Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 

Dear Neighbour,

Since my last newsletter, COVID-19 cases have continued to rise in Ontario. The government's decision to overrule expert advice and relax public health measures too soon led to a surge in cases, with grim projections for the future. Today, some parts of the province returned to lockdown, because the government cancelled public health measures, ignored public health advice, and failed to expand COVID testing and contact tracing. 

My colleagues and I have called for the province to step up with a real plan to get community spread of the virus under control, and deliver support to the people and businesses who need it. 

That includes implementing a cap of 15 students per class. School boards are still being forced to collapse multiple classes into larger ones as families opt for online learning. Just last week, Byron Southwood was one of hundreds of schools across the province forced to merge kindergarten classrooms, disrupting student learning, increasing classroom size and putting students at greater risk. It's time for the government to stop penny-pinching at the expense of children's well-being and education worker safety.

Thankfully, London's COVID-19 numbers are lower than in the Ontario hot-spots, but we have seen how quickly that can change. Let's all keep protecting each other by following public health advice, including wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, and maintaining physical distance. 

Stay safe and take care,

 


In this newsletter:
 

Conservation Authorities Under Threat

The government has once again introduced troubling legislation that rolls out the red carpet for developers while putting our natural environment at risk.

This most recent move will pave the way for building on the province’s wetlands by stripping conservation authorities of their powers. Buried in the government’s budget bill, the changes would let the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry override the conservation authorities responsible for protecting Ontario’s wetlands and keeping people and property safe from floods.

I am grateful to Ian Wilcox, General Manager of the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) for speaking out about the harm this bill will cause. Despite being one of the largest conservation authorities in the province, UTRCA was not consulted on this move, which will essentially negate its vital role in watershed management.

This proposal has nothing to do with the budget, but by putting them in a budget omnibus bill, the government has made the changes exempt from the public notification and consultation requirements of the Environmental Bill of Rights.

However, public hearings on the budget bill will take place on November 30, December 1, and December 2. You can request to appear before the committee, or submit written comments, online (select Bill 229 from the dropdown menu). The deadline to request to speak at a virtual meeting is Wednesday, November 25 at 5pm. Written comments may be submitted until 7pm on Wednesday, December 2.

 

Stay Safe on the Roads this Winter!

The Ontario 511 app is now available for free on the App Store and Google Play, and includes these additional features:

  • Track My Plow which will allow drivers to track the location of snowplows and salt trucks on provincial highways in Ontario
  • Information on winter road conditions so drivers can see which roads are bare or covered with snow
  • Weather warnings from Environment Canada to alert drivers of upcoming storms
  • Up-to-date information on rest areas across the province
  • Images from over 600 cameras and includes up-to-date highway information on construction, collisions and road closures. 
 

Around London

Join the Oakridge Optimists for a new virtual take on their annually sold out Trivia Night via Zoom on February 6, 2021! Registration is open now!

For the Love of Art is looking for artists to show their work in an upcoming show taking place April 16 - 18, 2021.  All mediums will be considered.  To find out more, please visit their website or email [email protected].

Please join me to give the gift of life this holiday season through the Canadian Blood Services' Days of Giving!

  • December 16, 2020
  • Spots available 11am - 7pm
  • At Canadian Blood Services (820 Wharncliffe Rd S)

To donate blood or plasma with my group, you must book a spot by contacting my community office at [email protected] or 519-657-3120.


Diversity, Race Relations, and Inclusivity Award

The City of London will continue to accept nominations for its Diversity, Race Relations, and Inclusivity Awards past the original deadline of November 16. If you know an individual or organization making London a more welcoming city, you can nominate them for an award.

Community Support Program

The London Muslim Mosque, with support from the London Committee Foundation, is providing support to families and individuals affected by COVID-19. Information and applications are available on the LMM website.

London Public Library is now Fine Free!

Effective immediately, all outstanding overdue fines have been removed from all London Public Library accounts and overdue fines will no longer be charged when items are returned.

Londoners will still need to return your Library items as soon as you can so that others may use them, and if items are not returned after a period of time or are lost or damaged, replacement charges will still apply.

To clear fines for overdue items you still have at home, return them by the end of the year.

 

Your Voice at Queen's Park

On November 16, there was one final debate on Bill 218, during which I once again urged the government to scrap the entire piece of legislation.

The first part of Bill 218 protects for-profit long-term care homes from liability for negligence, preventing families who have lost ones from seeking justice.

The second part interferes in local decision-making by removing the option for municipalities to use ranked ballot elections, which means the end of ranked ballots for London. After the government refused to withdraw the schedule, I introduced an amendment to make an exception for municipalities that had implemented ranked ballots, held successful referendums on ranked ballots, or passed a motion in support of ranked ballots. When that failed, I even tried an amendment specifically to exempt London. This was shamefully voted down by the government, leaving London on the hook for its sunk investment of $515,000 to successfully run a ranked ballot election in 2018. The government's recent announcement that London will be reimbursed for the $51,000 it will cost to return to first-past-the-post voting in 2022 is not only completely inadequate, but shows contempt for local decision-making.  


I heard from several London West families who were having trouble accessing COVID-19 tests, especially in pharmacies. The province must deliver the resources needed for local providers to meet peak demand for testing, and ensure that if there is another surge, timely tests will be available.
The government refuses to fund safe classroom sizes, forcing
hundreds of Ontario schools to collapse classes and move staff. This disrupts learning, puts more kids in a room and increases risk. Parents are right to ask: why is student safety not a priority for this government?
 

COVID-19 Developments

London, and all of the the Middlesex-London Health Unit region, is currently in the protect (yellow) level of the province's COVID-19 Response Framework. This means that there are heightened guidelines and measures in place for many sectors and businesses. Please visit the MLHU website for more information, and a downloadable PDF, outlining both provincial and local measures. 
  • New modelling projections released November 12 showed that Ontario is heading toward as many as 6,500 new daily cases of COVID-19 by mid-December, four times the current record level. 

    The modelling also forecast hospital intensive care units will top 150 COVID-19 patients within two weeks regardless of any new restrictions, reaching a level at which non-emergency surgeries for cancer, heart and other conditions backlogged in the first wave of the pandemic will have to be reduced.

The response to COVID-19 is evolving rapidly, so please refer to linked sources and the following websites for the most up-to-date information: 
Canada.ca/coronavirus 

You can also find a range of helpful resources on my website at peggysattler.ca/covid19resources.
 
 
Community Office
240 Commissioners Rd W, Unit 106
London, ON N6J 1Y1
Tel: 519-657-3120
Queen's Park Office
Room 359, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A5
Tel: 416-325-6908
Email: [email protected]