Community News Update - January 17, 2024

Dear Community, 

Ontario's healthcare crisis didn't happen overnight. 

Ontarians are experiencing longer wait times, poorer patient outcomes, and paying more out of pocket for care that should be publicly funded and publicly delivered. Access to quality healthcare shouldn't depend on how much money you have in the bank. It cannot.

Just today the government announced its plan to expand the number of private surgical and diagnostic clinics in the province. Let me be clear, diverting funds away from public hospitals where staff are already trained to deliver these services makes no sense. This does NOTHING to address growing wait times. 

This is yet another vicious attack against our public health care system. But the road to privatization didn't start with Ford. This government's vision for a 'pay to play' Ontario follows the line of decades of government efforts to undermine public healthcare. Liberal policies gave us hallway health care. Now, the Conservatives are making it worse.

Ford is bringing this DECADES-long effort to privatize our healthcare system to the finish line. We cannot and will not let him. 

But when did it all go start? Let's take a trip down memory lane:

  • 1996: Conservative Premier Mike Harris, infamous for his austerity measures, opened competitive bidding for home care, which allowed for-profit companies to take over home care delivery. 
  • 1997: Conservatives pushed hospitals to restrict in-house lab testing for hospitals, opening the market for private labs. 
  • 2001: Harris' Conservatives introduced their profit-driven model for building new hospitals, leading to massive public cost overruns and delays. 
  • 2003: Breaking their campaign promise, Liberals continued this path by reducing the number of services provided under OHIP in favour of for-profit healthcare. 
  • 2013: Liberal mismanagement drove hallway medicine in Ontario to brutal levels. More than 4,300 patients received care in the hallways of one hospital alone. 
  • 2019: Ford's conservatives create Ontario Health, a superagency to contract public health care services to private companies. They pass Bill 124, limiting wage increases to 1% of healthcare workers. 
  • 2020: The Ford government introduces the Connecting People to Home and Community Care Act, which allows the last remaining parts of home care to be privatized. 
  • 2023: Wait times worsen and the Conservatives have made the Liberals' hallway health care the new norm. ERs are closing at an unprecedented rate. 
  • 2024: The Ford government, who came into power in 2018, is now trying to take this decades-long effort to privatize our healthcare system to the finish line. 

This brings us to today. We're calling on this government to return to the legislature and help us fix the healthcare crisis. 

We're witnessing the effects of decades of mismanagement in real-time. Yesterday I joined CUPE Ontario Home and Community Care Support Service (HCCSS) workers at Queen's Park. This sector has been STARVED since the mid-90s under Premier Mike Harris' Conservatives. 

Approximately 1700 healthcare workers have signed placards demanding fair wages for overworked and underpaid workers in the sector. These workers are disproportionately women, and here in Toronto, they are disproportionately racialized women at that. 

Community, you know as well as I do, that this pattern of wages falling behind inflation continues to this day under Ford's Conservatives. Make no mistake - undermining Home & Community Care workers means children and adults served go without. It means our aging loved ones cannot age in homes and communities they cherish. It means more strain on our public health care system and emergency rooms. It means more sleepless nights for burnt out family caregivers - disproportionately women - juggling a 'triple day' of responsibilities every single day. 

Frankly, it's disgusting. Ford's privatization scheme needs to be stopped. This 'pay to play' Ontario where wallets dictate who can and cannot access the care they need must end. It's hurting our HCCSS workers. It's hurting our healthcare workers across the board. It's hurting ALL of us. 

Thank you CUPE Ontario for your steadfast advocacy on this. I am proud to stand with you and support your calls. We won't stop fighting for better. We ALL deserve better.


In other news, reports today revealed that housing starts in Ontario went down—not up—in 2023. 

According to data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), there were a total of 85,770 housing starts last year. This is a seven percent drop from 2022. 

After a year spent pursuing corrupt backroom deals to exploit the housing crisis for its own gain and their speculator friends, this government failed to meet its own housing targets. They've failed to deliver the solutions Ontarians deserve during a housing crisis. Shame on them! 

Read our full ONDP press release here!


James Rottman Fine Art is launching their latest exhibition INVENTION ILLUSION. 

The exhibition opens January 20 and runs until March 10, 2024. The gallery is open 11 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Saturday. They're located at 830 St Clair Ave W. 

Read details about the exhibition below: 

A feature exhibition showcasing two iconic Canadian artists Gordon Rayner and Graham Peacock who challenge our notion of painting through the use of illusion, invention, colour, unorthodox materials, and the moulding and shaping of canvas.
“Gordon Rayner (1935 - 2010) had an idiosyncratic way of making art, a style that is marked by constant innovation and change, and by the transformation of any medium he used. This quality is combined with an apparently endless series of startling juxtapositions in his work, also a colour sense that was often edgy, violent, and surprising — so surprising at times to create in the viewer new ideas of what colour can be.”
- Joan Murray, Canadian art historian

“Illusion is a centuries old pictorial practice of making the subject look ‘realistic’ on a flat surface. From Rembrandt portraits to the apples of Cezanne, illusionistic tradition forms the basis of representational art today. Beginning with the Impressionists and the Fauves, the traditional illusion of realism was diminished… The Within the Frame series reestablishes the modelling and shading of traditional illusionistic space, but in abstraction.”     
– Graham Peacock


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.


Attention St. Paul's, Toronto, & surrounding area!

Join Joy Bullen, Culturpreneur is bringing a concert in honour of Black History month!

Celebrations & Revelations 2024: Unyielding Roots

Second generation Canadians with roots in the Caribbean and Africa, Rashaan Rory Allwood, pianist / instrumentalist, and Kathryn Patricia Cobbler, Loop pedal violist, will premiere their original compositions, with the outstanding soprano voice of Nadine Anyan.

Rashaan and Kathryn will take you on a musical journey with pieces that reflect upon elements of the Caribbean immigrant and African diaspora experience. A program of original ambient jazz, folk, and classical compositions performed against a background film of images and events from life in the Caribbean and in Canada, exploring themes of being raised within multiple cultures and redefining beauty against a North American colonial landscape.

The performance will take place Sunday, February 11, 2024 at 3 pm at Holy Blossom Temple. Early bird tickets are $35 (until Jan 16th). Regular price: $45. 

Click here to buy yours!


The Black Student Summer Leadership Program (BSSLP) is back! 

BSSLP is a 7-week full-time paid summer experiential learning opportunity. Students hired will explore a range of academic and career placements including but not limited to: Business, Community Development, Information Technology, Public Health and Youth Justice. 


  • Black TDSB student (current, graduating or returning)
  • Must be available for Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) paid training (April 9-May 28)
  • Must be available for full-time summer employment (July 2 - Aug 16, 2024)
  • Must be available for interview from February 15 - 23, 2024)
  • Currently in Gr. 10-12 and must be 16 years old as of July 1, 2024. 

Click here to apply!

The deadline to apply is January 19, 2024.


Hillcrest Village Community Players is looking for volunteers for their upcoming production of Footloose (Feb 22–March 2, 2024)!

There is a lot of fun to be had in their Front of House team! Roles available include:

  • Two ushers
  • Two ticket-takers
  • Two merch sales people
  • Two cafe and intermission sales people
  • Two coat-checkers

Interested? Fill out their interest form by January 29th here

Tickets for the production are on sale NOW. You don’t want to miss it! Click here to purchase.


dance Immersion Presents the North American Premiere of
Traditional Future
by Kenya’s Fernando Anuang’a
Friday, January 19, 2024:
Pre-Show Reception – 7:15 PM
Performance & Artist Talk – 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Saturday, January 20, 2024:
Performance & Artist Talk – 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM
The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen St W, Toronto, ON
General – $32.50    
Students/Arts Workers – $22.50
About the Performance:
dance Immersion presents Kenya’s Fernando Anuang’a in his internationally-renowned contemporary Maasaï dance solo, TRADITIONAL FUTURE, in North America for the first time!
With this work Fernando explores: How do we evolve tradition toward modernity without obliterating its tracks, without betraying one’s roots?
Fernando Anuang’a is an autodidact artist (self-taught dancer/choreographer) from Kenya. He is supported and inspired by Kenyan Maasaï songs, his ancestral memories, and his community’s vocal rhythmic power for his vocabulary. He is driven by a will to take tradition into the future, and continuously researches ways for Maasaï dance to live fully in this era. While tourists have exploited the image of the Maasaï jump tradition, Fernando’s practice instead infuses this cultural vertical energy with evolving Maasaï undulation gestures. For his third solo, TRADITIONAL FUTURE, he stays loyal to the Moran (Maasaï warrior) tradition as a symbolic root, while finding a deeper energy and more liberating form of self-expression to bring the tradition into the future.
This work is presented as part of dance Immersion’s 30th Anniversary Season! The performance will be accompanied by an opening night pre-show reception, and artist talks following both performances.


DEADLINE TOMORROW: Applications for Black Women in Motion's Black Youth Employment Assistance Program (BYEAP) are now OPEN!

BYEAP is a 13-week, virtual employment and entrepreneurial-focused program for Black survivors of gender-based violence. BYEAP provides employment-focused training opportunities and mental health resources to support survivors in developing their employability skills, business ideas, and wellness strategies for job retention.

For general inquiries, please email us at [email protected] 

Registration for the Winter/Spring 2024 cohort closes on Thursday, January 18th, 2024, at 11:59 P.M.

Interested applicants are asked to email their resumes to [email protected] with BYEAP-2024 in the subject line.


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


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