Community News Update - November 1, 2023

Dear community,

I've said it once, and I'll say it again. Investment in the arts is an investment in our future! One that works for all of us. As a harm reduction strategy, social determinant of health, and huge economic boost for the province as a whole, we need not look further than our own backyard to St. Paul's own Ballet Jorgen as proof of how impactful it is!

But this year, they are one of many arts organizations that have felt the Conservative government's cuts to the Ontario Art Council. A cut by 16% to be exact. This has meant they've been forced to cut staff and FREE programming that has served underinvested-in communities, for which their classes are a critical resource.

Yesterday, I stood in the House to share just how important Ballet Jorgen is to our community, and beyond, demanding they make the needed investment -- one that matches inflation -- into them to see their work continue!

Watch the clip here.

While the Conservative government promised to return the Greenbelt land, the scandal around their grab keeps unfolding. Earlier this week, a Freedom of Information Request by EcoJustice and Environmental Defence came to light, revealing 7,000 MORE pages of how deeply corrupt the Conservative government really is.

Your Ontario NDP scoured the documents to find even more of this government's culture of corruption, making clear that politricks and payouts are guiding policy and not the PEOPLE of this province. 

This is all while they are struggling more and more each day with skyrocketing costs of rent, food, transit, and the very basics it takes to live. But rest assured, your Ontario NDP will keep pushing to lower costs for you, bring back real rent control, and of course, hold this government accountable to their many broken promises.

My deep thanks goes to the folks of EcoJustice and Environmental Defence for leading this important initiative, and to YOU, community, for continuing to demand accountability from your government. This work cannot -- has not happened without you.

Click here to read the full press release.

It's been a long time coming but the day is finally here! Tomorrow, Nia Centre will be opening their newly-renovated location at Oakwood and Vaughan. I'm excited to be joining them for the launch of their new space to extend a well-deserved congrats from our St. Paul's community on this incredible accomplishment for the Nia Centre team!

Check out their new space and learn more of how their organization is strengthening Black artistry in Ontario by clicking here

The new Hillcrest Community Food Bank has opened their doors! You can find them on 2 Vaughan Rd (Bathurst and Vaughan Road). THANK YOU to the amazing folks at Daily Bread Food Bank, Hillcrest Christian Church, Hillcrest Community School, and all community stakeholders for making this possible. Your work is seen and appreciated. 

Please spread the word to those in need!

Do you enjoy working with and inspiring youth? Are you passionate about building equitable STEM futures? The Canadian Association for Girls in Science (CAGIS) is recruiting volunteers for their Toronto Chapter to support their STEM programs!

CAGIS is an award-winning not-for-profit organization that supports interest in Science, Technology, Trades, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) among girls and gender-diverse youth ages 7-17. CAGIS volunteers are parents, teachers, post-secondary students, STEM professionals, and other interested members of the community. They support their work by helping to plan, organize, and run their programs. 

Interested? Click here to sign up!

Exhibit your art at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario!
The Youth Arts Program celebrates the incredible artistic talents of young Ontarians aged 12-18. Each year, youth from across the province are invited to display their works of art throughout the Legislative Building, showcasing their creativity and diverse artistic abilities. 

Online applications are accepted from October 10th to November 8th, 2023 – apply now!

As we approach the colder months, this is a good reminder to get up-to-date on your COVID-19 boosters. The XBB 1.5 updated boosters are NOW available. I got mine last week and encourage you to join me! 

Consult this page for information about where you can get vaccinated.

Join local author Catherine Little at Wychwood Barns Farmers Market Saturday, November 4th at 11 AM.
She’ll be reading her book, ENDGAME: The Secret Force 136. All proceeds from her book sales will benefit the Stop Community Food Centre.

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.

In Solidarity, 

Jill Andrew
Toronto-St. Paul's

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