Community News Update - December 1, 2023

Dear Community, 


Today, December 1st, is World AIDS Day. Today and every day, we must commit to education, fighting the stigma, advocacy, and building a robust public health care system that leaves NOBODY behind.

Today I mourn the loss of friends, family, and community members who've lost the battle to AIDS-related illness and send my solidarity to the over 20,000 Ontarians living with HIV/AIDS. I want to express my gratitude to the countless activists past and present who have fought against HIV/AIDS and the structural tyranny of homophobia, transphobia, and racism, which drive inequities and the over-representation of the 2SLBTQ+ community and folks of colour, especially Black and Indigenous folks.

Following #WrappedInCourage day this past Wednesday, I rose in the House to demand that our work to end gender-based violence isn't limited to a single day, but acted upon each and everyday after until we see its end. 
 
In yesterday's question period, I shared what I had heard from those working on the frontlines of the gender-based violence sector. Their sector is sadly experiencing an overwhelming demand that the Ford government is only making worse. While a national plan to address the crisis was put in place, the provincial government is no where to be found. From their failure to implement real affordable housing strategies into the province, like bringing back real rent-control and investing in public and non-profit housing, to their continued refusal to repeal Bill 124 to allow workers' wages to catch up to the cost of living, the Premier's utter inaction is risking the lives of women and girls all across Ontario.
 
Enough is enough. 62 women and girls lost this year is 62 too many. Their legacies deserve a world free from gender-based and intimate partner violence.
 
Watch the clip here.

"Working for peanuts in a peanut free zone!"
 
That's just what early childhood educators are doing all across Ontario. Yesterday, I was honoured to join the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care and Ontario's ECEs as we demanded fair wages for their sector. Minister Lecce's $23/hour is far from enough and running workers out of the sector to bring up costs for families all across Ontario and stall our economic progress. ECEs should be earning least $30/hour and it's long time they see it! Because their working conditions are student learning conditions, and they all deserve better! 

A special shout out to our local CUPE4400 Toronto education workers who were out yesterday standing in solidarity with child care workers. I'm incredibly thankful to you all for your work & hope to see you again soon!
 
Tell Ford & Lecce, ECEs are WORTH MORE! Sign your name.

Par for the course, this government's Bill 154 allows Ford and his CONservative cronies to break the law, skirting all accountability when it comes to their plans to privatize the public land of Ontario Place. It is an insult to Ontarians, especially after they promised to do better following the infamous Greenbelt scandal.
 
Yesterday, I stood on behalf of Toronto—St. Paul's to call out the "New Deal" for Toronto as exactly what it is: NO deal at all. As the cost of living crisis rages on all across the province and certainly in our own community, the last thing people need is their tax dollars spent on a $650 million parking lot! Dollars aside, we deserve transparency from our government, a sustainable climate, access to public park land, and for our best interests to be put first! This NO deal answers to none of it.
 
Watch the clip here and add your name to our call. 

On Wednesday, MPP Stevens debated their Private Members' Bill to bring free contraception to Ontario; a vital step towards gender parity and reproductive justice. Despite the government committing to this action, they said no to the motion and in doing so, no to women, trans men, and gender-diverse Ontarians reliant on this healthcare. 
 
But our fight is not over. We will keep demanding the human right to healthcare does not come at a cost!

Calling all poets of St. Paul's and beyond! The Legislative Assembly of Ontario is seeking nominees for the next Poet Laureate of Ontario. The role was created in 2019 in honour of the late Gord Downie.

The application is open until January 15, 2024. Click here for more information.

As the holiday season draws closer, there's much to celebrate and that includes local art and performance! Luckily, there's much to choose from to bring family, friends, and loved ones together.
 
From now until December 2nd, Canadian Stage is showing The Lehman Trilogy, telling the story of the rise and fall of the banking empire as written by Stefano Massini, adapted by Ben Power, and directed by Philip Akin. Click here to reserve your spot.

Hot off its heels, Toronto—St. Paul's own Alicia Richardson is also premiering her play, Sweeter from December 2nd through 17th. With a mango tree taking centre stage as a metaphor many will relate, the show welcomes the whole family to laugh, reflect, and most of all, enjoy Toronto arts. With matinee and evening showtimes, you won't want to miss this one. Learn more and secure your tickets here.

As the holidays approach, there are many opportunities to gather in community, enjoy some festive goodies, and support of local businesses and community groups!

This Saturday, December 2nd from 11 AM to 4 PM come check out the Midtown Holiday Bazaar at 130 Eglinton Ave E (Montgomery Place). Hosted by Montgomery Seniors Club, there will be over 20 vendors participating and selling crafts, baked goods, toys, etc. 

Also, this Saturday December 2nd, join the Oakwood Village BIA for their Holiday Kickoff Celebrations. See details below:

🎉🎄It’s almost time to kickoff the Holidays!

Join us on Saturday, December 2nd for our tree lighting and Holiday Block Party featuring dance performances by @ontarioballet. Oh and be sure to walk the streets and look at the amazing decorated windows! Vote on which ones are your favourite for your chance to win prizes (both for the winning business windows and some random prizes to voters!)

Learn more about these FREE community events in the link in bio!

💡🎄5pm Tree Lighting at Oakwood/Vaughan Traffic Island with live music by @jaysmooth

☕️🍬 6pm-8pm - Holiday Block Party with dance performances, DJ, snacks and hot chocolate at Oakwood Ave / Holland Park Ave

❄️👀 Window Wonderland - from Dec 2nd - January 14th
⭐️Stroll Oakwood Ave taking in the fun, creative and festive window art. Vote for your favourite windows to win prizes!

Also, this Saturday December 2nd, the Hillcrest Village BIA is hosting their holiday celebration! Drop in from 11 AM to 2 PM at the Green Parking Lot at 789 St Clair Ave W (Car Park 220). 

There will be special performances from DJ Jennifer, hot chocolate supplied by Krave, a holiday photo frame, pet photo portraits, and lots of good food and local shopping!

Click here for more details!

Saturday, December 9th at 3 PM join the AppleTree Group for some Midtown Merriment in June Rowlands Park! Their holiday community tree decorating event is back for the first time since 2019. 

Bring your favourite holiday ornament and join them for a cup-o-cheer at the park garden. Click here for more information. 

Toronto Cares and 13 Division Toronto Police Annual Toy Drive is back!

Toy donations can be brought to the main drop-off site at Fairbank Memorial Community Recreation Centre at 2213 Dufferin St between Saturday and Sunday, December 2nd and 3rd from 9AM and 4PM. 

Visit their website for more information and a full list of drop-off locations accepting donations until December 15th. 

Sunday, December 10 from 11 AM to 5 PM, the Disability Collective and Wagner-Green Centre for Access and Inclusion are hosting the Disability Holiday Market at Artscape Wychwood Barns (601 Christie St). 

The Disability Holiday Market features work created by disabled artists and celebrates the diversity of the holiday season in Toronto. The event includes:

  • Artist and community vendors
  • Community card making station
  • Cozy corner
  • Holiday photo booth

Visit the link for more information! 

Until December 15th, support the Weston Mount Dennis Service Provider's Network Winter Coat Drive! 

The items needed are brand new or gently used winter coats and winter gear. 

Items can be dropped off at the Weston King Neighbourhood Centre at 2017 Weston Rd. For more information, contact 416-241-9898. 

The Stop's Holiday Boxes are back! 

Now's your chance to preorder a wonderful holiday gift box with 13 specialty items perfect for the holiday season! The boxes will be available for pick up at the market itself on Saturday, December 9th and December 16th between 9 AM and 1 PM. Community members who are unable to travel can arrange delivery at the email below. All proceeds will support the Stop Community Food Centre, your local market, and your community!

To reserve a box today and for more info email the [email protected].

National Initiative for Eating Disorders is hosting a free virtual webinar on December 6th from 6:30 - 8 PM EST - "Navigating Family Dynamics: Handling Holidays While Supporting Loved Ones With Eating Disorders".

Visit the link for more information and to register. 

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.

When you register as a possible organ and tissue donor, you have the potential to change the story for someone in need.
 
One donor can help over 80 people get back to life.
 
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 www.beadonor.ca. 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 www.beadonor.ca.

This is a reminder to get up-to-date on your COVID-19 boosters. The XBB 1.5 updated boosters are NOW available. I got mine and I encourage you to join me! 

Consult this page for information about where you can get vaccinated.

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

MPP Toronto-St. Paul's

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