Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 

Hello Neighbour,

MPPs return to the Legislature on Tuesday, February 22 for the final legislative session before the next election. As your representative at Queen's Park, you can be sure that I will continue to push for improvements to health care and seniors care, education, housing affordability, climate justice and more.

My colleagues and I will keep fighting for solutions to help us all move forward in the post-pandemic recovery, like paid sick days, higher wages for workers, a plan to hire more education and health care workers, and more financial aid for local businesses. We will also be introducing the Our London Family Act, legislation that was developed in partnership with the National Council of Canadian Muslims to tackle dangerous Islamophobia and other forms of racism in Ontario. The passage of this bill, which we hope will receive all-party support, is another necessary step as we heal from the pain and trauma we experienced last June.

Finally, we will be urging the government to ensure that protecting public health remains a priority, and that the decisions the government makes are made based on evidence, not on political pressure. That political pressure has become a national crisis as the occupation in Ottawa reaches its third week. A major effort is expected to clear the remaining demonstrators, following the invocation of the federal Emergencies Act. While federal MPs debate this unprecedented decision, provincially I been working to push the government to do what it can to end the siege using authority over commercial trucking, inspection and to provide supports to those whose livelihoods and neighbourhoods have been affected.

Please reach out to me at [email protected] if you have questions or issues you’d like me to raise in the legislature, or petitions you’d like me to present.

I want to close with a shout-out to Ontario's non-profit sector in recognition of Nonprofit Appreciation Week. COVID-19 has made us more aware than ever of the crucial role played by non-profits in our daily lives. There are hundreds of organizations and thousands of volunteers here in London who enhance community well-being through arts, sports and recreation, healthcare, education, environment, child development, seniors care, services for persons with disabilities and more. Thank you to each and every Londoner who works or volunteers in the local nonprofit sector to enrich our quality of life. 

Wishing everyone a great long weekend and Family Day!

Stay safe and take care,

My community office is available to help with provincial programs and services by phone at 519-657-3120 or by email at [email protected] In-person meetings can be arranged by appointment only.

 
In this newsletter:
 

Boosters for Children & Youth

Starting today, youth aged 12-17 are eligible for a COVID-19 booster dose. Individuals must be 12 years or older on the date of their appointment, and it must have been at least 24 weeks (6 months) since their second dose.

Youth aged 5 and up who have certain underlying medical conditions are eligible for a third dose or booster dose 12 weeks after their second dose.

People who experienced a COVID-19 infection after their second dose must also wait to receive a booster dose 90 days after their symptoms started or they tested positive. 

There are many walk-in options to get vaccinated, including vaccination clinics at schools around London. You can also book an appointment at a mass vaccination clinic to get your booster.

First and second doses are also still available! Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are available at all clinics.

If you have questions about the children's COVID-19 vaccine, you can find answers at parenthomework.ca. This helpful FAQ is provided by the Children's Health Coalition of Ontario.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit has also developed a resource called Children, Youth and the COVID-19 Vaccine where you can get all the information you need.

Family Day is Superhero Day at all Middlesex-London Health Unit mass vaccination clinics and pop-up clinics! You could meet your favourite superhero, and families are encouraged to dress up, too!

 

Financial Accountability Update

Last week, I shared the Financial Accountability Office (FAO)'s report showing that under the government's plans, Ontarians will be dealing with a shocking $6.5 billion program shortfall across health, education, children's and social services, and justice by the year 2024.

The government's own Third Quarter Finances Update, released this week, confirms their intention to press forward with big cuts instead of investing in the things people need. A cut of nearly half a billion dollars from base funding for education comes at a time when so many students are working hard to recover from academic, social, and emotional setbacks - despite it being clear that we need more teachers and education workers, and more supports for students. In particular, the Grants for Student Needs allocation is far below inflation, and leaves just a few dollars per student to tackle the massive issues of student mental health and student learning loss. And it does nothing to address the decade-old repair backlog that still has kids sitting in classrooms that are leaking, moldy or poorly ventilated.

Students, families, and education workers deserve better. We should be restoring the funding that has been cut from education over the past four years, and then some. We need to reduce class sizes to give kids more one on one help, add more support staff, and invest in mental health supports.

Another FAO report released this week forced the government to admit they never intended to reduce electricity bills from where they were in 2018. In fact, the report shows that between 2018 and 2021, the average residential bill has gone up by 4.3%. Under current policies, they will continue to go up by 2% per year, every year through 2040.

People in Ontario are more financially strained than ever, and the cost of living is rising steeply. I am committed to tackling the root causes of skyrocketing electricity system costs, and rebuilding hydro with the interests of regular ratepayers as the number one priority.

 

Homes in Ontario Program

Census updates released last week show that London is booming with 10% population growth since the 2016 census making us the fastest growing city in Ontario. But as our community has grown, we've seen skyrocketing home prices and a market where it seems like houses are always sold before the signs even go up. I hear almost every day from residents of London West who are struggling to find an affordable place to live. Many people tell me they are being forced out of our community, putting off having children because they can't afford a big enough place to live, and tragically, many people are facing homelessness because there is simply nothing available for them.

I am supporting a comprehensive housing plan that increases supply—especially "missing middle" homes that are attainable for first-time home buyers—and provides those first-time buyers up to 10 per cent of their new home as down payment support, with the flexibility to buy back the government's share or repay the loan if and when they sell their home.

This plan also guarantees homeowners the ability to build basement suites or laneway homes, tackles the problem of speculation, regulates short-term rentals, and updates land use planning rules to accelerate the development of communities. It's part of a larger plan that also addresses the needs of renters and those who rely on affordable housing.

Would you like to know more about this plan? Would it help you buy your first home or stay in your community? Let me know at [email protected].

 
I appreciated meeting with Unifor Canada Local 27 on behalf of their 1300 RPN members in London. Nurses and healthcare workers deserve respect and fair compensation from the Ford government for their tireless efforts to keep us safe. Instead, they are overworked, underpaid and insulted with a wage cap. I continue to stand with nurses in their call to Repeal Bill 124.
 

In Memory of the Afzaal-Salman Family

A new, permanent memorial to the Afzaal family will be unveiled this Saturday, February 19 at 10am at White Oaks Mall. The mural has been commissioned by mall officials and is the work of renowned artist Amer S.M. It is inspired by Yumna Afzaal’s mural painted in the basement of the London Muslim Mosque. The London Muslim Mosque team worked closely with the White Oaks Mall management to bring this memorial to fruition.
 
The City of London is hosting some fun activities on Family Day, this Monday, February 21. Click here to see a full list, including drop-in recreation programs and indoor and outdoor skating.
 
Looking for ways to support local? Check out the Find it in London campaign by Tourism London, in collaboration with Old East Village BIA , Argyle BIA, Downtown London, Hamilton Road BIA, Hyde Park BIA, and others, for the best ways to shop local, support, and experience the Forest City.
 

Climate Emergency Action Plan

On February 8, 2022, a draft community-based Climate Emergency Action Plan was presented to the City of London Council’s Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee.

The proposed Climate Emergency Action Plan is a community-wide plan to achieve three main goals:

  1. Net-zero community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050
  2. Improved resilience to climate change impacts
  3. Bring everyone along (e.g., individuals, households, businesses, neighbourhoods)

The City is currently collecting comments and feedback about the draft Climate Emergency Action Plan, and you can provide feedback at getinvolved.london.ca/climate. A Public Participation Meeting is also being planned.

 

COVID-19 Developments

  • The provincial government has accelerated its plans to ease public health restrictions. Effective February 17:
    • social gatherings are limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors
    • organized public events are limited to 50 people indoors with no limit outdoors
    • capacity limits are lifted in settings where proof of vaccination is required, including
      • food and drink establishments without dance facilities
      • cinemas
      • meeting and event spaces
      • non-spectator areas of sports and recreation facilities
      • gaming establishments and racing venues
    • spectator events, including sporting events and concerts, are limited to 50% capacity 
    • all other public health measures remain in effect
       
  • If public health and health care indicators continue to improve, the following public health and workplace safety measures will come into effect on March 1, 2022:
    • capacity limits lifted in all indoor public settings
    • proof of vaccination requirements lifted, with businesses being allowed to implement them voluntarily
    • other protective measures, such as mask/face covering requirements and active/passive screening of patrons, will be in place
    • public health units can deploy local and regional responses based on local health indicators
       
  • The Middlesex-London Health Unit has lifted its Section 22 Order for Food and Drink Establishments as well as its Letter of Instruction to Sports and Recreation Facilities. The Instruction being rescinded required individuals 12 years of age and older attending an indoor facility for organized sports events to provide proof of full vaccination upon entry, as well as the enforcement of masking, physical distancing and capacity limits at these facilities; however it is important to note that until March 1, proof of vaccination is still required under Provincial regulations for individuals 12 years of age and older at indoor facilities for organized sport.
     
  • The federal government has announced a series of adjustments to current border measures beginning February 28, 2022, including easing on-arrival testing for fully-vaccinated travellers, allowing the option of rapid antigen or molecular testing, no longer recommending that Canadians avoid travel for non-essential purposes, and allowing international passenger flights to land at all airports.
     
  • On March 9, 2022, the Ontario Trillium Foundation will open applications for the Resilient Communities Fund, which provides grants to support the recovery efforts of organizations affected by COVID-19 and help them respond with immediate, medium, and long-term recovery projects.
     
  • Ontario's chief medical officer of health stated on February 17 that he is pushing the government to end policies requiring workplaces like hospitals and schools to have COVID-19 vaccination policies for their employees by March 1. Moore also said that people can "anticipate" the government will review its mask mandate by mid-March. One possibility suggested by Moore is that the provincial indoor mask mandate could be dropped, with masks still required in certain settings or regions, and possibly reintroduced in the fall.

Everyone born in 2016 or earlier is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario, and everyone aged 12 and over is now eligible for a third booster dose.

  • Make an appointment at an MLHU mass vaccination clinic
    • Call the Boys & Girls Club transit services at 519-434-9119 (8am - 5:30pm, Monday to Friday) to book a ride if you have mobility issues and cannot get to a clinic yourself
    • You can also get vaccinated in your car at a mass clinic (call 226-289-3560 to book, 8am - 7:30pm, Monday - Friday)
  • Visit a walk-in pop-up clinic
  • Make an appointment at a participating pharmacy
  • If you cannot leave your home, arrange a vaccination at home (call 519-663-5317, 8am - 7:30pm, Monday - Friday)
For the most up-to-date information, please refer to linked sources and the COVID-19 information provided at the Middlesex-London Health Unit website, COVID-19.Ontario.ca, London.ca/covid-19, Canada.ca/coronavirus. You can also find a range of helpful resources on my website at peggysattler.ca/covid19resources.