Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario

 

 

Hello Neighbour,

Congratulations to all the London West students who have wrapped up an unprecedented year at school, and especially to 2021 graduates! You made it through a very difficult year and we are so proud of you. Thank you to all the education workers and families who worked so hard to make this year engaging for our children and youth. You are heroes. And to every Ontario student, as we head into this summer break, please know that we are working very hard to make this coming school year the closest to “normal” as possible, and to ensure you get the support you need and deserve. As MPP for London West, I won't stop pushing the government to do everything necessary to ensure a safe return to school in September.

This week we must also acknowledge the heartbreaking discovery of as many as 751 unmarked graves by Cowessess First Nation at the former Marieval Residential School in Saskatchewan. Despite the almost unbearable pain accompanying this discovery, we cannot feign surprise. First Nations and Indigenous people have been telling us for decades that children were buried on the grounds of these so-called schools.

Consider your children and grandchildren, your little nieces and nephews. These graves represent lost children, babies, toddlers. Each had families and communities that were left silent, without the love and laughter children bring, without even knowing what happened. If we continue to resist calling this genocide, if we let governments and churches get away with half measures and sad words without action, those of us who are settlers are complicit. We cannot wish this away. We must step forward and commit to change and make it happen. We have tools to do this. We have the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We have elections where we can hold parties to account. We have so much more power than these little children did. 

On a more positive note, our province-wide progress on vaccinations has allowed us to move to Step 2 on June 30, which means we will be able to do more of the things we enjoy, and more businesses and service providers can get closer to normal operations. However, I know that many local business owners are still waiting to reopen, or are opening with significant restrictions, and are worried about whether they will make it. That is why the Ontario NDP is calling for a third round of funding for Ontario small businesses, to help ensure a strong recovery.

I wish everyone a safe and happy weekend. Take care and stay safe. 

 

Although my community office is closed to in-person meetings, we remain available to help with provincial programs and services by phone at 519-657-3120 or by email at [email protected]


In this newsletter:
 

Ontario Moving to Step 2

Ontario will move into Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01am on Wednesday, June 30, 2021.

Step Two of the Roadmap focuses on the resumption of more outdoor activities and limited indoor services with small numbers of people where face coverings are worn, with other restrictions in place. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 25 people;
  • Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 5 people;
  • Essential and other select retail permitted at 50 per cent capacity; non-essential retail permitted at 25 per cent capacity;
  • Personal care services where face coverings can be worn at all times, and at 25 per cent capacity and other restrictions;
  • Outdoor dining with up to 6 people per table, with exceptions for larger households and other restrictions;
  • Indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted at up to 25 per cent capacity of the particular room;
  • Outdoor fitness classes limited to the number of people who can maintain 3 metres of physical distance;
  • Outdoor sports without contact or modified to avoid contact, with no specified limit on number of people or teams participating, with restrictions;
  • Overnight camps for children operating in a manner consistent with the safety guidelines produced by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health;
  • Outdoor sport facilities, concert venues, theatres and cinemas, horse racing and motor speedways, fairs, rural exhibitions, festivals with restrictions

Please view the regulation for the full list of public health and workplace safety measures that need to be followed.

 

Small Business Support

With most businesses still not back to regular operations, and some not open at all, the livelihoods of both owners and workers are on the line. The Ontario NDP is calling for a new and vastly improved round of support for businesses, including:

  • A third round of Ontario Small Business Support Grant payments open to any business that’s experienced revenue decline in the third wave, compared to pre-pandemic.
  • A $1,000 tourism and local restaurant tax credit that gives families a $1,000 tax credit to travel in Ontario, including at restaurants, hotels, outfitters and attractions.
  • Targeted re-opening support for personal care and service-based businesses like salons and restaurants to guarantee they can afford public health protections.
  • Access to forgivable loans to re-open and drive economic recovery.

The province’s first two rounds of the Ontario Small Business Support Grant have been too little help for some, and no help at all for many thousands of businesses it turned away. Read my most recent letter here on behalf of London West small businesses. We must do more to ensure that businesses will open up again, and people can return to their jobs.

 

Safe Schools

After more than a year of disruption and uncertainty, families are burnt out. Kids are struggling with poor mental health and well-being. Education workers are exhausted by the challenge of keeping students engaged online, and in some cases, managing both in-person and online learning.

Ontario schools were closed to in-person learning longer than any other jurisdiction in Canada, and parents are worried about the loss of learning that might have resulted — along with the negative impact on students' emotional and social development from not being with friends and not participating in extracurriculars.

I agree with my colleague, NDP Education critic Marit Stiles, that now more than ever, kids need support. A safe return to school in the fall means:

  • Small class sizes and one-on-one help for students when they need it
  • Upgrades to ventilation systems to meet the latest standards and science on airborne transmission of COVID-19
  • Offering two-doses of the COVID vaccine to every teacher, education worker and student over age 12
  • More classroom supports for kids with special needs or learning challenges
  • In-school mental health and wellness supports

The Ontario NDP wants the $800 million that was cut by the Ford Conservatives cancelled right now. We are urging a Safe Schools for September plan that is fully funded, and announced immediately.

If you are a parent, student, or education worker, or if you know a young person who is attending school, please let me know your thoughts on how to prioritize students in Ontario's COVID recovery plans.

 

751 Children

This week, the unmarked graves of up to 751 children were discovered at the site of a former residential school near Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan. These are children who were taken from their parents and never returned home, whose families never stopped missing them or searching for them. They should have grown up to lead full lives, perhaps to have children and grandchildren who would be here with us now.

I know that these reports can bring fresh pain and distress for people who have survived residential schools, or have family members who survived. The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line is available 24/7 for former students and affected family members at 1-866-925-4419. Other Londoners who are struggling with this news can find support by phone, text or web chat through Reach Out.

This Canada Day, I will be wearing orange and participating in the Turtle Island Healing Walk, as Canada faces the reckoning from the ongoing horrific discoveries of children torn from their families and buried at former residential school sites. We are united in solidarity and support for Indigenous communities that are grieving, as well as facing the pain and trauma this brings back to the surface. 

In our community, we are standing in solidarity with Indigenous peoples, listening, and facing the truth of Canada's history and ongoing colonialism, and we’re committed to working to address and undo those harms. We are also reflecting and fighting for a better Canada I know we can build together — a Canada rooted in justice, peace and respect for treaty rights and obligations.

Here in Ontario we can start by fighting for an Indigenous-led, fully-funded search of residential school sites for Indigenous children. We must all use our voices to ensure the 94 calls to action of the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada are properly resourced and fully implemented. Governments have a central role to play, but you don’t need to be a government to act — there are actions in the calls for everyone. You can add your name to support our efforts here.

Returning these lost children to their communities is only one important action we must take. While residential schools have finally all closed, Indigenous people are still dramatically over-represented in the child welfare system, and governments have refused to act on it for years. We must ensure that every First Nations community has clean water, safe housing, and equitable access to health care, education and mental health supports.

We must end the ongoing institutional colonialism and oppression of Indigenous people in Ontario.

 

On Monday evening, I will join Fair Vote Ontario for a discussion on electoral reform and making every vote count! Please register to attend and join us from 7pm - 8:30 pm, for a crucial conversation about ensuring citizens are at the centre of our democracy.

 

Around London

Since the start of the pandemic, London West neighbours have supported each other in incredible ways, and I want to honour the kindness that Londoners have shown during this difficult time with a NEW recognition program, London West COVID Heroes

If you know someone who has gone above and beyond to help out during the COVID-19 crisis, please nominate them here. I will present the awards personally for now, and I look forward to an opportunity for our community to gather to celebrate COVID Heroes in the future!

The last 15 months have taught us a lot about stepping up, and by celebrating these acts of kindness and support, I know we can carry that community spirit forward as we emerge from the pandemic.

MAKE A NOMINATION
 

I was grateful to join knowledge keepers at N'Amerind Friendship Centre for Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21. This year, the day was marked by painful acknowledgement of Canada’s real and dark history. As we celebrate the contributions of Indigenous peoples, we acknowledge the trauma that indigenous people have experienced, and strengthen our commitment to justice.

 

Thank you to the Deer Ridge residents, including Gennan Fakih and her family, who organized Pancakes for Peace to bring their neighbours together to build a stronger, more resilient community. They raised $1800 to contribute to funds for the Afzaal family and helped us move toward a more inclusive London!

 

This summer, I will be supporting locally-owned London West restaurants and sharing them with you!

I invited Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, and my colleagues MPP Terence Kernaghan and MPP Teresa Armstrong to join me for the first #PatiosWithPeggy at Craft Farmacy! 

Follow #PatiosWithPeggy all summer on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see more great restaurants in London West!

Please feel free to let me know which patio you think I should visit next!

As part of her visit to London, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath also accompanied me and my fellow London NDP MPPs to a meeting with community leaders at the London Muslim Mosque. We gathered together in front of the shining legacy left by Yumnah Afzaal, who envisioned a world where students could shoot for the moon, and even if they missed, could land among the stars.

June 26 and 27 are London Clean and Green community-wide clean-up days! Grab a bag and gloves and head out in your neighbourhood to pick up litter and help spruce up our city. Households, businesses, and small groups of 10 or fewer are invited to take a little time out of their day to clean up their community. Learn more on the City of London Clean & Green page here.

 
Plant a Row, Grow a Row is an initiative to encourage gardeners to grow an extra row of their favourite veggies and donate the harvest to the London Food Bank.

You can register to participate online and then donate fresh veggies when they are ready this summer! 

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Updates

School-Based Pop-Up Clinics

The Middlesex-London Health Unit is hosting Pop-Up Community Clinics in select London and Middlesex County schools to provide a first dose COVID-19 vaccine to people who have not been able to attend one of the mass vaccination clinics in the region, due to transportation challenges or other barriers.

There is one remaining clinic in London West, at Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School at 125 Sherwood Forest Square London, on June 30 from 1:30 - 6:30pm. While there are no appointments available, walk-ins will be accepted.

You can find details and more locations here.

 

*NEW* Early Second Dose Eligibility

Anyone who got their first dose on or before May 30 is now eligible for a shortened second-dose interval.

*UPCOMING* Early Second Dose Eligiblity
Beginning Monday, June 28, all individuals 18+ will be eligible for a shortened second-dose interval.

You can find full second dose eligibility details here
Everyone aged 12 and over is now eligible for a vaccine in Ontario. 
You can book an appointment for a vaccine:

Cancelling a booked appointment
  • Individuals who used their contact information (email / cell phone number) to only book one appointment can cancel their previous appointment by visiting www.covidvaccinelm.ca, and choosing Gate 6: Option 1.
     
  • Individuals who used the same contact information (email / cell phone number) to book multiple appointments can cancel previously-booked appointments by calling the new cancellation phone line at 519-963-4136, or by emailing [email protected] and providing the following for each person:
    • The first and last name of the person for whom the appointment was booked
    • The email address OR cell phone number used to book the appointment
    • The date, time and location of the appointment to be cancelled

More COVID-19 Developments

  • The province will allow school boards to offer in-person summer school in August with health and safety measures in place, including all measures that were in place for the 2020-2021 school year. Virtual summer programming can be offered in July.

  • The province has announced that since the 2021 Ontario Summer Games, which were set to be in London, have been cancelled due to COVID-19, London will host the 2024 games.

  • As of June 16 at 12:01am, restrictions on travel from Manitoba and Quebec into Ontario have been lifted.

  • The Ontario Government has extended the application deadline for the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant until July 9, 2021. 

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.