Community News Update - March 31, 2023

Dear Community,

Today is Trans Day of Visibility and a beautiful day to remind everyone that trans rights are human rights!

My heart breaks for members of the trans communities as we've been seeing increasingly hateful and violent attacks from cowardly folks who have been over-educated in transphobia and homophobia. Whether online or in person, hate is hate, and it'll take all of us working together to undo these systems of violence.

I firmly believe that an attack against one is an attack against all, and I stand in solidarity with all of my trans siblings. My wish for all in the trans community is for safety, bodily autonomy, and love.

My message for folks who haven't yet arrived at an accepting state of mind: some people are trans - get over it.

To spot the signs of a stroke, you have to think FAST!

Facial drooping
Arm weakness
Speech difficulty

Today, I met with the good folks of Heart & Stroke who are working to spread awareness on how to prevent strokes from happening, how to respond when they do, and what's needed in our healthcare system to ensure that those who have suffered one can recover.

Learn more of their important work here.

It was wonderful reconnecting with our St. Paul's community member Oliver today, even in these springtime showers! Oliver is a powerful advocate for the environmental sensitivities (ES) community, including multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), and for tenants’ rights!

March was Endometriosis Awareness Month, courtesy of a piece of legislation your Ontario NDP fought for and won. However, endowarriors are fighting 365 days a year to be seen, heard, and supported.

Endometriosis impacts 1in 10 people assigned female at birth (AFAB). Next week, I will be presenting each MPP at Queen's Park with information on endometriosis to ensure awareness raising and prevention and intervention strategies are top of mind for every representative and their community members.

Are you sick and tired of Doug Ford's anti-tenant legislation? Are you facing a demoviction of your own? Join us tomorrow to rally together in support of REAL rent control!

Also yesterday, I took the opportunity to stand up FOR tenants and AGAINST demovictions in the Legislature.

It's a fact that Ontario needs more affordable housing stock and to build on urban density along transit corridors and close to core services. But what we're seeing in St. Paul's and across the city & province is working in the opposite direction of this goal. 

Under the Ford government, developers are buying up viable, rent-controlled buildings and demovicting thousands of tenants with no where else to go. This is certainly the case at 55 Brownlow, which is needlessly slated for demolition. 

I presented a petition on their behalf, and on behalf of folks across St. Paul's facing the same fate, to demand that this government protect affordable housing stock. Their "plan to build" cannot come at the expense of what's existing and still viable.

Watch the clip.

Yesterday, I joined hundreds of folks outside Queen's Park rallying for health care for all! Despicably, Doug Ford has taken health care coverage away from uninsured folks across the province. This puts so many Ontarians at risk, and will further burden our emergency rooms as people won't have reliable and guaranteed access to upstream, preventative care. This is simply inhumane, and undermines our promise of "universal" health care. Universal for whom, exactly?

Earlier this week, I shared that MPP Wong-Tam, along with myself, MPP Gates, and MPP West, tabled a Bill that would protect Ontarians from air-borne illness through mandated clean air standards.

Because COVID is not over. Nor is its impact for the hundreds of thousands of Ontarians who've been infected and are now struggling with the debilitating symptoms of long-COVID.

While we work to prevent its further spread, we must also ensure we have equitable and accessible supports in place for them. Yesterday, I stood in the Legislature to table a petition calling for this, which you can watch here.

I'd especially like to thank our community member Lesley who has been a continuous advocate for long-COVID sufferers.  

Below is an email I received from The Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit:

Do you know someone who is a passionate member of Toronto’s Black communities, and interested in eliminating barriers and advancing the interests of Black communities in government programs, services and representation? Invite them to shape our city by joining the City of Toronto’s Confronting Anti Black Racism Advisory Committee. Applications to join the Committee are now open and will close on April 11th, 2023.

Confronting Anti-Black Racism Advisory Committee Responsibilities The mandate of the Confronting Anti-Black Racism Advisory Committee is to provide advice to City Council:
•       To support the implementation of the principles of the International Decade for People of African Descent under the themes of Recognition, Development, and Justice
•       On the elimination of barriers faced by Black communities and recommend City engagement to help improve access to provincial, federal, and community agency services and programs
•       To ensure the interests and needs of Black communities are reflected in City programs and service delivery
•       On emerging issues and trends of significance to Black communities as they relate to City services and programs
•       Enjoy a collaborative, cooperative and cohesive relationship with the Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit's Partnership and Accountability Circle

Members should be comprised of community and policy leaders with lived experience and/or expertise in issues of Black communities' and reflecting the diversity of Black communities, including:
•       Housing, healthcare, education, employment and entrepreneurship, child-welfare, policing and the criminal justice system
•       The elimination of barriers faced by Black communities to improve access to provincial, federal, and community agency services and programs
•       Efforts to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Black Torontonians as part of the City's contributions to mark the International Decade for People of African Descent
•       Ability to address emerging issues and trends to ensure the interests and needs of Black communities are reflected in City programs and service delivery

Honorarium and Meetings
•       Public members receive an honorarium of $125 per meeting attended, for up to four times per year at the call of the Chair.

Submit your application by April 11, 2023 for consideration. To apply and learn more about the Committee structure, please visit the webpage and review the Terms of Reference:

If you have any questions about the Committee or application process, please email: [email protected]

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!

In Solidarity, 

Jill Andrew
Toronto-St. Paul's

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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

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