Community News Update - May 5, 2021

Dear Community,

Throughout COVID-19, we have been calling for more protections for renters in Ontario. One of the greatest frustrations that I have heard from our community is that despite the Ford government claiming to have issued a ‘rent freeze’, they are still allowing Above the Guideline Rent Increases to proceed. In response to this, I have tabled a motion to suspend all AGIs in Ontario until at least 12 months after the COVID-19 pandemic officially ends.

We’re going to need some real support to get this through the Ford government, so I’d ask everyone to please help by signing our online petition by clicking here.

While you’re there you can also download and print out a physical copy. If you sign it and mail it to me at the address provided on the petition, I will present it in the Legislature.

I’m also looking to hear your AGI stories. So, if you’ve been negatively impacted by an AGI and would be willing to share your story, please email my office at [email protected].

Last night, I held a Telephone Town Hall on COVID-19, and I am happy to report that over 1000 people joined the call! I want to thank everyone who attended and everyone who submitted a question to our panel. While we couldn’t get to everyone, we were able to get through quite a few questions – and saw some themes emerge. It’s clear that there remains confusion regarding the vaccine rollout, and questions especially about the process for second doses.

I want to send my sincere appreciation to Dr. Gupta, Dr. Dubey, and Director Welch for the insights that you were able to provide our community.

If you missed the Town Hall, you can catch the replay by clicking here.

On the theme of COVID-19 here in Toronto-St. Paul’s, something I have heard loud and clear from our community is that we need more supports on the ground to get vaccines into arms in our hot spot postal code of M6E, and to folks who live on the border of M6E, in M6C.

Today, I’ve written letters to Toronto Public Health, the Minister of Health, and the Premier requesting a pop-up vaccination site in M6E, which is a designated hot spot. A simple designation does no good without real action, and I am calling for that action to take place.

You can read my letter to the Minister of Health and the Premier by clicking here.

In an important update on vaccine protocols in Canada, Health Canada has now authorized the Pfizer vaccine for use in people aged 12 to 15, which has been lowered from the previous cut-off at 16. Currently, all other approved vaccines can only be given to people over the age of 18 – though that could certainly change. Following this announcement from Health Canada, both Alberta and Manitoba have begun plans to distribute the vaccine to folks aged 12 and up.

Here in Ontario, today we registered another 2941 cases of COVID-19, and another 44 deaths. We also currently have another 882 people in intensive care across the province. It remains vital that we continue to follow all the best public health advice, and that means that we must wear our masks, maintain our distance, and limit our trips out to the essentials.

I’m excited to share with our community some of the great work being done by the team from the Bitove Method. They are a new visual arts-based academy that provides support classes for people with dementia. During the pandemic, they’ve gone digital and now offer their classes online.

This Thursday, May 6 from 3-3:30PM, they will be hosting a Virtual Open House, and if you’re interested in checking it out, you can find more information and registration here.

 

I would also like to share a research study that is looking fr participants, from Sinai Health.

Here’s what they have to say:

Are you an Ontario teacher or education worker affected by the #COVID19 pandemic? @SinaiHealth is seeking research participants for a large online study on the impacts of COVID-19 on elementary and secondary education workers. To learn more, please visit http://tibdn.ca/covid-19/education.

Next, there is an important update from Metrolinx regarding the Eglinton Crosstown Construction. Starting as early as Friday, May 7, 2021, there will be a new traffic configuration at Eglinton West and the Allen.
To see the full details of these changes, please click here.

And finally, to end on an uplifting note, I highly recommend, if you can, some self-care time this weekend to take in the wonder that is the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival which wraps up on May 9.  Storytelling through film connects us. It helps to magnify the issues that move us, represent us and, if we are lucky, can inspire us to tell our own stories. Join me in giving a huge Toronto-St. Paul's shout out to community member and film director Jennifer Holness for her feature documentary debut, Subjects of Desire. 

Subjects... is about Black women and beauty.  This documentary is a masterclass at the intersections of history, Black womanhood, the politics of femininity, and the power of the image. (And it doesn't shy away from addressing cultural appropriation either!) I could write you a book but no spoilers. It's a must-watch!

Check it out here.

Toronto-St. Paul's, please continue to keep as safe as possible and I'll be back in your inbox on Friday.

In Solidarity,
 
Jill Andrew
Toronto—St. Paul's

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