Community News Update - April 3, 2023

Dear Community,

Since the budget was unveiled late last month, the Ontario NDP and I have held that it fails to meet the moment. When Ontario is deep into a province-wide affordability crisis, it only pushes us further under water – even for some of the highest income earners and households for whom a one-bedroom rental in the city remains out of reach.
But for those living on ODSP or OW, who’ve been legislated to poverty for decades, this budget means much worse. Their right to stable housing, food, healthcare, and any semblance of a dignified life is unanswered to for another year by the Ford government. 

This delay means more of our neighbours are turning to Medical Assistance in Dying without another option. This budget means their lives will be unnecessarily cut short.  

I took the opportunity to speak to this reality in the House last week. Watch the clip here

More than ever, we need to see ODSP and OW rates doubled, at minimum. Sign your name to join our call.

Tomorrow is Equal Pay Day, commemorated each year based on how far into the year a woman works for "free" before being paid what a man makes annually.

It has been 33 years since the Pay Equity Act was passed in Ontario. Yet, it's mission is still not met and in fact is moving further out of reach.

As this government paves us further down the path to privatizing our public sector, it is women's wages that are being kept down.

The Ontario Equal Pay Coalition has themed this year's Equal Pay Day "Women Say No to Privatization," shedding light on yet another harmful side effect of Ford's agenda.  

Check out their video to learn more.

On Friday, I joined community members from 55 Brownlow and folks across the city facing demovictions of their own to rally against Ford's anti-tenant legislation.

For too long, the fate of renters in our city has been in the hands of billionaire developers. We've had enough! Ford cannot continue to turn his back on tenants.

Buildings in perfectly good condition are being torn down by profiteering developers to erect luxury condos that will ultimately displace the many tenants occupying rent-controlled units. Elected officials at al levels need to work together to ensure the people of Ontario are being put before the profits of developers.

Demovictions are happening to far too many precarious tenants: seniors, lower-income earners, single parents, newcomers, gig workers, young families, folks on ODSP/OW - the list goes on. There are thousands of units across the city facing demoviction. Enough is enough.

If you're a St. Paul's community member facing demoviction: I want to hear from you. Let's organize and fight this trend TOGETHER!

This weekend, I stopped by the Cram-A-Cruiser event hosted by Toronto Police Services 13 Division in support of Centro Cultural Latino Americano Community Food Bank. Many folks are struggling with food insecurity, and donations like these by folks like me who can afford to spare a few extra bucks for groceries are a small but crucial step in addressing the larger systemic issue!

Below is an email I received from The Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit:

Do you know someone who is a passionate member of Toronto’s Black communities, and interested in eliminating barriers and advancing the interests of Black communities in government programs, services and representation? Invite them to shape our city by joining the City of Toronto’s Confronting Anti Black Racism Advisory Committee. Applications to join the Committee are now open and will close on April 11th, 2023.

Confronting Anti-Black Racism Advisory Committee Responsibilities The mandate of the Confronting Anti-Black Racism Advisory Committee is to provide advice to City Council:
•       To support the implementation of the principles of the International Decade for People of African Descent under the themes of Recognition, Development, and Justice
•       On the elimination of barriers faced by Black communities and recommend City engagement to help improve access to provincial, federal, and community agency services and programs
•       To ensure the interests and needs of Black communities are reflected in City programs and service delivery
•       On emerging issues and trends of significance to Black communities as they relate to City services and programs
•       Enjoy a collaborative, cooperative and cohesive relationship with the Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit's Partnership and Accountability Circle

Members should be comprised of community and policy leaders with lived experience and/or expertise in issues of Black communities' and reflecting the diversity of Black communities, including:
•       Housing, healthcare, education, employment and entrepreneurship, child-welfare, policing and the criminal justice system
•       The elimination of barriers faced by Black communities to improve access to provincial, federal, and community agency services and programs
•       Efforts to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Black Torontonians as part of the City's contributions to mark the International Decade for People of African Descent
•       Ability to address emerging issues and trends to ensure the interests and needs of Black communities are reflected in City programs and service delivery

Honorarium and Meetings
•       Public members receive an honorarium of $125 per meeting attended, for up to four times per year at the call of the Chair.

Submit your application by April 11, 2023 for consideration. To apply and learn more about the Committee structure, please visit the webpage and review the Terms of Reference:

If you have any questions about the Committee or application process, please email: [email protected]

Are you interested in receiving a free hot meal of homemade soup? Or perhaps you're interested in volunteering and participating in some community care? See below for this initiative being hosted by For Youth Initiative!

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!

This April, the BBPA Harry Jerome Awards returns! Don't forget to get your tickets and nominate your preferred candidate!

In Solidarity, 

Jill Andrew
Toronto-St. Paul's


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