Newsletter November 3, 2022

Stand With Education Workers

As you have probably heard, this week Doug Ford and Stephen Lecce attacked education workers’ rights, jeopardizing Ontario’s education system with unconstitutional and insulting legislation.

I was at Queen’s Park as early as 5 AM this week with my NDP colleagues. Ford scheduled the House to sit before the sun rose thinking that would deter us from using every legislative tool at our disposal to fight this Bill ⁠— and was he ever wrong. 

This Friday, close to 55,000 CUPE education workers across Ontario will be walking off their jobs to protest against Ford and Lecce’s contract imposition that keeps education staff as some of the lowest-paid workers in the province. 

CUPE workers have seen over a 10.7% decline in wages since 2012 with an inflamed gender wage gap. Ford Government denied CUPE’s proposed numbers and proposed a final ultimatum of a 1.5% increase in pay for employees making more than $43,000 and a 2.5% increase for those making less than $43,000, barely moving their budget. 

Following the rejection of this unjust legislation by CUPE, Ford and Lecce have now employed the Notwithstanding Clause, criminalizing workers’ right to strike. Not only is this unconstitutional, but this completely overturns charter-outlined human rights and labour rights. It will cost workers $4000 and the union $500,000 per strike day.

This affects all of our families. Our children will be out of school; parents will have to make tough decisions regarding daily childcare; and workers are putting their hard-earned wages on the line. This also sets a dangerous precedent as to what this government is capable of, reminding us that the rights of everyday working Ontario families are NOT the Ford Government’s priority.

Education workers and support staff who are the backbone of our schools and ensure our kids have a safe learning experience, are on the verge of poverty and are turning to food banks to make ends meet. Ford and Lecce must hear that this needs to end now. 

We Need To Talk About Ford’s "Housing Bill"

Doug Ford recently tabled Bill 23, his “housing bill”, More Homes Built Faster Act,  that threatens many of our neighbours' housing ⁠— this could even include you. 

Using the housing crisis as a guise to ‘speed up’ construction, there are more devils in the details of this Bill than in Dante’s Inferno. This is a massive 135-page omnibus bill almost entirely focused on deregulation and tax cuts to incentivize the for-profit private market to deliver 1.5 million homes over a decade. Yet, there is no mechanism in the bill to ensure this outcome or even any accountability.

The Bill would let Ford’s Housing Minister ignore Toronto’s rental replacement requirement. This requirement is protecting existing affordable housing — if a building with six units or more is demolished, the lost units must be replaced in the new construction and offered to the existing tenants at the previous rent. 

The requirement is a life jacket for tenants. The cost of replacing demolished units prevents developers from demolishing existing rental buildings. 

By trying to remove it, Doug Ford is declaring open season on low-income tenants in affordable rent-controlled apartments. 

And that’s not all.

The Bill would gut conservation authorities' ability to ensure flood protection, soil remediation, and heritage protections when new buildings are proposed. Conservation authorities are not red tape — they are essential to ensuring smart and sustainable growth, and protecting your home in the long run. 

This Bill would also eliminate developer charges. While we absolutely need to eliminate specific developer charges in order to build family-sized units for low-income families, a blanket cut on all developer charges would open a hole worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the City of Toronto’s budget ⁠— indefinitely. 

  • If you live in an old purpose-built rental — this Bill threatens your housing.
  • If you value heritage sites like the Foundry — this Bill threatens our heritage.
  • If you want the City of Toronto to be able to afford sidewalks, childcare facilities, and sewers alongside new construction — this Bill threatens our City. 

I shared these comments when discussing the Bill at Queen's Park last week.

We need to take action, raise our voices, and start organizing now to remove the worst provisions in this Bill. 

Other Updates:

Ford's moves to privatize health care have everyone worried. Join Ontario NDP's Health Critic France Gelinas and neighbouring MPP Chris Glover to discuss what it means and how we can organize to defend public health care.


My wife and I love Halloween, so we created a special edition of The Baby-Sitters Club to commemorate Kristy and Claudia’s efforts to support education workers. We hope you enjoy it!

There were many Halloween celebrations that returned to Toronto Centre, including the iconic and largest spooktacular festival on Church Street.


It was also wonderful to see the amazing turnout at the October Fun Fest put together by the incredible Friends of Regent Park! The warm energy brought together by kids and adults alike, along with the fun activities and sweet treats was such a joyful experience for everyone there, including myself! I’m so glad I could meet so many of you there that day. 

 

Solidarity forever, 

Kristyn Wong-Tam

MPP Toronto Centre

Will you join Kristyn Wong-Tam for Toronto Centre?