Grieving 215 Indigenous Children, Pride Month, and COVID-19 Updates

This week I am grieving over the discovery of 215 children from a mass grave site at a residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. This is a terrible loss for the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation and other Indigenous communities who continue to live this trauma. Indigenous people have said for years that these mass graves exist, and we must continue the painful work to search all residential schools, and return these children to their communities. 

Safely Re-Opening, Vaccine Updates, and COVID-19 Updates

After a beautiful, sunny long weekend, I hope that you were able to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. I was happy to be outside with my family enjoying the parks and other outdoor space our beautiful city has to offer. The sunshine feels like a welcomed change and aligned with the relief many of us are feeling as vaccinations increase.

Like you, I am very disturbed by the images and reports of violence from the Lamport encampment clearing this week. That is not a representation of the design or intent of the Pathways Inside Program, as many have safely come indoors and acceptable service without incident.

New Vaccine Eligibility for 18+, COVID Variants, and COVID-19 Updates

As you are likely aware, last week the Province of Ontario extended the stay-at-home order until at least June 2, 2021. While we are seeing positive trends as a result of the public health measures put in place, we cannot afford to let up yet, especially as variants such as B.1.617, which is believed to have originated in India, are increasingly making headlines all over the world including here in Toronto. The Province’s scientific advisors believe it is a realistic possibility the variant is as much as 50 per cent more transmissible than B.1.1.7, which was first identified in the United Kingdom. The infectious new variants are here and we should act as individuals with this knowledge. As vaccinations increase, as we hear of economies opening up in other places, and as our weather improves, the temptation to get ahead of ourselves is very real.

Vaccine Accessibility, Council Meeting Recap, and COVID-19 Updates

As the Vice-Chair of the Board of Health, yesterday I met with my colleagues to review the City of Toronto’s response to COVID-19. We also heard from the City’s Accessibility Task Force on COVID-19 vaccines. We have seen the continued disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on people living with disabilities. While everyone is facing challenges navigating the provincial booking systems and accessing vaccines, there continues to be a number of additional barriers that impact people living with disabilities.

Vaccine Town Hall, Asian Heritage Month, and COVID-19 Updates

Yesterday morning, vaccine eligibility opened to individuals 18 years of age or older in hot spot communities across the province. In Ward 13, the Provincially designated hot spot postal codes remain M4X, M5A, and M5B. Bookings for those hot spots and M4Y remain available through Unity Health at the pop-up clinics at Wellesley Community Centre, 40 Oak Street, and Ryerson University. By early afternoon, many vaccine appointments had already been booked up, but I would encourage you to check back regularly. The expansion of these eligibility criteria is a part of the Province’s plan to allocate 50% of vaccine supply to areas most impacted by COVID-19.

My Statement on the Province's Inadequate Paid Sick Leave Program

Today, 411 days after the state of emergency was declared, the Government of Ontario finally responded to thousands of health care practitioners and resident calls for paid sick leave. Instead of the necessary 10 days of business-supported sick leave, the province announced three days for full and part-time workers. Not even enough time to confirm a positive Covid diagnosis. 

Vaccine Updates, No Provincial Sick Pay Program, and COVID-19 Updates

This weekend marked yet another tragic milestone in our battle against COVID-19. We have lost over 3,000 lives in our city, and my heart goes out to family and friends who are grieving. My heart breaks for the family of Emily Viegas, one of the youngest people in Canada to die from COVID-19. As a parent, I cannot imagine losing a child. Please keep her family in your hearts as they grieve. 

Increased Police Power, Federal Budget 2021, and COVID-19 Updates

Over the weekend, after Doug Ford announced the additional COVID-19 restrictions I was heartened to see thousands of people speak out against the unfair and unscientific restrictions around closing playgrounds. As a parent to a young child, I am overwhelmingly grateful and relieved that I can still take my son outside to play. Unfortunately, this reversal does not apply to other outdoor amenities. This and the fact that Doug Ford has continued to empower police to enforce these rules remains very concerning to me.

April 19, 2021

Late yesterday, Premier Ford lowered the age requirement for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to individuals aged 40 and over at pharmacy and primary care settings across the province effective Tuesday. If you qualify, you can visit my website to find your closest pharmacy to book your appointment. 

Vaccine Update -  April 17, 2021

As we all wait to learn more about the extended stay-at-home order and the new regulations, vaccines are still being administered across the City. 

People born in 1961 or earlier, and age 50 or older who live in hot spot neighbourhoods as identified by postal code, can book vaccination appointments online or by phone at City-run COVID-19 immunization clinics. Information on how people from the various eligibility categories can register for vaccination appointments at City-run and/or partner clinics is available on the City’s COVID-19: How to Get Vaccinated webpage.

This afternoon, the Premier announced further restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We have seen data modeling that shows cases climbing to over 30,000 cases a day as of early June. Despite existing restrictions, Ontario could still see cases surpassing 10,000 per day. To that end, the Province is extending a province-wide stay-at-home order for an additional two weeks beyond its current end date of May 5. 

Vaccination Hotspots, Variant Transmission, First Parliament, and COVID-19 Updates

Last week, many of us in Ward 13 were thrilled to learn that the province was opening up vaccine eligibility to residents aged 18-49 in three neighbourhoods: M4X, M5A, and M5B. Unfortunately, when the Premier made this announcement he did so before communicating with the city, and without increasing the allocation of vaccines being made available. This led to much confusion and frustration over the weekend, as I struggled to get clarity and answers for residents.

My Statement of Support for Justice Gloria Epstein’s 151 Key Recommendations  from her Independent Civilian Review Into Missing Person Investigations

This morning, three years after the arrest of Bruce McArthur, Justice Gloria Epstein released her independent review finding into how Toronto Police Service conduct missing persons investigations. 

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