For those of you who follow me on social media, you may already know that my constituency office was vandalized over the weekend. While it was unsettling to have our office attacked in this way, I was uplifted at the same time by the tidal wave of support I received from our community. I deeply appreciate everyone's kind words. Much appreciation to Joanna Lavoie for reporting.
Here's how I see it: if folks want to disagree with my politics they can, but sinking to hate, vandalism and intimidation are unacceptable. I know that in our community, this type of cowardly act will never stop us from standing up together for our what's right. Keep safe everyone. Here is an article and twitter thread with the details, be aware that it includes pictures of a disgusting mess if that's something you'd want to avoid:
Before touching on anything else, I want to share an invitation to anyone in our community who’d like to get involved in the Ontario budget process. The Pre-Budget Consultations for the 2022 budget are underway right now, and if you’d like to submit a written submission, it is due by January 26 at 7PM.
Along with the Pre-Budget Consultations, the 2022 Budget Consultations are happening as well (confusing – I know!) and right now there is a survey that you can fill out to tell the government about your priorities for the upcoming budget. I want to encourage everyone from our community to make your voice heard, and participate in this process.
Today, across Ontario, there are now 3,861 people hospitalized and 615 in ICU. These numbers are holding relatively steady at the moment, but we should be cautious with our optimism, as some hospitals don’t report over the weekend. Regardless, we should all be taking the best steps we can to battle back against COVID-19, and that means, wearing a mask, and getting vaccinated. On both these fronts, I want to encourage our community to wear a properly fitting mask and make sure to get a full set of vaccinations, including your booster shot.
If you need to book your shot - you can book a vaccination through the provincial portal here, find a local pharmacy here, or attend one of the pop-up clinics that are happening around our community.
A reminder that on January 31 include the following changes will be made to public health measures:
- Increasing social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
- Allowing spectator areas of facilities such as sporting events, concert venues and theatres to operate at 50 per cent seated capacity or 500 people, whichever is less.
- Increasing or maintaining capacity limits at 50 per cent in indoor public settings, including but not limited to:
- Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities;
- Retailers (including grocery stores and pharmacies)
- Shopping malls;
- Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms;
- Meeting and event spaces;
- Recreational amenities and amusement parks, including water parks;
- Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos and similar attractions; and
- Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments
- Religious services, rites, or ceremonies.
Along with these changes, enhanced proof of vaccination, and other existing requirements will remain in place in their current settings.
I’d like to pause to recognize the life of a pillar of this community, Rosa Cozzi, longtime co-proprietor of Tyrell Grocery (locally known as Dom’s), passed away on Monday, January 17. Until their retirement a few years ago, Rosa and her husband Domenico’s store was a vital community hub. She was a staple in our community for many years, and I know that her positive impact won’t be forgotten. You can read her obituary here.
A reminder that the Oakwood Vaughan Community Organization (OVCO) are hosting an important Tenant Workshop, tonight at 7PM.
Here’s their description for the event:
Come out to a free workshop on tenant rights and organizing presented by OVCO! Ever been harassed by a landlord? Had to deal with pests where you’re renting? Had to fight an eviction? This workshop will help you know your rights and how to best exercise them, featuring interactive talks from Bill Worrell, a tenant organizer who started a tenant association in his building, and Flynn Daunt, a tenant organizer whose tenant association managed to successfully resist two unfair renovictions at 2419 Keele Street. If you still want to attend, click here to RSVP.
Finally today, I remain concerned about the state of our schools, while the government is not releasing much information about COVID outbreaks we are seeing incredibly high absence rates, probably being caused by COVID or fear of COVID. I want our community to know that I will continue to push for better PPE and testing for our schools, as well as mandatory vaccinations for education workers and a sustained campaign to vaccinate kids at school. While it’s been clear that the Ford government doesn’t prioritize schools, it is shocking that not even a global pandemic has been able to change that.