Today, Ontario reported another 552 new cases of COVID-19, after reporting 666 new cases yesterday. While the cases counts are continuing to increase, we can see that the rate of increase seems to be slowing – a trend that we hope continues. Last week the doubling time for new cases was sitting at 17 days, and as of this writing the doubling time is now 24 days.
The hope at this point is that the increases will continue to slow, until we start seeing the daily case counts and the seven-day rolling average decreasing. In our own personal lives, we should all continue to follow the best advice of public health experts, masking when appropriate, and most importantly, getting vaccinated if you have not yet.
At Queen’s Park this afternoon, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath introduced a motion to lower the cost of living in Ontario with a variety of measures.
Our motion called on the Ford government to end its low wage policies, and develop a meaningful plan to tackle our cost-of-living crisis by restoring the lost earnings for all workers who were affected by the Premier’s minimum wage freeze. It called on the government to tackle unaffordable rent and home prices, to work with the federal government to deliver $10-a-day childcare, provide financial assistance to small businesses who have been affected by the pandemic, and lower the cost of hydro, auto insurance and gas.
Sadly, but unsurprisingly, the Ford government voted down our motion this afternoon, but you should know that these measures are key priorities for myself, and the entire Ontario NDP Caucus – and that will not change. We need an Ontario that’s affordable for everyone, and I’m excited to help deliver that future to our community.
While all the measures above deserve attention, in today’s Community News Update, I’d like to quickly draw your attention specifically to the childcare provision. We have a unique opportunity right now to secure a deal with the federal government to delivery $10-a-day childcare to Ontario. Now that Ottawa has signed a deal with Alberta, only Ontario and New Brunswick are without an agreement to deliver this desperately needed service. Our parents are paying as much for childcare as for a mortgage – and this needs to be a top priority for the Ontario government.
Beyond keeping money in the pockets of families, we also know that delivering affordable childcare will bring many women – who are disproportionately likely to be affected by high childcare costs – back into the workforce. This will drive economic activity as well – and be a net benefit for our province across the board.
Let’s get this done now – the Ford government needs to stop playing politics here and deliver.
Throughout this summer and fall, we organized a Community Food Table program, where anyone could drop off food, and anyone else could pick it up at no cost, at four drop off points throughout Toronto-St. Paul’s. The backbone of the program was the generosity of our community, in donating both food and time. This weekend, I was delighted and humbled to gather (outdoors) with some of our volunteers and thank them for their contributions, and recognize them with scrolls on behalf of the Ontario Legislature.
To everyone who participated, whether through picking up food, dropping off food, or volunteering at a table – thank you for taking part in what is ultimately a community building exercise.
Our community is filled with fantastic artists, and last week I had the honour of meeting Peter John Gillett, and seeing his brilliant work which was inspired by the Taddle Creek in Wychwood Park. Part of the exhibit, which was hosted at the Wychwood Barns, featured a map which invited viewers to take a walk to Taddle Creek - something I’d certainly recommend.
Community Call Outs
The Oakwood-Vaughan Community Organization is looking to hear from residents in our Oakwood-Vaughan Community about the health and safety of the neighbourhood. They have put together a survey that you can fill out by clicking here.
Next, the Canadian Reggae Music Conference is now open for registration and all are welcome to register for free and check it out. This will be the fifth annual edition of the conference, and it will be happening in less than two weeks on November 26 and 27.
There will be some fabulous panels at the conference, and you can register to attend here.