Today is December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. On this day, we remember the 14 women killed by a man who was a misogynistic anti-feminist coward because they were women.
These 14 women and thousands since should still be here:
- Geneviève Bergeron
- Hélène Colgan
- Nathalie Croteau
- Barbara Daigneault
- Anne-Marie Edward
- Maud Haviernick
- Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz
- Maryse Laganière
- Maryse Leclair
- Anne-Marie Lemay
- Sonia Pelletier
- Michèle Richard
- Annie St-Arneault
- Annie Turcotte
Tragically, this year Ontario has seen gender-based violence (GBV) take 58 lives already. So while we take time today to reflect on the scourge of GBV, let’s keep it top of mind year-round. This fight to protect women and girls in Ontario is ongoing – and I’m committed to the fight. Whether through my Intersectional Gender Equity Strategy that I’ve put forward at Queen’s Park, or by simply lending my voice to the cause – I will never back down on this issue.
I spoke in the Legislature this morning to recognize the day, but sadly I don’t have the video ready just yet – so I’ll be sharing that in the Wednesday Community News Update.
This morning, Ontario reported 887 new cases of COVID-19, and the seven-day average has now risen to 940 – which is a 20% increase from just one week ago. Along with the case counts increasing, we’re also seeing jumps in the number of patients in ICUs across the province, with 168 currently in critical care, which is the most since the end of September.
The Omicron variant is of particular concern to many, as the emerging strain spreads around the globe. Here in Ontario, there have now been at least 13 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant.
Of course, the steps that we all must take remain the same. That means, masking when appropriate, and making sure to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The WSIB is one of the more opaque entities in the Ontario government, a division that my office hears complaints about periodically from injured workers who are being left out in the cold. But no WSIB case that I’ve seen has been as fraught as the case of Jana – a constituent who’s been fighting WSIB for years to commit to her benefits. Despite mountains of evidence from doctors and experts, WSIB has fought Jana every step of the way on her case, and just a couple days ago finally terminated her benefits.
The whole case is filled with twists and turns that no one should ever be put through, and for Jana to receive this result now is devastating.
So why am I telling you about this case today?
Well, Jana has made a short documentary about her story – and I would strongly encourage you to check it out. This story deserves attention, and it’s my hope – and I know Jana’s hope that we can not only get this case resolved for her – but also for the thousands of other folks dealing with their own WSIB situations.
I want to thank Jana, and her partner Steve for their bravery, and commitment to fighting for a better system.
OHIP Card Renewal
A constituent recently brought to my attention a very clear failure from the government when it comes to OHIP card renewals. Oddly enough, while you can renew your OHIP card online if you have a driver’s license, you cannot if you only have another piece of government issued ID. This regulation is both inconvenient and discriminatory towards many Ontarians who don’t hold a driver’s license, including people with disabilities.
Today, in Question Period I raised this issue directly with the Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Ross Romano – where I demanded that the government adjust this practice, so that anyone with government issued photo ID is able to renew their health card online.
Around the Community
I want to send a big thanks to Rabbi Elie Karfunkel and the congregation of Forest Hill Jewish Centre for welcoming me to be a part of your Chanukah celebrations over the weekend. I caught up with old friends, made new ones and also received a copy of The Light of Jaslo - the tale of the pair of Shabbat candlesticks that traveled from Poland!
It was a fantastic event, and I can’t wait to be back!
Coming up this weekend, we have a very exciting Christmas Clothing and Toy Drive happening at Fairbank Memorial Community Recreation Centre (2213 Dufferin St), on Saturday December 11 from 12PM to 4PM.
Here are some words from the organizers:
Please help us support families in need this Christmas season!!! Most people don't realize that in order to get toys through most of Toronto's toy drives, clients must submit their request by mid-November which is just not possible for a lot of low-income families. Since so many parents did not have a chance to register their child in time, we will be collecting toys to distribute before Christmas to low-income families across the city.
CLOTHING: We'll accept all shapes, sizes & genders, from newborn to seniors.
→Nothing ripped or stained.
→All clothing should be clean & dry.
→ Original packaging not mandatory.
TOYS: We'll ONLY accept new or like-new toys.
→ Nothing ripped or broken.
→ Original packaging not mandatory.
COLLECTION: Items can be dropped off or picked up.
→ DROP-OFF is at our collection center at Fairbank Memorial Community Recreation Centre (2213 Dufferin St, York, Ont, M6E 2A8)
The VO Youth have partnered with the For Youth Initiative for another Holiday Gift Drive – and right now they’re in the collection phase of their campaign. They’re looking for a range of items (in new or good condition), including winter wear, toiletries, kitchenware, home décor, stationary, toys, non-perishable items, plants, Christmas decorations, hygienic products, and more!
Tomorrow night at 6:30PM, Toronto ACORN is hosting an online workshop about payday and installment loans – loans which are often very predatory in nature, and can land those have taken them out in hot financial water.
Finally today, there is a person who’s gone missing in our city, and their family and friends are now out looking for him.
Raheem White is 26 years old, and he was last seen on December 1, around the Osler St and Pelham Ave area in our neighbouring riding of Davenport. I’m attaching his missing poster below, and I encourage anyone who might have any information to contact Toronto Police at 416-808-1400.