Happy New Year! I hope that 2023 brings you and your loved ones health and success in all that you do.
Queen’s Park is recessed until February 20, 2023, which is giving me time to again connect with local residents, organizations, and small businesses about what they need from the Province. In this newsletter I recap major recent stories and share local opportunities for you to get involved in supporting our neighbourhoods.
Recent Freedom of Information (FOI) requests into how the Ministry of Health has been internally discussing Bill 124 revealed that Ford and his Ministers have been told for years by their own staff that Bill 124 is making the health care crisis worse.
Bill 124, as you likely know, suppresses health care and public sector employees' wages. It was recently ruled unconstitutional in an Ontario court — and Ford has shamefully chosen to spend more public money appealing his loss to the Ontario Court of Appeals.
It’s important to see through Ford’s smoke and mirrors: he knows that this bad legislation is damaging his public image, but Ford wants our health care system to buckle so that he has political cover to continue pushing privatized health care upon Ontarians.
After multiple complaints from Ontarians and environmental groups, the Ontario Provincial Police’s (OPP) anti-rackets branch has confirmed that they have begun the process that would determine whether or not they open a formal investigation. Complaints were informed by this comprehensive article in the Narwhal exploring ties between Ford and his donors.
Ontario is beginning its annual budget consultations. This is one opportunity for you to speak about the funding you want to see your provincial government bring to housing, health care, ODSP and more.
Registration is required in advance as space is limited. Legislative Affairs has warned that Toronto’s hearings will likely be over-subscribed, but you can still apply to join any other virtual hearings via Zoom — and are much more likely to be chosen to speak if you do so! You can apply at this link, and please email my team at [email protected] when you do so we know to keep an eye out for your presentation!
Have your say in Toronto’s 2023 budget
The 2023 City Budget process for the year ahead in Toronto has begun.
As Premier Ford and Mayor John Tory double down on trying to erode our local democracy using Strong Mayor powers, it’s more important than ever that we come together. I do not see a credible plan in the budget to address the homelessness crisis, to improve transit service, or to help our more vulnerable neighbours.
You can read the full budget here. Social Planning Toronto has put together a Budget Watch, which you can follow here.
Our local Councillor Chris Moise and neighbouring Councillor Ausma Malik are organizing a virtual townhall on Monday January 16, 2023 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM to hear what you think about the budget.
Tell Mayor Tory to Open the Warming Centres
Two people experiencing homelessness have died from the elements since the December holidays. It is unconscionable our City would delay opening warm and safe spaces for people to escape the bitter cold.
Send a letter to Mayor John Tory and your City Councillor urging Toronto's emergency warming centres are opened now. Please also support Stone Soup Network's campaign here.
Welcome Matthew Mohan of the Cabbagetown BIA to Toronto Centre!
I want to welcome Matthew Mohan, the new Executive Director of the Cabbagetown Business Improvement Association (BIA) to Toronto Centre. Matthew and I met today to discuss local business needs and how the Provincial Government can do more to support a strong and vibrant COVID recovery.
We’re delighted to share additional good news, as the Cabbagetown BIA recently won the 2022 TABIA Streetscape Award for the Cabbagetown Parkscape project. This innovative streetscape improvement program was a major collaboration between the BIA, Bienenstock Natural Playground and myself. I am particularly proud of this award as it was my last urban placemaking project as the former local Councillor.
With the eight wave in sight, as a friendly reminder, if you are eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster dose - please do so as quickly as possible. You can book yours here and may want to consider bivalent booster options in light of new infectious COVID sub-variants such as XBB spreading across North America.
It is an honour to represent you.
Kristyn Wong-Tam, MPP