Community News Update - February 16, 2024

Dear Community, 

As we head into the long weekend, I want to wish everyone in our St. Paul's community a happy Family Day! I'm wishing each of you a restful long weekend and time spent with your loved ones - whatever that looks like for you! 

Please note that my Community Office will be closed on Monday, February 19th for the holiday.

I'll be back at Queen's Park on Tuesday ready to hold the Ford government accountable for those families that can't. Families across the province are struggling. Whether it's addressing the affordability and health care crises, putting public dollars into the public education system, or investing in child care and our early childhood educators, I am committed to advocating for systemic changes our communities so desperately need at Queen's Park. 

We're heading into this session laser-focused on delivering solutions to housing, the rising cost of living, and healthcare. We've taken on a corrupt Conservative government and forced them to reverse countless decisions from the Greenbelt to wage suppression legislation for public sector workers. As we head back into the session, we're going to keep holding the government to account.

Read more here.


This week marked a major victory for all workers across this province. On Monday, February 12th, the Ontario Court of Appeals ruled that Bill 124 is unconstitutional. 

We rallied against this disastrous bill from the very start. I've stood behind and beside workers, unions, and advocates fighting for this brighter day. Bill 124 hurt our province. It forced health care and education workers out of the profession, cut people's wages during an affordability crisis, and broke people's trust in this government. 

Ford's conservatives wasted years and public dollars fighting public sector workers in court trying to uphold this unconstitutional bill that took wages away from the workers who make this province run. 

Now it's time to show these workers the money! Let's give them back their lost wages. 

Read the full press release here.


Last night I attended the opening night of Universal Child Care created by Quote Unquote Collective and presented by the Canadian Stage!

Witness the sheer power and force of the unaccompanied human voice in the newest work from Quote Unquote Collective. Part concert, part theatre play (and self-consciously neither of those things), the ensemble screams about the lack of affordable child care and growing inequalities while comparing different approaches to child care around the globe.

If you can, go see this INCREDIBLE play! It boldly demonstrates the NEED for fully funded universal child care programs here in Canada and beyond, quite frankly. There is NO recovery from the pandemic without child care. There is no economic liberation for mothers and parents without publicly funded, high-quality, affordable child care. Let's also not forget that the province needs to properly pay early childhood educators what they're worth. Because no staff means no child care spaces. And no spaces means no return to work for parents, means no rent, no mortgage, no food on the table... The list goes on. Lack of access to child care means women and parents feel shame for having children. This should never be the story. 

Hats off to the talented cast, crew, director, writers, and everyone who had a piece in this production! The show runs Feb 13-25 at the Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street). There will be three on-site childcare options available during the February 25th matinee.  

Click here to purchase tickets!


Looking for a fun Family Day activity? Check out Glisten Festival presented by the Yonge + St Clair BIA!

Last night, I kicked off the celebrations at the festival launch! The weather was cold but the party was HOT 🔥

Thank you to the entire BIA team for having me! Shout out to DJ Fly Lady Di and the incredible violinist, Saraphina for the music! Thank you also to Hidden Smirk Photo BoothChoco Churros (YUM!), the LED Robots, and Studio F Minus (creators of the Tunnel of Glam)!

The festival is on until March 18th! Don't miss the limited-time art installations and the TUNNEL OF GLAM ✨ (located at 1501 Yonge St)! Click the link for full festival details:


Earlier this week I attended the opening film of the 2024 Toronto Black Film Festival!

The film Goodbye Julia begins in July 2005, in the midst of the aftermath of the Sudanese war. MONA, an upper-middle-class retired singer from the North, accidentally hits a Southern child with her car and drives away. When the child’s father chases her on his motorbike, she calls her husband for help. As soon as she returns home, her husband shoots the chaser dead, not knowing Mona hit his son.

Burdened by guilt and depression, Mona covertly searches for the victim’s family to offer some compensation. She finds his wife JULIA, a poor lady from the South, and her son Daniel, who is still alive. She offers her a job to work for her as a housemaid, and Julia moves in. Over the next five years, their relationship grows, that is until one day, Julia finds out the truth.

The film was incredibly powerful and left me wondering if I too could have been as formidable a woman as Julia was.

The festival is on until February 19th! And as always, thank you to the Fabienne Colas Foundation for supporting Black artists here in Canada! Click here to check out this year's programming. 


Yesterday, I met with Simone Wright, Founder of Parting the Roots! Parting the Roots is a grassroots organization focused on sharing the history, significance, and politics behind Black hair. Simone's mission is to educate on the deep rooted history of Black hair, highlight the impact of systemic racism, and normalize Black hair to be represented in any way desired. Thank you, Simone, for sharing your journey! I look forward to collaborating with you in the near future. 


It's time for a special St. Paul's Spotlight! Today, I visited the not-for-profit Lil E Coffee Cafe in our Yonge & St. Clair neighbourhood!

What an amazing spot! From coffee, tea, delicious croissant sandwiches, sweet treats, muffins, and more to some café merchandise and housewares, you can find it all, along with excellent customer service and a smile. Lil E Coffee Cafe's goal is to provide, as the café manager says, "meaningful work" to people with disabilities. There is a shortage of job opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and this café is doing its part to be a solution. It serves as a first stop for some employees who then graduate and move on to other employment.

I'm really excited to support them and have them in our community! We need more locations across the province, and I hope the Ontario government can take note and help address the gaps in employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

I'm looking forward to visiting them again! Keep those croissants coming. And the lemon mango tea!? Oooh la la!

Thank you, Team Lil E Coffee Cafe, for the incredibly warm welcome. It was fun hanging out! You can visit them at 2 St Clair Ave W.


Earlier this week I attended PSAC's Toronto Racially Visible Committee's Black History Month Celebration! 

It was an honour to join migrant workers' advocate Gabriel Allahdua as the evening's keynote speakers. Check out Gabriel Allahdua's book, Harvesting Freedom: The Life of a Migrant Worker in Canada. Thank you PSAC Toronto RVS for having me! 


Also, this week I attended The Neighbourhood Group's (TNG) annual Pancake Open House at St. Stephen's House in our St. Paul's community! Their services are crucial to so many in our community & beyond. Thank you to the entire TNG team for your HEARTwork!


A new local theatre group has popped up right in our community - meet Hillcrest Village Community Players! They will be performing Footloose at St. Matthew's (729 St. Clair Ave West) from February 22nd to March 2nd. This is a performance you do not want to miss.
Get your tickets here:
Over 100 members of the community have come together to volunteer in the cast, crew, orchestra and production team to make this production possible. Invite your friends, family and neighbours. With a timeless tale, appropriate for all ages - this is truly a community affair!


I'm excited to be joining the Greater Toronto Area Alumnae Chapter (GTAAC) of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority for their (American) Women's History Month event on March 2nd! Read below for more details:

Join GTAAC for an exciting Women's History Month event. Come together to watch, learn, and engage in a fun, family event. A textured hair professional change-maker, spoken word artist, 2 dynamic filmmakers, and a visual artist... all women creatives, coming together to bring you a memorable presentation in a vibrant way around the ongoing conversation of Black hair and beauty perception from the inside and out. Dr. Jill Andrew, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Toronto-St. Paul's will also be a guest speaker. All genders are welcome.

Event Details:
Date: Saturday, March 2nd,2024

Time: Check-In @ 11:15am, Prompt start time @ 12:00pm and End time @ 2:00pm

Location: St.Michael and All Angels Church, 611 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON, Canada

Adults Aged 18 & above - $15 per ticket
Youth Aged 17 & below (I.D. Ready Please) - Free of Charge Registration

Mandatory Permission Slips Link for YOUTH aged 17 & below. Parents/Guardians must physically attend the venue with minors aged 13 and under.

Don't miss this opportunity to connect with the community, and hair professionals while enjoying dynamic films and breathtaking art all by women creatives. Click here to reserve your spot!


Check out Homework Hub at the Oakwood Vaughan Community Hub in Vaughan Road Academy (529 Vaughan Rd). 

The program is offered Wednesday from 4 to 6 PM and is open to students in grades 4-8. Sign up for support with:

  • Homework
  • Reading, writing, math
  • Test prep
  • Organization

Register at [email protected].


Also from the Oakwood Vaughan Community Hub!

There is an 800-900 sq. ft. classroom space available for community programming on weekdays at the Oakwood Vaughan Community Hub in the former Vaughan Rd. Academy.

Contact Peter Clutterbuck, OVCO Board member and Community Hub Chair by email ([email protected]) or by phone (416-738-3228) for more information. 


The Stop Gap Foundation is supporting 5 Black-owned businesses this Black History Month in creating a more accessible space by offering them a StopGap ramp at no cost!

To be eligible, the business must:

  • Be located within the GTA (Greater Toronto Area)
  • Have a single-stepped entrance between 2” to 9” high

If you’re the owner of a Black-owned business, send them an email [email protected] to get a free, custom-built access ramp!


Check out this 3 part webinar series from the Youth Alliance for Intersectional Justice (YAIJ)!

This is an opportunity for neurodiverse high school students to learn more about college, university, or trade schools, from neurodiverse students currently in those school environments.

Students and their families can ask anything they want and get coaching from their peers, students with lived experiences, and accessibility advisors.
ALL students are welcome, especially students who are non-speaking, have multiple disabilities, and students who aren't in school anymore. Interpreter services will be available.

This 3-part webinar series will cover everything from getting through the application process, to making friends at school.

Part 1 is on March 27th at 730p  (EST) on Zoom. Registration is free. Email Jantz at [email protected].


The Hillcrest Community Food Bank (2 Vaughan Road) needs URGENT help filling their shelves!

The need for food in our community is increasing and they're in urgent need of MORE food (and household items) to meet this higher demand. Please contact them via Instagram if there is anything you can do to help or if you are a local business that would be interested in becoming a community partner. Food donations in kind or monetary donations to their Canada Helps website would be greatly appreciated.


Pride at Work is seeking nominations for its 2024 CHANGEMAKERS campaign. The campaign will recognize15 people championing 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion in the corporate, public service and non profit sectors across Canada as a part of their 15th anniversary.

The nomination process is open from January 15th to March 17th, 2024. Click here for more information. 


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 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

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, Ph.D

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

Sign up for updates

Find us on social media

Make a provincial donation

Make a federal donation