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Hello <<First Name>>, 

I want to wish Ramadan Mubarak to my fellow brothers and sisters from the Muslim community!

As so many from our faith-based communities have come to realize, the festive celebrations we all enjoy have changed in so many ways. I continue to be impressed and heartened by the resolve of our community as we practice safe social distancing and work to protect our cherished loved ones.

Local mosques like Masjid El Noor in Keelesdale have made the adjustment, providing online services. Tune-in during the holy month for a short talk (bayan) rendered in English and Urdu followed by Zikr and Dua by Imam Mufti Ibrahim - 20 minutes before Maghrib, 7-days a week HERE. Iftar will not be the same, but we are connected in spirit.

I'm happy to report that the Federal Government has made an agreement with Provincial and Territorial governments to provide relief on commercial rents of 75 per cent. Our party has been urging this type of support in our "Save Main Street" plan. The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments payable by eligible small businesses during April, May and June. These loans will be forgiven if the property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a pledge not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remaining 25 per cent. For more information and eligibility requirements, read the Governments press release HERE.

Yesterday, we learned of the unfortunate news at the TTC. 1000 drivers and 200 office staff were given temporary layoff notices. The work of the members of ATU Local 113 are vital to this community. Whether you are a frontline worker getting to work, or an individual needing access to local grocery stores and pharmacies, the TTC is a crucial part of your day. Municipal governments around the province are feeling the pain of this pandemic, and have been asking for support from the Province. We have been urging the Ontario Government to provide that support so that the vital services that cities provide can continue unencumbered. 

There is some disappointing news for parents who were pleased to hear that iPads would be provided to students in need. It appears the Ford Government was attempting to take credit for previously purchased iPads and that there are no new iPads available. In a memo to Trustees, the TDSB has indicated that “Last week’s announcement by the Minister was highlighting, from a provincial level, what school boards are doing with regard to distribution of devices at the local level. At this point in time, there are no additional iPads (or additional money for iPads) being provided by the Province.” Read more about this issue in the press release below.

Finally, I want to congratulate the Ontario Nurses Association who won a hard fought battle at the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario today. It is unfortunate the Ford government has chosen to oppose efforts by nurses to get the necessary equipment they need to safely care for those in long term care, but we celebrate their efforts and victory in support of safe working environments for staff and patients. Read more about the case HERE.


As always, my office is here to help. Please call at 416-243-7984, or email us at fhassan-co@ndp.on.ca.

Take care, stay home, and wash your hands.

Best Regards,



Faisal Hassan
Member of Provincial Parliament
York South — Weston
 
News Release 
 

Misleading government announcement leaves kids, teachers and parents disappointed and without iPads

 

Doug Ford and Stephen Lecce gave teachers, students and families the impression that at least 21,000 new iPads were on the way to give families in need access to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The truth is that school boards won’t get a single extra device.

“We’ve heard from boards all over the province that are inundated with calls from parents looking for the iPad they believed the government was sending their child,” said NDP Education critic Marit Stiles. “But the sad truth is that Mr. Ford and Mr. Lecce were just taking credit for devices already owned and distributed by school boards.

“Mr. Ford’s words don’t match his actions, and as a result, thousands of kids — especially kids from lower-income households — are being let down. This really adds to the inequity. We need solutions for kids in communities with less resources, and those in remote and rural areas.”

On April 17, a government press release announced “iPad devices are being purchased and distributed by Ontario school boards, pre-equipped with free Rogers LTE wireless data.” The carefully-worded announcement added that “over 21,000 will be sent to the homes of families in need.”

This week, the Toronto and District School Board was forced to distribute a statement to its trustees, which the NDP has obtained. It reads:

“Last week’s announcement by the Minister was highlighting, from a provincial level, what school boards are doing with regard to distribution of devices at the local level. At this point in time, there are no additional iPads (or additional money for iPads) being provided by the Province.”

Background

Bluewater District School Board meeting

April 21, 2020

Trustee Thomson: Regarding the announcement by the Minister last week. How many iPads will our board receive?

Alana Murray, Director of Education: We have absolutely no information on this other than I heard announcement on TV as well. My understanding is we should be receiving something, but we have received none to date and we have not received any info about how those will be distributed to school boards. It’s 21K iPads and across 72 school boards it would be a very small number but we have not received any information.

Chair: Have you put forward anything to the ministry about that? Asking the ministry? How will they be loaded? And getting into students hands?

Director of Education: Yes, chair, we, the Directors have asked a lot of questions about this. Executive Officer of CODE has put forth our questions to the Deputy Minister - there may be an update Thursday when we have our weekly call, but we have no more information.

Community News: 

Community organizations are continuing to step up in support of those most vulnerable during the pandemic.  Red Cross is providing Free groceries and delivery for people 70 and up. They can be reached at 1-833-204-9952. The Friendly Neighbourhood Hotline continues to link low-income seniors with volunteers providing free delivery of essentials. They can accommodate 180 languages at 1-855-581-9580 or http://uhnopenlab.ca/hotline.The Good Neighbour Project is also available to help at 647-873-2230.
 
Looking for work? Need help applying for CERB? Maybe you're looking to hire staff? The Career Foundation continues to offer employment services for job seekers and employers through telephone and internet. To learn more about the one-on-one service, visit them at https://careerfoundation.com/ 

Did you know Shakespeare wrote King Lear while in Quarantine?  While we were disappointed to hear that the 55+ performance of King Lear planned by "Shakespeare in Action" was cancelled, programming continues in partnership with the York West Active Living Centre. Learn more about the free drop-in seniors story-telling workshop. Space is limited, so please learn how you can participate by visiting https://www.shakespeareinaction.org/king-lear-in-weston/.
York West Active Living will be launching their virtual programing on April 27th! For more information and a full schedule of offerings, visit http://www.ywalc.ca/

Workplace safety is vital to preventing the spread of COVID-19. If you feel you may be at risk, or are concerned for your safety, please call the Health and Safety information line at 1-877-202-0008
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Copyright © 2020 Member of Provincial Parliament - York South-Weston, All rights reserved.


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