Community News Update - May 3, 2023

Dear community,

May is Jewish Heritage Month - a time to celebrate and honour the rich and diverse history, culture, and contributions of the Jewish people in St. Paul's and across the province. This month provides an opportunity to reflect on the many achievements of Jewish leaders, thinkers, artists, and innovators throughout history. It is also a time to remember the struggles and challenges faced by Jewish communities over the years, and to renew our commitment to promoting equity, justice, and tolerance for all.

Shamefully, Canadian society did not initially welcome Jewish people with warmth, and they were subjected to discriminatory policies and antisemitic attacks. With antisemitism on the rise, now more than ever we must renew our call to combat hate and urge this government to take action.

Your Ontario NDP has urged Ford's government to erect a Holocaust memorial on the grounds of Queen's Park to ensure the atrocities of the Holocaust are never forgotten, to provide funding to assist religious centres and places of worship like synagogues with security costs, and to implement an anti-racism strategy in schools and post-secondary that addresses and fights all forms of systemic racism, including antisemitism.

Together, we can take a stand against intolerance and ignorance and ensure our communities are welcoming of all.

Read more about mandatory Holocaust education in elementary schools here.

Asian Heritage Month in Canada is an annual celebration of the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and contributions of Asian communities across the country. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, anti-Asian hate crimes have peaked and we've witnessed vulnerable members of our communities be targeted in attacks motivated by hate and racism.

In response, this government must take swift action, and your Ontario NDP has urged the Conservatives to implement a province-wide anti-racism strategy to tackle this alarming rise in hate, including anti-Asian racism, and to adequately fund community organizations that have been at the forefront of combating anti-Asian racism in the province.

This is a time to honour the past, embrace the present, and look forward to a more inclusive and equitable future for all Canadians.

From May 1-7, we also commemorate Mental Health Week.

But the fact is, words, commemorations, or awarness stops short of what it takes to meaningfully address the growing crisis. Ontarians deserve this week to be backed with action to meet their healthcare needs. Because mental healthcare is just that; healthcare.

As we look forward to the day that mental healthcare is universal and accessible for all who need it, when they do, we can work to reduce barriers that stand in the way right now. That's what my & MPP Gelinas' Bill 61 looks to do by removing HST of registered psychotherapy services, as the only mental health service with this tax attached to it. It's a small step Ford can take now to make Mental Health Week count for Ontarians.

Tell him to #StopTaxingMyTherapy. Sign your name to help eliminate this barrier to equal, affordable access. 

This weekend, rain or shine, find a Jane's Walk near you - including some right here in #TOStPauls! Meet your neighbours, build community, and learn about the rich and sometimes fraught history of this city and land!

See a local walk HERE, and find the full list of Jane's Walks HERE.

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 t 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!

Unsmoke Canada and The Great Outdoors Fund are offering grants for organizations to host an Unsmoke Canada cleanup event in their area, focused on collecting and recycling litter and cigarette waste.  

The grants (up to $5,000) are targeted for non-profit organizations with a connection to nature, outdoor recreation, outdoor conservation, health and wellness, volunteer engagement, and/or community service.
 
Interested organizations can apply here before May 5, 2023.

In Solidarity, 

Jill Andrew
Toronto-St. Paul's

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