As COVID-19 continues to pose significant challenges for our community, we are also witnessing the horrific consequences of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism in Canada. Not only is this pandemic disproportionately killing racialized residents, but Black and Indigenous communities continue to suffer violence and discrimination from the very institutions that are supposed to protect us, including the police.
I stand in solidarity with Black and Indigenous communities across Turtle Island in demanding racial justice and an end to systemic racism in our city.
Here in York South-Weston, CP Planning and Black Urbanism TO will be hosting "Lyrics, Libations and Conversation" premiering lyrical videos from top local artists and reflecting on anti-Black racism in our communities as part of the Black Futures on Eglinton project on June 22nd.
Stay well and keep safe,
New Deal for Toronto
ICYMI: Earlier this month, I joined former Mayor David Miller, Policy Analyst Brittany Andrew-Amofah and MP Matthew Green to discuss how we could rebuild Toronto without leaving anyone behind. You can catch the conversation here.
Yahia Mire Comes Home!
Local resident Yahia Mire is doing well and has come back home to York South-Weston! Last month his daughter, Hawa, called on the federal government to bring Yahia home after getting stranded in Somalia during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Premiere Ford: Stop the Eviction Bill
Doug Ford is trying to quietly pass Bill 184 which will speed up evictions, limit tenants' rights to defend themselves and allow landlords to demand payments of arrears for up to a year after vacating the unit. In the midst of the economic hardship caused by COVID-19, this bill is a dangerous attack on tenants' rights all over the province. Join the York South-Weston Tenant Union in demanding a stop to the eviction bill.
City Council: We Demand Real Rent Control
City Council wants to let more private developers, who receive public funds and land, raise rents above the provincial guideline. This is not rent control. In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, City Council must stand up for real rent control. We cannot waste valuable public resources to line the profits of corporate landlords. Add your voice and sign the petition demanding real rent control before City Council votes at the end of this month.
Solidarity with Black and Indigenous Communities
As we celebrate National Indigenous History Month, I invite you to explore the concrete ways in which we can rebuild our city free from anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism. Join Progress Toronto and the Urban Alliance for Race Relations in their panel discussion on defunding the police with leaders in the fight for racial justice this Wednesday. If you can't make it, check out this list of Indigenous writers and this list of Toronto-based Black writers that discuss racism and what we should do about it. If you're looking to explore racism and Black and Indigenous resilience with your children, here and here are some good places to start.
How should Toronto recover and rebuild after COVID-19?
The City of Toronto has some important decisions to make about the future of this City. How do you think Toronto should rebuild after this pandemic? Have your say by completing this survey before June 30.
Support Local Businesses
As Toronto gradually opens up, let's continue to support the local businesses in our community. This month, Bruno and I rode our bikes to pick up a delicious meal from V's Vegan and some refreshing gelato from Rustic Bakery wearing our made-in-YSW masks from Club Franco. We also enjoyed local craft beer from Rainhard Brewing delivered right to our door. I started a new baby blanket for my nephew with yarn from Romni Wools, and our cat Mishi is recovering from pancreatitis after her visit to Lennox Animal Hospital. Remember, if you operate a business during COVID-19 you may qualify for the the Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers, the Emergency Rental Assistance for small business or help setting up a free online shopping portal through ShopHERE.
PROGRAMS & RESOURCES
It's garden season! Here in York South-Weston there are two really great programs to help you get gardening even if you don't have a backyard! Sundance Harvest's Liberating Lawns is a lawn-sharing initiative that matches prospective food growers with residents looking to liberate their lawns in York South-Weston; and Foodshare is providing free balcony garden kits to residents living in high-rise buildings in York South-Weston.
Toronto Rent Bank
The Toronto Rent Bank provides interest-free loans to Toronto residents who are behind in their rent or need to move to more suitable housing. Learn more here. Remember, you cannot be evicted during the COVID-19 state of emergency. If you are facing an illegal eviction, contact the York South-Weston Tenant Union.
Financial Assistance for Property Owners
Property owners will be able to request additional time to pay their taxes without incurring late payment penalties or interest charges for a six month period effective June 1 to November 30, 2020. If you are a low-income senior or a low-income person living with a disability, you may be eligible for a rebate on your water, solid waste and property tax bill. If you are a person undergoing home dialysis treatment you may also qualify for a water rebate under the Home Dialysis Water Rebate Program. The application will be available in July.
Wearing a Face Mask
The City of Toronto is strongly recommended that we wear face masks or coverings when in public, especially when it is difficult to maintain a two metre distance from others, such as on transit, in an elevator, when shopping or entering and leaving an apartment building. The Climate Change Mount Dennis initiative is designing York South-Weston masks that benefit local organizations. You can order yours here.