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August 19 - Update 


Dear Neighbour,

The health care crisis is affecting us here in University-Rosedale. This month, three of Toronto General’s intensive care units reached bed capacity, including units for cardiovascular and coronary issues, and medical surgery. And on July 24, Toronto Western Hospital’s emergency room almost shut down due to a staffing shortage but was able to secure enough last-minute workers to remain open.

Emergency rooms shouldn’t be at risk of closure - ever. 

What’s the PC government’s plan to tackle the healthcare crisis? More privatized-delivery of health care. On August 18, the Minister of Health, Sylvia Jones, said they would address the surgery backlog by permitting thousands more surgeries in private hospitals.

This isn’t going to go well. Private clinics draw from the same pool of staff as hospitals do, recruiting staff trained to work in an operating room from hospitals to private clinics will just make the staffing shortages and surgery backlog at hospitals even worse.

Private clinics have a track record of making more money by billing patients for services affiliated with the OHIP-covered surgery, such as food, a private room, additional testing and more. Patients will leave these clinics with a bill.
Private clinics have poorer health outcomes than public health care. We just lived through the tragedy in our long-term care homes where over 4000 people died. The death rate in for-profit homes was higher than the death rate in nonprofit and public homes. Corners were cut and wages were kept lower in order to divert money to shareholder profits. That’s how privatized-delivery works.

I join my MPP colleagues, the Ontario Nurses Association, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, the Ontario Health Coalition, and countless Ontarians to call for a properly funded well-staffed public health care system. We are calling for the:

  • rapid accreditation of internationally trained health care workers

  • pay increases for health care workers beyond the government-mandated 1% cap so they don’t quit. 

  • measures to improve patient safety and workplace conditions, including lowering patient to staff ratios, and stopping workplace violence against healthcare workers.

Please contact our office if you have an experience as a patient or health care worker that you would like me to share in the legislature.  My job is to amplify your voice at Queen’s Park. This issue affects us all.

We have created an action alert for you to sign and send to Minister Sylvia Jones calling on her to fix health care by hiring and keeping staff, not privatizing delivery.  

We also have a petition you can download, print out, fill in, and bring back to our office so we can raise these issues every day in the legislature during the time for petitions. 

Yours,


Jessica Bell, MPP
University–Rosedale

My newsletter this week includes:

Human rights commission supports NDP call to protect tenant access to AC

 

Today, we are celebrating the ruling issued Friday by the Ontario Human Rights Commission that says landlords can’t ban air conditioning, calling it a human right. The Commission also ruled that the province should change the Residential Tenancies Act so it includes a maximum legal temperature requirement for homes.

In response to the Commission’s decision, I will be re-tabling my motion in the legislature to change the Residential Tenancies Act so it includes not only a minimum legal temperature requirement, but a maximum temperature as well.

Extreme heat makes life sickeningly unbearable for everyone, and it’s dangerous for people — especially seniors and people with disabilities.  I want to thank the Ontario Human Rights Commission for calling out dangerous air conditioner bans and recommending a maximum temperature.  I also want to thank all the residents across Toronto who have written letters and organized for improvements to the lives of renters.   

Now, I’m calling on all members of the legislature to join me in protecting people.  

Establishing a maximum temperature is one of many measures cities and provinces must take to respond and adapt to the climate crisis.  As part of our Green New Democratic Deal plan to help Ontario adapt to the climate crisis, we are also calling for an upgrade to Ontario’s building code, building retrofits to make housing, public buildings, and commercial buildings greener and more energy efficient, and support for municipalities to strengthen their infrastructure and grow urban forests to lower temperatures in towns and cities.  

You can read more about our work on this issue here and here.

Government takes the Strong Mayors, More Homes bill to committee

 

 

Last week, the Ford government tabled the Strong Mayors, More Homes Act, legislation that if passed, would give the Mayors of Ottawa and Toronto unprecedented new powers. You can read more about the bill in my blog post here. In summary, the bill gives a huge amount of power to Mayors to heavily control the budgetary process, appoint heads of departments and heads of committees, and veto city council decisions on matters that have been designated a provincial priority. The Act doesn’t define what a provincial priority is, so we’ll have to wait for the regulations for that definition. City council can only block a mayoral veto with a two-thirds majority vote. 

While the government is messaging the Strong Mayors, More Homes Act as a way to get more housing built, this Act doesn’t refer to housing at all. There’s nothing in this bill on curbing speculation, building more homes, zoning reform, building more supportive or affordable housing.  

On Thursday, the bill passed second reading and is now going to committee. 

You can take part in the committee process by appearing as a committee witness, submitting written material to a committee, or attending committee hearings. For housing advocacy groups, this could be an opportunity to call on the government to address the housing shortage and housing affordability. 

Click here to appear as a witness. 

Click here to submit written material. 

Please email our office at jbell-co@ndp.on.ca if you are looking at submitting written testimony or speaking.

Government introduces Bill to move patients out hospitals to long-term care homes

 

 


On Thursday, the Ford government introduced Bill 7, the More Beds, Better Care Act

The bill allows health officials to move people waiting in hospitals for long-term care beds into homes that are not in their communities and without their consent. The Ministry intends to move 250 people within the next three months, and a total of 1,300 by March 2023. This comes as Ontario’s overburdened hospital system battles severe staffing shortages. 

Ontarians waiting in hospitals for long-term care beds is not a new problem, as told in this Auditor General report from 2021. Right now, almost 5,000 hospital beds (or 24 percent of overall beds) are taken up by patients waiting to be discharged to different locations, with 1,850 waiting to go into long-term care.

But forcing seniors to move into care homes that are far away from their families could make life very hard for families. The best way forward is making strong investments in both our long-term care and hospital sectors so everyone can access the care they need, when and where they need it.

The Ontario NDP firmly believes that seniors, whether receiving care in their home, in a hospital or in long-term care, are treated with dignity. 

We welcome your feedback on this bill.  Please send your written feedback to jbell-co@ndp.on.ca or call us at 416 535 7206. 

What happens if you buy a home that’s poorly built?  Very little.

 

On Thursday, MPP Tom Rakocevic (Humber River-Black Creek) and I asked Minister Downey to investigate the fairness of rulings issued by the License Appeal Tribunal.   

When a home isn’t properly constructed, a homeowner can make a claim to the warranty administrator, TARION, to seek compensation and repairs. If that claim fails - and it often does - the homeowner can go to the provincial License Appeal Tribunal (LAT) to have their case heard and decided upon by an impartial adjudicator.

But is the LAT a fair and effective body? Advocacy organization, Canadians for Properly Built Homes (CPBH) reviewed all the decisions made by the LAT since 2006, and calculated that homeowners lose pproximately 85 per cent of the time. CPBH suggests there are many reasons for this rate loss, including the LAT’s decision to use TARION’s construction performance guidelines and that homeowners are usually self-represented. CPBH has asked the LAT whether TARION’s guidelines have ever been independently assessed for appropriateness but have yet to receive a response. It is also worth noting that in the event a homeowner is successful at the LAT, the LAT cannot enforce the decision.

It is the Ontario government’s responsibility to ensure homes are built to a good standard. That requires:

  • strengthening the building code so new homes are more energy efficient, accessible and durable,

  • a proper inspection and enforcement system to ensure builders build home to code,

  • a fair and stringent multi-provider warranty system so consumers have choice, and

  • a fair dispute resolution and arbitration tribunal process when things go awry.

When any one of these steps fall short, home owners are at risk of buying a poorly constructed and defective home. That is why I am calling on Attorney General Doug Downey to audit the LAT to ensure its decisions are fair to homeowners and the warranty administrator alike. 

I re-introduced my Anti-Money Laundering Housing Act

 

Experts have been warning for years that home prices are being partially driven up by investors who buy and sell homes in Ontario and Canada to store wealth, to launder money and cheat on their taxes. If we want more of Ontario’s homes to be affordable for people, and stop anonymous investors from outbidding families, we need to take action.

That’s why I introduced my new bill, the Anti-Money Laundering in Housing Act, which if passed, would establish a public registry of property owners in Ontario and eliminate the practice of anonymous numbered companies from buying up swathes of real estate. According to organizations like Transparency International Canada and Publish What You Pay Canada, measures like this are key to reducing housing speculation, tax evasion, money laundering, and fraud in the real estate sector.   

To support my bill, click here.  

Watch the full press conference here.

Celebrating Street Haven

 

Street Haven supports women who are experiencing or are at-risk of homelessness in University-Rosedale. Workers at Street Haven help women find housing, access addiction services and more.

But right now, Street Haven is treading water as demand for their services increases and a lack of funding forces them to operate at a deficit.

Watch me call on the Ford government to step up Street Haven here.

You can support Street Haven by contacting the Minister of Health (Sylvia.Jones@pc.ola.org), Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions (Michael.Tibolloco@pc.ola.org), and the Solicitor General (Michael.Kerzner@pc.ola.org) and demanding better funding for Street Haven now.

If you are able and would like to donate to Street Haven, click here. 

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Community office:
                                      719 Bloor Street W, Unit 103                                      
                                              Toronto, ON  M6G 1L5                                           

                                              Phone: 416-535-7206                                             
Email: jbell-co@ndp.on.ca 

 

                                               







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