Community News Update - March 23, 2022

Dear Community,


Today, Ontario reported  611 COVID-19 patients receiving treatment in hospital, including 174 in ICU. This is an uptick since my last community update but is down from last week. Meanwhile, there were 2,149 cases confirmed by provincial labs in the last 24 hours; a figure that’s exactly double of what was reported last Wednesday.
 
Earlier this week, the Ford government lifted the province-wide mask mandate for most businesses, as one of our final COVID restrictions in place. The mandate remains effective on public transit and in congregate care settings, however and businesses maintain the right to require them, if they so choose. I am certain our Toronto-St. Paul’s community will continue respecting these rules put in place.
 
Yesterday was World Water Day; a day to celebrate the life-giving resource and human right. The day, however, was also a reminder that this human right is not afforded equally for all. Indigenous peoples still go without clean drinking water from their taps with some of these advisories being in place for decades. In a country that is the 3rd largest source of fresh water globally, most of which is in Ontario, this is unacceptable. We must actively fight to protect this precious resource for the human right it is – for the people on this land now and the many generations to come!

Today, at Queen’s Park, I had the sheer joy of joining my friend and former NDP MP Peggy Nash with her students from X University, as part of her Women in the House program.
 
Prior to the pandemic, we’d often have students or community members visit Queen’s Park and take a tour of the historic building. This was always one of the best parts to my time spent here and something I’ve missed deeply. So to have these young women here today was a thrill, to say the least. As Critic for Women’s Issues with the Official Opposition (and a woman myself), it was a chance to remind them they belong here. Their representation MATTERS here. Effective, equitable policy happens because of it.

In community, I’ll be hosting a FREE workshop on April 1 called Finding Your Worth. The workshop is targeted to up and coming or aspiring artisans, particularly those in the BIPOC community, to think, evaluate, and PRICE your works for the value they hold. Because they do! Too often, especially within marginalized communities, there’s a discomfort in charging for your work or charging too little, which can stall or full-on halt our entrepreneurial goals. This workshop looks to dismantle this idea and build the confidence and conviction to KNOW YOUR WORTH.
 
The event will take place at St. Michael & All Angels, located at 611 St. Clair Avenue West, from 11AM-12PM on April 1, 2022.

Speaking of artists, a local community member, J has found light through darkness in the form of painting to ultimately, create stunning works of art. In 2014, J suffered a traumatic brain injury at her workplace that has prevented her from working ever since, all while navigating a broken WSIB system that has left her unsupported and anxious. She found painting to be incredibly calming through it all, speaking to the mental health benefits that are intrinsic to our collective public health; something I’ve been vocal about as a part of our pandemic recovery.
 
You can see her works and process in the video compilation here.
 
Sadly, the war in Ukraine rages on and on-the-ground support for civilians is desperately needed. As we with the Ontario NDP continue to urge the Ford government to increase support, it’s uplifting to see community and many local businesses step up to these calls, including IC Savings.
 
Their credit union has committed to matching donations of their members, as well as non-members in the community, for all those made by March 31, 2022, up to $25,000. These will be made in trust to the Canada-Ukraine Foundation as a registered charity. Their organization will then direct these funds to on-the-ground partners in Ukraine and surrounding countries that will deliver food packages, medical supplies, including pharmaceuticals, and emergency shelter.
 
If you have the means and wish to donate (with double the impact!), you can do so by visiting any of their 8 locations, including their Hillcrest Village branch located at 814 St. Clair Avenue West or online here.

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

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