Community News Update - December 8, 2021

Dear Community,

Today, Ontario reported an additional 1009 cases of COVID-19, which pushed our seven-day average up again to 1007. This is an increase of over 20% from this time last Wednesday. Of the new cases, almost a quarter of all cases were school-related – with 252 cases tied to schools in our province.

This is the highest number of school-related cases that we’ve seen in a single day during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, despite the fact that we’re seeing more and more cases in schools – many of our local schools are still struggling to access rapid tests.

These tests are vital, as they would help quickly identify outbreaks, and allow school administrators to minimize spread as much as possible. To that end, I wrote a letter, along with my friend and colleague MPP Marit Stiles, to the Minister of Education demanding they develop a transparent plan to get those tests into our schools.

You can read the full letter here.

On the topic of rapid testing, it’s not only schools where getting access to these tests is proving difficult. Across Ontario, there is increasing demand for rapid testing, and as we continue through the holiday season, that demand is growing. Along with that reality, we’ve also learned that the Ontario government is currently sitting on a stockpile of at least five million tests in storage. That’s why today, I’m proud to stand with Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath in her call for the urgent roll out of free rapid tests in Ontario.

For many of us, the Omicron variant has been top of mind since it was first discovered. This morning, Pfizer released initial results from lab studies which, they say, show that a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine “increased by 25-fold the level of so-called neutralizing antibodies against Omicron.” While these are just initial results, I’ll be sure to follow up on this as more information becomes available.

An enormous issue in our community is the ever increasing cost of housing, which has priced out many people from the market, and forced them into unaffordable rental units. So earlier this week when we learned that Ford would be announcing his choices for the Housing Affordability Task Force, there was a glimmer of hope that he’d choose folks with a solid background in affordable housing.

Of course, that glimmer of hope was absolutely unfounded, and Doug Ford chose folks who have more of a background in donating money to the PCs than they do in creating affordable housing. Six of the nine members are donors to his party, and the chair of the task force is a multi-millionaire banking executive.

There are no tenants, housing advocates, co-op housing providers, or even municipal partners. He’s chosen bankers, developers and donors.

There is a very clear lack of commitment to addressing the affordability crisis from the Ford government, and perhaps nothing has encapsulated that more clearly than this announcement.

On Monday, I rose in the Legislature to deliver remarks in recognition of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. In my Monday Community News Update, I didn’t have the video ready yet to share, but now it’s been uploaded and I’d encourage everyone to check it out here.

Coming up on Saturday, from 10AM to 2PM at St. Michael and All Angels Church (611 St. Clair Ave West), they will be hosting a Christmas Arts Market! At the market, you’ll be able to find a wide range of products from local crafters and artisans.

I’ll be sure to attend this weekend, and I hope to see you there!

Coming up this weekend, Toronto Cares will be hosting their “Closet Clear-Out Clothing and Toy Drive” at Fairbank Memorial Community Recreation Centre (2213 Dufferin St) – and there’s been a slight update in what they need.

Specifically – they’re in need of toys for children aged 7 to 12! You can also make financial donations by clicking here.

Here are some words from the organizers:
 
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)
 
To find out more – check out the Toronto Cares website here.

In Solidarity,

Jill Andrew

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