Community News Update - February 23, 2024

Dear Community, 

I hope everyone had a safe and restful long weekend! This week we returned to Queen's Park after a long break.  On Tuesday, we gave a fiery welcome back to Ford's Conservatives at Question Period. Our focus was on holding Ford's Conservatives accountable for Bill 124, Ontario's strained healthcare system, the worsening housing crisis, and the skyrocketing cost of living. 

For starters, Ford owes an apology to the workers affected by Bill 124 for stealing their wages. The public deserves to know how much money was spent fighting nurses, PSWs, teachers, educational assistants, and public sector workers in court. 

As you may already know, last week Ontario's top court ruled that Bill 124 is unconstitutional. Today, Ford's Conservatives officially repealed the bill. This is fantastic news! Thank you once again to the workers and advocates who rallied against this bill to the very end. But the work doesn't end here, folks! Now, it's time to apologize and pay the workers for the wages. Let's hope they make reversing their privatization of health care the next major policy reversal.

To kick off the session on Tuesday, I rose in the House to demand once again that this government declare gender-based violence, intimate partner violence, and violence against women an epidemic. Community, I've called for this many, many times. It's 2024 and we're still here waiting, and most importantly so are the survivors. We all deserve better. 

Watch my full member's statement here. 

In other Queen's Park news, Ford's conservatives chose to appoint two former senior staff from the Premier's office to the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee (JAAC). This raises serious concerns about the impartiality of the judicial appointment process. In fact, the Premier made it very clear that he has NO shame about this at all. In Ford's own words: "I'm appointing like-minded people that believe in what we believe in [...] I'm not going to appoint some NDP or some Liberal."

In 2019, Ford changed the judicial appointment process claiming it was to increase diversity not make partisan appointments. Community, we've seen our court system spiral. Cases are getting thrown out because of understaffing and lack of resources. Survivors of sexualized violence are being forced to re-live their trauma through these delays. This government could fix the mess in our courts, they're focused instead on stacking their partisan appointments. Enough is enough!

Read more here.


I was so incredibly honoured to speak today at North Toronto Collegiate Institute as a part of their Black History Month assembly. Hats off to the Black Student Association, teachers and staff, especially the students who led today's events and their countless hours of organizing and rehearsing to make this all possible!

I spoke about the Honourable Dr. Jean Augustine, the first Black woman to serve as a Federal Minister and Member of Parliament, the late Honourable Lincoln Alexander, the first Black Member of Parliament, Cabinet Minister and Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable Zanana Akande, the first Black woman elected to the Ontario Legislative Assembly, and the first Black woman to be a cabinet minister anywhere in Canada, as well as Rosemary Sadlier, the former president of the Ontario Black History Society, Member of the Order of Ontario, and award-winning author!

I've had the privilege of meeting each of these community leaders as well as speaking to and learning from them. They've had a profound impact on me. I was able to share why with the youth today! I asked the youth and their teachers to bring our community leaders into their schools, not just during Black History Month but all year round. I asked them to reflect on the impact and to remember that no one "makes it" alone. I especially asked Black students to NEVER forget their value. 

It was pretty cool to get to share a little more about the Scarborough teenager who would grow up to one day be a Member of Provincial Parliament for Toronto—St. Paul's. It was a beautiful morning. I left feeling incredibly grateful to our elders, community leaders, AND these kids. All of them! All the feels ♥


Yesterday was Chosen Family Day! Chosen Family Day was a bill championed by Friends of Ruby, MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam and myself to recognize that chosen families are as real as traditional families. Often these are people in our lives who provide love, support, and care. Chosen families hold special significance in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and others facing family rejection. Thank you Friends of Ruby for the work you do for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth in our community and for bringing Chosen Family Day to Ontario! I am proud to support your campaign.  

Watch my full Chosen Family Day statement here!


Check out what I saw on the train to Queen's Park this week! The Hon. Dr. Zanana Akande is being recognized for Black History Month in the TTC. Dr. Akande was a pioneering politician and educator. She was the first Black woman elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario (1990 - 1994). She was also the first Black woman to serve as a cabinet minister (Community and Social Services), and was the first Black woman to receive Toronto's Key to the City in 2018.

Shout out to artist Jovita Odegua Akahome for creating this beautiful portrait and thank you AstroSankofa Arts Initiative for curating this important project. 


It was a pleasure to meet with Queen and Nico from Oddside Arts and learn about their upcoming projects in our community! Oddside Arts does crucial work to combat anti-Black racism and address the systemic barriers that have marginalized Black, Indigenous, and 2SLGBTQIA+ creatives in the public art sphere. Their most recent project Archiving Black Futures: Little Jamaica is an oral and visual history project that captures stories from community leaders in Little Jamaica with a podcast series. Thank you Queen and Nico for your HEARTwork! I look forward to collaborating with you in the future! 


On Tuesday we celebrated Black Film Week at Queen's Park! It was an honour to join community members in the creative sector to celebrate and recognize Black leaders in the film industry who've raised the bar of what excellence looks like. Thank you for having me and congratulations to all the honourees!


On Sunday I attended the Verity Centre for Better Living's 2nd Annual Led to Love: A Black History Month Celebration! The celebration also confers the Mabel-Helen-Rose Foundation Stone Award. The award recognizes individuals whose work and ideas have been a cornerstone to the building of community and lifting of consciousness among the Black community in Toronto. This year the award honoured 3 time Juno Award-nominated musician Jay Douglas! Congratulations Jay!

Thank you Rev. Lameteria Hall for the invitation and to all the guest speakers and performers for a wonderful afternoon!


Last night I attended the opening night of the Hillcrest Village Community Players (HVCP) production of Footloose! Hats off to the talented cast, crew, orchestra, directors, and every single volunteer who contributed to this incredible production. Thank you Krista and Catherine (pictured below), founders of HVCP for your dedication to local theatre and Mom, for being my plus one!

Footloose is on at St. Matthew's United Church (729 St Clair Ave West) from February 22nd to March 2nd. Community, this is a performance you don't want to miss!

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 tale!

Get your tickets here!


This weekend I'll be attending the Toronto Hillcrest Coldest Night of the Year hosted by St Michael's and All Angels Church! Join us for a family-friendly walk in support of local charities helping community members experiencing hurt, hunger, and homelessness. 

Join us at 4 pm at the main doors of St Michael's (611 St Clair Ave W) and please consider donating if you can. 


Check out Glisten Festival presented by the Yonge + St Clair BIA!

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


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].


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


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 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





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