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Hello <<First Name>>,

Parents are starting to get a clearer idea of what to expect this September, and they don't like what they see. The TDSB Plan comes with some accommodations for some smaller cohorts in communities identified by Toronto Public Health as being at higher risk for COVID-19, such as York South—Weston. This comes at the expense of board reserve funds, that were allocated for long term projects. The TCDSB plan [PDF] has also been approved by the ministry and does not include similar accommodations. Both boards are preparing for staggered starts as parents, students, and children adjust to a new reality.

Yesterday we learned of the governments plans to respond to possible future outbreaks in schools. While it's prudent to plan for the unexpected, it would have been much wiser for the government to listen to parents from the start when they made clear the approach they prefer is to prevent spread, not react to it. Some in the community have also begun to see government ads promoting the school re-open in September, and have wondered if those funds wouldn't be better spent hiring teachers, or providing more support for students with special needs.

I'm looking forward to next Thursday when I will be sitting with local parents and educators for another discussion on the safe re-open of schools, and how we can advocate for a plan that more closely aligns with the values of parents and educators.


Commercial Evictions:
MPP for Waterloo, Catherine Fife, has urged the Ford government to extend its commercial eviction ban past the planned August 31st expiration date. The pandemic is not over and small businesses continue to need our support. The government's commercial rent support fell short because it relied on the co-operations of landlords. In addition to continuing the ban on evictions, we are asking the government to re-direct unused CECRA funds directly to commercial tenants to help them pay the rent and keep their businesses afloat.

Service Ontario Cuts:
The government is being urged to reverse a $5 million cut to Service Ontario at a time when they are most need to serve Ontarians. After the Liberals started the process of eroding service by privatizing outlets, further cuts have resulted in long lines and lengthy delays. We should be expanding service during COVID-19 to include evening and weekend service to serve the community.

SIU Findings in Regis Korchinski-Paquet case:

Regis’ death and the SIU’s findings yesterday, are not isolated incidents, but part of a longstanding pattern. Breaking this pattern means making meaningful investments in mental health supports across the province and transferring responsibility for mental health calls to alternative first responders. It also includes a complete overhaul of police oversight so Ontarians can have confidence that police are being held meaningfully accountable to the public and communities they serve. To learn more, clicked 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, wear your mask, and wash your hands.

Best Regards,



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

Ford’s back-to-school scheme leaves parents with no good options for September

BRANTFORD – On Wednesday morning at Lansdowne-Costain Public School in Brantford, Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath stood with two local parents who are wrestling with the impossible decision left to them by Doug Ford’s reckless back-to-school scheme.

While each parent made a different choice about whether they would send their kids back into classrooms this fall, neither of them felt comfortable or happy with the choice they were forced to make.

“Mr. Ford’s refusal to step up and do the right things has put parents across the province in a situation where there are no good choices,” said Horwath. “On the one hand, folks can send their kids into packed classrooms, where physical distancing will often be impossible, knowing it will put their kids, and older or immuno-compromised loved ones at even more risk.

“Or they can choose to keep their children at home, and continue the superhuman juggling act they’ve been doing for months, knowing continued social isolation could have harmful effects on kids’ mental health and wellbeing.”

Horwath also noted that Ford has left many Ontario parents with no choice at all, because they need to send kids back to school in order to be able to work, pay the bills and provide for their families.

“Mr. Ford’s priorities are clearly backwards,” added Horwath. “He would rather spend money on a PR campaign to sell his bargain basement back-to-school scheme, than invest in ensuring school boards, schools and educators have supports they need for smaller safer classes in the fall.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. If I were premier, I would be hiring more teachers and education workers – including bus drivers custodians, and educational assistants — and securing more spaces for physically distanced classrooms. And I would make sure that in the interim, parents have the child care options and extra income supports they need to stay home, if they need to.”

Quotes

Garnet Smith, Parent
“As a mother of two in grades 3 and SK I am naturally concerned for my children’s mental health and well-being. Although I know measures are being taken to protect my children as they return to class, I wonder if it will be enough. I fear that with the standard class size, the potential for my children to be exposed has increased unnecessarily and expands their ‘social bubble’ to numbers beyond our individual control — our social bubble which we have all tried to minimize since March.”

Ed House, Parent and Secondary School Teacher GEDSB
“As a parent of two daughters attending elementary school, I don’t want to have to choose between in-school education and the safety of my children…I want both and if that means adjustments to the plan to return to school, then that is what parents need to demand now. What level of engagement can we expect from kids who will spend as much time trying to distance themselves from others, as they will spend time attempting to focus on a learning opportunity? As a teacher, I want to be able to offer your children a safe environment to learn. I feel sick to hear that this “plan” is what our own government deems as the best possible action. I have not spoken to one parent or teacher who believes that this plan could not be improved with smaller class sizes. I am disappointed. I expect proactive leadership at this time, not a government that puts out fires after they ignite.”

Community News: 

Our office learned of a need for masks at Beech Hall Co-op and was pleased to provide some in support of seniors in that community. If you have PPE to spare, or if you are an organization in need, please get in touch with our office to see how we can help.

The Lentini-Silvaggio family is hosting a front porch concert for their neighbours in Weston. The concert will run from 7:00pm to 9:00pm on Monday, August 31 at 196 John Street. Bring your own blanket or chair, and be prepared to practice social distancing.
Fall program registration for the York West Active Living Centre opens on Monday, August 31. Modified in-person programming returns with safety protocols in place and virtual programming continues as well. For a program schedule, click HERE.
On Aug 26, at 3pm EST, FoodShare and Food Network Canada will be hosting a panel titled "It's time to end white supremacy in food systems. They'll be joined by a stellar lineup of panellists based in three different countries (Canada, U.S and South Africa) all working in some way to dismantle white supremacy in food systems.For tickets, click HERE.
As early as August 31, crews will begin sidewalk restoration on the south side of Eglinton, east of Yarrow Rd. Work will take approximately one week to complete. Work will continue within regular working hours at Keelesdale, from as early as 6:00am until 11:00pm.Crews will maintain access to businesses and residences through the duration of this activity. Dust and debris can be expected.
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Copyright © 2020 Member of Provincial Parliament - York South-Weston, All rights reserved.


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