Community News Update - October 20, 2021

Dear Community,

Today, Ontario reported 304 new cases of COVID-19, that’s the lowest number of new cases in just over two months, and brings our seven-day average down to 406. Of today’s new cases, 46 of them were found here in Toronto.

It’s great to see the case counts continuing to decline, and together we can drive those numbers down even further. So let’s make sure that we’re all double vaccinated. We know that the vaccines are safe and effective, and if you still haven’t gotten vaccinated for any reason, there are lots of available appointments right now.

Click here to find your nearest vaccination site.

First up today, I must take some time to address the offensive comments made by Premier Doug Ford earlier this week, regarding new Ontarians. When speaking about immigration to Ontario, he said the following about people coming to Ontario:

“You come here like every other new Canadian has come here, you work your tail off. If you think you're coming to collect the dole and sit around, not gonna happen. Go somewhere else. You want to work, come here. We have so much work, we can't keep up with it right now.”

To say that this these comments are unacceptable doesn’t nearly go far enough. These comments from Premier Ford are clearly xenophobic, and play to an ignorant narrative about new Ontarians. His words were dismissive of the hard work it takes for immigrants to this country to survive, and the challenges that they face.

Today, for the second time Doug Ford and his government have refused to issue an apology for his remarks. Bluntly, just like I wasn’t surprised when he made the remarks, I’m not surprised he’s standing by them.

Ontario deserves so much better than this from a Premier.

In positive news, I’m proud to stand in support of my Ontario NDP MPP colleague Bhutila Karpoche, as she has introduced her Private Members’ Bill, The Rent Stabilization Act, which would eliminate vacancy decontrol in Ontario.

But what is ‘vacancy decontrol’?

Essentially, this is the provision in Ontario’s rental laws that mean that you can raise the rent an infinite amount between tenants. While at first brush this might seem reasonable, the issue is that this creates a perverse incentive for landlords to want to evict long-time tenants, and on the flip side can force tenants to stay in bad housing situations, because they cannot afford to move.

Beyond this, allowing vacancy decontrol has lead to the Toronto rental market spiralling out of control in the last few years, in a way which has priced out so many in our community.

This is simply a good piece of policy, and I’m proud to support it.

Coming up in the community, the For Youth Initiative has a whole slate of programming beginning to roll out of their new Vaughan and Oakwood site.

Today, I’ll be highlighting the Creative Minds Virtual Song Writing program that will be running Wednesdays, from 4 to 5PM, starting November 10th.

In their own words:

In this program, youth will learn how to write songs, as well as vocal warmups and how to make catchy songs. I will also be inviting a special guest to join me to facilitate two sessions of the program. Besides learning to write songs, youth can also use this program as an art therapeutic way to process intense emotions from situations in their lives, as well as a self-care regimen to validate their own emotions when people don't understand. As we begin, we will focus on the types of music the youth like and are drawn to, then we will find beats to write their songs to, and at the end, we would like to compile a video of all the youth singing their songs as a sort of finale to the program. 

To register, email [email protected].

Today is also Pronouns Day, a day when we reflect on the importance of acceptance, empathy and understanding – as we work together to create a world where we can all feel comfortable in our own skin. So let’s all commit today to making a sincere effort to ensure that when we’re communicating that we’re using the each other’s preferred pronouns.

Finally today, I’d like to remind everyone that this Sunday I will be hosting a Day of Action on Education, where we will be gathering to discuss the issues in the sector, and then heading out into the community to knock on doors, deliver flyers, and speak with our community about how we can strengthen our education system in Ontario.

We will be gathering at the west side of the Wychwood Barns (601 Christie St) at noon, on Sunday October 24.

If you’d like to join us, you can RSVP here!

In Solidarity,

Jill Andrew




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