Community News Update - June 7, 2024

Dear Community, 

Yesterday, Premier Ford announced the Legislature will be closed until LATE October. This is one month later than expected. But that's not all—he also announced a Hail Mary cabinet shuffle making Ford's cabinet the biggest in provincial history. 

Let me be clear, Doug Ford is taking a 19-week extended vacation and giving more of his MPPs a raise in an affordability crisis. It'll take more than a cabinet shuffle to help Ontarians who are struggling to find affordable housing, find a family doctor and make ends meet. This is especially concerning given the extra weeks we'll be spending away from Queen's Park. 

We need to be in the legislature earlier. We must. It's only when the legislature is in session that we can debate legislation and make progress on healthcare, education, housing and all the issues that matter to our communities. I'm not arguing against a break. Summer is a crucial time for us to connect with local members of our communities, BUT extending summer break into the fall takes away valuable DEBATE DAYS away, and doesn't allow opportunities for criticism and solutions. 

This is a reckless move and it leaves me wondering what this government is cooking behind closed doors. During their time away, we may not get answers to our letters to ministers, and good luck getting a meeting with one. It's frustrating and the most vulnerable people will feel it most. 

 

Conservatives Vote No to Reducing Nurse Burnout

Our healthcare system is in crisis with over 1000 emergency room closures last year, in huge part due to nurse burnout. 

On Tuesday, we presented the conservatives with an opportunity to pass our ONDP Patient-to-Nurse Ratios for Hospitals Act, 2024. We handed them a solution that could end staff burnout in our hospitals, but they chose to vote it down. By saying no, they missed a crucial chance to be on the right side of history and support our overburdened nurses. 

Nurse-to-patient ratios have been studied for years; they're a win-win-win. Nurses across Ontario have long called for this model. Nurse-to-patient ratios have been proven to decrease burnout significantly and improve nurses' overall well-being. The BC NDP government made the decision to implement nurse-to-patient ratios as have countries across the globe, including the UK, Australia, India, and the US—it's time for Ontario to do the same and fix our broken healthcare system.

Click here to watch the full video. 

 

Grassy Narrows First Nation Deserves Justice

Fifty years and counting of mercury poisoning. Fifty years. 

Earlier this week, members of the Grassy Narrows First Nation came to Queen's Park for a press conference about the long-term mercury poisoning, caused by a nearby papermill's toxic waste. 

This government has failed the people of Grassy Narrows and has chosen instead to prop up corporate profits over their health and well-being. The Premier has remained silent while the people are being poisoned. In fact, they were refused entry to the legislature following a small press conference outside of Queen's Park. This is unacceptable. Doug Ford has had six years to right this wrong. 

The consequence of this government's inaction will continue to be deadly. Access to CLEAN drinking water MUST be a right for ALL. Enough is enough!

 

Jill in Question Period

When will Doug Ford commit to the NDP's universal pharmacare plan?

The plan includes access to no-cost contraception which would make a HUGE difference to realizing reproductive health & equity for women, queer, trans and non-binary people. Yet, this government is choosing to play political games with people's health. They don't care! If they did, they would understand the urgency of bring no-cost contraception to Ontarians. But instead, they're choosing to ignore the problem, just like they're doing with $10/day childcare, housing, and more.

On Wednesday, I rose in Question Period to ask the Premier how long will Ontarians have to wait?!

Click here to watch the full clip. 

 

Disability Without Poverty Lobby Day

I was honoured to join local St. Paul's community members, neighbours and colleagues at the Disability Without Poverty Lobby Day at Queen's Park. However, these community members shouldn't have to come to the Legislature to beg for basics from this government, or any government. They are struggling to make ends meet ODSPoverty and OW, and for many people, their particular health challenges or disability rates leave many of them starving, quite frankly.

13 slices of gluten-free bread for $9. I was told this yesterday by a person with a disability who can only eat this kind of bread and is barely making ends meet.

Here are some facts from Disability Without Poverty

  • 16.5% of people with disabilities in Canada live in poverty. This is more than 1.5 million people.
  • 26% of people in Canada are disabled. This is approximately 8 million people. 41% of people who live in poverty are disabled. Think about the housing crisis and the critical food insecurity so many Ontarians are balancing.
  • 89% of Canadians said that people with disabilities should NOT live in poverty, yet no provincial or territorial disability assistant payment raises people ABOVE the poverty line. This means the programs are NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

I won't stop standing and advocating for community members with disabilities.

 

Policing Free Schools Petition

We CANNOT police ourselves out of violence. 

Yesterday, I was proud to table Policing-Free Schools petition signed by community members from 15 ridings calling for investment in teachers, education workers and mental health support in our schools. Instead of militarizing our schools with police, we should be addressing the root causes of violence. There is a crisis in our education system and it cannot be solved through police. Students deserve mental health supports. Schools need to be properly resourced with caring adults who can be there for students who need it most. 

Click here to watch the full clip.

NOTE: there were 2 versions of this petition tabling b/c I was being heckled by Ford govt. They changed petitions rules so we can't read them. It's now grossly rushed and they can cut you off anytime if they don't like the petition details you're sharing. 

 

Jill in Community

Pride Flag Raising

Last Friday, I celebrated another Toronto Pride Flag raising! It was wonderful to see the outpouring of love and community to mark the beginning of one of my favourite months of the year. Earlier this week at Queen's Park, I joined colleagues and HUNDREDS of community members for the 10th annual Pride Flag Raising at Queen's Park. 

As we continue to celebrate Pride Month, let us also recommit to standing for, with, behind and beside our 2SLGBTQIA+ communities year round. Long after Pride Month is over, the fight for human rights for every single member of our community continues. Allyship is a verb!

 

13 Division Open House

On Saturday morning, I started my day at the Toronto Police Services 13 Division Open House in our St. Paul's community. It was wonderful to see so many community members out enjoying last weekend's sunshine and all the activities! I had a great time chatting with so many community members. It was also great to see leaders from our Fairbank Village BIA and Oakwood Village BIA

 

Injured Workers' Day

Saturday, June 1st, also marked Injured Workers' Day. I was proud to join ill and injured workers, advocates, and labour activists for a rally at Queen's Park in recognition of this important day. Thank you to the Ontario Federation of Labour for organizing! 

Injured Workers' Day commemorates June 1, 1983, when thousands of injured workers came to Queen's Park to advocate for changes to Ontario's workers' compensation system. On Thursday, our ONDP Bill 118, the Injured Workers Day Act, to officially proclaim June 1st as Injured Workers' Day in Ontario passed second reading. This is a significant win in recognition of those workers who made huge gains for so many.

It was great to see St. Paul's community members, Jana and Steve! Jana was injured on the job 10 years ago and continues to fight for justice in a broken WSIB system that casts too many injured workers into poverty. Major reform, including an end to harmful deeming practices, is urgently needed. We also need an END to corporations being gifted surpluses while workers have to fight for peanuts. While we celebrate the progress that's been made, let us also recommit to fighting for better because ill and injured workers deserve it!

 

Davisville Village Farmers' Market

On Tuesday, I stopped by the Appletree Group's Davisville Farmers' Market at June Rowlands Park! I had a great time meeting local vendors and left with some incredible goodies. The market runs every Tuesday from 3 to 7pm until October. 

This week I'd like to give a special shout out to the Abibiman Project for the wonderful "Sea" Salt, and La Fiesta Catering for the DELICIOUS food - seriously, it was SO good I forgot to take a picture! The greeting cards pictured below are by Sarah Nicole Artistry. As an animal lover, I'm a HUGE fan of her animal cards. Check her out on Instagram @saragartistry or visit her website here.

 

Green Neighbours 21 Home Retrofit Forum

Yesterday, I joined community members at St Michael and All Angels Church for an information session hosted by Green Neighbours 21. 58% of Toronto's carbon emissions come from buildings. Single-family homes make up 17%. It was great to learn more about heat pumps, solar panels, and energy retrofits to make to our homes to be more efficient. Thank you to Michelle Hjort of Energy Neighbour and Eve Wyatt of Toronto Home Retrofits for the informative session. 

The ONDP has long-called to make heat pumps free and help homeowners making energy retrofits save money. Read more about our plan here.

 

Republic of Rathnelly AGM

Had a wonderful time at the Republic of Rathnelly Residents Association AGM yesterday! It was great to visit with so many neighbours. Congratulations, Grace, on being elected as the new president, and thank you to the outgoing president, Pym for your dedicated service to this great community! I can't wait to join you all for Rathnelly Day on June 15th! Wear your best 80s outfit and PUMP IT UP. 

Click here for tickets!

 

St. Paul's Small Business Spotlight 🔦

Yesterday, I stopped in at Grandma Loves You for a sandwich between work events. This place is awesome! It's a lovely family-run business with some of the best sandwiches in the city and incredible service! 

Check out their location in St. Paul's at 40 St Clair Avenue West.

 

Climate Corner 🌎 by SCAN! Toronto

Making the switch: the move to renewable energy

Ontario, we’ve got a problem. Our electrical grid is getting dirtier and more expensive. Let’s look at how the major sources of our power break down.

  • nuclear 53%
  • hydro 25%
  • gas 13%

Currently, wind is only 8% and solar 1%. The main concern in terms of global warming is using gas for energy production.
A byproduct of electricity produced by gas is methane, which is responsible for over 30% of the global temperature increase.  Sadly, our system is increasingly using gas-fired electricity production. 

Although nuclear energy production creates low global gas emissions, it is expensive, slow to build and repair - and potentially risky. And no one has solved the problem of safely disposing of nuclear waste. 

With depleted water sources due to a warming climate, we can also expect less power generated from hydro. 

If we want to get off fossil fuel sources of energy like gas, as well as expensive nuclear power, we need to increase our use of renewable sources of energy.

Good news
All over the world, there is tremendous progress using renewable sources of energy.  Renewables now make up 30% of the world’s supply, particularly solar energy.  The cost of wind and solar energy is declining, while the cost of current sources is increasing.    

At the Conference of the Parties (COP28) last year, the world committed to work together to:

  • triple the world’s installed renewable energy generation capacity
  • collectively double the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements from around 2% to over 4% every year until 2030
  • put the principle of energy efficiency as the "first fuel” at the core of policymaking, planning, and major investment decisions

These goals now seem more realistic than ever. 

Ontario’s role
The provincial government should allow the use of offshore wind.  When the McGuinty government prohibited offshore wind in 2011, it was new technology. No longer. Ontario has many real opportunities for offshore wind.  We also need to quickly ramp up solar power. These two policies alone can dramatically reduce the amount of gas used for electricity generation. Renewable energy is cheap, reliable and requires little maintenance. 

We will also need to consider additional renewable sources like waste heat and waste water, and more local distribution of heat and power.

These critical changes require political will.  That’s where residents’ “power” comes in.

 

Community Bulletin Board 📌

🌟 Introducing Anxious Shark by Pink Banana Sparkles! 🌟

Shannon is the founder of Pink Banana Sparkles, an art-based business in our community. Shannon has designed a plushie with a character she created, named Anxious Shark, and is currently crowdfunding to be able to get the plushie manufacturered/into production for regular sales. 

Click here to read more about Anxious Shark and support Shannon's Kickstarter Campaign!

Eglinton Way BIA Walking Tour

The Eglinton Way BIA tis hosting a special guided walking tour of The Eglinton Way as part of Toronto Public Markets Week
 
They will be taking guests through the charming midtown neighbourhood's Farmers' Market and surrounding area to share  history, heritage buildings, businesses and artworks with gourmet taste samplings from local cafes and bakeries.

Date: Sunday, June 16th
Time: 10:30 am - 12 pm
Meeting Spot: 125 Burnaby Blvd.
Reservation charge: $5 ($85 value)
Spots available: 25
Attire: Comfortable shoes & weather-appropriate clothing
Dietary: Please inform us of allergies ahead of time

REGISTRATION LINK: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/eglinton-way-farmers-market-neighbourhood-walking-tour-tickets-917019870117?

This tour is held in partnership with MarketCityTO for #ILoveTorontoMarkets campaign funded by the Main Street Innovation Fund through FedDev Ontario.

 

Rathnelly Day

RATHNELLY DAY 2024 is set for SATURDAY, JUNE 15 and the theme this year is PUMP IT UP - ‘80’s style!

The community is looking forward to being able to come together as friends and neighbours and celebrate this unique and very special community.

Click here for more info. 

 

Vendor Application for MyBIA Summer Fest

📣 ATTENTION SMALL BUSINESSES 📣

Get ready for the biggest event Midtown has ever seen on July 20th! 🎉 The BIA is now calling for vendors offering food, crafts, clothing, accessories, services and more! Applications are now open. The Midtown Yonge BIA team will reach out to coordinate next steps. Click here to apply. 

 

Eglinton Way BIA Farmers' Market

Join the Eglinton Way BIA every Sunday from June to October at the Eglinton Way BIA Farmers’ Market! Located at 125 Burnaby Blvd, come by between 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM for fresh produce, local vendors, live music, kids’ activities, and vibrant energy.

 

Learn to Prevent an Overdose

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

 

Latest posts

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

Community News Update, June 14, 2024

Dear Community,

The house rose early for the summer on Thursday last week, so it's been a full week of community events.

QUEEN'S PARK NEWS

Raise ODSP and OW Rates

Before the house was adjourned early by the conservative government, I was proud to table a petition calling for the doubling of ODSP and OW rates in Ontario.

Recently, I heard from Disability Without Poverty - Ontario at their Queen's Park Lobby Day. People with disabilities in Ontario are struggling to make ends meet. Enough is enough. It's time to raise the rates!

Thank you to Dr. Sally Palmer for sharing this petition with my office. I will continue to stand with you until these demands are met.

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