Community News Update - February 19, 2021

Dear Community,

This afternoon it was announced by the provincial government that Toronto, Peel and North Bay-Parry Sound will remain under a stay-at-home order until at least March 8. This means that all public health measures that are currently in place, will remain in place until at least that time.

For details on what each level of restriction means for you, click here.

For our community, that means that we all must continue to wear our masks diligently, only leave our homes for essential purposes (including exercise), wash our hands frequently, and maintain our physical distance from anyone we do not live with. It is incredibly important that we all commit to doing everything we can to slow the spread of this virus as much as possible – especially as we continue to see the expansion of more contagious COVID-19 variants in our province.

Along with the extension of our lockdown, it has also been announced today that the federal government will be extending the benefit periods for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), and Employment Insurance (EI).

The extensions will be as follows:

  • EI -> maximum of 50 weeks (24-week extension)
  • CRB -> maximum of 38 weeks (12-week extension)
  • CRCB -> maximum of 38 weeks (12-week extension)
  • CRSB -> maximum of 4 weeks (2-week extension)

To find out more about each of these programs, and to see if you are eligible for supports, click here.
We’ve now come to the end of the first week back at Queen’s Park after the winter break, and sadly, this week has been a frustrating week, and I’ll tell you why. As Opposition, we’re often accused by the Government of simply criticizing the work that they’re doing, and not bringing forward our own ideas.

Throughout our entire tenure in Opposition, this has been untrue – and this week, our Ontario NDP Caucus brought forward nine key proposals that would make real differences in the lives of our communities – and each one was shot down by the Conservative government: three on Tuesday, three on Wednesday, and three more on Thursday.

These motions would have required unanimous consent to pass immediately.

The final three on Thursday were:

A raise for all PSWs
This would have raised the wages of PSWs by $4 an hour.

Save Main Street
This would have provided a great deal of support for small businesses across Ontario. It would have included rent subsidies, funding to reopen safely and establish remote operations, and a strategy to support the arts sector.

Creating a Seniors’ Advocate
This would have created an independent Seniors’ Advocate in Ontario to give older adults and their loved ones a place to turn for help, advocacy, and support.

To see a full list of the motions we brought forward Tuesday and Wednesday, click here and here.

Regardless of the rejection of our motions this week, we will not lose our resolve to continue pushing forward positive policy solutions that would make a real difference in the lives of Ontarians during this pandemic.

It is Black History Month, and here in Toronto-St. Paul’s, we have no shortage of incredible stories from our Black community that I’m proud to highlight.

First, I want to send a huge shoutout to Black Urbanism TO, and Reclaim Rebuild Eg West (RREW), who in the face of COVID-19, organized a Black Business Grant program for the Eglinton West community, where they were able to fundraise almost $30,000 and support four Black-owned businesses in Little Jamaica.

They are still collecting donations, and if you’d like to chip in, click here.

I’d also like to congratulate Marcus Pereira, a co-founder of RREW, for being recognized by the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) for his work, and the work of RREW!

You can read the OBHS interview with Marcus Pereira here.

Finally, today I want to invite everyone to check out a fireside chat with the Ontario NDP Black Caucus and Andrea Horwath on Facebook Live on Monday, February 22 at 7PM!

You can RSVP here, and watch here.

Have a great weekend!

In Solidarity,
 
Jill Andrew
Toronto—St. Paul's

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