Yesterday, I stood in Queen’s Park alongside my colleagues, MPP Suze Morrison, MPP Jessica and MPP Terrence Kernaghan to retable our No COVID Evictions Act.
While the Ford government wants to act like everything is going ‘back to normal’, the reality is that many of our residents still need support. The cost of living in our community is continuing to go up, and for many folks – they are still suffering the financial consequences of the pandemic. While we recover, we need to ensure that we’re delivering stability for our community so that everyone is given the time and support they need to get back on their feet.
This is why we’ve introduced the No COVID Evictions Act.
We need to acknowledge the reality that the impacts of the pandemic are not over, and we need to continue to freeze evictions until we’re truly through COVID-19. Let’s hope that the Ford government comes to their senses and supports our legislation.
This is one of the many steps that we’re taking to tackle the unaffordability crisis across the province and ensure that housing is treated like a Human Right in Ontario. This includes my motion that would have banned Above Guideline Rent Increases (AGIs) until one year after COVID-19 was declared over, and the ‘Rent Stabilization Act: Pay What The Last Tenant Paid’, which was put forth late last year - both of which the Ford government voted down.
Meanwhile, the Financial Accountability Office released their latest report, showing that Ford has again failed to deliver on his promises – this time by $5.5 billion, including $1.3 billion in committed spending towards healthcare.
This is at the same time that 21 million (yes that says million) surgeries and other medical procedures remain backlogged and people in need are forced to wait even longer in pain and need of care. This shortchanging of our public health system would be unacceptable any year but when a long pandemic has upended it across the province, delivering on these commitments is simply not optional. It’s a must. Just ask anyone waiting on one of those 21 million procedures.
Speaking of our healthcare system, Ontario is reporting 847 patients with COVID-19 receiving treatment in hospital, down from 1,106 at this time last week. The number of patients in ICUs now stands at 273, down from 319 a week ago. I am cautiously optimistic about these downward trends – and must express my gratitude once again to our community, for your consistent efforts and sacrifices to keep each other safe during this pandemic.
With that said, we’re not out of the woods yet and though restrictions have eased completely as of yesterday, I encourage you all to remain diligent, and follow all the best advice of our public health experts. This means making sure that we wear our masks when we need to – and get fully vaccinated.
In lighter news, I’m thrilled to remind everyone that live theatre is back as a much-needed boost of culture and community for Ontario. In our own Toronto-St. Paul’s community, St. Matthew’s United Church is welcoming Hillcrest Village Community Players as our community’s newest theatre group in their presentation of Anne of Green Gables, the Musical.
The first showing is this Friday, March 4 at 7pm, followed by a 2pm & 7pm showing on Saturday, March 5. Then, they’ll do it all again (3 shows) the next weekend giving us, community plenty of chances to enjoy local talent in their inaugural production!
Tickets are available for $20 each by clicking here. I hope to see you there!