Community News Update - September 8, 2023

Dear community,

To no one's surprise, the Ombudsman's report confirms that Ontario's Long-Term Care inspection system "collapsed during the deadly first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic." Just another notch in the long and storied belt of Ford failures.

Healthcare and dignity are human rights - investor returns are not. Unfortunately, the Ford government continues to get that backwards, and Ontarians continue to pay the price with their lives.

Above all, this report underscores the urgent need for comprehensive reforms and increased accountability to ensure the safety and well-being of seniors residing in long-term care homes in Ontario - something the Ford government is well-practiced in turning a blind eye to.

MPP Wayne Gates, NDP critic for Long-Term Care, issued an official response HERE.

You can read the CBC article HERE.

Meanwhile, community members Yumna and Khadeja continue to speak out against Ford's anti-tenant policies and the disastrous effects they've had on the lives of hardworking Ontarians in St. Paul's and across the province.

Ford campaigned on his province to keep rent control in tact, to keep his hands off the Greenbelt, to put people and planet before profit, and we're seeing time and time again not only the extent of his lies but the literal dollars they're taking from the pockets of our community members.

I don't dream of an Ontario where $7000 rent increases become the norm. If, like me, you think the people of Ontario deserve better, join me in signing this petition to bring back REAL rent control!

You can read more about Yumna and Khadeja's story HERE.

The legislature is set to resume on September 25 and after one of the most damning summer's Ontario politics has ever seen, it's sure to be a start like none other.

With all that's gone on with the Greenbelt, it's easy to lose sight that Ford's privatization plan is still near the top of his agenda. As is your Ontario NDP's fight against it, echoing the voices of Ontarians who refuse to let profit take hold of their fundamental human right to accessible, affordable, and equitable healthcare.

As a show of our strength to set the tone of the upcoming session, the Ontario Health Coalition is holding a major protest this day. Starting at noon on September 25, you are invited to join myself, your Ontario NDP, and allies of public healthcare to show Ford that his agenda is not Ontarians. That we are saying no to privatization and WILL say no for as long as we have to.

See details here.

Notably, this day also falls on Yom Kippur, meaning the Jewish community aren't able to attend this important action as they observe this holy day. As such, our own community's Rabbi Shalom Schachter has seen that the Ontario Health Coaltion will also host a second rally on Queen's Park front lawn the following day (September 26 at noon) in order for Jewish Ontarians to participate. Thank you, Rabbi for ensuring that this call to action is inclusive of Jewish voices.

Yom Kippur is the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar. It is a day spent in self reflection and prayer on how we can live more respectful and caring lives. We abstain from acts of pleasure and dominance over one another and nature. Each of us accepts as an individual our collective responsibility for the wellbeing of everyone in society and for the planet. We have a responsibility to protect the work of Creation for future generations. We have a duty to ensure that everyone has the basic services to live a respectful life.

In our prayer titled Unetaneh Tokef we recognize that not everyone will survive the year. We recite; Mi Yichyeh u'Mi Yamut - who will live and who will die; Mi va'Ra'av u'Mi Va"tzama - who will die from hunger and who will die from thirst; Mi Yishaleiv u'Mi Yityasar - who will have access to all they need and who will be deprived.

The prayer ends with a recognition that our future is not cast in stone, that we have the ability to change our destiny and that deeds of social justice can provide relief.

During the Yamim Nora'im the Days of Awe consisting of the time period from Rosh Hashana the Jewish New Year to Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement, we recall that all humanity is created in the Divine Image and that our collective actions have consequences. Every person deserves access to basic public services whether to food, shelter, education or health care.

 The public rallies outside Queen's Park have been organized because the current provincial government is seeking to privatize much of health care. We know that privatization of health care reduces the quality and quantity of health care. Private provision of health care is more expensive and therefore reduces the capacity of the provincial government to finance other basic services such as food, accommodation and education.

The annual opening of the Legislature is a day when ordinary citizens have the ability to meet outside Queen's Park to express their views on the priorities of the government. It is an essential element of the democratic process. This Government has chosen to move the date of the opening of the Legislature to Yom Kippur, which will deprive observant members of the Jewish community of the opportunity to participate in this vital democratic event. Out of respect for our community the Ontario Health Coalition is organizing a second rally on September 26, the day after Yom Kippur, to enable Jews who spend Yom Kippur in synagogue to come to Queen's Park to express their views to the Government. Members of other faith communities will attend in solidarity as well as members of the Legislative Assembly.

If you care about the future of health care please make plans to be at Queen's Park on September 26.

Today marks Day 500 since the ICA locked out ACTRA commercial workers.

That means it's been 500 days without work or PAY for these talented, unionized workers, and 500 days of powerful agencies refusing to get to the table to negotiate a deal. Instead, they've turned to non-union actors to fill the roles in order to offer lower pay and no benefits for the sake of raking in bigger profits.

This is an absolute affront to ACTRA workers, who are struggling more and more each day to get by, with many leaving their professions entirely. But it's also an affront to all workers, as the hard-fought right to a collective agreement shows to be null and void so long as employers, like the ICA, are allowed to do this without meaningful laws that prohibit it.

This is why your Ontario NDP put forth Bill 90: The Anti-Scab Labour Act, which would prevent an employer from replacing striking or locked-out employees with replacement workers. Because collective agreements exist for a reason, and an injury to one is an injury to all.  

Doing their part to tackle growing food insecurity in our community & beyond, Frankel Lambert Outreach Committee's (FLOC) food table at Marian Engel Park is back this Saturday.

Whether you've got donations to spare or need some extra groceries to get you through the week, come on down between 11AM to 1PM to take what you need and leave what you don't. No questions asked!

Mark your calendars! Bloom Bar Studio is hosting a COMEDY CABARET on Thursday, September 28. Tickets are $20 and include a welcome drink!

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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