Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 

Hello Neighbour,

Ramadan Mubarak to all who are observing this holy month of reflection, sacrifice, generosity, and community. 

Since the end of March break, it has been a busy couple of weeks at the Ontario Legislature!

After months of waiting for Ontario to catch up to other provinces, the provincial government's announcement of a Canada-Ontario child care agreement came as a relief to many parents and child care workers. However, child care advocates point out that without a workforce strategy to ensure decent wages and working conditions for early childhood educators, affordable, high-quality care will not become a reality for the families who need it.  

Here in London, many are enjoying the return to activities that were off limits for months, and small businesses are welcoming support from customers who understand the importance of shopping local. I hope you and your family are staying healthy and well as we enter the sixth wave of the pandemic. The lifting of public health measures in most places has been followed by an increase in cases and hospitalizations, and people are being asked to make their own choices about contacts and masking. For vulnerable people, including those with children not yet old enough to be vaccinated, this is an especially challenging time.

Because of the lack of PCR testing, Dr. Peter Jüni of the Ontario Science Advisory Table estimates that the actual number of daily cases is around 30,000 to 35,000, based on wastewater surveillance data. At the same time, the latest COVID-19 Science Table update shows that third doses substantially reduce COVID-19 hospitalization and ICU occupancy, as well as the risk of getting and spreading the virus, which is still causing severe illness among the elderly and other vulnerable individuals. Unfortunately, the report also shows that only 60% of people aged 18+ have received a booster. If you have not received yours yet, please make sure you do, to help protect our progress. I want to thank the vast majority of people who are continuing to wear masks at public gatherings and in businesses. 

The return to warmer weather is bringing new opportunities for door-knocking, and I have appreciated my conversations with people in London West about the issues that matter to you — from the high cost of housing and general affordability, to ongoing concerns about our health care system. I know that many of you are also horrified by the carnage unfolding in Ukraine, as Russia continues its illegal assault on the Ukrainian people. I have included information below on how to support Ukrainian relief efforts. 

With only a few weeks left before the Legislature dissolves for the election, I will continue to make sure your voice is heard at Queen's Park.  

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:
 

Universal Mental Health Care

I am proud to support a plan to bring mental health care into our public system because mental health care IS health care.

Too many Ontarians are suffering in silence because they can’t afford therapy. People leave their doctor or the hospital with a referral for counselling, knowing they need ongoing care, but without the resources to pay for it. There are people in our hospitals every day who wouldn’t have landed in the emergency room if they had received mental health care sooner. A silent epidemic of mental health struggles has become worse because of COVID. Two years of disruption has left kids struggling with personality changes and anxiety, and many are coping with loneliness, financial pressure, loss and grief. One in four Ontarians sought mental health or addictions help during the pandemic. Many more who needed help got none.

Our comprehensive plan will ensure that counselling and therapy are covered by an OHIP card, not a credit card, and make publicly funded mental health services more accessible. The plan includes a suite of investments and changes to give the mental health and addictions sector more staff, resources and coordination, including the creation of Mental Health Ontario.

Please contact me if you'd like to hear more details of this plan!

 

New housing bill fails to address issues facing our community

The out-of-control cost of housing is one of the top concerns I hear about. From tenants being gouged by rent increases and forced out onto the streets by pressure tactics or unfair renovictions, to young families priced out of buying their first home and forced to leave our community. All the while, people continue to sleep in the rough while emergency shelters fill up and supportive options are few and far between. 

A new bill from the government claims to provide “More Homes for Everyone” but it doesn’t build starter homes or 'missing middle' homes like duplexes and townhomes. The bill does nothing to take on speculation. It doesn’t help renters or buyers. It doesn’t even do the bare minimum its own task force recommended. 

I will continue to push for real action on these pressing housing issues for our community.

 
Let's celebrate the exceptional women and girls in our London West community! Nominations have been extended to April 8 for my Leading Women Leading Girls awards program. If you know a deserving recipient who demonstrates great leadership and volunteers her time to make our community a better place, please consider nominating her. You can read more about the nomination process here on my website.
RSVP to Attend
 
1 organ donor can save 8 lives. And it only takes 2 minutes to register. So why does someone die every three days waiting for a transplant? Visit www.BeADonor.ca to register. 
 

Around London

 
On March 23, I presented the 2022 London West Community Recognition Awards via Zoom to another amazing group of Londoners, who inspire with their care, compassion and commitment to our community. Later in the week, I visited recipient homes to present their certificates in person (above with Margaret Hopkins of OSCO and Savarinder Singh Dohil of the Guru Nanak Mission Society). The full list of all 2022 recipients will soon be posted on the Community Recognition Awards Wall of Fame, along with the 70 other Londoners who have been recognized to date.  Many thanks everyone who attended the virtual event! 
 
I was pleased to attend Ramadan Marketplace at White Oaks Mall, along with London Fanshawe MP Lindsay Mathyssen and many other Londoners. This was the first of three marketplace events planned this year by the Events Co, featuring diverse businesses and vendors providing local and handmade products. The other events are May 6-8 at Western Fair District and July 8-10 at WhiteOaks Mall. 
 
Thank you to the London Multicultural Community Association, Ukrainian Canadian Congress - London Branch, London Ukrainian Centre, and Polish Combatants Association for hosting an opportunity for Londoners to show support for Ukrainians impacted by the war.
 

Ukrainian Relief in Ontario

The federal government has not yet provided Ukrainian refugees health care coverage. British Columbia, Quebec and Newfoundland have all announced that they will waive health coverage waiting periods for Ukrainians entering the province under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel. The standard OHIP waiting period is three months.

We are calling on the Ontario government to waive the waiting period for OHIP and make health care accessible to Ukrainian refugees as soon as they settle in Ontario.

Our office has received several inquiries regarding the Ukrainian relief response. Below are some resources you may find of help:

Ukrainian Canadian Congress-National (UCC)

The UCC is working with Canadian government officials at all levels to learn what programs and assistance will be provided for displaced persons coming to Canada from Ukraine. 

  • Ukrainian Displaced Persons Support Committee: [email protected]
  • If you want to help a new arrival, complete the survey at ucc.ca

Government of Canada Resources: Click here 

 
I was pleased to send Sikh Heritage Month greetings to the Guru Nanak Mission Society, and to thank them for their generosity and service in our community! Sikh Heritage Month has been officially proclaimed by the City of London, and is a great chance to learn about the rich contributions of the Sikh community in London and across Ontario.
 
The City of London has opened submissions for the fifth year of Neighbourhood Decision Making! Londoners have until April 29 to submit idea enhancements, events, or activities for the chance to be funded through the program. You can submit your idea here
 
Film submissions for the 2022 Forest City Film Festival are now open!

FCFF is now accepting applications from all film productions with a connection to the Southwestern Ontario region who are interested in being screened at the downtown London festival, October.

Click here to learn more!
 
Have your say about outdoor play! ChildReach and the HEAL Lab are collecting feedback from parents with young children about their experiences & feelings around outdoor play! The data gathered will help both organizations learn about the needs of families & plan future outdoor programming! Click here to complete the survey.
 
The London Small Business Centre is hosting free information sessions about the Summer Company Program. Students between the ages of 15 and 20 who will be returning to school in the fall can turn their summer business idea into reality! The program provides entrepreneurial training, mentorship and grants! Click here to learn more about the program and here to register for an info session!
 
The Hyde Park Easter Scavenger Hunt continues until April 10. Visit a participating business to your passport and Easter egg sticker. Share your picture online to be entered to win Easter Goodie Baskets from Hyde Park businesses!
 

The City of London Municipal Housing has announced that the 2022 Ontario Renovates Program is now accepting applications. The Ontario Renovates program provides financial assistance in the form of a 10-year forgivable loan (of up to $15,000) to make essential home repairs, and/or grant (of up to $5,000) to increase accessibility. Applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis.

For further information on the program, please go to london.ca/OntarioRenovates

 
 

Your Voice at Queen's Park

 
At Queen's Park, I highlighted the mental health crisis in our schools. Students and education workers are experiencing more mental health stress than ever before, but schools lack the resources to provide the necessary supports. The Thames Valley District School Board reports that students' mental health needs are four times greater now than prior to the pandemic, and mental health leaves for teachers and education workers have increased by 44% over the last year. I will keep fighting to improve our mental health care system for students, education workers, and all Ontarians.
 
As Ukrainians flee from an illegal invasion and seek refuge in Ontario, Londoners are ready and waiting to open their homes. But London host families worry that Ukrainians who arrive must wait three months to access health care, while suffering significant physical and mental trauma.

I join with the London Ukrainian Congress and Andrea Horwath in urging the government to waive the waiting period for OHIP and make health care accessible to Ukrainians and others seeking refuge as soon as they settle in Ontario.
 
Small businesses in London are still recovering from the pandemic, but many are now facing exorbitant commercial rent increases. We must do everything we can to help them survive and keep our main streets thriving.
 

Our London Family Act

On March 19, the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre in Mississauga was the site of yet another violent Islamophobic hate crime. This was particularly gut-wrenching for London's Muslim community, as we all struggle with the pain of the loss of the Afzaal family. It reinforces once again the urgency of passing  Our London Family Act before the June election. 

You can show your support for the bill in a few simple steps:

  1. Download and print the petition linked here
  2. Sign the petition
  3. Return the signed petition to my office.

We must move beyond words to action.

 

COVID-19 Developments

  • The Middlesex-London Health Unit will re-open its walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic at White Oaks Mall. It will be open Thursdays through Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., starting on Thursday April 7th until Saturday, April 30th, and will be set up near the food court, and can be accessed most easily via the east entrance facing Wellington Road.
     
  • The provincial government has announced that the distribution of free rapid test kits will be extended into the summer. These tests are available through retailers including pharmacies and grocery stores, free of charge. Find a location near you here.
     
  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19 visit ontario.ca/exposed to find out how to protect yourself and your contacts. Isolation requirements have recently changed. 
     
  • The government announced that the Science Table would be folded into Public Health Ontario. 
     
  • The Ontario COVID-19 Science Table released new projections on March 17. The key findings are
    • test positivity and hospital and ICU occupancy have stopped declining, though there is considerable regional variation, and given relaxation of public health measures, they will likely increase over the next few weeks, but less than in January and for a limited period of time
    • older adults and immunocompromised, unvaccinated or marginalized people are still susceptible to severe illness from COVID-19
    • an individual's risk of contracting COVID-19 will depend on their number of close contacts (especially indoors without masking), their vaccination status, and the spread of the more transmissible BA.2 subvariant
    • a complete vaccine series (two doses in children, three doses in most adults, and four among certain groups) is the best defence against getting and spreading COVID-19
    • wastewater analysis shows that an estimated 10% of infections are reported
       
  • The Ministry of Health’s Directive 6 has been revoked; the Ministry of Long-Term Care’s directive on immunization policy has been revoked; and Letters of Instruction issued by the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services, the Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility, and the Ministry of Education have been revoked. The province will continue to provide rapid antigen tests to organizations and organizations can retain their own policies.
     
  • The Middlesex-London Health Unit's vaccination appointment booking line will now be staffed weekdays only, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

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.