Community News Update - August 13, 2021

Dear community,

Ontario reported 510 new COVID-19 cases across the province and 4 new deaths. This is the second day in a row seeing a case count above 500, a figure our province hasn't seen since June. 

In Wednesday’s update, I noted  this fourth wave is not inevitable – something I stand behind. But this takes our collective effort, which includes following safety precautions of wearing masks and keeping our distance in public spaces. But it also means getting vaccinated. This continues to be our best bet against the serious complications of this virus.

For those eligible (12+), the rate of those fully vaccinated has risen slightly to 72.8%, while 82.3% of adults and 69.1% of people aged 12-17 have received their first dose. Thank you to each of those who have taken this important step! A reminder that getting vaccinated not only protects ourselves, but those around us and is our social responsibility. If you have any questions about vaccines, our office is here to help and can be reached via email at [email protected].

To help overcome any barriers in receiving them, we will also be hosting another community vaccine clinic next Friday, August 20th from 1-8pm. The clinic will be held at Montage Support Services, located at 504 Oakwood Avenue. Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be available for anyone eligible for their first dose and second doses available for those who received their first prior to the following dates;

Pfizer: July 30, 2021
Moderna: July 23, 2021
AstraZeneca: June 25, 2021

This clinic is supported by Women’s College Hospital and Unison Health and Community Services. No appointments or OHIP will be required.

Earlier this week, I sent the Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce an open letter calling for a better plan that can guarantee a safe September for students; something the government's current plan does not. It also included calls for something I am particularly passionate about; music in schools.

As a product of arts education myself, I know how impactful these classes can be for students struggling mentally or academically. For many, it’s the very reason they show up to school in the first place. Yet, the government’s COVID-19: Health, Safety and Operational Guidance for Schools (2021-2022) overlooks it almost completely, with the guidelines provided for music in schools being painfully brief. This is despite science-backed recommendations being handed to him by the Ontario Music Educators Association (OMEA) already. It is simply a matter of implementing them, which Minister Lecce has actively chosen not to do. This is unacceptable.

Ontario students have been subject to this government’s inaction for too long and have suffered tremendously as a result. We cannot sit back and allow another year of this. Another year of them staring at screens and kept away from their peers, education supports, and classes that simply can’t take place virtually, like music.

Read our letter and sign your name to tell Minister Lecce, his plan is complete without including a plan for safe music in schools and to implement these recommendations now. 

A reminder that this Monday, August 16 at 5:30pm, I will be hosting an Education Summit with MPP Stiles of Toronto-Davenport and Education Critic with the Official Opposition, joined by trustees, Norm Di Pasquale (Ward 9) and Shelley Laskin (Ward 8). We welcome any questions or concerns to what a safe September means for you and your family.

To submit, email [email protected] with the subject line ‘Education Town Hall’. To RSVP, click the link here or tune in to my Facebook where it will be streamed live.

As kids head back to school, I'm reminded of another key issue facing families in our Toronto-St. Paul's community: childcare. Earlier this week, Manitoba was the first to sign a deal with Ottawa to bring $10-a-day childcare to their province. This was quickly followed by Quebec, British Columbia, Yukon, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador signing on to bring down the ever-increasing costs of childcare that families face across this country.

This is especially the case in Ontario, where we've seen childcare costs increase steadily over the past 15 years under Liberal and PC governments to become the highest in the country. Given this statistic, you would think our government would jump at the chance to sign this agreement. Yet, Doug Ford has yet to step up to ease the burden on families and in particular, women; many of whom cannot re-enter the workforce after having children due to the inflated costs of childcare.

As we envision a just economic recovery for this province, we must ensure women are welcomed into the labour market equally, free from the unique burdens they face based on gender. This includes childcare.

As Women's Issues Critic with the Official Opposition, I join my colleage, MPP Karpoche as Childcare Critic to call on the Ford government to sign this long-overdue deal and bring down the costs of childcare.

Residents and commuters around Avenue and Eglinton were faced with a day of noise and disruption due to road construction that started at 6AM this morning. While this type of construction is essential and therefore, expected, being waken up at all hours of the day or night is needlessly taxing on neighbouring residents. Yet, this has been allowed under Ford, ever since they overruled the City of Toronto construction bylaws to permit round-the-clock construction.

Tell Ford to put a stop to the never-ending construction noise by signing our petition.


Lastly, our community food tables return across the riding tomorrow at the following four locations. As always, we welcome donations and/or volunteers. To sign up, click the links below.

 

Marian Engel Park - 285 Melita Ave. (Christie St. and Melita Ave)
Click here to register to volunteer.

St. Matthew’s United Church - 729 St. Clair Ave West. (St. Clair Ave W. and Rushton Ave.)
Click here to register to volunteer.

Cy Townsend Park - 455 Winona Dr. (Vaughan Rd. and Winona Dr.)
Click here to register to volunteer.

Oriole Park Community Garden - 201 Oriole Parkway (Located near Lascelles Blvd. At the south entrance to Oriole Park)
Click here to register to volunteer.

Have a great weekend!

In solidarity,

Jill Andrew
Toronto—St. Paul's

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