Today, Premier Ford announced he is reversing his decision to develop the Greenbelt! This is a victory for Ontarians who demanded better and held their government to account. We worked alongside each other – First Nations, farmers, environmental advocates, so many people who care about the Greenbelt – and showed that change is possible.
Unfortunately, it took a series of scandals from this government for the Premier to admit it was a mistake and to undo the damage that was done. Next week, we return to Queen’s Park where my colleagues and I will have an opportunity to address the many issues that have arisen over the course of the summer.
We will be pushing this government for answers, and will be tabling bills including the Greenbelt Restoration Act for greater protections of the land, and the Strengthening Members’ Integrity Act that would stamp out influence peddling in government business.
At the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo in Dufferin County
On September 19th, we attended the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo, an important event where MPPs are able to connect in person with farmers and members of our rural communities. Many expressed their concerns with the government’s decision to sell off parts of the Greenbelt and were literally begging us not to let up the pressure.
Just two days after the City of Toronto’s public consultations were held last week to gather public feedback on the province’s submission for the redevelopment of Ontario Place, and despite strong disapproval from the majority of those in attendance, Minister of Infrastructure Kinga Surma announced that the government will be moving ahead with their plan. This includes the imminent destruction of mature trees planted by renowned Landscape Architect Michael Hough.
Ontario Place’s West Island is a mature forest that provides habitat to more than 125 species of birds, as well as mink, beavers and foxes. It’s a precious greenspace in Downtown Toronto, where that is pretty rare. Just like carving up the Greenbelt, this is a real disservice to our environment and a real disservice to future generations of Ontarians. Watch my statement here.
Speaking at a press conference regarding Ontario Place
A Rally for the Trees will be held at the West Island of Ontario Place on Saturday, September 23. The City is still accepting public feedback via their online digital feedback form until September 23. Responses will be used to inform the City’s comments on the designs and concepts that are included in the resubmission package.
Calling for September 23rd to be proclaimed as the International Day of Sign Languages
On Monday, I was joined by my colleague MPP Sarah Jama (Official Opposition Critic for Accessibility and Disability Justice) and MPP Peter Tabuns to announce a bill that, if passed, would proclaim September 23rd as the International Day of Sign Languages. Watch the press conference here.
There are 150,000 Ontarians who are Deaf, part of a global community of 70 million Deaf individuals who use sign languages and services. Our bill recognizes the significance of early access to sign languages and services, emphasizes the preservation of sign languages as a part of cultural diversity, and promotes the principle of inclusion and collaboration for Deaf communities. The bill was inspired by Gary Malkowski, Canada’s first Deaf parliamentarian, and the first Deaf parliamentarian in the world to address a legislature.
Mingling with the community at my End of Summer barbecue in Coronation Park
Thanks to everyone who joined me at my End of Summer Barbecue in Coronation Park last weekend. It was wonderful to see so many people come out and enjoy a gorgeous afternoon in our community! Special thanks to Chris Birkett and Laurie Stevenson for providing the music!This weekend, I’ll be at the Queen West Art Crawl at Trinity Bellwoods Park. Drop by to visit my staff who will be offering kids’ face painting and tattoos! See more Fun Things to Do.
Ontario Place Quick Survey
We are gauging public support or opposition to the Ontario government’s proposal for the Therme spa at Ontario Place. Please take a moment to complete this quick 5-question survey.
Rally for the Trees at Ontario Place Sep 23
Ontario Place for All is holding a Rally for the Trees on the West Island of Ontario Place this Saturday, September 23, 2-4 pm. I will be in attendance to speak about the importance of saving the diversity on the West Island and keeping Ontario Place a public space. Details here.
Ontario Government Pushes Forward with Ontario Place Plans
The government announced that it plans to proceed with their redevelopment of Ontario Place, including the imminent destruction of mature trees planted by renowned Landscape Architect Michael Hough. The statement from Minister Kinga Surma came only two days after the City of Toronto’s public consultation that saw the vast majority of people express strong disapproval for the revised designs.
The government is pushing forward with yet another backroom deal that emerged from a shady procurement process that gave a private corporation, Therme Group, control over public land. The entire process surrounding the Ontario Place lease has been deeply flawed and shrouded in secrecy. This ‘new’ footprint is nothing but a regurgitation of their old, recycled plan. Ontario Place is a public land cherished by generations of Ontarians. A 95-year lease that forces the public to pay half a billion dollars for a new parking garage, while handing over public land to a private luxury spa is wrong.
This is not what Ontarians want. They have every right to be deeply troubled by this decision. The procurement process surrounding this luxury spa has been marred by flaws, including recent revelations from an FOI report that no fairness monitor was in place, raising serious concerns about transparency and fairness. The government must cancel this lease and go back to the drawing board to engage in a process that truly respects the wishes and concerns of Ontarians.
I am particularly concerned about the impact on the environment. Ontario Place’s West Island is a mature forest that provides habitat to more than 125 species of birds, as well as mink, beavers and foxes. It’s a precious greenspace in Downtown Toronto, where that is pretty rare. Just like carving up the Greenbelt, this is a real disservice to our environment and a real disservice to future generations of Ontarians. Sign my petition here.
Ombudsman Report on Long-Term Care
Earlier this month, Ontario’s Ombudsman released a new report, entitled Lessons for the Long Term, concerning the investigation into the Ministry of Long-Term Care’s oversight of long-term care homes through inspection and enforcement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the report here.
The report concluded, among other findings, that no inspections were conducted by the Ministry in the first seven weeks of the pandemic. The government had no plans for how inspections were to be conducted during the pandemic, and in fact, cut inspections before the pandemic. Inspectors were not provided with basic PPE or training.
In its most recent cabinet shuffle, the government has appointed Stan Cho as the fourth Long-term Care Minister in five years. Minister Paul Calandra, who had the portfolio from 2022-2023, will now take over the Municipal Affairs and Housing file, attempting damage control for disgraced former Minister Steve Clark.
We need a government that is working pro-actively to prioritize seniors’ care, not one that expands a private, for-profit system that is failing residents. We must address our shortage of staffing and lack of beds and we must do it through a public system that puts care, dignity, and empathy first—not profits.
Toronto Housing Rights Advisory Committee
The City of Toronto will be forming a new Housing Rights Advisory Committee. The committee will provide a forum for those with lived/living experience of housing precarity, homelessness and discrimination, as well as housing advocates, academics and service providers, to advise and inform City Council on policies, programs and decision-making as it pertains to furthering the progressive realization of the right to adequate housing. Application deadline is October 13, 2023. Details here.
EV Charging Public Survey
The City of Toronto is developing a Public EV Charging Network Study to help ensure public charging is available across Toronto when and where it’s needed. Input is needed from all Toronto residents — current and potential EV owners and drivers and non-drivers — to help identify where and when public charging will be needed in Toronto for current and potential EV drivers, and better understand how public EV charging fits into an equitable low carbon transportation system. Survey is open until September 30, 2023. Take the survey here.
Dog Ownership in Toronto
With Toronto’s booming post-pandemic dog population, we are seeing rising concerns. The City of Toronto has launched an education campaign to remind people about responsible pet ownership. The program aims to remind residents about the rules of dog ownership and to provide tips to help ensure that our spaces are shared safely. Details here.
Alcohol in Parks Survey
The City of Toronto is gathering feedback regarding the Alcohol in Parks pilot program running from August 2 to October 9, 2023. Trinity Bellwoods Park and Roundhouse Park participated in the pilot. This survey is open to everyone, whether you visited a pilot park, a different City park, or live or work near a park. Your feedback is confidential, and will help inform recommendations. The survey closes on Monday, October 16, 2023 at 11:59 pm. Take the survey here.
Commercial Rent Roundtable for Business Owners
Organized by Better Way Alliance, this new monthly Commercial Rent Roundtable is an evening of connections and discussion focused on commercial rent reforms in Ontario. Connect with other business owners experiencing rent issues and who want to pursue reforms that can help address their issues. Register here.
Noise Bylaw Review Information Sessions
No More Noise Toronto and the Toronto Noise Coalition invite you to attend a special follow-up citizen information session. You may have attended one of more of the City of Toronto’s consultations regarding changes to the Noise Bylaw. The deadline for sending your comments to the City is October 15. Email: [email protected]
Upcoming Information Sessions:
Construction, amplified sound and general noise (including power devices):
- Virtual: Wednesday, September 27, from 7 to 8 pm
- Virtual: Saturday, September 30, from 12 to 1 pm
Motor Vehicle Noise:
- Virtual: Tuesday, Sept 26, from 7 to 8 pm
- In-Person: Thursday, Sept 28, from 6:30 to 8 pm
- Virtual: Saturday, Sept 30, from 4 to 5 pm
Sessions will all be recorded, shared with those that register and posted on the Toronto Noise Coalition website.
March for the Land Sep 27
On September 27 at 12:00 noon, five First Nations from Northern Ontario will come to Grange Park (between Beverley and McCaul St, south of the Dundas St W) to lead a march calling for an end to unwanted mining activity on their Territories. These five strong First Nations have formed a historic alliance to protect our lands and waters in the face of mounting concerns about encroachment on our territories by mining exploration companies who have been enabled by the Ontario Government. Register here.
Relic Linear Park Launch Event
Join the celebration on Friday, September 29 at 5:00 pm for the completion of the first part of Relic Linear Park. The park’s new Southern Gateway is located at Queen and Simcoe, beside Campbell House Museum (160 Queen St W, at Osgoode Subway).
The Relic Linear Park system is a community-led vision that embraces the inclusion of architectural carved stones from Toronto’s past set within a unifying corridor of green within the Grange Neighbourhood. The next two parks in the Relic Linear Park network will be at 234 Simcoe St and 292 Dundas St W, each designed by a different landscape architect.
TDSB Ward 9 Trustee Alexis Dawson Newsletter
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for students and families heading back to school. Read TDSB Ward 9 Trustee Alexis Dawson back-to-school message here.
MPP Scrolls for Special Occasions
Turning 30, 40, 80, 90 or 100? Celebrate a significant birthday with a certificate from my office.
Is there a new addition to your family? Send the name of your baby, the parents’ names and other relevant information and we’ll send a “Welcome to the World” certificate to celebrate this special event.
Chris in the House
Below are some of my recent statements at Queen’s Park:
- MPP Bhutila Karpoche and I ask the government to work with Ontarians on the redevelopment of Ontario Place. Watch here.
- Calling for more transparency on the redevelopment. Watch here.
- Questioning the Therme timeline. Watch here.
- Petition from our local schools regarding staff cuts. Watch here.
Environment and Bill 69
- Climate Critic MPP Peter Tabuns and I debating Bill 69, Reducing Inefficiencies Act and how development is taking priority over the environment. Watch here.
- Impacts on Ontario Place and the environment. Watch here.
Health Care Privatization
- The government’s funding of private, for-profit clinics will only worsen the health care crisis. Watch here.
- Culture Critic MPP Jill Andrew and I address the cuts to arts funding in Ontario. Watch here.
International Women’s Day
- Actions the government can take for pay equity, including repealing Bill 124. Watch here.
Bill 39: Red Tape Reduction and Democracy
- Is it not possible to build housing while still respecting the outcomes of our recent municipal elections? Watch my question here.
Debate on Bill 26: Misogyny in Post-Secondary Institutions
- Statistics show that 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual assault on campuses. It’s a difficult discussion we need to have to raise awareness so we can change the culture. Watch my statement here.
The Impact of Interest Hikes on Student Loans
- Ontario students have the highest debt rate and the lowest per-student funding in the country. We need to eliminate interest on student debt. Watch my question here.
Double ODSP Rates & Improve the Homelessness Crisis
- CTV recently reported that at least two Ontarians with disabilities are choosing to die through Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) because they could not pay for housing that would reduce their suffering from their disability. Current monthly ODSP payments are 47.5 per cent short of the municipal poverty line in Toronto and 30 per cent below the province's poverty line. It is not possible to survive on these amounts in Ontario and many on ODSP are ending up homeless. I asked the Ford government to double ODSP rates. Watch my statement here.
- Rents in Toronto rose 14.5% in 2021. Those in non-rent-controlled buildings are facing rent increases of $500/month. To say that housing under the Ford government is unaffordable is a huge understatement. Watch my statement here.
- In January, my daughter gave birth to a beautiful baby boy! Becoming a grandparent has further put into perspective how urgently we need to act on the climate crisis so future generations can have a sustainable world to live in. Watch my statement here.
- We need to do everything we can to support the people of Ukraine in these incredibly difficult times. Watch my statement here.