I want to begin today by saying 'Chag Sameach' to all my Jewish constituents who will be observing their second Passover of this pandemic over the next eight nights. I know that this has been one of our most difficult years, but with vaccines coming faster and faster (though still not fast enough) we can now at least be sure it will be one year of hardship and not forty.
The story of Passover celebrates the resilience of an oppressed people in maintaining their identity and culture under slavery. It also commemorates salvation from a terrible plague. I hope that even though this will not be the holiday that we would have preferred, everyone can look forward to a better future that now seems ever more possible.
Ontario has reported another 2169 cases of COVID-19, the second day in a row that our province has registered over 2000 cases. As it stands, our case numbers are continuing to trend up, and the percentage of cases that are variants of concern is also continuing to rise.
At this moment, I must urge caution to our community. While vaccine distribution efforts continue, we all must continue to follow the public health protocols. We must wear masks, maintain our distance, and wash our hands frequently. While the temptation to go without a mask is increasing as the weather continues to improve, I must implore our community to continue doing the work necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19.
In an important update for Toronto, it’s also been announced today by the provincial government that starting Monday (March 29th), outdoor fitness classes with a limited capacity, and outdoor training for team and individual sports will be allowed. A little later, on April 12, hair and nail salons, barber shops and body art establishments will be allowed to open – by appointment only and with a 25% capacity.
For the full breakdown of this announcement, click here.
In important vaccine news, vaccination centres across Toronto will be opening bookings to anyone who is or will be 70 or older in 2021, starting tomorrow at 8 am. They are also booking vaccines for Indigenous adults, adults who receive homecare, and health-care workers.
Read the City of Toronto’s full announcement here.
To find your nearest vaccination centre – click here.
NOTE: This is in addition to the AstraZeneca pharmacy vaccination program that is still open to anyone 60 or older in 2021. To book a vaccination appointment at an eligible pharmacy, click here.
This has been a busy week at the Legislature, and here are two highlights from the week for you to check out.
On Monday, I challenged the Ford government over their tacit endorsement of MPP Sam Oosterhoff headlining an anti-choice event hosted by an organization that has compared legal access to abortion to the Holocaust. The response I received from the government was horrific, and inspired no confidence that they take these issues seriously.
You can watch the exchange here.
Just yesterday, I had the opportunity to respond to the budget that was presented by the Conservatives on Wednesday evening. Frankly, I found that the budget that has been proposed does not do nearly enough for the people of Ontario during these trying times. There was no mention of increasing ODSP or OW rates, very little for artists, no new supports for housing, nothing for childcare, nothing to make our schools COVID safe and even no immediate funding for survivors.
I let the government know about my dissatisfaction with their budget, and you can watch that here.
Last night, we held a digital event to discuss rising anti-Asian racism, and what we can do together to address it. I want to thank our panelists for joining me on short notice and doing an absolutely incredible job discussing difficult topic.
- Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam
- MPP Laura Mae Lindo
- Elene Lam, Asian Migrant Sex Workers Support Network
- Paulyne Wei, Actor and Comedian
- Brad Lee, creator of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice's #FaceRace Campaign
- Katherine Kwan, George Brown Student
I also want to thank everyone who tuned in last night, we had a great turnout for this important event. Our community has shown once again that we are ready to stand up and fight back against racism and bigotry in all it’s forms, and I could not be prouder.
If you missed last night’s event, you can watch the replay by clicking here.
Looking forward to Monday at 12PM I will be hosting a conversation with former NDP MPP Zanana Akande, that you can stream on Facebook Live. This discussion, titled “Black Women Who Lead” will be a candid conversation about what it means to be a Black woman in politics.
If you would like to tune in, please RSVP here.
Note: Even if you do not have a Facebook account, you can watch at the link above on Monday without an account – just tune in at noon!
In the last few weeks, my office has sent out my 2021 Tenant Guide. If you didn’t receive a copy you can now find the updated guide in its entirety on my website.
Click here for the 2021 Tenant Guide.
Finally, I want to share with you an important way that you can support my work at Queen’s Park. If you’re interested in supporting some of the issues that I’ve been working on, you can sign a range of petitions on my website.
You can also download, print, sign and mail your petition to my office – so that your petition can be read into the Hansard.
If you would like to find some petitions to download, please click here.
Have a great weekend!