Community News Update - December 6, 2023

Dear Community, 

Today, December 6th, marks the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Today we remember the 14 women, engineering students, who were senselessly murdered and 13 others injured at École Polytechnique de Montréal in 1989 simply for their gender. We also remember the many others whose lives have been taken far too soon due to gender-based violence. 

We must also recognize the countless missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls whose names are too often left out of these conversations. Today and every day, they too must be remembered. 

Today, I stood in the House and offered a statement honouring survivors and victims of gender-based violence and femicide. I also recognized the work of constituents here in St. Paul's and across Toronto who are doing the heavy lifting in the fight against gender-based violence. Thank you to Clara Luz Castillo, Executive Director of Counterpoint Counselling and Educational Coop and your team. Your work in perpetrator re-education is an essential piece of the puzzle to break the hold of violence against women and gender-diverse folks. Thank you also to Woman Abuse Council of Toronto (WomanACT), OAITH, and countless advocates in our community for being champions in the fight. I am proud to support your calls and amplify you work today, and every day. 

Click here to watch my full statement. 

In a shocking turn of events this afternoon, the Ford government has adjourned the House until February 2024. 

Community, make no mistake. Their mad dash to shut the House down today has everything to do with them not wanting to face criticisms, question, and debate we had coming their way. ESPECIALLY after the release of today's damning Auditor General's report. My message to the conservatives is clear: you can run but you can't hide!

The Auditor General's 2023 Annual Report revealed concerning new information the state of province's healthcare system and brought to light further mishandling of the future of the Ontario Science Centre and Ontario Place, and so much more... 

Under this Ford government, our hospitals have been plagued by staff shortages and ER closures. As we all know, Bill 124 is literally killing our public healthcare system. The evidence is right here in front of us. It's social murder! By propping up for-profit staffing agencies, Ford is doing unethical damage. 

There's still so much more to unpack. Ford and his conservatives have backtracked on almost every single one of their major policy decisions. From the Greenbelt, MZOs, urban boundary expansions and most recently Dougie and Bonnie's deal to break up the Peel region. 

Today's report is a reminder that this Conservative government is NOT working for the people, but for their friends... Community, we, the official opposition, will continue to push back against their pay and play agenda. At a time when folks in our communities are struggling to pay rent and buy food, the government MUST reevaluate their priorities. 

For highlights on the Auditor General's report, read the full ONDP press release here. 

More analysis to come, but for now, let's refocus on the Science Centre. Earlier his week, I rose in the House to demand the government answer for its so-called "business case" to rebuild the Ontario Science Centre at HALF its current size at TWICE the cost of repairing the existing heritage building. All this to be built on top of an unnecessary publicly funded parking garage!

Later on, rather than answering my questions this government SHUT DOWN further debate on the future of the Ontario Science Centre AND Ontario Place, silencing community voices–YOUR VOICES–from speaking against this further in the legislature. If they were so confident in their plans, why not debate the legislation? The people of Ontario deserve better!

But that’s not all… Just yesterday, your ONDP team obtained documents through an FOI request that revealed this government had planned to move the Science Centre to Ontario Place nearly TWO YEARS before informing the public. 

Finally, today the Auditor General’s 2023 Annual Report revealed what many of us had already assumed. Key stakeholders were NOT consulted. The decision was made based on incomplete and insufficient information, driven by the need to justify a sketchy backroom deal to build a private luxury spa at the expense of hard-working Ontarians. 

Watch the full clip from Question Period here.

Yesterday, I visited the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center's Tour for Humanity mobile human-rights education centre at Queen's Park. Local schools are able to book visits through their website. 

Earlier during the reception, we heard from Andy Reti, a Holocaust survivor and educator. It was a powerful experience for me to witness and hear his words. As Andy said, if you witness racism and hate as a bystander and you say nothing, you are an enabler. Facts indeed... 

Thank you, Andy, for your commitment to Holocaust education. Education opens hearts and minds and we ALL have a role in this as we are both eternal students and teachers in this life. 

Earlier this week I was honoured to table three petition on behalf of some INCREDIBLE advocates in our St. Paul's and broader Ontario community. 

The first was on behalf of Brown Junior Public School in our very own St. Paul's. THANK YOU to the keen students, staff educators, and community members from our riding and across the province for your advocacy and for being champions of public education. I am proud to sign and support your calls to this government. 

Watch the full clip here.

Second, I was proud to amplify the demands of countless Ehler-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) advocates and survivors to the Premier and this government. For too long, community members with EDS have gone without publicly available access to the lifechanging care they deserve. 

This petition calls on the government to hire ONE neurosurgeon who can and will perform neurosurgeries on EDS patients with equivalent or identical skills to the international EDS neurosurgeon specialists AND meet the requirements of the Health Canada Act, to to afford equal access to medical treatment for patients, regardless of their ability to pay for out-of-country services.

A special thank you to the ILC Foundation and the many EDS survivors in St. Paul's and beyond for your advocacy. I will always support your calls. 

Lastly, I tabled, signed and supported and IMPORTANT petition on behalf of Dr. Sally Palmer calling on this government to double social assistance rates for ODSP and OW in this province. The current rates are too low, forcing thousands of Ontarians below the poverty line, unable to afford rent and put food on the table. These increases are long overdue. Thank you to the many ODSP and OW advocates for your tireless advocacy. I am proud to sign your petition and support your calls in the legislature. It's time to raise the rates!

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.

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. 

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. 

December 17th! St. Matthew’s United Church & the TOGOGOS present a Christmas Goodies and Crafts Fair from noon to 3 PM at St. Matthew's United Church (729 St Clair Ave W). 

Join them in the church parlour of seasonal baked goods, boxes of organic chocolates, cozy handmade quilts and knitted items, special note cards, stocking stuffers, and more!

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].

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

Latest posts

Take action

Protect Our Greenbelt
Bring Back REAL Rent Control!
Close the Gap
Support Education Workers: Stop Bill 28
Events
Donate

Sign up for updates

Find us on social media

Make a provincial donation

Make a federal donation