Tomorrow is my last day in the legislature of my first term as MPP for Toronto-St. Paul’s. It’s incredible to think of all that’s happened, all that’s been accomplished, and all that’s been fought for in the last four years. From establishing Eating Disorders Awareness Week here in the province in order to raise awareness of an illness affecting over 600,000 Ontarians, to tabling Bill 8, which would have allowed every Ontarian access to permanent paid sick days across the province, to holding the government accountable by raising the issues and struggles faced by our Toronto-St. Paul’s community through question period – it has been the journey of a lifetime.
That said, the journey is not over. Tomorrow, I will be tabling my co-sponsored bill with MPP Gelinas, our Health Critic with the Official Opposition, the Making Psychotherapy Services Tax-Free Act, 2022. As the title suggests, this will remove HST from psychotherapy services as an immediate measure to make this life-saving mental healthcare service more accessible to all those who need it. 13% more accessible, to be exact.
This is a long overdue, stopgap measure as our Party commits to making mental healthcare, including psychotherapy services, UNIVERSAL for all.
Read MPP Gelinas and my joint statement here.
MPP Sattler will also be re-tabling her Safe Night Out Act, which I’ve co-sponsored alongside MPP Lindo and MPP Kernaghan, as well. This bill is an essential move towards preventing sexual violence in licensed venues, such as bars and nightclubs.
This legislation takes a multi-faceted, evidence-based approach to ensure workers are adequately trained and equipped to identify sexual harassment and safely intervene. Recognizing the precarious position of these workers – 80% being women - in relying on customer tips, this bill will also strengthen the Ontario Health and Safety Act to ensure their safety, as well.
In writing this bill, MPP Sattler deeply consulted with all relevant stakeholders, including advocates and experts towards sexual violence and workers in the hospitality industry. This is what makes me so proud to be a co-sponsor. Knowing it has the stamp of approval from those who will benefit most.
Last on the agenda tomorrow is of course, the government’s tabling of the budget. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on it in my next update!
As for community events, yesterday I spoke with George Brown’s School of Fashion and Jewellery students at their Threads 2022 event. What an incredible night! Congrats to all talented and hardworking award recipients.
I also had the opportunity to speak at the CUPE Ontario Convention. Lifting up and protecting workers is of incredible importance, and I am glad to fight for workers’ rights and respect in this province alongside CUPE.
I also wanted to share that the Tarragon Village Community Association is organizing a community clean-up next Saturday (April 30th) at 10 AM. The meeting spot is in front of the Tarragon Theatre, and the goal is to clean the area North and South from the tracks to Davenport, and East and West from Albany to Dartnell Avenue. If it rains, the event will be postponed to Sunday, May 1st. Bring a garbage bag or bin, gloves and a mask!
Later that same day, we have our Campaign Launch Event! Join us for food and drinks (all while taking precautions against COVID-19) at the Midtown Gastro Hub at 2 pm. For more information and to RSVP, click here.
I, alongside my NDP colleagues, are fighting for the chance to put our incredible platform in practice. As I shared on my Community News Update on Monday, our plans cover affordable housing, a more comprehensive health care, climate change, long-care (including support for people to age at home), education and more resources to schools, and so much more. Take a moment to review our commitments here.
Finally, tonight, on National Holocaust Remembrance Day, Canada remembers the murder of 6 million Jews by Nazi Germany and their allies between 1941 and 1945. This was just part of the killing of over 11 million people for their sexuality, political views, race, religion or disability. These atrocities are a reminder of how far bigotry can go. We all have a duty to remember and to stand up to hatred.