Community News Update - July 19, 2023

Dear community,

Since my Monday update, there's been some positive news for asylum seekers who have been sleeping on the sidewalk in front of 129 Peter Street for weeks on end.

Yesterday, the Federal government announced renewed national funding for refugee shelter nationwide, with $97 million of it going to Toronto. Though this falls short of the $157 million that's needed, it's a start and show of strength from our new mayor.

A start that wouldn't have happened without community activists, who've been on site to provide the supports governments of all levels weren't, while raising their voices to the atrocity. I want to extend my deepest thanks to each of them, who I know will continue to until every penny is needed is put up.

While the funding moves into the city's system, the affected asylum seekers still have needs to be met. If you have the means, I invite you to donate needed supplies at Revivaltime Tabernacle, located ay 4340 Dufferin Street.

Meanwhile, Ontario's film industry is feeling the impact of the writers' and actors' strike happening across the U.S. I stand in solidarity with them as they fight for fair pay in light of massive changes in content consumption (i.e. streaming) that have gravely effected their take-home pay. Let it be clear; any affect felt by Ontario film workers is at the hands of industry execs & shareholders, who are seeing record profits off the backs of these workers.

The labour action is also a reminder that local commercial workers continue to be locked out of their unionized jobs by 15 agencies of the ICA; each refusing to nagotiate with ACTRA and its members to get them back to work, doing what they love with the benefits they're entitled to. Instead, they've resorted to hiring scab labour in their place.

The real kicker? These agencies are given the go-ahead to engage in their anti-labour practices by the Ford government who continues to hire them (and the scab labour they hire) to produce government, tax-payer funded ads.

How's that from a Party that claims to be 'working for workers'?

I urge you to keep a close eye on this ongoing injustice by following ACTRA for updates. You can also read the stories of commercial workers of how the lock-out has impacted them here.

Yesterday, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives published a damning report. It found that the minimum wage needed to cover the cost of living in Toronto has reached $40 an hour.

This is beyond comprehension, and certainly beyond what so many Torontonians take home in pay.

This is startling, tragic, and an absolute wakeup call to the Ford government that their non-approach to affordable housing is not working. In fact, it is showing working folks out the door (province) to places more affordable.

Now is the time for real rent control and vacancy control as the first and easiest steps to make the very basic of housing more affordable. I urge him to re-open the legislature to pass this immediately and certainly, with support of your Ontario NDP who's been calling on this from the get go.

If you have donations to spare, please consider bringing them down to Marian Engel Park on Saturday between 11AM - 1PM! If you need some extra groceries, come on down no questions asked (we have tote bags)!

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.

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Community News Update - June 21, 2024

Dear Community,

Join me and Save Ontario's Science Centre on Sunday in Wells Hill Park to speak out against Doug Ford's scheme to move the Ontario Science Centre to Ontario Place, which has now led to the surprise closure of the Science Centre.

This benefits no one. Not the people of Toronto who are losing a beloved insitution or the 400+ employees of the OSC, many of whom will lose their jobs.

Meet us in Wells Hill Park at St Clair and Bathurst to tell Doug Ford NO.

RSVP here

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