Community News Update - May 17, 2023

Dear community,

Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia! As a member of the Ontario NDP's Queer Caucus, I'm here to remind you that hate has no home here! We are loud and proud and will continue fighting until every single one of our human rights is met.

Recently, along with my colleagues MPPs Lise Vaugeouis, Terence Kernaghan, and Kristyn Wong-Tam, we introduced the Keeping 2SLGBTQ+ Communities Safe Act, which you can read more about here.

Unfortunately, we've seen and experienced a despairing increase in bigoted attacks against our community members; whether through protests at drag events or targeted violence, this is not okay. Everyone deserves to feel safe, and our Bill takes steps to make that right a reality.

The biggest story of the week for our community comes from none other than Crosslinx Transit Solutions (CTS). As of yesterday, the consortium is moving to sue Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario, as to effectively cease a contract stating the project will operate as a TTC line once opened.

This is yet another wrench to further delay an open date, which was supposed to be running by 2020, and a devastating reminder of how inefficient, expensive, and damaging P3 projects are. 

While CTS is putting the blame on Metrolinx and Metrolinx's CEO, Phil Verster points fingers back, calling it a delay tactic; the fact of the matter is each party, including the Ford government, is to blame for this ongoing mess as the one's feeling the impact most - residents, business owners, and commuters along Eglinton - continue to be left out of the conversation.

This is unacceptable. The secretive shenanigans that keep answers away from the public and shovels out of the ground have gone on long enough and words of disappointment from Ford and Minister Mulroney aren't going to cut it this time. They need to show they've learned their lesson and put an end to costly, inefficient P3 projects.

Read our statement. 

Yesterday was World Education Support Personnel Day! To all custodial staff, technicians, educational assistants, early childhood educators, and more, your dedication is the backbone of our schools. The work you do plays a crucial role in our education system and contributes to a learning environment in which our children thrive!

We are committed to fighting to secure the funding schools need to thrive, where education workers are employed with dignity, and children flourish.

Also released yesterday was the Financial Accountability Office's report on Women in Ontario's Labour Market

The results show that for the past decade, there's been no meaningful improvement in the gender wage gap, stagnating at around 87 cents per dollar. This is even lower for racialized women, women identifying as 2SLGBTQIA+, women who are newcomers, women with disabilities; among other intersectional identities. 

Let me be clear. In 2023, there is zero excuse for this gap to exist at all; let alone make no progress towards closing. But with Ford's continued disrespect of women workers, and women-dominated sectors like healthcare, education, and public services, it tracks. 

This isn't just costing women, either. It's costing all of us as all evidence shows that when women do better in the workplace, Ontario's economy follows suit. So while Ford stalls on our collective progress, your Ontario NDP remains hard at work to advance gender equity to move our province forward.

Read more.

Many of you may already know our St. Paul's community member, Oliver, who is a powerful advocate for folks living with environmental sensitivities, including multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) as someone who's life has been severely impacted by it himself.

Yesterday, I wrote to the Premier, Minister of Health, and Minister of Housing to finally address his needs, and the needs of the hundreds of thousands of Ontarians living with this condition, to allow them to live a full & dignified life free of pain. This is not some pie-in-the-sky concept either. In fact, the tools that can get us there are readily available in an already completed, expert-led plan of action. Now is time to put them to use.

In the meantime, addressing Toronto's unsustainable rental market is an immediate step to take that can better their conditions, and certainly Oliver's. Currently, his sensitivities are triggered within his own home, meaning he's forced to choose between staying - even sleeping - outdoors or living with unbearable symptoms as he can't afford anywhere else.

This is no choice at all and in one of the wealthiest cities in the world, there's no excuse to why it's one he has to make. Real rent control, including vacancy control, is needed now. 

Read my letter below & share your words of support for our dear community member, Oliver by emailing [email protected].

Our friends at the Frankel Lambert Outreach Committee (FLOC) are hosting a "yard sale" fundraiser on May 27th! See below for more details!

With the spring sunshine well upon us, I am in awe of the abundance of gardens here in our community of St. Paul's! I'd love to share this joy with folks across the neighbourhood and celebrate your hard work stewarding a place of beauty and (sometimes) sustenance!

With that in mind, please reply to this email with a photo of your garden (from a container garden on your windowsill to a full vegetable pasture in your yard - all gardens are welcome) to have it featured in our community newsletter AND have the chance to win a small prize!

Want to give your kid a front row seat to all that goes down at Queen's Park? Well, now's your chance through the Legislative Page Program, with applications open now until June 15, 2023.

Each year, grade 7 & 8 students are selected to take part in the coveted program, acting as aides to MPPs in the chambers, while also getting to see and learn of Ontario's parliamentary process, meet members from both sides of the aisle, and make friends from all across Ontario, Having seen many students of St. Paul's take on the important role over the years, and hear the joy and lifelong memories they & their families made, I highly encourage your child's application.

Learn more of the program and how to apply here. If you have any questions, reach out via email at [email protected] or by phone at (416) 325-7457.

Each year across Ontario, thousands of lives are lost to overdoses. We need every level of government to prioritize implementing harm reduction strategies to combat these senseless deaths, and you can help.

As many of you know, Naloxone is a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, and these kits are FREE with training at participating pharmacies across the city. Together, we can prevent unnecessary deaths and work toward a more compassionate society that is safe safe for everyone.

Find a pharmacy with Naloxone kits near you, and make sure you can recognize the signs of an overdose.

On May 27, St. Michael & All Angels Church will be hosting their Community Buzz Day!

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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