Community News Update - March 27, 2023

Dear community,

Today, our Ontario NDP put forth a motion asking the government to reimburse schoolboards for the pandemic-related expenses they incurred to keep students safe and in the classroom – all without help from the Ministry of Education.

This meant they were forced to dip into their increasingly limited reserves and in the next school year, are looking to deficits. In the TDSB alone, their more-than-$61 million shortfall in the next schoolyear means they’ll have to cut 522 staff if the government doesn’t intervene with needed funding. That equals less teachers and even bigger class sizes, and fewer mental health resources as crisis grips our schools and students and violence is at its highest ever recorded.

I had the opportunity to speak in the Legislature as to what saying yes to this motion would mean for our community. A lot.

Check out the full clip here.

Devastatingly, the government said no today. Not a no to us, but a no to students and our province's future. This means our fight against the cuts that continue to hurt them must, and will, continue.

Also earlier today, MPP Wong-Tam of Toronto-Centre tabled the Advisory Committee to Protect Ontario's People and Economy from Airborne Pandemics Act, co-sponsored by myself, MPP West, and MPP Gates.

Our Bill would protect Ontario from the current and future air-borne pandemics by establishing an expert advisory panel that would provide policy recommendations to ultimately improve Ontario’s infrastructure, regulations and standards on indoor air quality.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been too devastating not to act on every lesson we can from it to protect Ontarians from it ever happening again. This is a needed and important step to doing just that and it is my honour to have helped put this forth.

On Friday, MPP Bhutila Karpoche and I were joined by Federation of Metro Tenants' Association and YOU at our Tenant Meeting to discuss RENT CONTROL!

Thank you to the dozens who showed up to share their stories and expertise and to ask questions. Folks across this province deserve real affordable housing, and that includes rent stabilization (you pay what the last tenant paid) and transparency in the rental process - no more greedy, price-gouging landlords taking advantage of our flawed system!

As always, if you have questions about your rights as tenants, please don't hesitate to contact my office and we will do our best to help you!

Are you interested in receiving a free hot meal of homemade soup? Or perhaps you're interested in volunteering and participating in some community care? See below for this initiative being hosted by For Youth Initiative!

Low income individuals may be interested in making use of The Stop's Free Tax Clinic, which is open from March 1 to April 28! See below for more information!

Until March 31, Unison's Oakwood-Vaughan location will be offering an integrated care clinic on Monday evenings from 5:30-8:30PM. Members of the community can drop in to receive COVID vaccines, blood pressure checks, mental health and harm reduction support, and be seen by a physician - no health card required!

Are you a lower-income renter? In 2022, the Government of Canada announced a One-time top up to the Canada Housing benefit - a one-time payment of $500 to help with the cost of rent.

Please see the below for more information about eligibility and how to apply, and be sure to share this widely with your community. Even reaching one more eligible renter will make all the difference!

This April, the BBPA Harry Jerome Awards returns! Don't forget to get your tickets and nominate your preferred candidate!

The spectacular Holy Blossom Temple Out of the Cold Community Dinner will be running EVERY THURSDAY at 5PM until March 30th at 1950 Bathurst St (entrance on Dewbourne Avenue)! Spread the word to folks in need!!!! Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who make services like this possible!

See here for more info!

Doors open each Thursday at 5PM and close at 7PM.

In Solidarity, 

Jill Andrew
Toronto-St. Paul's

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