Yesterday, CTV News Toronto ran a story that is all too familiar here in St. Paul's and across our city: predatory landlords and their penchant for illegal fees.
Fortunately, in this instance, my office was able to step up and advocate on behalf of the residents and have these fees REVOKED, but this isn't always the case. More often, landlords count on tenants not knowing their rights, not talking to their neighbours, not reaching out for help.
In a time when even the cheapest of rents in our city is well beyond the means of the average resident, it seems we can't expect our very basic rights to be respected and upheld, so we must do everything in our power to remain informed and share that information with the folks in our communities.This is why I created my Tenants' Guide!
Many of you would have received the 2023 issue in the mail, but it's also accessible online.
Please read this story, and if this is happening to you or someone you know: CONTACT MY OFFICE!
The Hospital for Sick Children will always have a special place in my heart. It is where both Dr. Sigmund Ein and child psychotherapist Georgina Babatzanis saved my physical and mental life on more than one occasion, of course working in tandem with a host of incredible nurses (shout outs to Mrs. B, a Sick Kids nurse at the time, who helped get me into the emergency that fateful day), health care workers, artists, cheerful clowns, other staff, and volunteers.
Last week, I had the opportunity to revisit the hospital in my role as MPP for a tour, as a career highlight. There, I met some of the people helping to fight against the most challenging health concerns facing children and youth today, especially under the current climate where we know the present & future of our publicly funded health care system is in jeopardy due to Doug Ford's privatization agenda.
SickKids’ equity, diversity and inclusivity motto is people, place and practice and that is evident. While I learned of many incredible advancements they've made since my time spent in the hospital, like many health care institutions, they are also up against challenges including their need to physically expand to more space so they can continue taking care of Ontario's young ones. Whilst emergency surgeries are still happening for patients in critical, 'life or death' need, they are not immune to the realities of the provincial surgical backlog where sick children have to wait beyond recommended for surgeries that are still needed to get them on a healthier track and give them the best quality of life possible. I am also concerned for youth, especially complex care and medically fragile patients, who age out of SickKids (at 18) and get transitioned into adult health care where we know the gaps in health equity are growing. A devastating amount of Ontarians do not have access to family doctors, let alone long specialist waitlists and other barriers to care. I will meet again with SickKids to learn of how we can help support the province with effective ideas and strategies for patients who are transitioning.
Speaking of healthcare workers, they earned a big win yesterday!
After years of having their wages suppressed by the harmful, unconstitutional Bill 124, Ontario Nurses Association has been back at the bargaining table to get a deal for hospital nurses. After reaching impasse with Ontario hospitals, an arbitrator ruled that their ask of an increase averaging 11% over two years was fair, awarding nurses their long-overdue pay bump.
In the decision, the arbitrator stated "evidence clearly shows there’s a nursing recruitment & retention crisis in hospitals, and compensation is one of the best ways to address it". Meanwhile, ONA's President, Erin Ariss accurately described the decision as "a first step to righting past wrongs, and bringing hospitals nurses' compensation up to where it should be".
A first step, but not the last. Still, Bill 124 must be repealed to make up for 4 years of lost time and wages, and it's brutal affront to the labour rights of workers; all workers.
Sign your name to tell Ford: Stop the Appeal and REPEAL.
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.