Community News Update - July 22, 2022

Dear community,

It was another busy week for the books!
 
Yesterday, I joined an incredibly powerful march at Queen’s Park, organized by Free Grassy Narrows to shed light on the ongoing mercury crisis that has devastated the Grassy Narrows First Nation for over 30 years and has yet to be reconciled.
 
We heard powerful speeches from Indigenous community members who know firsthand and continue to live with the impact the mercury crisis has had on their First Nation, as well as from my friend and Ontario NDP Deputy Leader, MPP Sol Mamakwa. As always, Sol spoke truth to power, calling the crisis exactly what it is; a direct result of corporate greed, colonialism, and systemic racism.
 
As much as we each wished we wouldn’t have to be gathering in solidarity to echo these same calls after decades of continued inaction to meet them, it was great to see so many colleagues, labour friends, and constituents in person again as we marched together in solidarity. There is certainly strength and hope in numbers and wow, did numbers show out yesterday.
 
My deepest thanks goes out to Free Grassy Narrows organizers, each speaker and performer, and Indigenous community, elders and youth – many who travelled thousands of kilometers to join the march - for holding this space for us and reminding us all of the importance of this continued fight.  
 
To learn more of Grassy Narrows First Nation’s calls for justice – what is long, long overdue – and why it’s so important, click here.

The heat wave continues into the weekend, with an important reminder to stay cool, stay hydrated and stay safe.
 
For our Toronto-St. Paul’s community, Giovanni Caboto (1369 St. Clair Ave. W.) and Alex Duff Memorial (779 Crawford St. in Christie Pitts Park) pools have extended their hours until 11:45PM tonight. Meanwhile, other spaces to cool down are operating across the city, including malls, libraries, and splash pads

To find a cooling location near you, click here.  
It’s also important to check in with our friends and neighbours that may be more vulnerable to the heat and heat stroke, including aging adults who live alone, people with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses, children and infants, and people experiencing homelessness. A simple call, text, or video chat can make the difference in keeping them safe during this period of high health risk.
 
For a full list of available resources and helpful tips to keep ourselves and our neighbours safe in the heat, click here.
Ford announced earlier this week his plan to introduce 'strong mayor' system in Toronto and Ottawa as one of his first moves in his second term as Premier; something reminiscent of 2018.
 
This was never something he or the PC Party ever campaigned on so came as a shock to many of us. Meanwhile, our healthcare system continues to inch closer to collapse and inflation has reached near-40 year highs as housing, groceries and transit move further out of reach for working families, which has myself and many of my colleagues asking why this is his priority?
 
The past few years has made it clear that accountability in politics is more important than ever and a Strong Mayor system only decreases this by eradicating the checks and balances within it.
 
Read the Ontario NDP’s statement here.

Ford has also announced the extension of his government’s paid sick days program, which has offered a measly 3 paid sick days since April of last year. Important to note, this extension does not add an additional 3 days but only extends the use of the same 3 days Ontarians have had access to since April 2021.
 
We are now in the 7th wave of the COVID pandemic and many folks have contracted the virus more than once at this point. 3 days of paid sick days is simply not enough. It wasn’t in April 2021. It isn’t now.
 
Last year, myself and MPP Sattler of London-West co-sponsored the Stay Home If You Are Sick Act which would have stamped 10 permanent paid sick days for all Ontario workers (and 14 during a pandemic) into law. Sadly, Ford said no and continues to, which is why we continue our call to ensure the RIGHT to paid sick leave is finally met.

Join us in demanding 10 permanent paid sick days for all Ontario workers.

On the brighter side, summer festivities are in full swing across our Toronto-St. Paul's community!
 
This weekend, the York Eglinton BIA is hosting its 2022 Taste the Carribean Food Festival, located in the heart of Little Jamaica at 1609 Eglinton Ave. W. The Festival is running both Saturday from 12-8PM and Sunday from 12-7PM.  
 
From the infamous jerk chicken the district is known for to other Carribean favorites like mac’n’cheese, jerk nachos, Cuban ceviche, and plantain done in all the ways, this event has it all to have you not walking but running to get your taste!

To learn more or register for your FREE entry ticket, click here.

Meanwhile, in Midtown, yesterday kicked off the opening of PICNIC PATIO at Yonge and St. Clair (1503 Yonge Street), running every Thursday to Saturday from 12-10PM.
 
Enjoy any local takeout and find a spot in the converted laneway to create your own picnic. There’s also an on-site minibar and staffing provided by Ambiyan on Yonge for those looking to pair their take-out with a wine, beer or cocktail too!
 
As another added bonus, each Thursday, from 6-8:30PM, a rotating roster of local jazz bands will enliven up the space with live music.
 
For more information on this exciting summer series, click here.

The Stop's Farmers Market at Wychwood Barns and Afro-Carribean Farmer's Market are both taking place over the weekend to pick up your weekend treats or essentials while supporting local!
 
Have a great weekend and keep safe.

 

In Solidarity,
 
Jill Andrew
Toronto—St. Paul's

Join the Toronto-St. Paul's NDP

Donate
Events
Support Education Workers: Stop Bill 28

Sign up for updates

Find us on social media

Make a provincial donation

Make a federal donation