Community News Update - February 16, 2022

Dear Community,

I’m starting today with an important update to COVID-19 eligibility criteria.

Starting on Friday, February 18, youth aged between 12 and 17 will become eligible to receive COVID-19 booster shots in Ontario. Appointments will be able to be booked online and over the phone starting at 8AM – some select pharmacies will also be delivering these booster shots as well. Like other age groups, anyone aged 12 to 17 looking to get a booster must wait 168 days between their second and third doses (about 6 months).

I encourage everyone reading this to ensure that they get their full set of vaccinations – and that includes a booster shot.

You can book your vaccine appointment here.

You can find a participating pharmacy here.

NOTE: The City of Toronto has gotten in on this early, and at the mass immunization sites, they are already accepting 12-17 year old walk-ins for booster shots!

Click here for more information.

As a reminder, starting tomorrow there will be significant changes to COVID-19 restrictions in Ontario:

Capacity limits will be lifted in the following indoor spaces where proof of vaccination is required, including:

  • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities
  • Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms
  • Cinemas
  • Meeting and event spaces, including conference centres or convention centres
  • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments
  • Indoor areas of settings that choose to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements.

Other changes include:

  • Increasing social gathering limits to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors
  • Increasing organized public event limits to 50 people indoors, with no limit outdoors
  • Allowing 50 per cent of the usual seating capacity at sports arenas
  • Allowing 50 percent of the usual seating capacity for concert venues and theatres
  • Increasing indoor capacity limits to 25 per cent in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, including nightclubs, restaurants where there is dancing, as well as bathhouses and sex clubs
  • Increasing capacity limits for indoor weddings, funerals or religious services, rites, or ceremonies to the number of people who can maintain two metres physical distance. Capacity limits are removed if the location opts-in to use proof of vaccination or if the service, rite, or ceremony is occurring outdoors. 

Don’t forget! On February 28, I will be helping host a vaccine clinic at the For Youth Initiatives’ (FYI) Oakwood and Vaughan location (504 Oakwood Ave) with FYI and Women’s College Hospital. If you haven’t gotten your full set of vaccines just yet – make sure to come on out.

Here are the details:  

In an exciting update, I’m happy to share for Family Day, I will be dropping by June Rowlands Park (Davisville and Mount Pleasant) to distribute free books to anyone who wants them! I’ll be setting up a table, and I will be onsite from 2 to 4PM.

There will be books for all ages, and everyone is welcome to attend!

In COVID-19 news, today our province has reported 1403 COVID-19 hospitalizations, along with 47 more deaths. There are also 364 people in intensive care, with the virus. While we must note that our hospitalization numbers and ICU admissions are continuing to decline at a steady rate - we must be reminded that we should all still be following the advice of our public health experts. That means making sure we’re fully vaxxed, and wearing an effective mask when appropriate.

Here’s a question. Do you remember when Doug Ford promised to lower hydro bills in Ontario?

Let me tell you – I certainly do.

That’s why today’s news was so angering, when we learned from the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) that Ford’s promise to lower rates by 12% was always a total sham. In fact, under the Ford government, the average bill has risen – and continues to rise. It’s so frustrating to know that after the rates were already skyrocketing because of the Liberal government’s decision to sell off Hydro One, that four years later we have a government who are still sticking Ontarians with expensive hydro bills.

I know that we need to lower those costs, and rebuild our electricity systems with the environment, and communities in mind.

Community News

A few Community New Updates ago, I let you know about a project that had been put together by Jennifer Holness, called Subjects of Desire.

Today, I’m thrilled to let you know about the upcoming launch of Jennifer Holness and Sudz Sutherland’s new series BLK: An Origin Story.

 Here’s a snippet from their website about the series (read the full thing here):

Black people in Canada?

 Hell yeah.

We’ve been here since the 1600s, and our story has never really been told.

 BLK: An Origin Story is cinematic a four-part doc series that starts a conversation that’s been a long time coming.

 Since the 1800s, Canada has been synonymous with the idea of freedom for Black refugees from Slavery. What is not as well known is that Slavery was practiced here by both the British and French for over 200 years before it was abolished in 1834. In fact, Slaves from Upper Canada ran to Michigan which was a free state at the time. 

 There is so much more to Canadian Black history than the Underground Railroad. 

 BLK: An Origin Story weaves narratives from across the country and the globe – creating a magnificent tapestry that illustrates the invaluable contribution Black Canadians have made that has been ignored for too long.

 From the fierce Jamaican maroons that helped to build Halifax, Nova Scotia…to the free Blacks from California who settled British Columbia, BLK: An Origin Story shares a rich and powerful untold history for a new generation.

The series will be debuting on the HISTORY Channel and Global on February 26 at 9PM – and I can’t wait to check it out!

Next up, the Vaughan Oakwood Youth have a youth survey that they’ve put together and they’re looking for respondents. In specific, they are looking for folks aged 12-29 who self-identify as youth who live, work, use services, or hang in in the Vaughan and Oakwood area.

You can fill out the survey by scanning the QR code below.

 March Break is just around the corner, and the City of Toronto will be hosting a March Break Camp at Vaughan Road Academy. They will have a full week of programming, including arts, crafts, sports, and games, and it will cost $143 for ages 6 to 12.

If you’re interested in signing up your child, you can contact Rashida Brown from the City of Toronto at [email protected].

There is currently a renoviction underway in our community, and there are residents organizing to push back. It’s happening at 299 Forman Ave, and I want to commend the organizers for pulling together, and working to keep their neighbours housed.

If you are interested in learning more, or finding out how you can get involved check out their social media pages here:

I’m excited to share once again that we’re ramping up for our Community Awards in March, and we are still in need of nominations! If you know a person, organization, or business who is making a difference in our community – please make sure to submit your nomination at the link below.

Nominate someone today!

In Solidarity,

Jill Andrew

 

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