It was a busy weekend for the Ontario NDP. I was thrilled to join my colleagues and new candidates at Evergreen Brickworks yesterday afternoon for our outdoor, masked event to share a huge announcement!
We had an incredible list of performers, including Juno winners Ralph, a l l i e, & Samba Squad and inspiring speakers. From Claudette Commanda, Algonquin Anishinabe from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation to the Ontario Nursing Association President, Cathryn Hoy to City Councillor for our neighbours in Toronto-Centre, Kristyn Wong-Tam, the crowd was revved up and inspired by those who know firsthand why our province needs an Ontario NDP government.
But most exciting, Leader Andrea Horwath was the last to speak where she made the monumental announcement that when our party is elected as government this June, we will make mental healthcare universal in this province! Under this plan, counseling and therapy – as the most sought-after treatment – will be covered by OHIP.
And never has this need been so great.
Prior to the pandemic, 1 in 5 Ontarians struggled with their mental health as resources moved further and further out of reach thanks to decades of cuts under Liberal and Conservative governments. Through COVID, these cuts were felt even deeper, with at least 1 in 4 seeking mental health and addictions support; all as waitlists for publicly funded care had them waiting 6 months, a year, or even longer for the healthcare they needed.
I cannot emphasize enough – mental healthcare is healthcare. In the same way someone can heal a broken leg or physical ailment without wondering how they’ll afford it, an Ontario NDP government will ensure this for those struggling with their mental health too. We know the pain is felt equally and that care needs to be equally accessible for all too!
This announcement is one of the many reasons I’m so proud to stand with the Ontario NDP and look forward to meeting you at your door or in the community soon to discuss all the others too!
Read how the Ontario NDP will make Universal Mental Healthcare happen for Ontario!
From Queen’s Park, my friend and colleague, MPP French put forth a motion asking this government to finally improve protections and accountability in Ontario’s long-term care system. Our Toronto-St. Paul’s community knows how much this is needed for the seniors, people with disabilities or others that find themselves needing long-term care. For many of them, this is one of the most difficult decisions and vulnerable times in their life and they deserve a system that eases this vulnerability, not one that adds to this.
I spoke in support of this motion last Thursday, where I had the opportunity to thank a few of our own Toronto-St. Paul residents for the advocacy work they’re doing to ensure the long-term care system is safe, caring, culturally responsive, and accountable.
LeZlie and Angel have both done tremendous work for our shared 2SLGBTQIA+ community in its intersection with the long-term care sector, based on their lived experience. LeZlie now sits on the 2SLGBTQI Community Advisory Board to revitalize the City of Toronto’s ‘Diversity Our Strength’ toolkit to ensure workers are equipped with training specific to LGBTQIA2S+ residents so they aren’t going “back in the closet” out of fear of the care (or lack thereof) they may receive otherwise. This is a reality for far too many folks and my sincerest thanks go out to LeZlie and Angel for ensuring it stops now.
Stephanie is another Toronto-St. Paul’s resident who rose to the immense challenge this pandemic put in front of her and her family. As such, Stephanie became a leader on the family council of one of our community’s long-term care homes, fiercely advocating for residents. In a time that was so trying for families and residents, when answers felt hard to come by under quickly changing times, she was a force with a smiling face through it all.
Both have and continue to do the heavy lifting that sadly, this government hasn’t. This motion looks to change that. To put the onus on us as legislators to hold operators accountable to the care they promise but failed to deliver, as we tragically witnessed over this pandemic.
Watch video from the House here.
Our community heroes awards event is happening tonight, starting at 6PM. While nearly impossible to express my full gratitude for each recipient, tonight’s a chance to acknowledge the incredible work, advocacy, and community building each has done to make Toronto-St. Paul’s not just a place to reside but a place to call home.
There's still time to get your name on the list to attend the virtual celebration. Click here to RSVP.
Lastly, over the next two weeks, overnight noise and potential traffic delays at Oakwood and Eglinton can be expected as crews will continue the installation of traffic signals and streetlights at Oakwood Station. Traffic will be reduced to one lane each way but to mitigate its impact on daytime congestion, the work will be taking place between 8:00PM and 6:00AM from Monday to Thursday.
I know that this notice is yet another disruption for residents and commuters in the area but also brings us one step closer to the public transit our community needs, deserves, and has been waiting for!