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Working Together To Make Life More Affordable for All


Another Provincial election has come and gone. Whether or not you decided to vote this time, we know that last Thursday’s results have huge impacts on the lives of every single one of us and the city we live in. One of the biggest challenges we’re facing as we try to move past this pandemic is affordability across the board: housing, transportation, education, healthcare, and so much more.


When it comes to an issue this big, we have to look past party politics. Every party platform had strong points on how to make life more affordable, and I believe it would be wise for Premier Ford to make sure good ideas don’t go to waste. Below, I’ve provided a rundown on some of the key platform points that I think my former Council colleague, Doug, should consider to make sure young people, families, seniors, and all Torontonians can afford to stay in the city they love. I send it along with my sincere congratulations and best wishes for the next four years.

 

Housing

At this point in time, we all know there is a housing crisis. The Conservative government outlined much of their plan to address housing affordability through their most recent budget. They’ve created a Housing Affordability Task Force, and have promised to take action on key issues like prioritizing Ontario homebuyers over foreign speculators, cracking down on unethical developers, and committing to introduce a housing supply action plan every year for the next four years.



Generally, I feel that this government has focused too much of its efforts on making approvals easier for developers and has required too little of the private sector in the way of affordable housing. That's why I think the Premier should make good on his debate promise and work closely with the Green Party's Mike Schreiner on realizing some of that party's housing plan, including a stronger emphasis on inclusionary zoning, creating affordable and liveable local communities, rent control, and a larger focus on publicly-built affordable units and further green retrofits on buildings.

 

Healthcare

Premier Ford has promised to invest $40 billion over the next ten years in hospitals and healthcare infrastructure, supporting more than 50 major hospital projects that would add 3000 beds. I hope to see those investments made where the need is growing fastest, like right here in Don Valley North. Our own North York General is the best of its kind and is ready with a plan to accommodate our growing and aging population.I would also encourage the Premier to take a look at a point from the NDP platform to increase funding for Community Health Centres as part of his healthcare spending. These preventative centres, like our own Fairview Community Health, are the best bargain in government in what they save in down-the-road healthcare costs.


There are a couple other policies that I think are worth considering. Not only do they make healthcare more affordable for you, but they also reduce healthcare costs for the Province in the long-term. Almost all parties had a focus on increasing access to mental health services. This would save our emergency departments and police services millions that are currently being spent every year helping persons in crisis. The NDP also promised to bring mental health, pharmacare, and dental care coverage into OHIP, so you don’t have to pay with your credit card. The PCs need to begin working on a plan to implement the promised federal dental and pharmacare programs so that we’re ready for a seamless transition down the road.

 

Education & Child Care

Here at City Hall, we were tremendously relieved when the Premier finally signed a child care agreement with the Prime Minister. The lower fees introduced this year, working towards $10-a-day child care by September 2025, is a huge step in making life more affordable for Ontario families, and making sure parents, especially mothers, can get back into the workforce following the pandemic.

When we talk about affordability for young people and families, we can’t ignore the cost of higher education. All of the other major parties promised to reinvest in OSAP and eliminate interest on student loans. I can’t stress enough how vital this is to our economic recovery. Low-income families need stronger student supports, and young people need to be able to pursue an education without facing a mountain of debt at the end. I hope the Premier considers at least a temporary boost to OSAP funding as part of his post-pandemic economic action so that students and their families can get on with filling important skill shortages in Ontario.

 

Transit

With the price at the pumps continuing to sit at record highs and a need to cut our carbon emissions ASAP, creating affordable, reliable transit needs to be a top priority for every party. Our re-elected government has committed to significant investments in transit infrastructure over the next ten years: $61.6 billion to be exact. This includes breaking ground on the Ontario Line, advancing planning work for the Sheppard Subway extension, and designing the Eglinton Crosstown west extension to Pearson International Airport. While getting information and transparency on some of these plans has been a challenge, the City is ultimately always ready to cooperate to help improve and better connect our local transit.

The big piece that’s missing for me, and the one that is absolutely necessary to rebuild ridership on our system, is the operational funding we’re sorely missing. There is no point building shiny new lines if the subways, streetcars, and buses we have aren’t running reliably. The NDP promised to implement a 10-minute service guarantee on the system and reduce the cost at the fare box. Similarly, the Liberal party promised $1 rides until ridership builds back up. Both ideas are worth considering to help build back our transit system.

 

Elections give us a chance to consider different visions for the future of our province. They also tend to be a time we get caught up in our differences when ultimately, most of us want very similar things. I can’t think of a person I’ve talked to in my time as Councillor who doesn’t want to keep living in the city they love, and doesn’t hope that their kids and grandkids will be able to afford to do the same. We have a lot of work ahead of us to make this a reality. Now that the election dust has settled, it’s time for every level of government to work together to make life more affordable for all.

 

Changes to Provincial Mask Mandate

This week, the Province of Ontario announced that most of the remaining provincial mask requirements will be lifted on Saturday, June 11. This includes the current requirement to wear masks on transit. The City of Toronto encourages residents to continue to wear masks while riding the TTC, and when in other vulnerable settings.


Masks will continue to be required in long-term care and retirement homes. The Province will also issue guidance on June 11 on when masks should be worn in hospitals and other healthcare settings.


Full details of today's provincial announcement are in the Ministry of Health statement in the link below:

Upcoming Vaccine Clinics in Don Valley North


Parkway Forest Community Centre (55 Forest Manor Rd.) &

Oriole Community Centre (2975 Don Mills Rd. W.)

North York General Hospital is running two walk-in vaccine clinics in our area in June:

  • Parkway Forest Community Centre every Wednesday (4:00 - 7:30 PM)

  • Oriole Community Centre every Thursday (4:00 - 7:30 PM)

First, second, third, and fourth doses are available for those eligible. For more information, visit the link below:

 

Meet En Xia Wei, our Don Valley Northerner of the Week! Mrs. Wei is the president of Xiyanghong Happy Seniors, a group focused on promoting active living and a sense of connection to seniors in Don Valley North. Mrs. Wei has worked tirelessly to provide excellent activities and programming to the community, and helped the group adapt to offer virtual programming during the pandemic. Thank you, Mrs. Wei, for your incredible enthusiasm and deep dedication to our community.


介绍这周的当河谷北好邻居 – 魏恩霞。魏女士是夕阳红快乐家园的会长,该组织致力于促进老年人在当河谷北区的健康生活和归属感。魏女士孜孜不倦地为社区提供出色的活动和节目,并在疫情期间为会员们提供线上活动。感谢魏女士,感谢你们对我们社区的热情和奉献。


Nominate a Neighbour! Do you know someone in your neighbourhood who makes a difference? Nominate them for Don Valley Northerner of the Week! To submit a nomination, please send a short blurb (~100 words) about the person you are nominating to councillor_carroll@toronto.ca. My team will contact you if we select your nominee as Don Valley Northerner of the Week!

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