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Friday, July 16 - Update 


Dear Neighbour,

I hope you are enjoying your summer. There’s six weeks left until school begins in September and the Premier still hasn’t announced a funded thoughtful plan to keep kids safe and schools open. Read more in our newsletter about what we’re calling for, and what you can do to advocate for our kids.  Our newsletter also includes information about issues we’re hearing about from you, including dangerously hot apartments, evictions issues, and the huge surgery backlog facing our healthcare system. 

We have returned to our outreach activities, including park visits and food drives, so if you see us in the neighbourhood please come by and say hi.

Yours, 

 
Jessica Bell, MPP
University-Rosedale


My newsletter this week includes:
 

 

NDP demands protections for renters living in hot apartments

In Ontario, heating is considered a vital service, and landlords are required to maintain a minimum temperature of 20 degrees Celsius from the 1st of September until the 15th of June. But right now, the Residential Tenancies Act does not limit the maximum temperature allowed in residential units. Because of this gap, tenants are subjected to inside temperatures that exceed what is comfortable or even safe during the hotter months of the year.

Last month’s punishing heatwave in British Columbia contributed to 777 deaths, and the 2018 heatwave in Quebec led to 79 deaths. Most of those who died were seniors living alone in homes without air conditioning. As we feel the effects of climate change, like increased the frequency, intensity, and duration of heatwaves, it is critical that we establish fair protections from hot temperatures for renters. 

This week I held a press conference urging the Ford government to implement a temperature maximum in the RTA and protect tenants living in dangerously hot apartments.  I also called for changes to Ontario’s building code to make housing more green and energy efficient, and for Ontario to partner with municipalities to expand urban forests to reduce the heat island effect in big cities. 

Thank you to Anna, Summer and Kiri for sharing your experience living in uncomfortable and dangerously hot apartments.

To help us change the rules and keep renters safe, sign our public letter to Minister Clark

 

Getting kids back to school #SafeSeptember

Over the past few weeks, we have been talking to families in parks about what they want for the new school year, which is starting in just six weeks.  It’s clear that no one wants a year like last year, where schools were closed for longer than anywhere else in the western world.. Getting kids back in a safe school environment should be our top priority.  It’s going to take more than just saying “schools are open”.  The key is to keep them open by investing now in measures to keep schools safe. That’s why we are calling for: 
  • Upgrades to ventilation systems to meet the latest standards and science on airborne transmission of COVID

  • Proactively reaching out to offer the COVID vaccine to every teacher, education worker and student over 12

  • Paid sick days

  • A classroom cap (both to make it possible for kids to physically distance, and to ensure kids get the one-on-one help and attention they need to get back on track academically and emotionally)

  • Extra mental health and special needs supports in every school


We need a real strategy to deal clear the surgical backlog

Recently, the Ford Government announced their plan to clear the surgical backlog. Unfortunately this so-called plan still has no targets or benchmarks, and no plan to hire more staff — despite dwindling numbers as frontline health care heroes cope with burnout and exhaustion. In fact, virtually nothing has changed since Ford underfunded clearing the surgical backlog by $700 million dollars in the budget, and Ontarians are paying dearly.
Throughout the pandemic my office heard from so many constituents who had to delay lifesaving procedures, from dialysis to lung cancer treatments. For many, these wait times are a matter of life and death.
Our office is looking at raising this issue directly in the legislature and with the Minister of Health. If you are waiting for surgery or have a loved one waiting for surgery, please fill out our confidential survey so we can better understand how it’s affecting our riding.  



 

 


Violent encampment clearing will not solve our housing crisis

 

The City of Toronto has moved ahead with clearing multiple encampments over the last couple of months, most recently at Alexandra Park and Lamport Stadium. It has been truly shocking to witness the sheer number of armed police present to remove a handful of residents.This is a deeply disturbing use of resources and force. 

 

Our city has a homelessness crisis because we have failed to provide housing to people in need. Instead, the Premier has cut homelessness prevention programs, reduced funding for affordable housing by $160 million, and cut $335 million from Ontario’s mental health budget. The Ford government also stopped counting the number of homeless people in the province in 2018, making it impossible to provide adequate support to those in need.

Everyone deserves access to safe, affordable, and permanent housing. We cannot police our way out of this crisis. 

 


Safety concerns plague Ontario’s aging nuclear reactors 

A recent Globe and Mail article revealed stunning news about the precarious state of Ontario’s aging nuclear reactors.     

The Globe reports that inspections of pressure tubes from two shutdown Bruce Nuclear reactors show damaging hydrogen equivalent levels (Heq) that are twice the allowed level under Canadian nuclear regulations. These levels are a flashing red light about the condition of these critical safety components. The measured numbers far exceed what experts at Bruce Nuclear predicted the levels would be based on their computer modelling.  

Pickering already has a past history of tubes splitting and cracking, leading to dangerous loss of cooling situations.

Ontario Clean Air Alliance is calling for people to contact Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland and tell her it is time to step in and tell the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to do its job. We need to close Pickering now to get proper safety measurements and we need a nuclear regulator that is not afraid to enforce its regulations in the interest of public safety.  I support this move.


Ontarians Want Action on Childcare

As a parent of two school age children, I spend nearly $20,000 a year on daycare - just like thousands of parents across Toronto.  The high cost of childcare is forcing mostly women to leave the workforce or go part time as care is too costly. Childcare centres are also closing as parents can't afford the high fees. We need $10 a day childcare now.

A publicly funded national child care system will help families and children in Toronto, especially marginalized families, single parent families and women. 

The Ford government must take a page from the BC NDP government and prioritize a deal with the federal government to achieve affordable day care. Andrea Horwath and the Ontario NDP have committed to working with the federal government to give Ontarians $10-per-day high-quality, nonprofit and public child-care.

For those of you who are very interested in this issue, I recommend reading the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC) and the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario (AECEO) report called the Roadmap to Universal Child Care in Ontario. This Roadmap was developed through community engagement and consultation over the past year. Each section of the Roadmap describes the goal, the provincial context and recommended policy interventions.

Click the link to see how you can participate in their Tuesdays of Action to endorse affordable, accessible, publicly funded, non-profit child care. 

Toronto City Council approves strategy to reduce emissions from existing buildings to net zero by 2050

City Council has just approved multiple strategies and plans that will be critical to achieving the City of Toronto’s TransformTO goal to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) to net zero by 2050 or sooner. This includes a Net Zero Existing Buildings Strategy to decarbonize all existing residential, commercial and institutional buildings within the next 30 years; a Net Zero Carbon Plan to reduce emissions in City-owned buildings; and an update to the Toronto Green Standard to achieve net zero emissions in new development by 2030. For more information see here.  These are measures I fully support. 

 

Join our upcoming food drive at Fred Hamilton Park

 

Join me and the University–Rosedale NDP Riding Associations this Saturday, July 31st from 2-4 pm at Fred Hamilton Park (Roxton Rd, south of College St) for a food drive in support of Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre and Community Fridges Toronto.

Priority items for Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre hot meals program:

  • Rice, pasta, oils, sugar, coffee, pancake mix, juice boxes, cereal, condiments of any kind

  • Shower and laundry supplies, meal distribution supplies(take-away containers, hot+cold cups, forks + spoons, soup bowls + lunch bags.

Priority Items for Community Fridges Toronto:

  • Gift Cards —grocery stores, Visa cards

  • $20 cash or lower

  • *Any gift cards/cash collected will be used by volunteers to fill and maintain community fridges in the University-Rosedale riding for as long as possible

Our last food drive at Ramsden park was a great success despite some soggy weather. Hope to see you this Saturday, rain or shine!

 

 

 

Paul Taylor on food insecurity 


Hunger is a growing issue in our city and our country.

Our office organizes food banks to address the immediate need of making sure people can feed their families. Many others do too such as the community fridges movement, food not bombs, and food banks such as Fort York Food Bank as well as many churches.  But it’s vita that we push for root-cause solutions to hunger.

 

That's why I invited Paul Taylor to have a conversation with me about food insecurity, its root causes, and what we can do as legislators and citizens to create meaningful change.

Paul Taylor is the Executive Director of FoodShare Toronto and the official Federal NDP candidate for Parkdale-High Park. You can support him here. Thank you, Paul!

You can watch the whole conversation here.

"Long Time No See": Call for Submissions about why Chinatown is important to you

After multiple lockdowns due to the pandemic, the rise of anti-Asian hate incidents, and proposed changes with development - a group of artists, educators, and concerned community members created a non-profit project out of their love and concern for Chinatown, called "Long Time No See".  

The projects asks for people to take a photo of themselves, or their family members and friends, at a place in Chinatown and write a few lines about why that place, or Chinatown in general, matters to them. 

 The project will culminate in the printing of 250 of the submissions, each as a separate poster, to display them outdoors in Chinatown. Their aim is to have the vibrancy of seeing all the faces of support attract more people to walk through Chinatown and read the many stories and reasons why Chinatown is integral to so many in our city.

 To learn more, or to make a submission, click here.

Chinatown BIA: Summer Scavenger Hunt until August 9

Chinatown Business Improvement Area (CBIA) in partnership with the City, is launching a new scavenger hunt challenge to introduce the history and culture of the community.
 
The CBIA will be using a mobile app called “GooseChase”, to lead participants and players to answer simple questions, take photos and check in their geolocation to learn about the community.
 
The players with the highest score each week will have a chance to win a $500 cash prize.
 
The game is open to those 18+ in order to win the cash prize. For more details visit: www.chinatownbia.co

 
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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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