Community News Update - September 16, 2022

Dear Community,

For the past two weeks, a few my Ontario NDP colleagues have limited their grocery budget to $47.60 a week, which is approximately the food budget for Ontarians who receive either the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) or Ontario Works (OW).

They've been doing this to draw attention to the abysmally low rates being forced on some of the most vulnerable people in our society. 

Just because you’re in a situation where you need ODSP or OW – shouldn’t deprive you of the ability to live a decent life. Right now, if you’re forced to live on these inadequate supports, each day is a financial struggle, where you’re forced to decide between paying for rent, or paying for food. It’s unacceptable and it needs to change immediately. I’m calling on the government to take real action on this file – and double the rates to something that is at least somewhat reflective of the cost of living in Ontario.

You can read a full press release from the Ontario NDP on this issue here.

In my last Community News Update, I shared that the Ford government has adjourned parliament until after the municipal elections. Adjourning parliament right now is unacceptable, especially considering the range of challenges that are currently facing our province.

Today, let's dig into just two of those issues.

Starting with our health care system. We have hospitals around Ontario is enormous backlogs in their emergency rooms, and more and more staff walking away each day because of Bill 124. At this critical juncture we need action more than ever.

In our schools, we have education assistants spread thin, and with the effects of wages freezes and increases below inflation wreaking havoc here as well, we’re starting to hear rumblings of a staffing crisis emerging in education too. They’re cutting back on our schools, and ultimately more than anyone else the price will be paid by our students.

Health care and education make up the majority of the provincial budget, and right now in the two biggest files the province has there are enormous issues at stake. In this moment, they are taking their ball and going home – right when decisions need to be made, and courses need to be corrected.

We need action now – and I will not stop advocating for it.

Of course, it’s a Friday, and that means there’s lots happening in our community over the next couple days.

Here one event you should make sure to check it out.

Tomorrow, from 3 to 7PM at the Wychwood Barns - Music at the Barns will be rocking and rolling! This is the second annual edition of this event, hosted by the Wychwood Barns Community Association. I’m very excited for this, and I’ll be on site, along with some volunteers at my table.

Make sure to drop by and say hello!

Finally today, I am incredibly proud that this weekend I’ll be receiving the Making a Difference Award from the Commffest Film and Arts Festival. This afternoon the Ontario NDP shared a press release regarding this honour, and I wanted to share with everyone my quotes from the release.

Ontario is filled with inspiring people who are dedicated to community service, I am honoured to be recognized among an exceptional group of people who all make our province a better place to call home. I am proud to spend every day advocating for equity in gender, race, and social justice, both inside and out of Queen’s Park.

Arts and culture are vital for the health and well-being for our communities and collective mental health, it’s my pleasure to support and attend the Commffest Film and Arts festival this year and support an important community initiative.

To learn more about Commffest, click here.

In Solidarity, 

Jill Andrew
Toronto-St. Paul's

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