

Please read the below message carefully for information about upcoming Budget Town Halls as well as a budget survey for community members. 

Dear Parents/Guardians/Caregivers,

As you may already be aware, the TDSB’s budget process for 2024-25 is currently underway.

During a Special Meeting on April 4, 2024, Trustees approved a motion that outlined several actions to take place over the next few weeks related to the TDSB budget.

Last week, the Chair sent a letter to the Minister of Education to highlight the budgetary challenges we continue to face as a Board and to ask that the Ministry of Education address these funding concerns. Read the full letter here

Trustees have also created a brief survey to gather feedback from communities as they consider next steps with regard to the budget. Please find a link below and complete as many of the 7 questions as possible. Thank you in advance for your participation. The budget survey will remain open until Friday, May 3, 2024 at 12 noon.

Budget Survey (Click here to complete the survey).

Additionally, Trustees will hold four Budget Town Hall meetings to give all members of the TDSB community the opportunity to learn more about the budget, ask questions and provide feedback.

West End Budget Town Hall (In-Person)
Monday, April 29, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Weston Collegiate Institute – Library (100 Pine Street)
Please RSVP here to attend in-person on April 29 

Central Budget Town Hall (In-Person or Online)
Tuesday, April 30, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
TDSB Boardroom (5050 Yonge Street) or Online via
Zoom Link:
Please RSVP here to attend in-person on April 30 

Downtown Budget Hall (In-Person)
Thursday, May 2, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Harbord Collegiate Institute – Library (286 Harbord St)
Please RSVP here to attend in-person on May 2 

Thank you in advance for your feedback as Trustees look at how to best support Toronto students and communities through the 2024-25 budget process. For more information, please visit

Anti-Black Racism Education in Ontario Schools

Today I met with D. Tyler Robinson for a frank conversation about where education on anti-Black racism still falls short in Ontario. I look forward to working with him and other activists to apply pressure to the government to address these concerns. While we have seen some positive moves recently, there are many areas where the right choices are not being made to truly incorporate anti-racism into the curriculum at Ontario's schools.

Jill in Community!

22nd ACTRA Awards

While there is very little to celebrate in the ACTRA community today on the two-year anniversary of the lockout, I do want to take a moment to congratulate the nominees and recipients of this year's 22nd ACTRA awards. 

On Monday, I was honoured to attend the ceremony and provide remarks on behalf of the ONDP caucus. We've got over 15,000 hugs to give to Monday's nominees and recipients plus over 3 BILLION reasons to celebrate the incredible ACTRA performers and cultural workers in film, TV, digital media, and animation across this province. Now it's time for the ICA to step up and treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve. 


Spring Clean Ups

On Monday, we recognized Earth Day! On Saturday, I started my morning with the Republic of Rathnelly neighbours for their annual spring clean-up. I then joined Friends of Cedarvale Park for their clean-up day hosted by Councillor Josh Matlow. We brought gloves and bags for the groups to help out!

Thank you to ALL the community members who showed up and helped out. It was wonderful to catch up with so many of you. Hopefully, I'll be off my crutches for the next one!


GBC Jewellery & Gemmology Grad Show & Awards

On Monday I was honoured to attend the George Brown College Jewels year-end show and awards ceremony. I had a chance to witness the incredible talent and creativity of this year's graduates, the next generation of innovators in jewellery design. Graduates completed their program at the George Brown College Casa Loma campus in our St. Paul's community! Huge congratulations to all of this year's graduates and award recipients! Your futures are brighter than diamonds.

The students will have their work on display and for sale at the GBC In Store (3 Lower Jarvis St) until May 15th. Check them out!

6th Anniversary of Women's Mosque of Canada

On Sunday, I joined the Women's Mosque of Canada to celebrate their 6th anniversary!

The mosque's co-founder, Imama Farheen Kahn leads the first and only women's mosque in Canada. Not only has the mosque created a space for empowerment, strength, spiritual growth and community wellness for the women it serves, but it has also been a beacon of hope for those advocating against honour-based violence, Islamophobia, gender-based violence, and other forms of social injustices. Imama Farheen has shown up consistently for so many communities I hold dear in my heart, including our arts community, Black and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, among others. 

I was honoured to share a few words on my support for the Women's Mosque as well as mention our ONDP Intimate Partner Violence Epidemic Act and the Our London Family Act. 

Farheen, thank you for your leadership and HEARTwork! Thank you to your communities and allies who have been there from the start and along the way for championing your vision. I look forward to our next time together. 

Evening Social at James Rottman Fine Art

Last night I stopped in at James Rottman Fine Art for their evening social featuring music by internationally acclaimed musician, Mehdi Rostami. I had a wonderful time visiting with community members and had a chance to enjoy the current exhibition. 

Go see Mark Crozier's "Painting Toronto" and John F. Marok's "Reflections" until May 11th! The work is wonderful! 

Small Business Spotlight!

Hunter Coffee Shop

On Saturday I stopped in at Hunter Coffee Shop for a delicious tea & croissant between community clean-ups. They have a fabulous selection of hot and cold beverages and baked treats. Thank you to the Hunter staff for their friendly smiles and wonderful service. Check them out at 423 Vaughan Road. 

Ferro Cafe & Bar

One of the BEST spots to snag a lasagna in St. Paul's is hands down Ferro Bar & Cafe. If you didn't know, now you do! 

The layers burst with flavour and their portions are heavenly. The customer service is also consistently top-notch! You can truly travel the culinary world right here in St. Paul's. Thank you, Rima, for joining me! Next time, I'm inviting Keith Lee 😉

Check them out in our St Clair W neighbourhood (769 St Clair Ave W).

The Bagel House

This morning I stopped in at The Bagel House for my favourite bacon breakfast bagel! This is THE place for Montreal-style wood-fired bagels. YUM! Check them out in our Forest Hill neighbourhood!


Climate Corner by SCAN! Toronto🌎

When we turn on the lights, we don’t necessarily wonder where our electricity comes from. The Portlands gas-fired plant is located just east of Spadina-Fort York, not far from Ashbridges Bay. You may never have heard of his plant before, but it helps to supply our grid.

“Natural” gas is part of our electricity needs. Gas is composed of 70-90% methane, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) and a major contributor to global warming. After phasing out coal-fired plants, environmentalists turned their sights on gas-fired plants. Sadly, the province is planning to increase the use of gas to generate electricity by 500% by 2035.  

Since 2018, Portland’s GHG pollution has increased by 550%. The Ontario Power Generation wants to increase Portland’s gas-fired generating capacity by an additional 50 megawatts. “Peaker plants” operate for only a few hours a week at most. In summer, Portlands has been running as much as 21 hours a day – not the original intention. Now they want to expand operations even more.

Toronto City Council voted against this expansion. In fact, back in May 2023, they voted to oppose any new power generation proposal involving increased burning of fossil fuels, including natural gas.  Other cities have also voted “no”.

What the city needs is more investment in renewable energy, like solar and wind power.

Bill 165: Passing Gas Connection Costs to Consumers
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) is the independent regulator of Ontario’s electricity and natural gas sectors. The OEB “protects the interests of consumers…” that is, you and me, the energy consumers.

Last December, the OEB made a significant decision which environmental groups applauded. It represented a huge win because it encouraged an increase in greener home heating and cooling. The ruling was against an Enbridge Gas plan which saddled customers with the total capital cost of a natural gas connection upfront instead of spread over 40 years. In 40 years, we’re supposed to have moved away from our dependency on gas and oil.

Almost immediately, the provincial government fought back to support Enbridge. Bill 165 overrules the OEB decision. Enbridge can legally continue to pass on the costs of natural gas expansions to homeowners.

We don’t need more gas: we need renewables. Reliance on gas carries significant health effects. In our next climate corner, we will look at these health effects, as well as those caused by a warming planet.

SCAN! Toronto is a regional group of Seniors for Climate Action Now!


Community Bulletin Board 📌

Salsa on St Clair


TD Salsa on St Clair Street Festival is back July 6 & 7. Join them for an unforgettable 20th-anniversary celebration! Get ready for bigger beats and surprises that will spice up your summer. 

If you are interested in being a vendor at this year's festival, please complete the application by May 10th. Click here to submit a vendor application form. 


MyBIA Summer Fest


Get ready for the biggest event Midtown has ever seen on July 20th! 🎉 The BIA is now calling for vendors offering food, crafts, clothing, accessories, services and more! Applications are now open. The Midtown Yonge BIA team will reach out to coordinate next steps. Click here to apply.


Montgomery Place Spring Bazaar

Montgomery Place Seniors Club is having their Spring Bazaar! Join them Saturday, April 27th from 11 AM to 4:30 PM in the Recreation Room at 130 Eglinton Avenue East. 


"Here I Stand:" Concert & Conversation with Julian Taylor

Tickets are on sale for "Here I Stand:" A Concert and Conversation with Julian Taylor. This will be an opportunity to listen deeply to Taylor's music and understand how it resonates with Afro-Indigenous communities in his hometown of Tkaronto. The event will be presided over by Anishinaabe Elder Peduhbun Migizi Kwe. I am deeply honoured to be hosting the conversation!

The event will include a cade, a traditional opening and closing, and a time of sharing with St. Matt's Afro-Tainu minister, Rev. Brigid Maya Douglas, and Afro-Mi'kmaq Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Group founding member, Tamara Este. 

Where: St Matthew's United Church (729 St Clair Ave W)
When: Saturday, May 11th from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Click here to purchase tickets. 


Hillcrest BIA Contest

Discover Hillcrest Village BIA from May 1st to May 31st, 2024, and Immerse yourself in the unique charm of our community, explore local businesses, and enter for a chance to win the Discover Hillcrest Village BIA Contest. Whether you're a longtime resident or a first-time visitor, join us in celebrating the spirit of Hillcrest Village and supporting our beloved neighbourhood businesses.

Get ready to discover, explore, and win big! Start your adventure by entering the contest by visiting the link!


2024 INSPIRE Awards

Nominations for the 2024 Inspire Awards close April 30th, 2024.

The Inspire Awards honour some of the most inspiring people, youth, businesses, and organizations in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in the Greater Toronto Area and across Canada. 

Have someone outstanding in mind? Now's the time to nominate. Click here for more information!


Community One Foundation 2024 Rainbow Grants

Community One Foundation is now accepting applications for their 2024 Rainbow Grants. 

Rainbow Grants provide funding to foster new and innovative services and programs that have a positive impact on the 2SLGBTQ+ community in the Greater Toronto Area (including Toronto, Durham, Peel, Hamilton, York, and Halton Regions, and Indigenous Communities across Ontario) under the following streams:

  • Indigenous Communities
  • Refugees
  • Trans Communities
  • Spiritual/Social Groups
  • Arts & Culture

Click here for more information and to download the application guide. 

The deadline is Friday, May 3rd, 2024 at 11:59 pm. 


OVCO Homework Hub

Check out Homework Hub at the Oakwood Vaughan Community Hub in Vaughan Road Academy (529 Vaughan Rd). 

The program is offered Wednesday from 4 to 6 PM and is open to students in grades 4-8. Sign up for support with:

  • Homework
  • Reading, writing, math
  • Test prep
  • Organization

Register at [email protected].


Hillcrest Community Food Bank Needs Your Help!

The Hillcrest Community Food Bank (2 Vaughan Road) needs URGENT help filling their shelves!

The need for food in our community is increasing and they're in urgent need of MORE food (and household items) to meet this higher demand. Please contact them via Instagram if there is anything you can do to help or if you are a local business that would be interested in becoming a community partner. Food donations in kind or monetary donations to their Canada Helps website would be greatly appreciated.


Become an Organ Donor

In Ontario, 1,400 people on average are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant while thousands more are in need of a life-changing tissue donation. They are our friends, neighbours, colleagues, and, in some cases, members of our own families.

Register your consent to become an organ and tissue donor after your death and tell your family so they can help honour your wishes.
Did You Know?

  • Any Ontario resident who is 16 years or older and has an Ontario health card is eligible to register as an organ and tissue donor
  • Everyone has the potential to be an organ and/or tissue donor, regardless of age or health.
  • People from every major religion have donated. Many religions support donation or respect and individual’s choice.
  • The first and foremost concern for health care professionals is to save lives. Only when a life cannot be saved does organ and tissue donation become an option.
  • It takes two minutes to register or check your status at You can also register in person at any ServiceOntario location.

More information about the donation process, who can register, and the importance of speaking to family can be found online at


Learn to prevent an overdose

Each year across Ontario, thousands of lives are lost to overdoses. We need every level of government to prioritize implementing harm reduction strategies to combat these senseless deaths, and you can help.

As many of you know, Naloxone is a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, and these kits are FREE with training at participating pharmacies across the city. Together, we can prevent unnecessary deaths and work toward a more compassionate society that is safe safe for everyone.

Find a pharmacy with Naloxone kits near you, and make sure you can recognize the signs of an overdose.


In solidarity, 

Dr. Jill Andrew, Ph.D

MPP, Toronto-St. Paul's 

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