Community News Update - October 15, 2021

Dear Community,

Due to incoming rain, we’ve postponed tomorrow’s Community Food Tables. With that said, the incredible team at the Beeton Cupboard, who operate out of St. Michael’s and All Angels Church on St. Clair West, will be hosting a food drive tomorrow – that if you’re able to – you should support!

They will be picking up food from porches and collecting food that is dropped off at their 611 St. Clair Ave W location.

You can sign up to get your donation picked up, or to drop off your own by clicking here.

Ontario’s enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificates have now launched with QR codes that are rolling out over the next three days. For the first three days of the program, they have divided Ontario into three groups based on birth month, allowing one group per day to download their QR codes.

The cohorts are as follows:

  • January to April: October 15
  • May to August: October 16
  • September to December: October 17

Starting October 18 at 6AM, the system will be accessible to everyone.

To download your QR code click here.

For Ontarians who are unable to download their QR code to a smart phone, you can also reach out to the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre to have a copy either physically mailed to you or emailed to you.

Contact the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900.

For those who aren’t familiar, a QR code is essentially a unique barcode, that when scanned will confirm your vaccination status. The province’s QR codes will pair with the ‘Verify Ontario’ app that’s now available for download on smartphones. When you’re entering an establishment that requires proof of vaccination for entry, you’ll present your QR code, and a corresponding piece of physical ID.

It should also be noted that as of now you can continue to use your previous vaccination receipt, and there was no announcement indicating that will change any time soon.

You can read the full press release of this announcement here.

Across Ontario today, there were 496 new cases of COVID-19 reported, along with two deaths. In some positive news, there were 29,762 new vaccine doses administered in our province as well, including over 10,000 first shots.

If you haven’t yet, please get vaccinated. It’s safe, and it’s what is going to get us through this pandemic.

Find a vaccine centre near you here.

Getting vaccinated this weekend will be easier than ever, as the City of Toronto is running what they’re calling Shop And Vax 2.0, where there will be walk-in vaccination sites popping up across Toronto in malls and local plazas.

If you’d like to find your nearest location, you can find more details here.

A news story that deserves much more attention broke yesterday, when the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a 2019 tribunal decision supporting the Pay Equity Act, which the Ford government has been trying to overturn.

According to the Ontario Nurses Association, the ruling that the Ford government was trying to overturn declared “that RNs in for-profit nursing homes have the right to be compared to the Homes for the Aged nurses and a male comparator for pay equity maintenance.”

This ruling is vital because it establishes a way to maintain pay equity in workplaces where there are no male comparators – by creating a proxy method. This is especially important in gendered work environments like nursing.

Frankly, the Ford government should not have fought so hard to block this important advance. This battle has cost them significant legal fees and work time that could have been spent on something productive, instead of fighting to maintain the gender wage gap in Ontario.

This will have a major impact in the years ahead, and will mean better wages for nurses across Ontario, including right here in our community of Toronto-St. Paul’s.

Today, I released a full statement on this decision that you can read here.

October is Small Business Month, a time when we should all take a moment to step back and recognize just how important our small businesses are to the fabric of our community. From your favourite coffee shop or corner store to veterinary clinics or bike shops, small businesses are essential parts of our lives – while also providing jobs and opportunities to our community as well.

Throughout COVID-19 they’ve been hit hard, and have often been ignored by the Ford government. It’s been frustrating to watch, and I am proud of the advocacy that I’ve done alongside my Ontario NDP colleagues as we’ve fought for more resources and supports for small businesses.

This work will not stop, and just yesterday, I signed on to an open letter to the Minister of Finance, calling on him to end the predatory practices of many insurance companies, who have done everything in their power to avoid paying out claims during the pandemic, and who are even now going out of their way to gouge small businesses on their insurance.

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It has been powerful to see how our community has come together to shop local and support our local businesses. In just one example, we saw neighbours pitching in to help Krave Coffee get back on their feet after they were the victims of arson, raising money, and now a few months later – Krave is back open.

Two more great local businesses that got some well-deserved recognition is this week are Lamesa and long time community staple, Gerry’s. Lamesa was featured in NOW Magazine for their delicious Filipino food (read the full article here), and Gerry’s was highlighted on BlogTO (read the article here).

A big congratulations to both!

I’m happy to also take a moment to highlight a couple events that I’m particularly looking forward to in the coming days.

This Sunday at the Wychwood Barns, I’ll be there as they celebrate Muhtadi Day, in honour of Muhtadi Thomas, who has made important contributions to the arts in Toronto for many years, and is highly respected for his International Drumming Festival that’s now been going for 20 years.

The festival is set to take place at the Wychwood Barns on Sunday, October 17 from 11AM to 5PM. The event will be free, but with a limited capacity.

Finally, I’m also looking forward to some great comedy coming up in Midtown, where on October 21st, there will be an evening of stand up at The Medley (2026 Yonge St). They’ve only just opened, and I’m excited for the good times they will be bringing to Midtown!

In Solidarity,

Jill Andrew

 

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