Community News Update - February 1, 2021

Dear Community,

Today is the first day of Black History Month, and Ontario’s inaugural Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW)!

To start today, I want to wish everyone a happy Black History Month!

Black History Month is an important opportunity for us to stop and reflect on the history of Black people here in Canada and around the world – and to remember that Black history is Canadian history. In this last year, we have seen powerful social movements rise up to reject anti-Black racism in our many institutions – and while progress has been made – we have also seen just how much still needs to be done.  

I want to send a special thank you to everyone who has been on the front lines working to deconstruct racist institutions and create an equitable future for all – and of course say very clearly once more – Black Lives Matter.  

For the first EDAW, Jill hosted Michael Tibollo, the Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, along with representatives of eating disorder awareness groups, health care providers, patients, former patients, and family members of patients to discuss what can be done about these issues. I heard about the difficulty that many have finding compassionate medical care, and how this is even more difficult for those who do not fit the usual profile of someone with an eating disorder.

Thanks to everyone who attended to make their voices heard!

I’m also excited to announce that I have an expanded role at Queen’s Park, as I will now be the Heritage Critic, in addition to the Critic for Culture and Women’s Issues. This means that I will now be responsible for raising heritage concerns, as well as fighting to protect important historical sites and institutions here in Ontario. I’m also glad to continue in my roles as the Critic for Culture and Women’s Issues– two files that are very near to my heart.

Across our caucus there have been a number of changes, so if you would like to see the full new list of portfolio assignments, you can click here.

This afternoon we heard from the Education Minister that we will be learning Wednesday what the government’s school re-opening plan will look like. You can find more details about today’s press conference here.

Frustratingly, it sounds as though the increased supports needed for our schools to maximize the safety of students, staff and the community are not coming. We desperately need to ensure that we’re investing the safety of our classrooms by shrinking class sizes to 15, and providing paid sick days and family leave so parents can keep their sick kids at home if needed.

I’ll be keeping a keen eye out Wednesday to see what further developments are coming.

Finally, an update on COVID-19 in Ontario. Today another 1969 cases of COVID-19 have been reported, including the first case of the South African variant of COVID-19. While our average case numbers are continuing to decrease, we must remain vigilant, especially as we are seeing new and more transmissible variants of COVID-19 arriving here in Ontario. That means that we all must limit our non-essential travel, maintain our physical distance, and wash our hands frequently.

Taking these simple steps will save lives.

In Solidarity,

Jill Andrew
MPP for Toronto—St. Paul's

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